Single Parent Travel Tips
Single parents and their little ones need vacations too! Traveling is a great way to bond, learn, explore, and spend quality time together. We know traveling as a single parent is important to the well being of both parent and kiddos, but there are some unique challenges. That’s why we’ve researched, surveyed, and compiled a big list of tips and tricks specifically for single parent travel.
1. Pack Light
One of the most common tips we’ve heard is to pack light. Especially when you’re traveling solo with kiddos. You only have two hands after all!
Krystin Hargrove, single mommy to Harper, says, “Pack light. I can’t stress this enough! Make life easy and pack just what you need. The best part of traveling is creating memories, you don’t want to let the nightmare of taking too much luggage ruin the fun.”
She goes on to say, “For international trips, I check one medium sized suitcase and carry on, one small duffel for the things we need in-flight (clothes, diapers & wipes, sippy cup, snacks, a few books/toys, etc.). For domestic trips, just the duffel and a backpack. I pack very minimal mainly because I travel solo often. The ease of taking this approach has transformed the way I’ll travel forever, less is more!” Make sure to check out Krystin’s blog for even more single parent tips
Sarah Cummings, blogger and single mommy @livesinglemomstrong agrees with Krystin about packing light! She has two girls and has done her fair share of single parent travel. She says, “As a single mom, travel presents a unique set of challenges and struggles, most of them you don’t think of until you actually attempt it. Here’s my best advice! Pack Light; one large suitcase on wheels. Ditch the shoulder baby bag, for a comfortable backpack for necessities (snacks, diapers, formula, toys). Invest in a safety harness for walking toddlers. Yep, put your little on a leash and secure it to a belt loop, the airport can be a scary place! Plan ahead! Check your flight early, have maps, itinerary, & boarding passes in your backpack. Leave baby gear at home: you can rent car seats, strollers, or cribs and have them waiting for you at your destination airport or hotel!”
We couldn’t agree more with Sarah about that last tip! Check out all the places you can travel to and rent from BabyQuip. We serve over 350 destinations!
2. Window Seats are Best
Always book the window seat. Don’t tempt your little one by sitting aisle side. They’ll want to get up and roam the airplane the entire flight. Or they will help themselves to the drink cart!
Along with a few other single parent travel rules, Charlene Lizette (she has the cutest little man! Follow her @charlenelizette and check out her blog.) lives by the window seat rule: “Having started to travel with Charlie since he was two months old, I’ve learned a few hot tips that I’ll share with you…”
“Tip numero uno: always, always book a window seat on a plane (if you have an infant under two) or a window seat and the seat beside it (if your babe is 2+). Why? The window seat offers a little privacy. You can create your own little space without disturbing people beside you and you can use the window as a distraction. Think about it, everyone wants the window seat!”
“Tip numero dos: pack tons of snacks. If you think you have enough snacks, pack more and pack a variety. During any type of travel, parents and kids alike will get hungry and often times healthy, nutritious filling snacks are hard to find or super expensive at airports and train stations.”
“Tip numero tres: try to plan travel during nap time or sleep time. As a single mom, I find this to be super helpful when traveling solo with Charlie. Being able to have him sleep, gives me down time to rest or relax and more importantly it gives kids something to do on long flights/train rides which helps to pass time. Can’t coordinate a flight with nap time? Bring lots of distractions: toys, movies on the iPad, colouring books, puzzles, anything your child enjoys doing. Bring tons of options and be prepared to pull them all out, trust me, been there, done that.”
“Tip numero quatro: bring a stroller or a carrier. It will help you in so many ways. Most importantly though, make traveling an adventure for you and your little one. If they are old enough to start carrying their own backpack or carry on, include them in the packing process and offer them the opportunity to be independent. One of my favourite things about traveling with Charlie as a single mom is watching the proud look on his face as he independently pushes his carry on luggage around the airport. There’s something really special about traveling with a little one as a single mother. The memories, the bonding and the opportunity for exploration are all worth it, so be in the moment and have fun!”
3. Rent Items You Need
Jennifer Erickson recommends renting everything you need, regardless of how you are traveling! Either by air or car, don’t lug the baby stuff. Single mom to a big kid (13 year old) and blogger, wishes she could have rented when her son was little!
On the topic of single parent travel, she says, “I travel a ton and have since my son was born. He’s 13 now and has always been a dream traveler but oh my goodness when he was a baby and came with all the gear it was a bit of a challenge. Especially when we were traveling by air. Road trips are easy because, no baggage allowances to deal with right? As long as I could cram it in the car we were set. Even though on some road trips it would have been nice to have a bit more wiggle room in the car!”
“When it comes to air travel though, it’s a whole new ballgame. I remember a trip to Ontario to visit family and having to deal with the rental car company to make sure I had a car seat in the car. Plus I had family borrowing cribs, play pens, strollers and all of the other “too bulky for one person to possibly manage on a plane with a baby” necessities. It would have been an absolute dream to have a service like BabyQuip to take care of everything and just have it ready for me when I arrived at the cottage. I love that you’re in so many cities that I already travel to and are still growing. BabyQuip is definitely essential for any traveler who wants a stress free getaway with the kids.”
4. Invite a Friend
If after learning all these tips and reading all this advice, single parent travel still freaks you out, enlist a good friend or trusted family member to join you and your little one(s) on your getaway! Who says you have to go by yourself with kiddos as a single parent anyways?! If you feel more comfortable, find another single parent to travel with who has same aged kiddos as you! Or just ask grandma or grandpa (or both!) to tag along! You’ll have help, extra hands, extra eyes, and can maybe get away for an hour or two to get a massage. Yay!
5. Single Parent Travel Resources
Check out Solo Parent trips planned by Intrepid. This is a game changer and takes the work out of planning a family vacation by yourself. Intrepid has created trips and excursions specifically for single parents! You can go to India, Costa Rica, or even Morocco! They also have discounts for kiddos under 17. Win, win!
We hope this encourages you to pack your bags, load up the kids, and hit the road!
Kaylee Garcia is a BabyQuip IQP in Washington state, a mama to one sweet boy, a wife to an awesome husband and BabyQuip recruiter too! Kaylee and her son (he’s not even two!) have completed over 13 trips via air travel (thank you, Alaska Airlines!) on over 30+ airplane rides! They love sharing travel tips with other families since they’ve learned a lot in the last 2 years. Kaylee enjoys spending time with family, researching baby gear, and exploring the Pacific Northwest.