The two of you always planned and handled the family vacation together. In fact, it took both of you to manage the chaos and mayhem unleashed by those ‘just out-of-school’ creatures. Now you are staring into the abyss of ‘summer vacation’ on your own. A solo parent’s first vacation with just the kids.
If you must truly do this alone, look for resources to help you. There are travel agents, family lawyers and other single parents’ advice to tap into for tips to keep your vacation on track.
Whatever you destination with however many children, there some basics to tick off before leaving the house.
Look for travel packages with a high SPF [Single Parent Friendly]rating
Do some research into travel packages that waive the dreaded single supplement. Most rates are based on double occupancy, so look for places such as Signature Vacations that do the footwork for you.
Legal Stuff – Don’t Leave the Documents Behind
Make sure you have your custody agreement with you. If you are taking the children out of the country, they need passports which require both parents’ permission. And a letter documenting the other parent’s agreement to the trip, dates leaving and returning. In the current climate on child custody, don’t derail the vacation by ignoring the possibility of someone asking for proof.
You now belong to the Single Parent with Kids Club.
Pal up with another single parent family. You’ll have another adult partner and the kids have others to hang out with. And of course, there’s the cost-sharing.
Get Everyone Involved
You can either do something familiar to you and the kids – a lake cabin, relatives, the beach. Or you can have a brainstorming session with the kids and find out what they’d like to do. Getting them on board with the planning will make it their vacation and help them create something new traditions.
If money is tight
Consider a National Park, rent a cabin by a lake or by the ocean. Remember it’s about making sure the kids feel stable in their new life. They don’t always need the spectacular. Sometimes the everyday is very comforting.
Be Ready for Whatever
Just as in previous years, anything can happen. Tummy upsets, sibling spats, bad weather, bad directions, auto breakdown, bug bites. You’ve seen it all before. There’s no reason why you won’t be able to deal with it now. You just have to be the captain, navigator, mediator and nurse. Games, toys, puzzles even the dreaded iPod will keep them occupied while you deal with the situation.
Never ignore potty breaks. It may put your schedule a little behind, but the alternative is too scary to consider. Stock up on snacks, drinks, wipes. You know the drill.
Safety first – Stay on Your Toes! Stay Clear-minded
You don’t just have eyes in the back of your head, you now need 360 degree vision. Always know where the kids are. Make sure they know to stay close to you when you are out together. And make sure you are well-rested and calm. Being distracted or stressed out is dangerous when you need to keep track of your kids. So if you need a break, take one. Stop, get some food, sit and look at a vista [with the kids], breathe deeply, then go back to your plans.
For some vacation tips from the newly single mom’s and dad’s perspective, here are some great articles to check out.
©2017 Alpha Center for Divorce Mediation