Travelling can be really challenging when you are a single mom. Seriously stressful, both financially & physically if you are a single mom with a toddler.
As a child to a single mom these tips below are based on actual experiences and recommendations. To all the hard working and beautiful mammas out there, take a glance at these pro tips to get an idea on what to do and enjoy a stress free trip with your kids!
Make technology your friend
Back when I used to travel with my mom, she had a no phone or the internet. All she had was a lot of bags, anxiety and me. Times have changed. We have the power of fast paced world. Research your travel destinations. Places around them, food available, where to stay.
Do most of the work online like, booking tickets, reservations to the park and everything. Scan all the receipts, passes, tickets and email it to yourself. Make sure you don’t freak out when you are trying to fetch them.
Sort out the legal documents in files
The ultimate thing I learnt from my mom is sorting things out. She always carries two files. Containing both of our legal documents in each. This hack is very useful if you are travelling abroad. You can put the original documents underneath all the cloths in your main bag and only the scan copies in your handbag.
If scan copies are not allowed, carry the documents in one person each style. 3 kids? 4 files (including you). Write names on it. This way, you won’t have to stumble in front of the immigration office and give him ideas!
Pack light , Always!
You need to make sure you are travelling light. No matter for how long your trip is. If you have little kids, their toys and other stuff should go in the little kids shoulder bag which you will force them to put it on or else threaten to throw it away. I know, sounds cruel but it is crucial. You can’t be the bagman all your trip.
When it comes to yours and the kid’s clothing, try…try to make it in one travel suitcase. Winter coats, jackets, extra – extra pair if the aliens come and you need your favorite violet dress. I am damn sure it doesn’t save space for anything else but honey, take out the active wear. You won’t be hitting the gym, trust me.
Take bad reviews seriously
Research the hotels. Always remember to read the reviews. This applies to the accommodations, parks and hotels and for everything. What travel influencers and Google show you are curated things based on algorithms.
Going with the reviews of actual people who have been there might be true. Am not sayings they are not technically made to seem genuine but in many cases it might actually be true.Rent a stroller if you have a little one
Strollers are very helpful. If you think your kids sits put rather than walking or running away, then defiantly go for it. In countries like India, the strollers will get really dirty and its hard to move around, so look for the modern ones.
Strap them to your back pack bag for some while or the front baby bag will do too. So it is a backpack, a stroller , a suitcase and a baby. Yup. That’s life.
Do not forget to take your pills if you are on a course. Same goes to the kids. Don’t limit them from travelling if they have a medical need or episodes. They all deserve to explore this lovely planet. Take all the necessary medicine for the most common (and serious) health conditions. If your kids are too sensitive with dust, take an inhaler with or without the doctor’s prescription .Just in case any one of you gets sick.
The Paracetamol, cold & flu pills, allergy pills, syrups, mosquito rid and your kid’s favorite princess band aids should all go in there. The diapers and bottles can easily fit too. Yeah, it’s a cool medi & diaper bag. You should be ready to become the supermom in case you are stuck somewhere.
Remember to check in early
If tour kid throws a huge tantrum before the boarding time, you are gonna regret the whole tip. It is best to always check in early. Sit and wait in the airport than miss the flight or train or bus. Settle down as quickly as possible before Karens won’t let you sit with kids.
Choose the less congested place on the plane. That will be the back of the flight. Makes less claustrophobic and chaotic. Comfortable for kids to fall sleep.
Brain storm your kids
Ask your kids where they would like to go. Find the right places and prepare them for what is coming. Clarity over the trip and places you are going to visit, some important mannerisms are single mom travel survival essentials.
Decide no scratch that, you don’t have to know about everything, leave something to explore. Internet can be a spoiler. The goal is to enjoy but also learn and feel new things.
Snacks are a must if you are travelling with kids. You can get them in the airport or put it in your pre-travel shopping list. A highly recommended thing. You can put them in your handbag. It keeps getting empty for sure, refill them at the places you go.
Not only snacks, take a lot of food with you. Pack a bag or get take aways from the places you visit. With kids, you never know when they can get hungry. Avoid going to restaurants every time. Go in drive throughs or take them to food trucks.
Those are the best, I promise. It is essential to eat the local style but more important is your budget. How much you spend on food while travelling will decide the next 6 months of your life.
Polish your socializing skills, talk to other travelers, make friends
The best people you can meet are while travelling. It is important to be sociable and converse with other families around you. Don’t get secluded from the rest of the group if you are in a group travel. Stay around people. Mostly other families.
It is safe. This will also help your kids to work on their socializing skills and meet different kinds of people and cultures. If they come out making friends, even better!
Have toys in handy
Toys and books still a very essential things to pack. You might be travelling light but the kids still need to feel like home with the favorite toy or something they love. If you have a single child, then it is a must. Limit the books though. Limit it for 2 to 3 books. You are going to fall asleep with the bestseller over your face on the beach anyway.
Resort to magazines instead. The toys come in the rescue when kids get cranky. So pack them in your handbag. If you badly want to read that thriller on the beach…#keepdreaming.
Shit happens. Always have a plan B
The hotel might say your reservations are not booked. The park you researched online might be closed for 6 years now. Your kid has an explosive diarrhea on the journey. Your ex texts you, come back or you might step on legos in Lego land.
Be mentally and physically prepared for the negative episodes. Be calm and handle things like a pro. Your kids look up to you. Make your trip a memorable one in spite of everything. Don’t fuss around the tiny things. And don’t boss around. Be chill and stay put.
Take time for yourself – VERY IMPORTANT
There is no love like self love. Many mothers think taking time for themselves is selfish and make them a bad parent. Its quite the opposite. To take care of your kids, you need to take care of yourself. In the best way possible. If you are reading this, you are already freaking out. It’s okay. If nobody told you today, you will be alright and you are enough.
If you are travelling on long or short trip, steal some personal time. Put your kids in the kids play club for a couple of hours. Go on a walk. Or anything that makes you feel good will work.
Go ahead now. You got this!