If traveling as a single mom has you worried, these single mom travel tips are sure to help ease your mind. Single moms juggle a lot on their own, but when it comes to vacationing as a single mom, many are nervous to adventure to a strange place with kids in tow.
Since becoming a single Mom, my children and I have traveled and vacationed many times. One of the most frequent, “How do you do it?” questions I get involves traveling alone with my kids. Today I’m going to share single mom travel tips I’ve learned along the way. If you manage to juggle the million daily demands of single mom life, yet you are afraid to brave traveling with your children, this post is for you!
6 Single Mom Travel Tips
Ease into it with Friends or Family
Try to visit family or friends, or meet loved ones at a nearby vacation destination for your first adventure. It will be an easier transition from family vacations to single mom vacations with that step in the middle. The hardest part of those first few trips as a single mom is the emotions that come with vacationing as the only adult. Even if your marriage is long gone, vacation memories are often those that stick out as the sweetest spots amidst the storms of life. You may feel completely at home in your single life, but vacation has a way of bringing back nostalgic feelings that hit hard if you aren’t prepared. Depending on the age of your children, they may have similar issues dealing with the memories and emotions that surface while on vacation. My first time traveling alone, I went to visit my sister and her kids on the coast. It eased me into traveling alone, giving me more confidence later when I truly took a single mom vacation. Visiting my sister also provided built in help and adult companionship as we adventured together. The added bonus was the new vacation memories, that only included our new family dynamic, to pull from later when we went on our first really solo vacation.
The first several times you travel as a single mom, keep both the distance and length of the trip short. Don’t overwhelm yourself with a major week-long vacation 5 states away! A weekend getaway to a nearby town or landmark is plenty for those first trips.
Traveling with only one adult changes many things- especially during the drive to and from vacation. Plan a lot of wiggle room into your drive time. No more quick stops to run just one child in somewhere to use the potty. Potty breaks mean everyone unbuckling and going in, with only one adult in the car. Plan driving breaks ahead. After being forced to wake the toddler from a nap for a preschooler to use the bathroom, I started stopping every hour and a half for potty breaks even if no one asks to use the bathroom. Everyone should try to use the bathroom, even if they are sure they don’t need to go. If I see a nap is about to happen, we stop even if the last potty stop was just half an hour ago. It’s always the one time a toddler takes an epic 3 hour car nap, that the other children need to potty one after the other. Also, look carefully at your driving map ahead of time and get an idea of where you want to stop, and where you should avoid stopping. The only thing worse than a poorly timed potty break, is realizing you are in a very bad area during an emergency bathroom stop. If you have really young, but already potty trained kids, consider a keeping portable potty in the car.
Have Realistic Expectations
Be realistic with your expectations of a perfect vacation. You already know that no vacation with children is perfect. A single mom vacation is going to have challenges. Don’t plan too many activities, or expect to go all day every day. Build some rest and relaxation for both you and the children into your vacation. Discuss expectations with older children ahead of time. I warn my kids that travel is a luxury and not a necessity. If they make our travel miserable, then they can expect not to travel again. I also remind my kids that there is only one of me. They have to know ahead of time that the big kids will have to spend time on activities that the little ones want to do, and the littles will have to do the same for the big kids.
Just Do It
Single mom travel has it’s hard moments, just like single mom life in general. But, the memories your family makes while traveling are worth the difficulties along the way. And the empowerment of knowing that you can successfully travel with kids as a single mom will remind you just how strong you really are! Take a deep breath, make a few plans, pack up your crew, and jump in the car!
Don’t Give Up
My final tip is don’t get discouraged if the first several trips are really hard. You will make mistakes, but you’ll learn what works best for your family. My first two vacations as a single mom had major mishaps, that left me thinking “What was I thinking??” but both times, we bounced back. My first trip, where I eased into it visiting my sister, the baby fell out of the van when we stopped for lunch, and ended up with a black eye before we even made it to her house. Then, my keys got locked in our cabin on our first solo trip. Both times, the trip was worth the hard. Later looking back I could laugh at the mistakes, and know I learned and succeed! And my children, they don’t even remember the hard moments, they only remember the wonderful vacation memories we made. Each time I travel with my crew I learn more, and single mom travel gets easier and better.
Single moms, have you vacationed alone with your kids yet? I’d love to hear any travel tips you have to share!