Taking our kids on a holiday is something we are sometimes equally excited and anxious about. I mean kids can be so unpredictable and when they are out of their element, it’s even more likely that there will be tiredness, disruption to routine and even the odd extra tantrum or 20!
Travel has loads of benefits but can come with many challenges too.
My first experience of traveling alone with my children was while I was still married. We had booked a great kid-friendly resort on the Gold Coast, Queensland. With plans for a great family getaway. Due to unforeseen circumstances, my then-husband flew home to Sydney leaving me alone at the resort with our then 5 and 1-year-old.
Stubbornly deciding not to waste our booking or let the kids down. I decided to stick it out and enjoy the holiday with them. Both the kids and I were having a ball enjoying the resort’s activities and even managed a visit out to a theme park (that’s a story for another day). Every evening during what I call the witching hour, I’d let the kids go, have fun and take their dinner at the kids club so I could sit and enjoy my hot meal without running after a 1 year old and eventually eating it cold. Zero mummy guilt!
It was about day 3 when, I sat there eating my dinner, sipping my margarita and looked around noticing the couples and friends also enjoying their child-free meal time. Don’t get me wrong, I was enjoying my alone time, but also starting to feel a little lonely. It was then for the first time, the idea of this single travel business had entered my mind.
I sat there thinking how hard and daunting it must be to consider traveling solo with your kids as a single parent. Particularly if you’ve never done it before. Plenty of people are fine with being on their own, I enjoy it at times too, but I also really enjoy having people around to talk to from time to time. While I certainly had a little conversation here and there with other parents around the resort. We all know that feeling of being the third wheel and really, they are waiting for their 5 minutes of freedom to spend some time together as well and understandably.
I’ve been separated now for almost 4 years. Being in the travel industry, travel is a huge part of both my career and my life, even if I was not working in travel. It is something I’d continue to invest time and money into for both myself and my children, as the value is just so great.
I’ve continued to travel and adventure with my kids and it’s certainly not always easy. In fact, often it’s not even a holiday for me but more hard work than opting to stay home. But the benefits and smiles on their faces are well worth it to me.
So while I happily go away just me and my now 3 girls, I also highly enjoy the group trips I take with fellow single parents and their kids. My kids have even become accustomed to looking forward to meeting new single-parent families. I even feel sometimes that they like the single-parent family vibe. As they identify with each other and the journeys they are going through. For many women, traveling in a group environment can give an element of safety and support over traveling alone. Hopefully, this can also encourage some mums that may not have ventured out with their kids, to do so and finding out just how great it can be.
From camping, resorts or tours there is something to suit anyone’s travel style or budget and there is something to be said about traveling within a like-minded community. Actually, there was an article I read about women and how friendships can increase serotonin and oxytocin. So it’s actually good for your health to travel with friends or when its hard to organise your friends for holidays, your “travel tribe”.
I’ve made some really great new friends through setting up travel together and I find you still get your time to yourself, time with your kids as well as the added socialising aspect.
There are many travel communities around where like-minded parents can connect and organise group trips. We have one of our very own on facebook for Aussie parents. You can connect with other families, share your trips, tips and ask other members advice about your destination. We also run group travel from camping, cruising and more. Come along and check it out. Join a trip or create your own.
If your considering a trip and feel a group setting would be good for you or if you’ve benefited from group travel in any way. We would love to hear from you!