Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Surviving Long-Haul Travel As A Single Parent

This is a guest post by Fiona from A Mum Track Mind - a parenting, family and lifestyle blog.

Just The Two Of Us

Although I am now part of a ‘blended family’ (whatever that means), there have been many years as a single parent to my son, Zak. I don’t believe in sitting at home, being miserable because there is no partner/husband to go on holiday with, instead, we have used some of this time together to travel about a bit and see and do as much as possible. 

We started off small, with short trips to my beloved London and after that, quickly ventured off slightly further afield across Europe. However, our greatest adventure came last year when I bit the bullet and took Zak long haul, all the way over to Vancouver Island on the West coast of Canada. Not only was this his first experience with long haul travel, it was also mine and I had no idea what to expect. 


To be honest, amidst the obvious excitement, I have to admit I suffered real trepidation and “Oh shit! What have I done?!” moments at the thought of travelling all that way with no other adult for backup. However, I am so glad I did because we had the most incredible two weeks away, exploring Vancouver and Vancouver Island. 

Aside from the incredible memories made on this trip, I have definitely learnt a thing or two from the age old trial and error process about long haul travels with children, which I want to share with you. 

Here are my top tips for surviving and hopefully enjoying (!!) the experience.

Be Prepared 



The Scouting organisation got it right with this one. Have all your travel documents (tickets / passports / visa’s / car hire details/ hotel bookings etc.) in a folder, organised into the order in which you are going to need them. This might seem a tad bit anal but it’s extremely useful when you are juggling a child/ren, bags, coats, unnecessary amounts of snacks and hysterics to have the right document at the right time at your fingertips. 

Entertainment 


You and your offspring are going to have an amazing, educational, culturally enriching time so you most certainly wont be allowing them to bring their iPad/DS/Tablet (insert  your own handheld electronic device here) right? Wrong. Bring them. Bring them all because nobody wants to listen to your child whining about how bored they are on a ten hour flight. Seriously. You NEED them and you don’t get educational parenting brownie points for doing without them. You might even get to read that book you’ve packed whilst they’re happily ensconced in Minecraft.

Get Organised 



Spontaneity has no place on a holiday where you are solely responsible for getting small people around and keeping them alive. Create an itinerary and a plan of action for each day of your holiday before you leave. Google and TripAdvisor are your best friends here. 

Depending on the age of your child/ren you will need to factor in enough time to get where you want to go, see what you want to see and also enjoy some down time where you can just chill out.  Don’t be over ambitious and aim to do absolutely everything because you’ll just end up stressed and everyone will be overtired and grumpy. Try to choose at least some child-friendly activities as well as the things that you want to see and do. It’s about balance and if you have a plan of action before you leave, you will find everything so much easier.

Jet Lag 


I have been offered all sorts of advice on the subject, usually involving getting your child straight onto the local time zone by keeping them up until the relevant hour. Perhaps somewhat controversially, I say ignore it. Who wants a miserable, overtired, cranky child as a holiday companion and anyway, have you ever tried to stop a child from sleeping when they are done for the day? It’s nigh on impossible and you’ll only make everyone miserable by trying.  Take my advice; relax, settle in and let everyone get used to the time difference gently over the first few days. You’ll probably encounter a few sleepless nights but they’ll acclimatise quicker than you’d think. 

Know What To Do If One Of You Gets Sick

 

This might be a fairly obvious one but for some people, being sick on holiday is the last thing on their mind and they are ill prepared (sorry) for it. Always have a basic first aid kit packed with you including the beloved Calpol and some rehydration sachets. Familiarise yourself with your travel insurance in case you need medical attention and find out who to call in the event of an emergency. Hopefully, you’ll never need any of these things but it’s better to have them just in case.  

If you are thinking about plucking up the courage to travel alone with your kids then I say just do it! Follow my tips above, take the plunge and get out there and explore – you won’t regret it. I hope you enjoy these pictures from our Canadian adventures and wish you Bon Voyage wherever you may be going. 
SHARE:

13 comments

  1. Great tips!! I have 2 children under the age of 5 so this is much appreciated and needed!!! haha :) www.mylifeinrosetintedglasses.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, I'm glad you found my post useful - now, get out there and explore ;) x

      Delete
  2. This is a great post. Long haul travel for kids can be stressful x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is and I'm a big fan of anything that makes it easier (for everyone!) x

      Delete
  3. Really helpful tips, I can imagine an iPad being really useful keeping the children occupied! xo

    http://rachelnicole.co.uk/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It definitely is if they're used to having one at home. Long haul flights have TV's in the seat backs obviously but they can tire of these if the films/games are not to their taste so it's good to have that back up x

      Delete
  4. Great tips! I have a partner but often travel on my own with my toddler to see family abroad. I made a few mistakes on my first trip alone with the toddler that taught me some useful lessons. Your advice is spot on! Thanks for sharing

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think we all learn through trial and error don't we - thanks for reading and commenting x

      Delete
  5. Some brilliant tips here! I also carry sickness tablets with me and flight socks help too :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Have done day trips on my own with Joe, but never a flight, this is brilliant advice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks hun - hopefully this will help if you do decide to fly somewhere x

      Delete
  7. Great tips! And I must say I admire any single parent who takes their child on a 10 hour flight!! Even I would struggle with that!

    Laura x x x

    ReplyDelete

© The Diary Of A Jewellery Lover. All rights reserved.
Blogger templates by pipdig