Flying Solo Successfully as a Single Parent

There's a world out there to be explored and single-parenting should not prevent you from setting off solo on vacation.

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Jasmin Merdan/ Getty Images
Jasmin Merdan/ Getty Images

It takes courage to commence the journey into the realm of single parenting, and this surely includes your first solo holiday with your children.

Gone are the days of planning trips together as a couple, making lists, schedules, and counting down to the family holiday.

Moving forward in your new status as a single parent means single-handedly organising hotel arrangements, booking flights, and planning for every eventuality. If you relied on your partner for certain elements of planning the trips, then you are just about to experience a whole different type of holiday planning.

This boils down to the very important concept of how you view yourself, your value and your worth. It is important to remind yourself that you are able to cope on your own with just some extra organisation and back up around should you need it.

You can totally do this, and this just means switching your mindset up a couple of gears.  

Firstly, it’s worth giving some thought to the ages of your children and the holiday that would best serve the family. In years gone by and when my daughters were fairly young, we only ventured as far as the next city or only booked locations abroad to stay with family which at the time seemed like the best and safest option.

There is a time however when it is appropriate to branch out and take the leap into the unknown, making adequate arrangements to ensure practicalities are covered.

A few years ago, I decided that I was ready to venture further afield and after a period of 10 months planning every detail meticulously, I finally stepped out of the familiar areas and organised a holiday travelling through Southeast Asia.

By then, my daughters were already teenagers.

Throughout the planning process and the build-up to the trip, I realised that I need to develop my confidence and self-belief in my organisation, planning and execution. After all, this was needed when dealing with a trip of this magnitude.

A belief in myself, that it would be a successful trip without the need for a partner or other half; I strongly believe that this is the mindset that many single parents struggle with. It was time to expand the limitations and venture further afield.

Once we set off on our long-haul flight, to my utter surprise, not once during the entire time were there any last minute hiccups or issues. It was a revelation to me how I had managed to head up and organise the trip singlehandedly. It was simply the most magical holiday we have ever been on.

My daughters stated repeatedly how amazing an experience this had been, which of course, was an incredible boost to my confidence.

I noticed however that travelling solo with children as a single parent provides countless opportunities for making new friends and connections as people seem curious about the concept of a woman travelling alone with children. If you’re travelling as a solo man with children, the same curiosity might apply.

Other travellers we met searched in vain for my non-existent partner who completed the “equation,” and when they saw that there was no one, some interesting conversations arose. I loved how those we met along the way were extremely helpful, kind, hospitable and many friends were made en route.  

When coaching men or women who have recently become divorced or widowed, it is clearly evident how overwhelming it is planning and setting off on a holiday without a partner. The amount of confidence that is needed to step out of the comfort zone is monumental.

Creating new holiday memories and defining new roles within the family are essential before setting off. If you and your partner headed up the trip, it is perfectly normal that this will feel unsettling and your children will at times feel anxious about the solidity of the arrangements.

This is expected, so allow them to take on roles and responsibilities during the trip which you can hand out before you set off, but make sure they know that ultimately you have the adult leaders role and are handling all arrangements, this will make them feel secure when away from home.

If you are ready to fly solo, then here are ways for doing so with ease:

  • If you are anxious about setting off on an overseas holiday, then plan something closer to home for your first experience.
  • Involve your children in picking the holiday destination if possible.
  • If you have younger children, ensure that the hotel or area you are booking is age-appropriate for the children. A number of hotels have children’s clubs and will allow you to have a break if you need it.
  • If you have teenagers, then make sure you’re near or walking distance to the centre of town where they can browse through shops, markets, or places of interest.
  • Research the country you are flying with detail, as there is a wealth of information on the Internet.
  • Book tours and excursions to places of interest before you set off, this can be done easily online and will take the hassle out of doing it later on. 
  • Choose one or two people (friends or family) who have a copy of your travel schedule and make regular contact when you fly out and contact them on arrival. Most if not all destinations have WiFi, as do airports, therefore you can be in touch regularly with family and friends.
  • Stock up on medication you are accustomed to, as flying abroad to a totally different country can mean different medications in a foreign language with totally different ingredients. and contraindications.
  • If you are travelling with older children, assign each of them a role or responsibility, but make sure that they know that you are ultimately handling all arrangements.

There is a whole world out there waiting to be explored.

There is no need to deny yourself or your children from experiencing the beauty that is waiting for you out in the wider world, simply because you are now a single parent.

An important lesson for your children to learn is that you are capable enough – This realisation will not only be empowering for you but also for your children, as they navigate into adulthood.

If this article resonated with you, you can read more chapters like these in my latest book ‘Look Inside: Stop Seeking Start Living’ available now on Amazon.

If you want to connect with me to share insights from this article, I would love to hear from you.

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