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Traveling as a single parent with kids is very tough for many people in this day and age. If you are about to set out for a trip with children, you must read this article all the way to the end. Regardless if you are a single dad or mom, or maybe just a great uncle or godmother helping parents take a break, the tips below can be helpful to any adult traveling with kids. More than just packing important stuff and locking up the house, there are so many obstacles you’ll have to get through to survive the entire trip, as a single parent family, with your sanity and happy kids. 

Before you set out for the trip, there’s a long list of things you must do to make sure you have a healthy tour. If you’re nervous about going on a long trip for the first time, the best thing to do is to prepare as much as you can in advance so that you can be relaxed and patient as possible to handle anything. This preparation will definitely help you to feel more confident, which in turn helps children feel more secure. Getting away is a great opportunity for bonding and making lots of fun memories. These tips will help everyone have a good time!

Here are some ‘must do’ tasks for before you go:

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Single Parent Family Travel: The best tips for Single Parent or Adult traveling with children

1. Pack the essentials 

We’re not suggesting you put everything in the suitcase, but rather to choose what you do pack wisely. The age of your children can definitely be a deciding factor. Are they old enough to pull their own suitcases? You must buy suitable travel bags for them, so that you can lessen some of the burden from your shoulders. 

Also, when you allow the kids to have some say in packing and carrying their own stuff, they will feel empowered and valued. Most parents tend to over pack, and/or begin worrying for their kids, which just makes them frustrated. Help your kids to develop a list and learn smart packing habits early. Don’t feel as if you have to do it all yourself. Let them get involved.

You, however, should make sure to pack any important medicines, quick snacks, mobile chargers, battery bank, first aid kit (make your own kit with antiseptic cream and band-aids in a ziploc bag), list of emergency numbers and whatever else you know is important.

2. Discuss the bigger picture with the kids

Whenever you’re going away on holiday, you should always discuss and outline the entire trip up front with your kids. Instead of lecturing them on the dos and don’ts, discuss important subjects and come to agreements together, such as safety, budget, etc. It also helps to talk about the importance of the trip and research the trip together in order to ask them for activity suggestions. Furthermore, it is better for everyone to get an itinerary and know what’s going on throughout the trip. 

If your kids have iPhones, you must get the best parental control app for iPhone to track their movements when they’re not around you at the travel destination. Refrain from scolding them too much, it’s a vacation after all. Just give them some appropriate training before you leave so that you’ve discussed expectations and what to do in certain situations. Give them an idea of how everything will unfold. Maybe have activities that they earn with best behavior. Kids are fast learners.Therefore, it is better to take them into your confidence and think of this trip as an opportunity for learning, but also for fun!

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3. Always have an emergency plan for the trip

Whenever people travel to a new destination, what many people forget is travel insurance. Although there are budget considerations, there’s nothing worse than unexpected and medical expenses. Though most people don’t fall sick very often, it is better if you have a travel insurance policy in your bag, especially when traveling with children. You never know what might befall you, therefore it is better to be wise enough to be safe than sorry. 

With regards to budget, you also need to plan for incidentals. This means you should have friends and/or relatives back home whom you can contact immediately in case of emergency, or if you fall short of the budget.

An emergency plan is not just a lifesaver but helps reduce the stress at the moment, which is important when traveling with kids. No need to stress them out or have them panic for any reason. If you’re prepared for any emergency, they will follow your lead.

4. Make sure to pack the camera in your bag

During travel, don’t forget to record the entire break via your camera. Though phone cameras have become cliché these days, the charm of a professional DSLR is always going to be there. Even if you don’t have the art of vlogging, you can still record interesting memories on your camera so that you can revisit every aspect of your trip once you return back home. TIP: You may even want to consider buying a disposable camera for each kid to take their own photos. You never know what they’ll find interesting.

Honestly, if it hadn’t been for cameras, many vloggers would never have been made known to this world. Furthermore, it is important to record videos, so your little munchkins have some memories of their childhood to cherish as they grow up. Make sure you pack extra lenses for the camera, so you can have an extra one in case the original breaks. Note: You can also hire a local photographer to capture the moment of your parent-child vacation.

5. Research transportation options

If your children are very small, and you don’t feel comfortable navigating via public transport with them, you can always rent a car in advance. Though public transport is usually a cheaper option, but make sure to do your homework. Sometimes private vehicles (like taxis) are not as expensive, or you can join a group your that includes transportation. 

Keep in mind, renting a car comes with different obstacles. Make sure to hire a car from a company which is registered in the city where it is being provided. Furthermore, if your trip is short, and you can afford it, you can also consider hiring a driver who will help you. Regardless, make sure you have a valid driver’s license to drive in the city you’re visiting and that you familiarize yourself with the laws and the rules of the country. Depending on the country, people who get prosecuted for a criminal offense usually have to pay a hefty fine and serve jail time so be careful and obey the laws.

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6. Keep in touch with the travel agent

If you happened to book your trip through a travel agent, it is very imperative to keep in touch with them throughout the trip. Make sure to request good seats on any transportation, including flights, for you and your children. Furthermore, if possible, you can also request an upgrade on the flight in advance. Although it is rarer for people to get upgrades on flights, it’s not impossible. For example, if the airline caused you any trouble, at any point in time, you can always ask the company to provide an upgrade as compensation. Don’t be afraid to ask your travel agent about your travel needs and/or accommodations. In this day and age when traveling has become so common, travel agents have some authority and might be able to assist you. Even after you safely arrive at the travel destination, keep in touch with the agent to know about any possible discounts or advice. Your travel agent can usually help you get discounts on flight and tourist attractions if you develop good relationship with them.

Otherwise, if booking your own accomodations, you can find great places on AirBnb or booking.com. It depends on your budget and needs for this trip, whether you would like to have a full apartment or a boutique hotel, luxury resort, etc. The options are endless. I also personally use GetYourGuide to pre-book any tours and activities that I would like to participate in at the destination.

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7. Parental travel consent letter

This one might not apply to everyone but, if you are not the parent, especially for parents with joint custody, you usually need a travel consent letter for the children to travel abroad without incident. It is better to be safe than sorry! You can usually google sample letters for wording and make sure to attach a copy of the signatory’s ID.

Speaking of ID, make sure to carry your ID and those of the children in a secure location. NOTE: A copy of all of your IDs, along with your itinerary, should be left with someone trustworthy, just in case.

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Parting thoughts

If you consider everything we’ve recommended, then all that’s left is for you and the children to enjoy the trip as much as possible. Not many people in this world get the opportunity to travel with their kids, as you’re doing, so better to make the most of it and create some wonderful memories together! 

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