How do you manage a family holiday as a lone parent?

(44 Posts)
minkulus Sun 17-Mar-13 21:06:31

I have been separated from my husband since December and am just starting to get my head together enough to contemplate a summer holiday. Can I ask how other lone parents manage it, both in energy, logistics and financially?!
Are there any good companies that are geared up for cash strapped single mums? The ones I have seen are all very expensive!
Also my two are very different ages 2 1/2 and 8 so their interests and needs vary greatly!
Thanks for any advice.

IneedAgoldenNickname Sun 17-Mar-13 21:11:16

I use the tokens from the sun when they come out. Makes holidays affordable, and you can go to haven and places like that.
Or camping with the camping club.

IntheFrame Sun 17-Mar-13 21:20:34

Go with friends. Even couples like to have other children around to keep theirs occupied. Good for large villa type holidays.
I did smaller long weekend break things France to visit friends and Jersey (short flight )etc. That way your expectations are different to start and it's not too horrific to keep the children amused non stop for 3 days on your "holiday"

Cheap cruise - children entertained, somewhere new everyday (lots of ports have a beach).

mumandboys123 Sun 17-Mar-13 21:21:51

I do the same with the Daily Mail - you don't even need to buy the papers, just google the codes (don't know if that works with the Sun). We got a caravan for 4 days at the May half term for less than £80 this year. It's not my kind of holiday if I'm honest and I wouldn't choose it if I had more money available but the children always enjoy it. You're probably too late for this year but the codes come out in January so keep an eye out for next year!

Earlybird Sun 17-Mar-13 21:26:58

Just google single parent holidays. There are firms that specialise. Here is one (that I've never used, but have known about):

www.smallfamilies.co.uk

IntheFrame Sun 17-Mar-13 22:00:07

Bloody hell, just had a look at that website Earlybird. £1000 for me and the nipper to go to Tunisia with Small Families!! That's £200 more than for a week's cruise including Tunisia.

Right that's my new career - I can definitely do single parent holidays for less.

minkulus Sun 17-Mar-13 22:17:23

Thanks for the tips! Will have to look into the camping vouchers. As far as going with friends etc, I'm not sure who would want to come on holiday with us as I have mobility problems and probably not much 'fun'!!

ninja Sun 17-Mar-13 22:22:20

I went on a single with kids holiday last year - just a camping trip but lovely people. They do a lot based in the UK so not too expensive.

I also took my then 8 year old on a PGL where in fact a lot of the parents were either single of by themselves. Not great for your 2.5 year old or for you as you'd have to supervise them though I suppose.

I got a really cheap Pontins holiday as well, not glamorous but at the price ...

Have you got family that you can stay with and do day trips? Another plan of mine for this year.

Kewcumber Sun 17-Mar-13 22:30:58

singlewithkids - thay are great and we have even learned to love camping!

smileymam Mon 18-Mar-13 21:35:12

I was quite used to being alone with the children and I have a little touring caravan and often was away with the children on my own, albeit in the same place all the time, but my first holiday on our own was to butlins, kids had a fab time, they were 8 and 4 at the time, they joined in with lots of activities and I felt proud for taking them on my own. I booked two weeks before we went and got four nights for £120 bed, breakfast and evening meal. Caravan holidays are great for children aswell. I,ve always gone to sites with just a park and no club house or arcades the kids don't ask for what they cant see.

Hope you have a great time whatever you decide x

iwantanafternoonnap Mon 18-Mar-13 21:58:30

Camping is great. You'd be surprised who'd want to go on holiday with you. Just because you go with people doesn't mean you all have to do the same things in fact having a holiday where you all feel free to do as you please but also tag along is great. I went on a fair few camping trips as a single person, couple, part of a couple and child and now as a single parent.

Eurocamp are good as they have different activities for different age groups and you would get a break too with the kids in the kids clubs for a bit.

lostdad Tue 19-Mar-13 11:03:57

For a long time the answer to this question would be `I didn't'. Money went on little luxuries like eating, paying the rent and fuel (when my son was with me).

I went away for a couple of weekends after my parents gave me (and paid for) a Sun holiday in a caravan but that was it. I managed camping a couple of times too (which I've always done) but my son's mother did her best to stop that by asking it to be put into court orders that I didn't(!)

minkulus Wed 20-Mar-13 21:48:04

Oh lost dad, that seems rough. Is there any tangible reason she would do that; safety worries or distance etc? Separation and divorce can seem to bring out the vindictive in some sad. Are you still able to have holiday time with your son?
Sorry to write and leave ( off to bed,) will be back tomorrow . Just wanted to acknowledge your reply and the sadness(?) behind it.

minkulus Wed 20-Mar-13 21:50:25

Thanks also for the tips from everyone. I am going to look into Butlins as I'm not sure my poor old back is cut out for tent camping!! I had booked a haven holiday before but just not sure if I can do it on my own. Thanks for the encouragement, I'm feeling bolder!
Night all!

