Divorce is hard on the pocketbook – period. You have the children for some or all of the summer – which is great – but with half or less than half the money you had before divorce, but it can also be stressful. While this presents a challenge for day-to-day living, it makes planning summer holidays as a single parent even more challenging. Who wants to say no to their children? No parent does, and so, as usual – regardless of the decreased disposable income – you plan to go on summer vacation and make the best of what you can afford.
The last thing you want to do, however, is to come home to increased credit-card balances that result in interest payments far beyond the original cost of the vacation in the first place. While you may need to adjust expectations of five-star hotel stays, you can actually also experiences that go far beyond housekeeping services and pillows laden with hotel chocolates. The key is to create memories – which does not have to be an expensive endeavor. We all know that the most memorable times with our parents were experiences that were often simple in nature but full of emotional connections.
Eight Alternatives for Summer Vacationing on a Budget
There is nothing like campfire conversation under an evening of stars, plus learning to cook over a fire certainly creates lots of interesting challenges and dialog.
Volunteer as a family either in your hometown or in some other city or country. Perhaps helping a family build a home as it certainly put things into perspective with regards to the haves and have-not’s.
Plan on going to see family. Perhaps your ex-spouse did not want to or did not get along with your family but perhaps it is time for new beginnings in this regard.
Same Place, Shorter Time
If you have your favorite place to go but you can no longer afford it, then consider still going but for less time. Memories do not need to take a week to get – perhaps a few days or a long weekend would be enough.
Consider a fishing trip or a horseback riding trip. There is nothing like connecting to nature to make us feel grounded, fortunate and blessed.
Rent a Pool
Rent a pool for the backyard for a week and create a summer vacation at home. Make sure you have a plan for each day so that you do not get distracted by household chores.
Buy Discount Park Passes
Many theme parks and water parks offer discount passes for multiple days or multiple family members – some even have single parent discounts. Be on the lookout for special offers from your local park.
During the summer months, many tropical destinations and cruise ships offer discount accommodations to fill unsold rooms. Scour the internet for family-friendly all-in-one vacations at deep discounts!
Create Memories, not Debts
The bottom line is to be creative and make the best of what you can afford. Kids cherish and will remember simple things – like playing catch or storytime with Mom/Dad.
Don’t go into debt to go on vacation. Stop the financial bleeding that our society has condoned and lived within your means. Your means is good enough and will result in peace and therefore free you up to be the best parent you can be.
Karen Stewart, BSc. (M.B.A., RHU, CDFA, R.F.M.) is the president, CEO, and founder of Fairway Divorce Solutions. She is an entrepreneur, leading divorce expert, and proud single mother of three. Her book, Clean Break: How to Divorce with Dignity and Move on with Your Life, is a first-hand glimpse into the traditional system of divorce; it is available at www.amazon.ca.