Your child assumes a responsibility as your travel partner. You are not the parent traveling with your child. You’re traveling together. It puts the responsibility on your child, and there’s no shame in this.- Joy Lopez
Traveling the World as a Single Parent
You love going on vacations with your family. Your partner is there to help you, and you couldn’t imagine traveling the world without their help. So, what do you do when the unexpected happens and you divorce or separate from your partner? Do you stop traveling with your children or do you start traveling the world as a single parent?
Determining the best way to travel abroad with children
There are many reasons for single parents to stop traveling with their children. It can be more difficult to be responsible for everything and everyone. It’s much more expensive to travel when you don’t have that second income. It’s easier to lose your patience when you’re the only parent listening to your children complain about doing something they don’t want to do or eating something they don’t want to eat. But with all this being said, what it comes down to is do you believe there is a benefit to traveling the world with your children? If your answer is yes, then you can find a way to make it happen. Your outlook will guide the experience to ensure you and your children have a memorable time.
It’s not easy to transition from family travel to single-parent travel
It is true it’s not the same when you travel with your children as a single parent. You’re reminded by it with everything you do, whether it’s going through TSA, entertaining your children on the flight, or navigating how and what you’re doing at each destination.
“Transitioning from family to single parent is hard because families are what’s traveling. Your feelings of resentment and frustration can start as soon as you start looking.” – Joy Lopez
Joy Lopez, single mother to nine-year-old Wilson, was surprised by the positive aspects of traveling as a single parent as well. In some respects, she felt it was easier because she could do what she wanted on the trip instead of taking her partner’s opinions into consideration. It also made it easier to find dates to travel since she only needed to consider her schedule instead of her partner’s. Joy made a great point by highlighting that when you travel solo with your children, your children focus less on the fact that only one parent is there and focus more on the airplane ride and the new experiences. If you focus on the excitement, your children will be excited. If you wallow or focus on the negative aspects of the change in dynamic, your children will pick up on that negativity as well.
Focus on the positive side of traveling solo with your children
Another positive outcome of traveling as a single parent is that it pushes you out of your comfort zone. If your children want to engage in an activity that normally your partner would participate in, it forces you to step out of your comfort zone to enjoy that new experience with your children. It also forces your child to step up as your travel partner.
“Your child assumes a responsibility as your travel partner. You are not the parent traveling with your child. You’re traveling together. It puts the responsibility on your child, and there’s no shame in this.” – Joy Lopez
Not only does this help you to stay sane and less overwhelmed, but your child enjoys feeling like the “big boy” or “big girl.” How many times do your children try to do something you think they are too young to do? They do this because they enjoy feeling empowered and love being able to help you and show off their abilities.
Parents are stronger than they realize
There is a lot of strength and courage required to travel as a single parent. The best part is if you focus on the experience for your children, you don’t realize how much strength and courage it’s requiring from you because it’s just something you know you need to do if you want to give your children the experience. When you think about it, as parents, this is what we have been doing since the day our children were born.
As far as the cost, there is no denying this becomes more difficult as a single parent. There are still many ways to make it happen though, so don’t let money be the reason you don’t travel with your children. Get an airline credit card to pay for your flights. Travel with your friends or family so you can share the expenses with them. Consider flying at crazy times or off-season when the cost is lower. As you start to travel, you will meet many great people from around the world. Don’t be afraid to take them up on their offer to visit and stay with them. They can always say no, but what do you have to lose?
Adventures await you and your children
What it all comes down to is the fact that while there are many components that change the dynamic of traveling with your children as a single parent, there are still so many adventures for you and your children available for the taking. Start where you can start and expand from there.
Do you have any other international travel tips for single parents? Are there any benefits to traveling solo with your kids abroad that were missed? Please post your comments below.
To hear more about Joy and Wilson’s overseas travel adventures and international travel tips, listen to them on the Planes, Trains, & Kids Abroad travel podcast at https://bigworldpub.com/listen-to-travel-podcast/
Written by: Erika Bud. You can find out more about the author, the Travel Rangers book series, and travel podcast at: http://bigworldpub.com/