Going Solo: How to be a Savvy Single Parent Traveler

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Single parents are pretty resourceful people. They have to be. One of the situations, when that resourcefulness is called for, is the family vacation. You have to make all the decisions and do all the work, and from time to time it is tempting not to bother. But taking a vacation is an important part of family life, so are there ways that the single parent can make life easier when the occasion arises?

Getting Help

It is always good to have more than one pair of eyes on the children…and spare hands. Traveling with grandparents can smooth things out, provided they are the chilled and helpful type, and as often as not they will be happy to pay generously for the privilege.

Very good friends without children can be a boon on the flight, but their idea of a vacation may be different from yours. Other single-parent families may be good companions, but there might be sound reasons why you want to avoid vacations with your nuclear family friends.


Many parents have clear memories of their worst flights. These are usually in the early years before kids can be stuck in front of a tablet screen and left to their own devices.

Do everything you can in advance: check-in and double-check your documents the day before. When possible, fly from an airport that has child-friendly facilities. When you get to the airport, look out for priority queues for families. You will be on your own going through security—take your time and don’t get flustered.

Pack into as few bags as you can. One checked-in case and one backpack are the ideals. This is the time to indulge every whim with incessant treats, so keep them handy.

Remember if you are traveling abroad, there may be requirements for a second parent to give their consent to travel. It can be a hassle if there is no other parent registered, or if you have a different surname from your kids, so go prepared.


Look for hotels that genuinely appear to be interested in having children. Don’t go anywhere whose pricing policy seems to penalize single-parent families. Keep alert for evidence of special provision for children, such as babysitting services or kids’ clubs.

Choose somewhere that has some facilities that will keep the kids happy, such as an indoor pool. If staying in a city, go somewhere that has easy access to some good amusements. Marriott hotels are generally well placed and secure.

You will want to prepare snacks in your room, so check that there will be space in the mini-bar and a kettle, cups, plates, and silverware.

Travel Well, Arrive Safely

Traveling as a family can be exhausting, but it is usually fun. As a single parent, you are well used to having to plan carefully and keep calm, and those skills are tested to the full when you travel. When you all arrive safely home, you will have stories to share and memories to cherish.

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