According to Statistics Brain, 45% of Americans take a summer vacation every year. Will you be taking the kids on vacation this year? You’ve been working hard. Taking care of the kids and working on your business has you in need for some much needed R&R. You want to pack up and head out of town, but the thought of taking the kids on vacation by yourself has you more than a little stressed. Before you consider scrapping the entire idea, consider these ideas for making your vacation a total success.
KID FRIENDLY HOTELS
I spent hours looking for a great hotel for an overnight trip with the kids. I thought I’d picked the perfect place. Fancy schmancy lobby. Nice modern, newly renovated room with cool décor. Spa-like bathroom and beds you could get lost in. It was located close to a few restaurants and even a bowling alley with an arcade. I thought that I’d hit the jackpot. The kids had an okay time, but at the end of the night, they were bored.
On our next overnight trip, I booked a room in a no-frills hotel. It clearly hadn’t been updated in the last decade and the heating system was one of those old school ones where you turn the dial from blue to red to get the right temperature. It was just fine for what we needed. A clean, comfortable room with a place for everyone to lay their heads.
It did, however, have two other things going for it. It had an indoor pool and they served breakfast. After getting back to the hotel, the kids and I spent a few hours at the pool. They made friends and I never once heard a peep about being bored. They slept like little angels. The next morning we ate breakfast provided by the hotel which included a waffle maker. It was perfect. It was more than perfect. The kids said they wanted to stay in a place like that every time.
Now when I’m looking for hotels to stay, I look for a pool and breakfast included rather than the “nicest” hotel we can afford. As long as the room is clean and comfortable, we’re good!
LOOK FOR SINGLE PARENT FRIENDLY DESTINATIONS
Most accommodations are based on two adult room occupancy and amenities. Look for vacation destinations and packages that provide discounts or rates based on our needs. There are several travel agencies I found online which specialize in single parent vacations. Google is your friend.
TRAVEL WITH OTHER SINGLE PARENT FAMILIES
Do you have a friend or family member who is also a single parent? They could be the perfect vacation partner. You’ll have another adult to talk to and help wrangle the crowd and the kids will have playmates! That could also help lighten the load financially if you decide to share a room or a rental car.
ASK FOR HELP
Grandparents love any chance to spoil the little ones. If the can share some fun at the beach or amusement park, even better! If you think that taking the kids on vacation on your own might be overwhelming, don’t be afraid to ask for support from friends and
family. Every year for the past couple of years, we’ve taken a vacation with the kids’ grandmother. It’s amazing how much easier things are trying to keep up with everyone. I look forward to our tradition now!
THINGS FOR THE KIDS TO DO
The last thing you want to hear on your vacation is “I’m bored!” I’ve made the mistake of not being ready with something for the kids to do, and let’s just say the results were not very pretty. I may or may not have thought about heading to the closest liquor store.
Have an activity bag (perhaps a backpack that the kids can carry) with plenty of fun things to do. We take tablets, books, paper and crayons. They are lightweight and fairly easy to carry. I usually let the kids help me pack and include a couple of toys. This helps them to learn accountability for their own fun and lessens the likelihood they’ll tell you they’re bored. Don’t forget the chargers and any oth
er accessories you need. I also keep in mind a few travel games (I Spy, Letter Game, License Plate Game, etc.) that we can all play together while on the road.
THINGS FOR YOU TO DO
I understand that taking the kids on vacation can cause you to feel a little lonely. You see all those other families with moms and dads seemingly having the time of their lives. I’ve been there on more than one occasion.
You’ll want to have things for yourself to do. At night after you put the kids to bed, you’ll want to have the opportunity to relax a little. Make sure to pack a few good books or bring along something else you enjoy to help keep you busy. I always take along my journal so that I can get my thoughts down. A little seaside therapy.
SET EXPECTATIONS WITH THE KIDS
Once you have all the vacation details, let the kids know. Not only let them know where you’re going, but also key them in on things like:
- Name of hotel
- Things to do at hotel
- How long it takes to travel
- What you will be seeing and doing (they might have fun researching other things they’d like to add)
Knowing what to expect will help to cut down on the anxiety and stress for everyone. No more “what are we going to do now”?
RELAX A LITTLE – LESS ROUTINE
When you’re at home, you’ve got your routines. School, work, bedtime, dinner….everything has a ritual. Let everything go just a little. Sugar for breakfast? Why not. Stay up until midnight? Sure! This is your chance to let go a little bit and have a good time.
TAKING THE KIDS ON VACATION – JUST GO!!!!
Please don’t let the fact that you’re a single parent stop you from exploring the world with your kids. I was there. I thought that I’d somehow be judged because it was just me and the kids. I finally had to put my insecurities aside because I realized that my children were having their childhood experiences taken away because of my hang-ups. It’s not going to be easy, but it will definitely always be worth it!
Whether you’re going on a road trip, flying the friendly skies, or sailing the seas, your vacation should be nothing but relaxation. Consider these ideas when planning your next trip so that both you and the kids will have the time of your lives.