Are you stumped looking for a vacation spot that fits your family and your wallet? Finding the best vacation for a single mom with kids can be difficult, but despair not. By following these quick tips you will be packing up your suitcases and forwarding the mail in no time. Remember, each family member has valuable input and taking that into consideration can make your trip low stress and full of fun for the entire family.
You must plan carefully by doing your research first. Search online for great deals on packages that include airfare and hotel or hotel and meals. This can keep you on budget. Vacation search engines like Orbitz, Priceline and Travelocity work well. Try finding a good base price, then calling directly to the hotel or airline and see if you can negotiate a lower rate and avoid website booking fees.
Ask yourself, how much time you really have. If it is only two to three days, a weekend getaway works well. Try to stay close to home and think of places 2 to 4 hours away so travel to and from doesn’t eat up too much play time. Make sure to book some of your time before and after your vacation to pack and unpack. Going to work and getting the kids to school on Monday after you come home Sunday night at 10:00 p.m. is a task most moms with super powers wouldn’t even attempt.
For single moms, cost can be your biggest hurdle to overcome, but clear it you will. Set a realistic budget with about 10 percent built in for unforeseen costs. This will give you a bit of breathing room when its 100 degrees at Disneyland and your kids are begging for one more ice cream or snow cone. Try to determine where you can save big—going off season, travel rewards from credit cards and memberships and using coupons. They all add up, so maximize your options.
In order to be the most fun for the whole family, you have to carefully weigh the pros and cons of each trip in considering the number of kids and their ages. Are they all in diapers? Teenagers? A mix? This will help determine what vacations will work and which won’t. For example toddlers and long plane or car rides equals no fun for the rest of the gang. Think of compromises that will really be fun and have something special earmarked for each family member.
A great place to start is to check your local and neighboring state’s visitor bureau center. You may think you have seen all your home turf has to offer but think again–great deals are offered in the guides. Cruises can be affordable and are low maintenance fun for kids of all ages. They have babysitting services so you can have some special time (think mani/pedi poolside with a daiquiri). Older children with time on your hands? Travel to Europe can be surprisingly low cost if you pick the right travel dates (skip June to August to avoid tourist season). It really is the trip of a lifetime—for you and them (see Resources).