By Stacey Freeman
If you are a single mom, planning a family vacation may seem daunting, if not impossible. How will you manage your kids, especially if they outnumber you? Occupy them, particularly if their ages range? Find time for yourself? Afford it? The good news is, with the following nine tips a fun-filled getaway can easily be yours. Here is how.
1. Do your research
By research, I do not mean only surfing the Internet, though that is always a wise place to start. Ask around. Find out where other single parents have stayed, why they liked their choice, and why they did not. Speaking to someone who has already had an experience can give you insight into a property or itinerary you would not otherwise get. If you know personally the individual offering their opinion, take into consideration his or her preferences and whether those align with yours. If your information is coming from a single parent that you do not know well or at all, exercise even more caution.
Ask around. Find out where other single parents have stayed, why they liked their choice, and why they did not.
2. Travel with other single parents
What is better than an extra set of hands? Two, three, four, or more sets. Single parents come with children of all ages and interests. The greater number of single parents you vacation with, the more likely your kids are to find a compatible travel companion within your group and the less likely you are to hear, “I’m bored,” or “I have no one to hang out with.” Win.
3. Choose an all-inclusive resort
If you have multiple kids with big appetites who suck down drinks like they are going out of style, or if you are guilty of the same (different drinks, of course), consider booking your stay at an all-inclusive resort. For a daily fee, many all-inclusive resorts offer unlimited food, juice, soft drinks, snacks, and alcoholic beverages around the clock. No surprises, except maybe the number on the scale when you get back home if you are not careful.
4. Beware the single supplement
With more than half of the U.S. population living and traveling solo, it is a wonder that single supplements still exist. But the painful reality is that they do, which is why you should alert your destination before booking to the fact that you will be the only adult bunking with your children. The rates at many facilities are structured to accommodate adult couples, and you do not want to pay a premium merely because you are unpartnered. The good news is there are more options than there ever were before for single parents, which means you should not think twice about moving on to one of those.
5. Shop around
Not only should you shop around to find the best destination for your family but also, once you locate it, search for the lowest rate. That means looking at various travel services online as well as calling the property directly. If you discover a variation in price (in your favor, of course), let the reservation desk know, and chances are the location will honor that lower rate. I recently saved myself close to $150 per night doing exactly that. The savings I received paid for a rental car during my trip, allowing me to see the surrounding area and enjoy my stay even more. Another win.
The good news is there are more options than there ever were before for single parents, which means you should not think twice about moving on to one of those.
6. Try a vacation rental
If you prefer added flexibility or you want to immerse yourself in the local surroundings, consider a vacation rental. Sites such as VRBO or Airbnb provide users with a platform to find accommodations often at a fraction of the cost it would be to rent a hotel room or series of hotel rooms nearby. With those added savings, a financially savvy single mom can enhance her current vacation, put the money toward another one, or invest the money for her future.
Flying the friendly skies with kids is not always such a friendly experience. It can also be a huge hassle and expensive. With gas prices as low as they are, consider driving to your next vacation spot. All around the United States there exist hidden treasures just waiting for you to discover them. Locate those in your state or surrounding states, including national parks, monuments, historic towns, and cities. A new experience may be closer and more affordable than you imagine.
Cruising can be a comparatively economical way to visit numerous destinations during a single trip while taking advantage of the all-inclusive packages cruisers typically enjoy. Depending on where you live, you may have a port of call close by, which means purchasing airfare to go somewhere exotic will not be necessary. While you are at it, be sure to inquire whether there will be any singles groups on your ship. With childcare covering a broad range of ages readily available to passengers, single parents can enjoy mingling with other like-minded adults or spend some much-needed time alone.
9. Speak up
You are a single mom, so do not just walk the walk, talk the talk. Let your proprietor know at check in how much you rock. The facility may have recommendations or perks for you and those like you of which you may not be aware. Employees enjoy some flexibility as to the last-minute benefits they can offer to make your stay more pleasant, so go ahead and enjoy. You deserve it.
About the Author
Stacey Freeman is a writer and blogger from the New York City area, a divorced single mom, lifestyle editor at Worthy.com, and the founder and managing director of Write On Track, LLC, a full-service consultancy dedicated to providing high-quality content to individuals and businesses. A respected voice for divorce issues affecting both women and men, Stacey has been published in The Washington Post, Entrepreneur, Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, Woman’s Day, Town & Country, The Huffington Post, xoJane, Scary Mommy, The Stir, MariaShriver.com, The Good Men Project, and various well-known platforms worldwide. Stacey is frequently called upon for her expertise and insights on the divorce experience and has repeatedly been quoted in The Huffington Post’s divorce vertical. Stacey holds her B.A. in English, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from the University at Albany and her J.D. from Boston University School of Law. Email Stacey today at Stacey.Freeman@WriteOnTrackLLC.com or call 800-203-1946 for a free consultation and proposal. For more information, visit www.WriteOnTrackLLC.com.