How to Ensure Your Single Parent Holiday is a Success
*Collaborative post with Single Parents on Holiday
Choosing where to travel with the kids can be difficult. More so when you are travelling solo with your children, possibly for the first time, and you find it all a bit daunting. So before you start trawling through countless travel agent brochures, ask yourself what would make your family holiday a success? Other parents always tell me that if the kids are happy, they are happy. So involve them in the planning and ask them what aspect of the holiday is important to them.
Once you have established your priorities and your budget, you will find that the rest will fall into place quite easily. To make your decision a little easier, here are a few options to consider:
Consider going away with friends.
Your kids will most probably tell you that their “best holiday ever” was spent with kids the same age. So plan ahead and check dates with friends whose kids are of a similar age to your own, and book a trip together. You could reserve a lovely self-catering villa or cottage in travel distance from the beach saving you a small fortune over staying at a beachfront hotel and paying a single room supplement. In France and the UK, cottages are sometimes part of a larger complex with shared amenities such as a pool, play area or shops. That has its advantages, but if you prefer to stay somewhere rural with more character immersing yourself in the culture of the country you are visiting, then an individual villa or “gîte” could be preferable. Just beware that you may need to hire a car to get around.
Book family run accommodation.
If getting to know the people and the country is important to you, then staying at a small hotel or B&B, be it in Greece or Italy, is also a great way to start. You and your children will be welcomed with opened arms and you will not need to worry about having no one to chat to as you will be treated like family. You can often book your airport transfers directly with the owners and will most likely be picked up by a family member. And remember that any effort at speaking the language will go a long way. The owners are usually also a great source of information when it comes to local sights, places to eat and what to do in the area and you will find that they are often happy to ferry you around without charge if you befriend them.
Stay at a hotel with kids club.
This is a great option, if your kids are sociable and active. Hotels with a kids club are usually, but not necessarily, large 3 star or 4 star complexes – but size can have advantages: Facilities usually include family pools, a playground and sports facilities for all ages such as a football pitch, beach volleyball and tennis court or even bowling alley. Your children will meet other kids through the kid or teenage club, many of whom will speak the same language as your tour operator will have booked a sizeable allotment at the hotel. And last but not least, 4 star hotels usually have a spa and a fitness room so you can do something for yourself whilst the kids are looked after. And of course, if you go all-inclusive, there is no shopping or cooking required making the holiday all the more relaxing for you.
If your children like kids clubs but you are put off by the idea of a large impersonal beach hotel, why not try a so-called “Kinderhotel” in family-friendly Austria? These highly rated family hotels offer up to 12 hours free childcare a day from a young age and boast outstanding baby and kids’ facilities in the most picturesque Alpine settings. Kinderhotels rarely have more than 40 rooms but all the facilities and more of a large 5-star hotel: You will find a parent laundry room, bottle warmers and potties, mountain buggies and more – all at your free disposal. Not to forget an amazing spa, state of the art gym, professionally staffed baby and kids clubs and games rooms for the teens. Best of all, they offer special prices for single parent families. One thing is certain – whether you stay at the foot Hintertux glacier or choose a beautiful lakeside setting in sunny Carinthia – you will not miss the beach for one second!
Try a group holiday.
Another way to ensure you and the kids have a great time is to choose a group holiday. If your kids are a little older, you could book something tailored to their and your interests, such as a cycling, kayaking or golfing holiday. From sailing the Greek islands and mountain biking in the Pyrenees to white water rafting in Slovenia – there is an endless choice of holidays and destinations to choose from and you will have no lack of company or fun. These group holidays are aimed at those who share an interest whilst other group holidays target specific groups of people such as single parent families or solo travellers. These companies usually offer fully-organised escorted beach, activity and winter sports holidays. The difference is that you can choose to travel with a provider who only carries single parent families like Single Parents On Holiday. Their focus is on taking the stress out of travelling on your own and sharing daytime adventures and meals with other single parents and their children so you are not left by the pool with only your book for company. Further, you will not pay a single person supplement here.
What works for you and your children depends a lot on your circumstances – budget, personalities, and interests. Just remember, there is plenty of choice and with a little research and planning and maybe considering something new, outside your comfort zone, your single parent holiday can become a fantastic experience and a proud achievement. Quality one-on-one time with the kids as a single parent is often a rarity, and that is how you need to approach the holiday – as something precious and to be made the most of.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post with Single Parents on Holiday
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