Taking your kids on holiday by yourself can be daunting – especially if you’re new to the single parenting game. But, single parent holidays are also a great way to bond and make some positive family memories post-separation.
Frolo is an app and community for single parents where you can swap tips, ask for advice and find likeminded people who are also navigating bringing up kids on their own.
We asked Frolo's single parents to share their biggest learning on their first single parent holiday to help others planning to do the same. As one told us, 'I take my three boys abroad every year. It’s just us - no chores, no work, and no Xbox. It’s absolute bliss and I live for that next holiday to come around'.
'Take your child(ren)’s birth certificate if you’re travelling abroad and get a letter from the other parent if you can'
Just like any other parenting decision, if you co-parent you need to speak to the other parent before you can take your child abroad. You can read more about exceptions to this rule and what to do if your co-parent won’t agree to the holiday on the UK government website here.
There’s a bit more paperwork involved when holidaying abroad as a single parent. It’s a good idea to obtain permission from your co-parent in written form as you might be asked to provide proof when leaving the UK or entering another country. It also helps if you can bring evidence of your relationship with the child – a birth or adoption certificate – and a divorce or marriage certificate if your surname is different from that of your child.
'I’d recommend smaller resorts over big ones. When my daughter was little, I didn’t want a long walk to go to the loo from the pool, or back to the room'
When you’re deciding where to stay, look for reviews from other people with children and, ideally, from other single parents. They’ll be able to give you the low-down on how single parent friendly a hotel really is.
If you book an Airbnb – which can be a brilliant, affordable option that allows you to cater for kids at home – make sure that it’s in a convenient location and has all of the amenities you need.
If you don’t know where to start, ask a fellow single parent if there are any holiday spots they would recommend. There are lots of more experienced single parents in the Frolo community who are always happy to share what they’ve learned.
'Plan some things, but not too much so you can go with the flow'
When you take your kids on holiday on your own, you need to strike a balance between making your life as easy as possible and not setting yourself up to fail.
It’s worth booking tickets in advance for things you know you want to do in order to avoid queues (queueing with kids is not our idea of a holiday). But don’t overdo it – planning an overly ambitious itinerary will just add pressure when you’re supposed to be relaxing.
'Be conscious about the amount of luggage you take. Pack light and take the type of luggage that means you can be hands free to manage your child'
As the only adult on the trip, you’re going to need your hands free to keep track of your kids so don't take too many suitcases. It’s worth investing in a large backpack that you can use as a hands-free luggage alternative instead.
'Be prepared to spend lots of time in the water as that is the safest way to take care of them as opposed to the shoreline'
That means adventure-proofing your valuables, so invest in a waterproof bum bag that you can wear in the water, or fake suncream bottles that you can hide valuables in, for a bit more peace of mind when you’re poolside or on the beach.
'If they go to bed before you, have some treats ready for ‘you time’. A book, magazine, some chocolate, or a glass of wine. This will stop the evening from feeling lonely and help you refill your jug for the next day'
It’s easy to forget that this is supposed to be a holiday for you too! Frolos recommend packing a single parent self-care kit so you can take some time to unwind and recharge after the kids are asleep.
'When you need a holiday but still need to raise the kids, bring the village with you. It’s simple really'
If you’re still a bit nervous, why not team up with another single parent? Booking with a friend often helps make single parent holidays more affordable too. Parents in the Frolo community organise regular group holidays – from camping trips in the UK to villas in Ibiza. Head to the Meetups section of the app to see what’s on offer!
'Every holiday gets easier and, for now, you can feel so proud of yourself that you made this holiday happen on your own'
Don’t put yourself under pressure to plan the 'perfect' family holiday - there’s no such thing. Holidays with kids are rarely plain sailing, even in two-parent families, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you have a disastrous afternoon.
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