It takes courage to commence the journey into the realm of single parenting, and this surely includes your first solo holiday with your children.
Gone are the days of planning trips together as a couple, making lists, schedules and counting down to the family holiday. Moving forward in your new status as a single parent means single handedly organising hotel arrangements, booking flights and planning for every eventuality. If you relied on your partner for certain elements of planning the trips then you are just about to experience a whole different type of holiday planning. This boils down to the very important concept of how you view yourself, your value and your worth and it is important to remind yourself that you are able to cope on your own with just some extra organisation and back up around should you need it and this just means switching your mindset up a gear.
In the first instance, it is worth giving some thought to the ages of your children and the holiday that would best serve the family. In years gone by and when my daughters were fairly young, we only ventured as far as the next city or booked locations abroad to stay with family which at the time seemed like the best option. There is a time however when it is appropriate to branch out and take the leap into the unknown, making adequate arrangements to ensure practicalities are covered.
This year I decided I was ready to venture further afield and after a period of 10 months planning every detail meticulously, I finally stepped out of the familiar and organised a holiday travelling through South East Asia with my teenage daughters. Throughout the planning process and the build up to the trip, I realised that it took confidence and a belief that my organisation, planning and execution of a trip of this magnitude would be successful without the need for a partner and I strongly beleive that this is the block that most single parents struggle with. In fact, to my utter surprise, not once during the entire holiday were there any last minute hiccups and it was a revelation to me how I had managed to head up and organise the trip singlehandedly. It was simply the most magical holiday we have ever been on, with my daughters stating how amazing an experience this had been, which was an incredible boost to my confidence.
I noticed however that travelling solo with children as a single parent provides countless opportunities for making new friends and connections as people seem curious about the concept of a woman travelling solo with her children. Other travellers are looking for a partner or husband who completes the equation in your little group and when they see that there is no partner, some interesting conversations arise. In essence, throughout our travels across the country, other travellers were extremely helpful and many friends were made en route.
In my work with women who have recently become divorced or widowed, it is clearly evident how overwhelming it is planning and setting off on a holiday without a partner and the amount of confidence that is needed to step out of the comfort zone and create new holiday memories and define new roles within the family. If you and your husband headed up the trip, it is perfectly normal that this will feel unsettling at first and your children will at times feel anxious about the arrangements. This is expected, allow them to take on roles and responsibilities during the trip which you can hand out, but make sure they know that you have the adult role and are ultimately handling all arrangements, this will make them feel secure when away from home.
If you are ready to fly solo, then here are 9 Golden tips for flying solo with ease:
- If you are initially anxious about a holiday abroad, then plan something closer to home for your first experience.
- Involve your children in picking the holiday destination.
- If you have younger children, ensure that the hotel or area you are booking is age appropriate for the children. A number of hotels have children's clubs and will allow you to have a break if you need it.
- If you have teenagers then make sure you are near or walking distance to the centre of town where they can browse through shops, markets or places of interest.
- Research the country you are flying to as there is a wealth of information on the Internet.
- Book tours and excursions to places of interest before you set off, this can be done easily via Internet and will take the hassle out of doing it later on.
- Choose one or two people (friends or family) who have a copy of your schedule of travel and make sure you make regular contact of where you fly to and contact on arrival. Most if not all destinations have wifi, as do airports, therefore you can be in touch regularly with family and friends.
- Stock up on medication you are accustomed to, as flying abroad to a totally different country can mean different medications with totally different ingredients.
- If you are travelling with older children, assign each of them a role or responsibility, but make sure that they know that you are ultimately handling all arrangements.
There are also a number of organisations that can support you when travelling alone with your children:
There is a whole world out there waiting to be explored and there is no need to deny yourself or your children from experiencing the beauty that is waiting for you out in the wider world, simply because you are now a single parent. An important lesson for your children to learn is that you are capable enough, without the need for the other partner - This realisation will not only be empowering for you but also for your children.
How do you spend quality time with your children?
photo credit: www.christopherallisonphotography.com via photopin cc