Travelling with kids as a solo parent? With a little planning and a lot of compromise, you can make the most of your holiday.
Travelling as a single parent family doesn't mean it's going to be twice the work. Leave the worry at home and enjoy your holiday with these top tips to help you stress less as a solo parent on the move.
1) Consider holidaying with another family - you can share babysitting duties and the kids have instant playmates and travelling companions.
2) Think twice about booking cut-price hotel rooms. With kids, you need to factor in time for naps, chill-out time, snacks, simple meals rather than eating out every night, and the occasional bouts of sickness. Chances are you will spend more time in your room, not less.
3) Consider a self-contained apartment so you have room to cook, wash clothes, and you have room to spread out.
4) Don't cram in too many activities. Kids get cranky when they're tired and out of routine, and even teenagers can find busy itineraries overwhelming. Include time each day for relaxing at your resort or hotel.
5) Consider resorts with kids clubs. Even if you're kids are too cool for them, the resorts will usually have facilities and free activities on offer for the ankle-biters, and loads of kids for them to play with.
6) Remember the old theory about packing, then removing half and adding money? Remove half, add money, and pack medication. There's nothing worse than being stuck in a strange city or the middle of the country and needing hydralytes, an epipen, or even paracetamol in the early hours of the morning. And when you're flying solo, there's no one to watch the kids while you go out to get supplies.
7) Make everyone responsible for their own luggage within reason. Even a toddler can carry a little backpack with snacks and toys for the trip. Otherwise you'll be the one loaded up with baggage!
8) Book night flights where possible, so you and the kids can hopefully sleep on the plane, and arrive at your destination refreshed.
9) Pack quick and easy comfort snacks. Things like cup-a-soups, milo, chips, fruit, and crackers have been lifesavers in-between meals when the kids have been hungry. In Fiji, our driver stopped at a supermarket on the way to our hotel so we could stock up on bottled water and snacks for our room for much less than we would have paid at the hotel.
10) Have an emergency plan. Make sure the kids know what to do if they get separated from you. Make sure they have your contact details at all times, and consider a phone if they are old enough.
By Bronwyn Marquardt, single mum and finalist in the Escape Travel Family Holiday Reviewer competition