Vacationing with your kids should be a highlight of the summer. Whether it’s simply relaxing close to home, seeing different parts of the country or world, or visiting friends and family, vacations are a time for families to connect and make new memories.
Most divorced parents share parenting time with their co-parent, resulting in parents spending less time with their kids and missing the chance to make special moments. Vacationing can be a great way to spend quality time with kids, however, sometimes planning a vacation can be a stressful endeavor on its own.
5 Tips for the Single Parent Planning on Vacationing With Their Kids.
1. Be Realistic
When planning a vacation, be honest with yourself about your budget and the people going on your trip. If your ex makes more money than you and takes the kids on a more elaborate vacation, remember that it is not a competition. Plan a vacation you can afford so the cost doesn’t become an issue. Memories can be made camping or on a road trip just as easily as at Disneyland or a resort. Think about who will be going on vacation with you.
Do you have a child still young enough to take daily naps? Will your kids complain about certain activities? Don’t overschedule your itinerary; having well-rested kids and using some downtime to read a book or lounge by the pool can help make the vacation a more relaxing one.
2. Plan Ahead
Plan where you will be staying and what you will be doing with the above in mind. Do you want a hotel with a kids club so that you can get some downtime? Is it a must to have a pool? If you are staying with relatives, are there things you need to think about ahead of time? Be sure to look for deals or extra amenities.
3. Consider Traveling With Others
If you are overwhelmed by the idea of traveling with just your kids, consider inviting friends or family and doing a group trip. Renting a large house on the beach or staying in the same hotel can provide extra entertainment for both you and the kids. Look for families whose interests overlap with yours. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but be sure to pick the right people. It can be tricky to entertain toddlers who need to nap and teenagers who want to be on the go. Pick people you enjoy hanging out with – this is your vacation too!
4. Be Mindful of Any Legal Obligations
If you are traveling abroad, make sure you have any documentation you need to take your kids out of the country. Also, most parenting plans have language about traveling, so make sure that your trip meets those requirements (e.g. about notice to your co-parent, about scheduling of vacations, etc.).
5. Manage Expectations (Your Kids’ and Your Own)
Traveling can be challenging, and even well-planned trips can hit some bumps. Try to prioritize making memories and connecting with your kids, and let go of trying to make it “perfect”. Sometimes the best memories are of things that didn’t go quite as planned!
If vacationing with your kids is part of your summer plans, it may require some adjustments to travel as a single parent with kids. The above-mentioned tips should give you some ideas on how to get out of town in a way that works for you and your family.