I think all my parent friends would agree they enjoy going on holiday, but for some of them a family holiday is often full of costly surcharges. The problem? They are a single parent family.
You would think nowadays, with families coming in all shapes and forms that holidays companies would have made provisions and made concessions available for all. Unfortunately this is still not the norm.
It is difficult to secure a good holiday deal as a single parent family. Often the offers of ‘children go free’ or similar are dependant on two adults staying and single parents are subject to surcharges.
Kerry Louise from Oh So Amelia says, “I’ve never been able to find the child free places on travel agents websites despite been emailed the deals all the time which is a real shame. I don’t see how it’s fair that a family with two adults can get a deal with one free child, but a single parent travelling can’t! It can be very expensive otherwise. I’m currently looking at Disneyland holidays, and have managed to get a child free place – but that is by booking it independently through their own website rather than the travel agents.
Rosie Coriette (from Rosie and Boo) agrees, “Whenever I’ve enquired with travel agents, they’ve advised me to take ‘any adult’ along!! The ridiculous pricing system that currently exists does not reflect modern families..”
With these comments in mind, here is my research on which companies cater and provide deals on single parent holidays.
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First decide what type of holiday you are looking for. Are you into a relaxing beach holiday or would you and the kids prefer an action packed holiday? Are you thinking of staying at home or abroad?
This can really help narrow down the site or company you look for. Also consider if you want to be on a group holiday with other single parents or if you prefer to do your own thing.
If you have other single parent friends, chat with them and see if they want to join forces – you could avoid surcharges and have someone familiar to chat to when the kids are asleep.
Look at sites such as GroupOn for deals. One parent found 5 nights for 2 with Real Family Holidays, full bed and board, for £250. Within the UK, consider a Family and Friends Railcard to reach your UK destination. The National Trust now provides a family membership which can comprise of one adult plus kids.
Also think about budget and ways to save money for your trip. Cutting back on daily Starbucks coffee hits can save a surprising amount over a year!
Which companies provide single parent holidays or offers?
I’ve researched and contacted some companies which provide reduced, free child places or good value for single parent families in the UK and abroad. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and I will endeavour to add to it. Please do let me know your experiences so this can be a growing resource.
For a beach holiday, it’s worth checking the offers available with Thomson. Single parent offers are available on selected holidays, for a child sharing with one full-fare-paying adult. I am awaiting a response back from Teletext Holidays to see if they still offer single parent deals.
Sovereign offers a range of family hotels with reductions for children travelling with one parent. In some hotels, children even stay for free when sharing a room with one parent (in this case the adult will normally pay the equivalent of staying in a single room). The hotels are based in The Canaries, Corfu, Majorca and Cyprus,
Jet2 Holidays also offer child free places, including holidays with single parents. I researched the same holiday for 3 different scenarios. For a single parent with X2 children the cost was £798 (£399 per person), for a family of four it was £1,031 (£344 per person) and for a family of X2 adults and X1 child it was £878 (£439) per person. All included 1 free child place in the cost.
Easyjet unfortunately do not have any offers for single parent families.
Adventure & Activity
Family Adventure Company, is a group organised holiday. They organise holidays to Africa, Asia, Europe, Middle East and the Americas. A trip to
Mango Holidays is another group organised company which has a range of adventure and activity based holidays. Some of their destinations include Devon, Galapagos, Morocco, Italy, Turkey, Peru, India and Croatia!
Real Family Holidays in the UK keep things simple with their price structure which includes all meals and accommodation, plus one free activity per person per night stayed.
The cost per person per night is £30.00. So a week’s holiday for a family of four will cost £840. Keep an eye out for GroupOn for deals. One parent found 5 nights for 2 with Real Family Holidays, full bed and board, for £250.
Euro Camp recommends the best camps and offers discounts for single parent families. These include France, Spain and Holland. Kids’ clubs are available, meaning you can have a break too, plus they are free!
Esprit Ski Prices are normally based on at least two full-paying persons per room, but if just one parent wants to ski with one or two children, they offer discounts in certain resorts, where they waive this requirement so the children receive the full discount, even though accompanied by only one full-paying adult. These Single Parent Offers are available in the specified locations and designated rooms on all dates throughout the season.
Intrepid Travel has a Single Parents On Holiday section which specialise in group holidays with other single parent families, including beach, farm and activity holidays. How does an adventure in Vietnam or Thailand sound?
Sands Resort and Spa in Cornwall doesn’t charge a single supplement. I investigated booking a room for X1 adult and x2 children and then x2 adults and X 2 children and X2 adults with 1 child. The rate was the same for all three scenarios.
Need some more help deciding or finding the deals?
Consider using an independent travel counsellor. Anne Archibald from Travel Counsellors reveals how she can help,
“As an independent travel agent, I will always go the extra mile for my customers. Although I don’t have any specific search facilities for free child places for single parents, I will do all the exhausting and stressful holiday searching for them and I can reassure my customers that they will be 100% financially protected when booking with me.
I am friendly and approachable and can be contacted at a time that suits my customers, whether that’s late at night when the kids are in bed or during the day when the children are at school. No holiday search is too big or small. I have access to 100’s of suppliers, which means I have the opportunity to shop around for the best deals and prices available.
My job is to take away the stress of holiday searching and find my customers the perfect holiday for them.
Important Information for Single Parent Holidays
`If you are planning on travelling abroad with your children, don’t forget to get the courts or other parent’s permission if they share parental responsibility. A letter from the other parent is usually enough, but this does vary with each countries laws. e.g South Africa you need a lot more documentation.
Remember that the age limit from which a country determines a person is considered a child also varies. However, if you have a residence order, or arrangements order stating the child lives with you, then you can take them abroad for 28 days without the written consent of the other parent.
For any sort of holiday, it is best to prepare for several eventualities, including emergencies. Here are some practical lessons I’ve learnt when on a family trip.
If you are flying solo, then these useful tips to help you get by on the flight will help too.
Do you have tips for planning single parent holidays or some great companies you can recommend? Please do let me know!
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