Since Amelia was born we’ve managed a few staycations in the UK but we’ve always gone with friends. This May we went away just the two of us for a full week. I thought I would share my experience and some tips on how to manage whilst holidaying alone.
I think ultimately it’s just about being a lot more organised and making sure you’ve got everything under control because there’s no-one else to assist with this but these tips should be helpful! These are mostly tips for UK staycations as we’ve never been abroad so can’t comment on how that would be.
1. Go Self Catered-
If you’ve got the option I would definitely opt for somewhere that has the self catered possibility. Whether that’s an apartment, cabin or house rental keeping it self catered means your not totally limited. It saves money, as you can shop before (I’ll go into that further down) and it means if you’ve had a manic day and don’t fancy battling hangry children in public you don’t need to!
2. Activity Holidays-
When considering where your going to stay if you don’t think you’ll have enough to do in the place your staying think about an activity holiday. Somewhere with extra kids activities you can add on or a kids club you can look into to keep them active. Lots of holiday places such as Bluestone Wales have loads of activities and an incredible pool and adventure centre just waiting for you to use.
3. Plan Your Trip-
Plan your trip, or at least have a rough idea of things you want to do and where they are. I just think there’s nothing worse than not being sure what to do whilst your away so get some ideas together and plan a rough itinerary. You can do this in your time before you go away so your not manically trying to find out places opening times and prices whilst trying to dress a small person/cook breakfast/get yourself ready/stay sane!
4. Shop Before-
Don’t go away empty handed. Do a shop before. Stock up on your essentials, your child’s favourite snacks and just bits that you know always work if their on the verge of a meltdown. You don’t want to be in an unfamiliar area trying to find a shop. Before we went away I did a food shop and filled a cool-bag as I knew when we got to our apartment I could off-load into the fridge. This meant I had supplies for packed lunches, snacks and food for 3 nights worth of dinners. I found this really helped me out being on my own as I knew I had what we needed. If you don’t shop before I would recommend looking into a nearby shop so you know what’s close to you in case you have any emergencies!
Living as a single parent means you need to budget carefully; and so the same thing comes into play when on holiday. Of course you want to have a nice time but don’t waste money. Look into discounts for your actual holiday, booking in advance, paying monthly or booking when they’ve got an offer on are all things to consider.Shopping before to get your food stocked up as I mentioned above to save some money so that you can have a few meals out and enjoy them. Where we stayed for the beginning of our holiday had a huge kitchen so we ate in the whole time saving for the end of the week so we could eat out for a few nights.
6. Pack Carefully-
Packing is a very important one. You don’t want to be lumbered carrying too many bags when your on your own with children. We did have a lot of stuff when we went away and this was one of the times I could have done with an extra pair of hands. I find packing Amelia and myself’s clothes in outfits is the best way to do it, rather than just bunging random clothes into a suitcase. I lay all of Amelia’s outfits out and make sure she has enough for two outfits per day as children can be messy/get wet/dirty when on holiday and you don’t want to run out of clothes.
7. Days Trip Discounts-
When thinking about what your going to do each day look into ticket offers for days out. If you have a National Trust pass see if there are any nearby where your staying as they are a great option for a free day out. Also source out some free places, there are so many things to do with kids for free so do some research into local parks/places you can go that won’t cost a penny.
8. Prepare For Rainy Days-
Staycations in the UK usually go best when it’s dry and as a bonus if the sun is shining. Make sure you’ve got a few ideas of things to do indoors in-case it does rain so your not stuck with grumpy children and nothing to do! Also bring rain coats and wellies, they don’t take up much space and you just never know what the weather is going to be like so always be prepared.
9. Get Your Child Involved-
Amelia was such a big help whilst we were away and I found she didn’t misbehave as much as it was just me and her. She loved helping out and getting stuck into the holiday business. I would let her choose where we ate for dinner and the things she wanted to do within reason and let her use her ice-cream money in the gift shops etc. When we were packing up to leave places I would let her help pack her own things back into her own little suitcase and she was so good at checking we had packed everything. Giving a child some responsibility is a great way to keep them involved.
10. Think About YOU-
At the end of the day it’s your holiday too so within reason make sure you get in some things you actually want to do. Whether that’s visiting somewhere or having half hours peace with your new book make sure to squeeze that in too. Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends/family you might know who live locally and see if they are free to do things too, as adult company is great when away.
So there is my tips for surviving and enjoying single parent holidays. Hope you’ve found them helpful.
Thanks for reading!xx