Tuesday, 13 March 2018

The Ultimate Pre-holiday Checklist For Single Parents

Being a single parent is never easy, especially when it comes to family holidays. All of a sudden the common holiday tasks of flying in a plane, travelling to a hotel and exploring in a foreign country can seem overwhelming. Fortunately, it doesn't have to be like this, holidaying alone with your kids can be an amazing experience, and one you'll all cherish for years to come. If you're worried about holidaying as a single parent you're not alone, but there are a few simple tips to make it go smoothly. Have a look at our ultimate pre-holiday checklist to find out how.

Budgeting

Most single parents can find it difficult to go on long luxurious holidays for one simple fact, there's only one pay cheque at home and not two. It automatically means you probably won't be able to save as much as two-parent homes, but there are ways around this. Planning ahead is always the best option. If you know you want to go on holiday in July, start saving the summer before. Open up a separate savings account specifically for your holiday, and be diligent in putting in money each month.

Get permission

As a single parent, there's sometimes another person you need to confirm with before taking your child abroad. You need to get permission from everyone who has parental responsibility of your child before you can leave the country. As a mum, you'll already have an automatic parental responsibility, but if your ex-partner also has it you'll need to get a signed letter from them. Find out more rules on who's permission you need to take your children outside of the UK on the government website. When I was bringing my three older children up, I had to get permission from my ex-husband to take the kids away. I booked a holiday to the Dominican Republic and as he refused to give his permission, I was going to lose my holiday. This is because there are also countries that won't let you visit unless you have permission from both parents. We had to get legal advice to take the kids to Jamaica instead. It's not worth the heartache of not getting permission. 

Single parent holiday insurance


Having holiday insurance is absolutely vital to any family holiday, but unfortunately, it can be quite difficult for single parents to obtain, as many websites only allow you to purchase a family policy with two adults going. To make sure you get the best deal out there shop around to see which insurers offer single parent policies. Then check your insurance covers the right country you're travelling to, and all the activities you're planning on enjoying. Here's a quick list of companies that provide single parent policies.

What to pack

Deciding what to pack depends on the holiday you're going on. Obviously, beach holidays require swimwear, sunblock, hats and light clothing, while as Euro-camping trips need sturdy shoes, clothes you can layer and any camping equipment you might need. As a single parent though there are a few specific packing tips to keep in mind: 


Don't overpack: If you're travelling as the only adult you'll probably be the one to be carrying most of the luggage. When we go to Turkey in a few weeks Tilly has a cabin size suitcase and I have a huge suitcase. She is only 8 and I can't be doing with her moaning that her suitcase is too heavy, so I thought she will manage her small suitcase and I will drag behind with my heavy one. Remember airlines have a maximum weight for suitcases too.

Check your passports: Make sure to bring those passports, and check ahead of time that they're all in date. Make sure you have at least 6 months left on it.

Money money money: Keep traveller's cheques and foreign currency on you while travelling, the last thing you want is for your luggage to be lost and not to have any money

Don't forget: It can be easy to forget some of those last minute items. So when planning your packing list make sure you write down cameras, favourite teddies, mobile phones and any special foods or drinks your children need.

Packing only touches the iceberg of things you need to get done before you go on holiday. There are also lots of holiday hacks and tips out there to make the whole experience a little bit easier. Check out this blog for ideas.

Be one step ahead


Of course, you aim for the best possible outcome, but it's always best to plan for the worst. Anticipate the little hiccups that might happen along the way, and be ready for them when they come. Bring snacks for the airport, iPads for the plane, and a first aid kits for the bumps and scrapes. Don't forget to bring some extra money for those cocktails you're going to want when the kids go to bed. One of the best resources for planning ahead is the many parent forums online. Here you'll find endless examples of single parents who went on holiday and survived, even those who went on holiday and had a fantastic experience.

This year plan ahead, follow my checklist and get ready for a holiday of a lifetime.

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