Ideas for holidaying alone with dc

(14 Posts)

Hi, the cold January nights are getting me thinking about summer holidays smile . It will be my first summer holiday with my dc alone, and I have no idea where to go or where to stay, so thought I would post and see if anyone has any good tips.

I am on a very tight budget, have a ds aged 4 and a dd who will be 2 in June. Want to go to Wales or South West so I don't have to drive too far. I thought about camping, but logically I just don't see how I could get a tent up on my own whilst chasing around after my crazy, into everything daughter.

Ideas please!

HellesBelles396 Sun 13-Jan-13 21:48:24

How exciting! I have a couple of slightly cheating ideas for camping:

I too was nervous about my first holiday alone with ds (now 12). We went camping but took a very good friend who was single, and had no-one to holiday with, and has known ds since birth. We had a great time and shared the costs.

Another option is to go with a friend who also has children (my second holiday with ds!). You are then support for each other. My friend is married but her husband works very long hours. It was more fun for the kids too. Again the costs were shared as were the driving, cooking, childcare.

The third time we went away, it was just the two of us. We stayed in a campsite with a playpark and I camped as close to that as I could. DS played in there (within sound and sight) while I pitched and took down the tent - lots of practice at home helps you do this yourself. You can brace the opposite end of the pole against a stone, dip in the ground, a heavy piece of kit (cool-box for me) or a hnady tree.

It is my experience that, noticing a single parent, people quite often offer to help. A bemused smile and rueful upward glance encourages this. Tears give the wrong impression.

Otherwise, look out for farmhouses, etc, with small converted lets. They might be quite rural but they'll be cheaper for it.

Wales also has quite a few youth hostels. Youth hostels often have family rooms and kitchens where you can cook your own food.

Have a proper staycation: hire a cleaning-firm for a week (cheaper than a holiday) and plan lots of days at local beaches, country parks. Lots of councils do free or subsidised children's activities during school holidays eg pond-dipping, family swim-sessions (inflatables, no lappers), a range of sports and/ or adventure activities. Book pony-trekking as a slightly more expensive treat. All national museums are free so look for local ones as they also, often, have activities on during school holidays.

Alternatively, look on the home-swap threads on MN.

Have a lovely time x

FannyBazaar Sun 13-Jan-13 21:53:02

Camping is great fun but take something to occupy you in the evenings when DC are asleep. I make sure I have a torch or lantern so I can read and enjoy the time to catch up on my reading list.

Plenty of tips on the camping board on putting up tents with DC. If putting up the tent beside the car, leave 2 year old in car with something to occupy her until tent up. If you have a tent with separate rooms, put up a bedroom, put her in there with mesh door zipped up and a beach ball or balloons so she can have her own soft play area. A good play place while you are cooking too.

Enlist the help of DS, he might not be able to do much but should be able to hold a side of the tent still for a minute or two while you get the other side up.

A chair like this can slow down a toddler from getting up and running off, try her in that with a snack. Folding stretcher type camp beds also slow them down a little, great if you have one who rolls around in their sleep or gets up quickly.

Single with Kids do camping holidays for single parents so there'll be others who can help with putting the tent up or occupying the children.

gilmoregirl Sun 13-Jan-13 23:39:55

I have been camping with just DS and it was great.

Another option is university halls. They are cheap and usually in good locations - I don't know wales so may not be relevant... We have stayed in London (central) and in St Andrews and was great, we had a twin room with a shared bathroom but you can get ones with more beds and ensuite.

Grockle Sun 13-Jan-13 23:44:54

I camp alone with DS(7) - we first started going when he was 3 & it was fine. We used a very tiny tent but as he's got bigger, we've got a 5 man tunnel tent that I can put up alone. We tend to stay in the South West too so it's not far to go.

I also do some weekend breaks to London... staying in a Premier Inn is cheap, comfy & perfect for us.

Thanks for your tips everyone, I love Mumsnet! My tent is do-able on my own, so maybe I will give it a go, using your ideas for imprisoning containing dd.

Youth hostelling, university halls, finding willing and able holiday mates will also be looked into, as well as the single parent holidays website.

I am going to head over to the camping threads to find some campsite recommendations. smile

metimeatlast Mon 14-Jan-13 14:05:15

hi, i am a great camper, as is my 16yo ds, i had taken him lots since he was about 5....However!!! as a single parent, ive tried camping a couple of times with my2 kids, DD3.3 and 16yo. it is very difficult strategically, the weather was hit and miss, when it rained it was a nightmare trying to cook in a tent with a toddler, i found it very difficult to entertain a miserable toddler who was wet through, soaking the tent etc. she was 2 at the time.
What i would suggest to somebody on a tight budget (as i often am for holidays) i would seriously suggest Haven Holidays, if you look on the net you can avoid school holidays and pick up a basic caravan for £75 for a monday to friday. im not sure what your budget is, but if its possible you can upgrade to a more expensive one if you can, although not always necessary, we never do. It is just a base, yet has the security of a dry shelter, tv, cooking facilities that are not at toddler height, etc etc etc.
good luck with your hol smile

meti good to hear the negative experiences too! I suppose the weather really, really can't be relied on in July and August! If I do decide on camping maybe I will try out a campsite with kids entertainment / indoor pool / cafes and restaurants on site.

metime I too find Haven ideal for a cheap break away with shelter, room to play and cook out of the rain, etc. All on the coast and have a big indoor swimming pool. Not something I'd do if I were childfree but ideal for a cheap and cheerful holiday with kids.

October 2012 I got a cheap weekend away to Butlins Skegness with half board dining - it was a really good offer and it was so so nice to have a few days of no cooking or washing up. We got a silver room and it was nice, a bit like a Travelodge room and ensuite.

I'd love to take DS camping but without a car it's quite a faff!

makemineapinot Wed 16-Jan-13 23:20:56

Do you have Tesco vouchers? R be able to beg or borrow from family? Could use them for Butlins. I agree with the Haven option, first ole parent holiday, make it as easy for yourself as possible and holiday parks will be full of families so u will get the chance o make friends x

Oh bum I don't do Tesco, have checked out Haven but it is very pricey during school holidays, don't really have enough annual leave to take extra time off out of the holidays, ex and me are really stretched just covering the times ds is off.

I am thinking of trying out youth hostelling, there are some really nice ones by the coast. Shame I will have to spend the evenings in a room with 2 sleeping children though!

Oh bum I don't do Tesco, have checked out Haven but it is very pricey during school holidays, don't really have enough annual leave to take extra time off out of the holidays, ex and me are really stretched just covering the times ds is off.

I am thinking of trying out youth hostelling, there are some really nice ones by the coast. Shame I will have to spend the evenings in a room with 2 sleeping children though!

makemineapinot Thu 17-Jan-13 22:57:22

Look at other caravan parks in the area u want o o to. At least then u can sit outside with a glass of wine and a book, or in the living room area. The ones without all the Tony the Tiger tuff will e cheaper and u will still have a good time x

smileymam Mon 21-Jan-13 19:34:24

When I split up with my now ex-husband we had a tourer caravan which we kept sited so I was often there on my own with the kids, but my first holiday away was to Minehead butlins, took the children Monday to Friday, my mother wanted to come to keep my company but I felt it was something I needed to to do on my own. I don't have a car so my dad took us and picked us bk up. I had a great deal last minute, meals included only cost one hundred and twenty pounds. I took things like drinks with us and the children took some of their own money to spend, think I spent 90 pound while I was there. We had a fantastic time, kids were entertained the whole time. Hope you have a fab time wherever you go

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