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first holiday as single parent? how?!!!

(17 Posts)
yummytummy Thu 26-Jun-14 11:43:08

hi just after some advice really. recently split and this summer will be first for me on my own with dc's who are 6 and 3. ex always used to plan and arrange holidays so am feeling a bit lost and intimidated

had a look at some single parent holiday websites but the prices were extortionate. also didnt want to be alone but dont really have any family to go with and friends are all tied up with holidays with their own family. ex wants to take kids somewhere for few days but again i would like a holiday too but dont have anywhere near as much money as he does.

just have no idea where or how to look and how to plan and whether i will be able to manage alone

please help

TypicaLibra Thu 26-Jun-14 12:01:26

I'm a lone parent, and have been on a few holidays with my DCs.
The first one we went to Greece, a bog standard 4* hotel on half board (something I found on TravelZoo). Nice holiday - kids met other kids round the pool, I chatted with other people now and again. DCs were the same age as yours when we went.

Next one was the Canaries - booked s/c apartment (through Owners Direct or suchlike) - there were 8 apartments around a shared pool. 5 mins walk down to beach. That was really nice. Again kids made friends with other kids, and I also made friends with the added benefit of a holiday romance and was really pleased to hang out with other folk after kids had gone to bed!

The logistics of airport etc were fine for us. Took one big suitcase, and I had a biggish rucksack as hand luggage. DCs had small rucksack as hand luggage.

For me, I try to assume the worst case scenario - kids won't make any friends and neither will I. Touch wood, that's not happened apart from once - and on that occasion, there was lots of good sightseeing to be done and we had a hire car - so I just made sure we kept ourselves busy so they didn't get bored and fight too much!

NigellasDealer Thu 26-Jun-14 12:03:29

I am a lone parent and the best hols we had were cheap last minute packages to Greece and a memorable one where we just went down to Greece and stayed on a campsite - and yes you can manage alone !! go for it.

OorWullie Thu 26-Jun-14 12:08:30

I'm a lone parent and have been on holiday with my son, who was 2.5/3.5 when we went.

I used Sun £9.50 holidays to get a cheap caravan to use as a base and picked somewhere where there were lots of activities nearby- wildlife park, beach, amusements etc. He had a ball, and i could relax in the evening once he'd gone to bed.

I know £9.50 holidays are not for everyone but i was really pleasantly surprised by how much we enjoyed them. We chose small independent parks, so not Pontins etc and the accommodation and standards were actually very high.

OscarFrancoisDeJarjayes Thu 26-Jun-14 12:24:15

Yummy not a single parent yet but went on a lot of holday alone with my dc. I flew alone when the youngest was 6m and the eldest had not even turned three. It can be done and it can be fun too.

You'll love it. Ime the best holiday have been those with my dc: we are a team and have such a laugh.

cestlavielife Thu 26-Jun-14 12:34:10

start small - arrange a trip to local park alone with your kids. done that? good.

now a whole day, taking a picnic.
done that already? you half way to a holiday...

now, arrange an overnight somewhere near by say a one hour journey to eg a premier inn on a special deal to where where you can get to easily eg train/bus/car.

once you done that, you will build your confidence.

try premier inn or Travelodge - book one night away family room with breakfast for the next weekend you free. just do it! seaside or a nice town you can potter about in. .

you don't need to go straight into planning a week aboard. start with small localish trips, including at least one overnight first. you will soon get the hang of it!

it's like everything - my ex used to do all computer tech stuff, made it into a big mystery - in fact by following youtube instrux online it's all pretty easy.

same thing here.
you can do it!
if you can get two kids out of the house every day to school and back you can certainly manage a break away from home.

cestlavielife Thu 26-Jun-14 12:36:46

ps airlines - be careful of taking one big suitcase, espec on easyjet/ryan air as far too easy tog o over your luggage limit!! and get rapped with massive overloading charges at check in.

GirlWithTheLionHeart Thu 26-Jun-14 12:40:24

Any way you can go with your ex if you get on well? My friends parents used to holiday together with the children even though they were divorced. I thought it was really nice.

If not, I'd stay simply and book an all inclusive hotel in the med so you don't have to worry about cooking and cleaning.

yummytummy Thu 26-Jun-14 14:27:10

wow thanks for all replies so nice to hear such lovely positive stories!

cestlavie i especially like the idea of practising with an overnight travelodge that wd be great and feels much more do-able. its so nice to think that it could be possible rather than feeling daunted

girlwithlionheart not possible to go with ex unfortunately relationship was very abusive but i can see it could work in some cases

right i am now feeling inspired to look around thanks so much for the boost any further tips much appreciated

cestlavielife Thu 26-Jun-14 16:05:56

I find premier inn tend more to have breakfast place attached, often brewers inn type place with a soft play area ... the family rooms are a good size

Lucyccfc Fri 27-Jun-14 10:35:42

Go and have a chat with your local travel agent and ask them for suggestions.