Kewcumber Fri 22-Mar-13 11:05:32

singlwithkids don't just do tent camping! they do uk cottages, yurt and teepee camping (with beds) as well. I've met some lovely people and DS loves having so many childrne around.

coribells Sat 23-Mar-13 07:19:16

I've booked my self on a singlewithkids camping mini break in the New Forest. Just dipping my toe in the water, looks like they have some fab uk based holidays that don't cost too much.

HerrenaHarridan Sat 23-Mar-13 09:32:58

Op don't assume people wont think a holiday with you would be fun because you have mobility problems.

If that is true you need new friends!

Sharing accom with another family has lots of perks, really cuts costs and you can take it in turns to stay in with kids in eve. Make sure it's clear that you don't want to spend every min of every day together and make your own plans.

If your friends really are that rubbish, we'll go on holiday with you! My dd is 14 mo and loves bigger kids smile

Are you involved with surestart, tge one up here have 2 caravans ( one adapted for wheelchairs) and you can use it for £35 for a week for everybody!

Xenia Sat 23-Mar-13 09:57:55

Depends on your budget. I take all 5 children skiing every Christmas and somewhere hot in the summer. That is obviously because I made wise career choices and never gave up work so am lucky enough to afford it.

minkulus Sat 23-Mar-13 13:08:28

Oh Xenia, not sure how to take that comment! I would love to have had a career and my children etc, but it wasn't for me. Each to their own and all that.

minkulus Sat 23-Mar-13 13:13:13

HerrenaH you might just be on! It's not that my friends are rubbish, it's just my guilt at holding them back prevents me from suggesting it. Also they have drastically different ideas of budget and that's a bit awkward!
I will take a better look at single with kids as it seems to get the thumbs up on here! Mind you I've got 3 weeks of easterholidays to get through first, in this weather!!

susiedaisy Sat 23-Mar-13 13:14:06

The last two years I've gone with my dc and my parents sharing a caravan, this year I'm hoping to go to London for a few nights in a cheapish hotel with a friend and her dc and do a few of the museums my friend had offered to drive which is a big help, the museums will be free and we will eat cheaply, so it shouldn't be too bad!

HerrenaHarridan Sat 23-Mar-13 13:46:13

Why not! We can pick somewhere approx in the middle of us both and spilt the deposit so we are both committed.

It would be an adventure.

I live near edinburgh, pm me if you want smile

Yes I can see that the budgeting issue could be difficult but not insurmountable approach friend most likely to be interested and on your level and say something like

I really want to take kids on holiday this year but its so expensive and a little intimidating doing it alone, I bet it would be cheaper a if we split costs, I could probably afford x

girliefriend Sat 23-Mar-13 13:53:08

I have done a couple of the single with kids holidays and always had a good time. Dd loves having other kids about and it's a nice way to meet other single parents as well.

This year I have booked a log cabin for a week in may and we are going with another single mum and her kids. Next year I am hoping to take dd abroad, have started saving now!! The parkdean holidays look nice but better for value the further you can book in advance. The log cabin one I have booked is with a company called hurst view leisure ltd and costs £320 for 4 nights which split between me and my friend isn't too bad. They also had caravans which I think were £250 for four nights.

wild Sat 23-Mar-13 13:54:22

xenia are you a lone parent?
I have taken my dc camping, to festivals and to a log cabin in the woods. I like to go away at Christmas, in particular. Mostly I just enjoy being off work and spending time with them, it doesn't really bother me where

wild Sat 23-Mar-13 13:55:12

x post with girlie - the log cabin break was fab!

BeGoodElliot Sat 23-Mar-13 14:03:13

When dd was younger we did lots of Haven type holidays. The plus side being there was always some for of entertainment so even if I felt like a break/was tired I could sit with a drink and dd would happily play/watch a show/or whatever.

I also agree with going away with friends/family if that's an option especially if they have other children. This worked for us as I only have dd and worry she will get bored with just me!

