Solo & Single Parent Travel

Single parent travel with your children presents some additional challenges. The following tips may help you plan a more stress free trip;

Consider taking a travelling companion such as a friend or relative to allow you to get a break or try to connect with another solo parent family and travel together to give you some adult company and your kids can enjoy each others’ company. Travelling in a group is another option which can provide you with company and a bit of ‘backup’.

Talk to other parents, see where they have been and how they found it, talk to travel agents, find one that understands your situation and the requirements of solo parent travel and is willing to help you research a destination that is a great fit for you and your kids.

Involving your child in the planning of your trip can lead to a more enjoyable holiday, find out what they are interested in and what activities they would like to do on vacation and choose your destination accordingly.

When booking a hotel consider options that have a kids club and or baby sitting facilities to allow you some relaxation time on your holiday too. Camp sites and caravan parks can be a good option in school holiday times as your little ones will most likely meet other children to occupy themselves with. Where possible think about booking hotels or cabins etc that have some space other than just the bedroom where your child will sleep; a balcony, courtyard or separate lounge area can give you some space to relax without disturbing a sleeping child.

Organised trips can be a great way of ensuring you have other adults and your child has other children to interact with. (See our stories on GAP Adventures in the Ideas and Inspiration section.)

If you haven’t travelled on your own with your kids before, it can be comforting to try a short mini holiday first; perhaps try a weekend away somewhere not too far from home, it will give you a good idea of what to expect.

Discuss safety (with children who are old enough). Talk about what to do and where to go if you become separated, talk about stranger danger. Make sure your kids have your contact details somewhere on them. Also teach children the name of the hotel you are staying at, just in case of separation or any unexpected event.

Consider a cruise holiday, all your activities are located in one place, kids can’t really get lost on board and cruise ships now have amazing facilities including child minding, kids clubs, pools, entertainment for adults and kids plus they are generally all inclusive which makes budgeting easier.

If your child is old enough, teach them who to call at home in case of an emergency i.e. teach them grandma’s phone number. Leave a copy of your itinerary and travel documents with someone at home.

Pack light and consider hiring any baby equipment that you need at your destination to help keep your hands free at airports, keep carryon baggage to a minimum too; remember you will need to be able to manage all bags and your little one.

When flying ask for help, enquire with your airline if they can help you with boarding. On board you can ask cabin crew to watch your child while you use the bathroom etc. Most will be very willing to help you.

Both parents need to sign a child’s passport application so get prepared well in advance, if one parent refuses to sign the application or cannot be contacted contact the passport office or the family law courts to find out your rights. For further information on consent and passports click here.

Important

Some destinations require parents travelling solo with their child to present proof that they have the non travelling parents consent (particularly in South America, Canada and Mexico) in the form of a Witnessed or notarised consent form.

It is a good idea to check whether this is required in the country you are visiting (and the country you are departing from) or to have on hand just in case. Consent forms can be found online or simply type up your own.

An example of a free travel consent form can be downloaded here - It is American but can be edited to reflect Australian residency.

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