Today we’re discussing something near and dear to my heart: Solo travel with kids.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Solo travel with kids? Are you crazy? That sounds like a recipe for disaster!” But as someone who travels A LOT with their kids (and survived to tell the tale), hear me out.
Sure, there are challenges – from navigating airports with a stroller to finding kid-friendly activities – but there are also plenty of rewards.
Travelling with kids is always exciting and brings a new adventure every day.
So, if you’re considering taking the plunge and embarking on a solo trip with your kids, this article is for you.
All my tips and advice are based on my experiences travelling with my two daughters from age two until their late teens. Now, it is no longer cool to holiday with mum!
So buckle up, grab your passports, and let’s hit the road (or skies, or seas – you get the idea).
Further reading: Where to find holiday deals online with ways to save.
GEAR UP FOR FLIGHTS
If you’re flying with your little ones, it pays to be 100% prepared. This means packing everything you need for a fuss-free flight in your hand luggage, including:
- Their favourite snacks and drinks
- Entertainment in the form of tablets, phones, books, puzzles, and/or games
- Comfort items such as their favourite cuddly toy or blanket
- Medications for unexpected headaches, sore tummies, or travel sickness
- A change of clothes (you never know!)
- Pack plenty of diapers, wipes, formula, and baby food if you’re traveling with a baby.
- Consider bringing a lightweight travel stroller that you can easily fold and store in the overhead compartment (if the airline allows it)
Further reading: Light, compact travel strollers to buy in Australia.
Having just provided you with a long list of travel items, I will contradict myself and say to travel light. By this, I mean only take what you absolutely need.
You will likely be carrying the entire family’s luggage, so you should keep the number of bags to a minimum. Limit the number of clothes and shoes to what’s required; layers are a good option, and one pair of shoes may be enough. You can share toiletries, and if laundry facilities are available at your destination, you can pack even less.
GET THE LUGGAGE RIGHT
Think carefully about what luggage you are allowed to take on each flight. Be sure to consider both size and weight.
If your child is small enough to be travelling on your lap on the plane, they don’t get their own checked-in luggage allowance, so their things must be packed in your bag. If your children are older, get them a suitcase with wheels and encourage them to wheel it themselves. If your kids can’t or won’t carry their bags, then use an airport trolley, attach their bag to your suitcase, or pack them a smaller soft bag instead of a suitcase and it can sit on top of your suitcase so you can push them both together.
If you avoid checked-in luggage for short journeys, it makes for a much easier trip. Instead, get a good quality carry-on luggage bag, and you will prevent a heap of waiting and queuing at both ends of your journey.
Your children may like to carry one small carry-on bag, which is excellent as it means everything for their journey can be packed together, such as toys, games and snacks.
For you, a backpack-style carry-on bag is a must! With a backpack, when travelling through airports or to a destination, your hands can help with and hold more essential things, like your kids’ hands or passports, tickets, money, shopping etc.
PLAN AND BE PREPARED
Choose a destination and accommodation that is child friendly. It will make things easier for you if there are exciting and engaging things for your kids to do. You may also meet other single-parent travellers you can connect with.
Be organised regarding your travel insurance, documents, money and passports. Ideally, take a wallet to keep everything together and in order.
Regarding travelling solo with kids, it pays to be extra safety conscience. Let a friend know where you are going and where you are staying during your time away. Ensure you always have your mobile phone and charger with you. A portable charger is great as your phone lets you stay connected from anywhere and is your best safety item.
GET TRAVEL INSURANCE
I always get travel insurance when travelling outside my home country, with or without kids. It makes sense to have the added protection and peace of mind should the unexpected crop up.
When travelling with children, you never know what could happen, and even a minor accident or illness can quickly become a considerable expense without insurance coverage. Plus, if one of my kids gets sick or injured during our trip, it could mean a change of plans, extra costs, or even a trip back home.
Travel insurance gives me peace of mind that I’m covered and my finances won’t take a hit if something goes wrong.
My personal choice every time is Covermore. I have had to make a complex claim through with them and their level of service was very professional.
GET INSPIRED FOR SINGLE MUM TRAVEL
If your children are old enough to understand and get excited about travelling, talk to them before the trip about where you are going and how you will get there.
This can help them know what to expect from the journey and get them excited about the trip.
You can get inspired and motivated for your solo travel with kids by following single parent travellers on social media; read up, revel in and gain courage from their inspiring travel adventures.
FOCUS ON THE POSITIVES
When doing solo travel with kids, focus on the positives and make the most out of every experience.
Sharing new experiences and creating lifelong memories with your kids is a priceless gift. Solo travel with kids can also allow you to bond with them in new ways and learn more about their interests and personalities.
Try to approach each day with a positive attitude and an open mind, even when things don’t go to plan! Instead of dwelling on the challenges or setbacks, try to find the silver lining and make the most of every moment. Whether discovering a new favourite food or stumbling upon a hidden gem of a park, the joys of traveling with kids are often found in the small and unexpected moments. So now you see travelling solo with your kids is totally doable! So go on, book that trip and embrace the challenge knowing that the rewards are totally worth it!
TAKE PHOTOS OF YOUR SOLO TRAVEL WITH KIDS
It is too easy for single mums to miss perfect photo opportunities because we are too busy dealing with the practicalities of solo travel with kids.
It is super important to get that camera or phone out and capture all the happy memories you are creating – and make sure you include yourself in the shots.
Then, when you have the opportunity after the holiday, put together a photo book as a beautiful reminder of your holiday … and your fabulous achievement travelling with kids as a single parent.