Last summer we booked through lowcostholidays for a cheap all inclusive week in Spain. They do lone parent rooms where there is no supplement for only having one adult. Worked out really well, hundreds of pounds cheaper than for the same holiday with Thomas cook etc

girliefriend Sat 23-Mar-13 14:10:38

Xenia - not sure that comment was entirely necessary hmm

exoticfruits Sat 23-Mar-13 22:52:14

Xenia can never resist. I found the best, most enjoyable way, as a single parent was to rent a big house with other families- not necessarily single parents.
I also took him skiing- again with a group. It was best for us because he was an only child and he got company.

exoticfruits Sun 24-Mar-13 06:55:35

Have you got any friends that you can go with? Big houses to rent seem expensive but when you divide the cost by 3 it is more affordable than getting a small one on your own. We then had a kitty for food. You do have to choose the right people, fairly laid back ones who don't want to spend a lot of money. The children amused themselves, we once had 7 and you have adult company in the evenings. I once did similar abroad with a friend , her child, her father and her cousin and we got a villa as a last minute bargain. However it is not the best to wait last minute and small children do not want or need the sun, it is much simpler to be a car journey away.

coribells Sun 24-Mar-13 12:21:06

I never gave up work either, BUT the problem is I don't have any family to go away with. I've been away with friends before when the kids wee younger but can't rely on them all time. Am hoping singlewithkids with be a solution. Would like to try a festival this year as well. Any one up for that?

exoticfruits Sun 24-Mar-13 12:24:16

Can you find a group. I didn't have anyone to ski with and found a group with children. I didn't know any of them and yet it worked out well and much cheaper. (and I did give up work when DS was little grin)

Kewcumber Sun 24-Mar-13 15:48:42

Coribells - we go on the new forest trip every year - love love love it. Couldn't go last year as it clashed with something but hopefully will go this year.

Yes every woman who never takes any time off can afford to take their 15 children skiing and to Antigua every year. Every woman who takes any time off at all struggles forever after to take children on a camping weekend. Such is the gospel according to Xenia. Amen

Yup thats the way it works for most people.

exoticfruits Sun 24-Mar-13 16:05:14

It is the adult who wants the skiing and Antigua-DCs are just as happy in the New Forest-people kid themselves they are doing it for the DCs when in actual fact it is for them. We did a lot in Cumbria -and if you stay outside the Lake District you can get cottages much cheaper.

Fleecyslippers Sun 24-Mar-13 16:09:26

Ignore Xenia. She regularly trolls around this and other forums belittling anyone who doesn't earn a 6 figure salary. You should see her in action on one of the divorce forums wink

I'm taking mine abroad this year. Lots of research to find a really well located hotel with a 'safe' walk into the town centre, going to go half board so no wandering around in the evenings looking for restaurants and the all important kids club wink

I am a little nervous but the kids levels of excitement cancels that out. (As does the look on financially abusive Exs face when the kids told him grin )

Fluffy1234 Sun 24-Mar-13 16:15:16

When I was a lone parent I collected the Sun newspaper tokens and went to Pontins and on a Haven holiday. We enjoyed the swimming pools and amusements and also did lots of days out and got ice-cream and chips.

daisydoodoo Sun 24-Mar-13 16:19:28

I go away a fair bit with my dc. Its easy. The most difficult person to cater fir used to be h. So now we get to go and do all the things we wanted to do but didn't.

Ive taken them to butlins, Cornwall, Devon, package holidays in Greece turkey Spain. Ive even done long haul to America and Perth in Australia.

I have 4 dc, now 15, 11, 7 and 3.

Teahouse Sun 24-Mar-13 16:21:02

I have never been able to afford holidays as an LP. My DCs went on holiday occasionally with their dad and step-mum, and I did days out..far cheaper, and easier to negotiate around diverse interests.

coribells Sun 24-Mar-13 17:13:47

ooh kewcumber, might see you in the forest this year then !!!BTW , I am a MN oldie, I lurked (may have even posted ) when you were getting ready to adopt .

Kewcumber Sun 24-Mar-13 17:20:11

if we manage to book it Coribell I'll PM you and you can reveal the real you!

Kewcumber Sun 24-Mar-13 17:33:53

bugger can't do it this year either - clashes with bleedin school fair again. NExt year camping gets priority over school fair.

We do go to the Wickstead campfest at August bank hols with them every year.

coribells Sun 24-Mar-13 19:25:01

whoops I didn't check whether it clashes with the school fair, am going anyway.wink

coribells Sun 24-Mar-13 20:23:54

Like the look of Wickstead too

minkulus Sun 24-Mar-13 21:33:18

Wow! So many really positive outlooks, thanks so much! I am still really nervous about doing it solo but as some posters have pointed out its not that different from dragging around a not very helpful or proactive DH or DP! So all I need now is a good kick up the bum and to decide what I want to do! I have seen a few cottages near to days out / attractions so will probably try that first: toe in the water etc! Mumsnet rocks!

onoroff Sun 24-Mar-13 21:41:10

I took my Dd on holiday on my own last year for the 1st time. We had a lovely time, I would do it again and I would not be nervous of doing so. However, I was a little lonely in the evenings. No different to home I guess but it would have been nice to sit outside and have a glass of wine with someone!

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