Important Travel Tips for Single Moms Traveling With Kids – As a single parent, one of the most difficult things you may have to do is travel by yourself with your child. Traveling alone can be stressful on anyone – but it’s even more challenging when you are traveling with a little person who doesn’t understand what is going on and has no way to communicate their needs or wants. Traveling as a single parent can seem daunting, but these tips will help make it easier for you.
One of the best ways to make traveling more manageable is to stay organized. Pack all your necessities in a carry-on bag so you can grab necessary items quickly without having to search around too much.
For example, pack all the clothes you will need for your destination and keep them together in a single bag. This way when it’s time to change out of dirty clothes or put on pajamas they are right there and ready to go. Likewise, make sure that any personal care items such as toothbrushes or shampoo are also
Traveling with kids means there will be plenty of stuff to pack, but by keeping things neat and organized you will make traveling less stressful.
Some people prefer to travel by plane because it is easy and convenient, but some may choose a car or train for cheaper fares. Travel choices depend on the length of your trip as well as the number of passengers traveling with you. If your child(ren) are young they might not feel comfortable cooped up in an airplane seat for hours. Consider buying an airplane seat for each child so you won’t have to have a child on your lap for 6+ hours. If you are traveling by car, have a DVD player or tablet in the backseat to keep kids occupied and happy when they need it most. Bring their favorite stuffed animal and blanket so that they can sleep better on long trips as well.
Pros: Travel distance is shorter and often times faster than train and car
Cons: Traveling by airplane can be stressful for children. It’s also expensive, especially when flying out-of-state or internationally so make sure you have a budget set in place before booking your tickets
Pros: You can set your own schedule and stop anytime you need. Traveling by car can also be cheaper if you have a set budget or are only traveling short distances
Cons: Travel time is longer and it may take up more gas depending on how far of a drive it is, especially when driving out-of-state. Traveling by car also means you will be confined inside of your vehicle for extended periods of time with limited space and no bathroom nearby, so car trips are best for kids who don’t need frequent potty breaks.
Pros: You don’t have to drive so you can focus 100% on your kids and are able to spend more time with them. Also, trains offer dining service which means you won’t have to stop for or pack food.
Cons: Traveling by train can be pricey and you’ll only get a seat for your child if there are other children on the same train. Plus, it may take longer in terms of hours away from home than driving or flying
Pros: You same money on gas and don’t have to worry about driving
Cons: Traveling by bus can be tiring, especially if you’re not used to the new time zone.
If you are traveling internationally, you must have a copy of the child’s passport (everyone traveling internationally needs a passport regardless of age). In addition, Some countries may also require a visa for entry. Find out which countries currently require a visa, a COVID test, or a vaccine.
If you share custody with the other parent and are traveling without them, having a copy of your court order that specifies custody and visitation is essential. I would also suggest having a notarized letter from the parent not traveling. Many countries will require this documentation and will stop you at customs upon arrival. Having this information is also important if there is an emergency while you’re traveling. This documentation should state you are authorized to make medical decisions for your child without the other parent’s consent. Download our free Travel Authorization letter.
If you don’t share custody or have a court order establishing responsibility for travel with another parent, things are more complicated but it is still possible to travel alone with your child.
The first step is to decide what you truly need while traveling. My number one tip when traveling alone with kids is to travel light to avoid any unnecessary stress and rent baby gear when you can. Also, keep in mind many vacation rentals like Airbnb and VRBO offer these items for free when you select kid-friendly accommodations.
You also need to consider where you want to stay. Traveling is about experiencing new things and enjoying the world around us, but if your little one isn’t a fan of sleeping in unfamiliar places then it may not be worth taking them out of their comfort zone just for the sake of being alone together on vacation.
If you’re planning on staying in a hotel, look for hotels that offer free shuttle service from the airport and to local places. When booking hotels look for single mom perks. Hotels that offer “Kids Eat Free” packages, in addition to kids clubs or babysitting services for families with young children, can be a huge help when traveling alone.
If you’re looking for an environment that feels more like home, consider renting an Airbnb. They often offer more space and privacy than hotels, making it a great option for single moms who want to travel with their children.
When traveling with kids, it’s helpful to plan ahead to reduce stress. If you’re staying at a hotel and have access to kitchen facilities try to cook to cut down on meals.
If you are booking an Airbnb, having groceries delivered before you arrive will save you money and time. Make sure to stock your fridge with formula if you’re traveling with infants. For older kids pick up things like eggs, cheese, vegetables, fresh fruit, bread, milk cereal, and juices.
If you are traveling with older kids, consider hiring a nanny for one or two days. Traveling can be exhausting and it’s helpful to have someone on hand who is familiar with your children so that they don’t feel like they’re being abandoned by the person they know best. Be sure to hire a responsible caregiver who knows CPR and has been fingerprinted and has completed a background check.
With a little planning and preparation, traveling with kids doesn’t have to be stressful. We hope you found these Travel Tips for Single Moms helpful! Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram and let me know what your best travel tip is. Also, don’t forget about our free packing list for single moms traveling alone with kids. It’s full of other great resources that might make your next trip easier!