Please stay away from the 'so called' cheap online companies, such as travel republic and on the beach. Your contract isn't with them, it's a 3rd party agreement and can bring untold amounts of grief if anything goes wrong.

Why not try Haven or Butlins for a short break. Your kids are guaranteed to make friends and it will put your mind at rest a bit. You will also make friends - just be brave and smile at people - lots of single parents at places like this. My DS is quite shy, but has never failed to make friends. Give him a football and it attracts other kids lol

I go away with my DS regularly and we have done Butlins, Haven etc, but also some more adventurous stuff like New York, Abu Dhabi and Rio. The airport is not as difficult as you may think. Get a trolley when you get out of the taxi and once you have checked in, you only have your hand luggage and kids with you. Once through security, there are always lots of shops, cafe's and restaurants. We treat it as a bit of an adventure. We buy our sweets, get magazines and have a drink. Some airports even have play areas.

The single parent holidays are very expensive - I would stay clear to be honest.

Squeegle Sat 28-Jun-14 08:30:09

What about single with kids? I've been with them since me and ex split up. Loads of children to play with, company for you, there are all kinds of holidays from camping to more expensive, uk and abroad. Would definitely recommend. Lots will be sold out now for this summer, but prob still some left, and they're very helpful if you email and just ask for help.

TiredFeet Sat 28-Jun-14 08:36:44

cestlavie has a good suggestion to build up to a week away in baby steps. Then by time you do it you will know a lot about what works for you

I had a great time when I went away just me and ds, I took lots of books to read in the evening and we did whatever we liked in the day. I have found I got lots of help at airports etc, although I always planned my luggage etc so I could cope without help

WallyBantersJunkBox Sat 28-Jun-14 09:03:17

I'm not a single parent but used to take DS alone when my husband was away in the army.

I loved it actually, and we still do have trips away together.

We've done the Haven sites, had a blast in Blackpool but they can be quite pricey. But you can drive which takes the stress off travel arrangements, and cater for yourself to keep costs down. The downside is that you are still clearing up, washing dishes, making food etc. so not a big rest for you.

I'd look at an all inclusive Family Village type set up. I know a lot of people are hmm at others using kids clubs and can be very judgey, but when you have no support network, spend night after night in your house catching up on chores etc then you deserve a break.

The activities they have these days are great - swimming lessons, football camps etc. The little ones are out of the heat and you get a proper rest. The price of the holiday is upfront, and it's easy to budget. You can do as much or as little as you want, no clearing up, no cooking, bed making etc

Plenty of people around to either talk to, or blend in around if you want peace. Balcony to sit on with a nice glass of wine and a good book when the kids are in bed. smile

We also do the Premier Inn short trips - great value and you'd get a good deal with breakfast as kids eat free!

BornToFolk Sat 28-Jun-14 14:25:52

On a MN recommendation, I'm taking DS on a HF Holiday (website) for 4 nights in the summer. They do walking and activity holidays and we're going on one specially for families, so shorter walks to places that will interest small children!
I thought it would be good for us both to meet some new people. Hopefully DS can play with other children while I chat to other parents...hopefully!

It's fairly cheap and they didn't charge me a single supplement for me and DS sharing a twin room. Also, the lady that I spoke to when I booked was absolutely lovely and very helpful so if you are at all unsure or nervous about booking, I'm sure they'd offer advice.

I'm really hoping that it'll be as good as I think as they also do longer breaks and in Europe too which I'd love to try out next year.

sunflowerfi Sun 29-Jun-14 21:52:45

I have been a lone parent for two years now! Last year I was lucky as we had a holiday with my parents and sister and brother in law. However this year they are doing their own thing so I will be taking the kids to my parents caravan alone. To be honest I had the option that I could invite other single mum friends but they would have to share the small caravan with me. We have done this for weekends but it gets a bit much when the kids start fighting and us mums end up drinking too much then the next day not being able to function so I have decided to go alone with the kids and make it a fun time for them.
I am going to take some good books and my laptop and college work to keep me busy. The only time it gets lonely is at night in the bar/kids club when you see all the happy couples sitting round while their kids dance and its to dark to read my book or go on the laptop.

purpleroses Mon 30-Jun-14 10:37:12

I mostly went camping with other friends and children, or went to visit family when mine were that sort of age. I don't really like not having any adult company, and wasn't sure about the kinds of holiday when you meet people there - though my neighbour who was also a single parent did loads of single parent packages and said they were great.

Travel lodges are good and cheap though - have done that too in more recent years, but would have been fine with 3 and 6 year old. Some youth hostels have a family room, but not often with 3 beds, which means they overcharge you making you pay for 4 beds which you don't need.

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