The following is a guest post.
There are a lot of travel discounts available for couples, families, and retirees, but single travelers – and even rarer, single travelers with kids – is not a group that gets a lot of attention. Family package vacations tend to separate kids and adults during the day but single parents who work long hours often prefer to spend their holidays with their children rather than playing golf or sitting in a hot tub!
According to a survey conducted by singleparenttravel.net, more than half of single parent travelers want to travel to a hotel in a vacation hot spot or via “packaged vacations”. Popular destinations include the Continental US, Caribbean/Central America, Europe and Hawaii. By the way, if you want to compare hotel rates for the summer this year, http://www.cheaphotels.com is a really good resource for cheap accommodation deals.
So is it possible for a single parent to book a vacation and still keep their sanity (and bank account) in check? Here is a list of clever tactics to ensure you don’t spend your hard-earned money on the wrong kind of vacation:
1. Search single parent travel networks
Not everyone fits into travel operators’ family ideal, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t alternatives out there. In response to a lack of packages available for single parents, pioneering singletons have set up singleparenttravel, partnerswithoutpartners, singleparentcentral and many more to help single parents and their children explore the world. Check these out to get some valuable advice on travelling with kids.
2. Book in a group and qualify for discounts
Grouping together with other single parents or organizing a group trip is a great way to qualify for package deal discounts. If you belong to a sports club, church group or simply have a group of friends who are keen to visit a new place, you may be able to stretch your budget further than if you went alone.
3. Keep your ear to the ground for holiday deals
65 percent of single parent travelers plan to go for 5 to 7 days and no longer. Short cruises can range from 3 to 7 days, and cost less than full two-week packages. This can still give you time to unwind but it’s lighter on cost. If even 5 days seems like a bit of a stretch for a single-income household, keep a sharp eye on last-minute deals, which often list great-value weekend getaways. Sign up to newsletters, check Facebook feeds and use comparison sites to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth!
4. Venture off the beaten path
Although destinations like Cancun and Florida are popular for good reason, there are amazing locations all around the world that are less busy and just as beautiful. Smaller island paradises in the Caribbean can give children insight into the natural beauty of the world, while it’s always nice to escape the crowds for a while. Try to choose destinations based on what children will be excited about, though; theme parks and waterslides are always a hit!
5. Travel off-peak
Off peak doesn’t mean visiting Italy in winter but just before and after the height of summer when the crowds are significantly lighter. The weather might not be quite as idyllic as in peak season, but the reduction in price tends to make up for it! If you want to know more about travelling as a single parent, read the full survey here.
Bio: Sam Morrison is a British travel writer. He spends most of his time planning or writing about finding the best budget and backpacking holidays to North and South America.