Single Parents get totally freaked out when it comes to traveling with kids. But this fear is understandable. After all, single parents are doing the work of both mom and dad. Travelling is full of complex task like going through the security and at the same time looking after the kids. As soon as you get on the plane another question crops up – Who will look after the child if I use the bathroom? Well, don’t worry! Here are some ‘expert’ advices on single parent travel.
1. Avoid the check-in lines
What can be a perfect recipe for disaster? Well, its kids and long queues. Try to check-in a day before from your PC and sign up for the mobile alerts. You will get updated information about the flight status straight on your cellphone. In this way you can bypass the long queue usually seen at the counter/kiosks.
2. Use a stroller
Always remember that strollers are not counted as bags and these can be checked at the gates. Toddlers can be very unpredictable and it is not safe to keep her loose in an overcrowded airport. It is not recommended that you run after your kids leaving your bags totally unattended. You can use a stroller so that you can keep an eye on your child till the time you board the plane.
3. Board early
There are some airlines which allow the families to board the plane just after the First Class passengers. Be alert and listen to the announcements carefully so that you don’t miss a chance to walk down an almost empty plane aisle to take your seat. This is a big advantage when you are traveling with a toddler and a carry-on luggage.
4. Ask the flight attendant
The flight attendants are always eager to help you. If you want to use the bathroom just ask any of the flight attendants to look after the child while you are away for a short while. The attendants are always happy to help you and may even offer goodie bag to your child!
5. Book your transportation
It usually happens that when your flight touches down at the destination, you find that there is a huge taxi queue. Worse, it might be a rainy day and there is no taxi at all. So, how do you manage as a single parent? The wisest thing to do is to book your transportation from the airport to the hotel much before you commence your journey. If you are visiting your family then you can ask any of the family members to pick you up from the airport. Always make sure that someone is waiting for you – be it a reserved car service or your family member.
6. Research hotels carefully
The choice of hotel is very important in vacation planning. There are a number of websites that feature full reviews of the hotel with detailed analysis of its pros and cons. There are real user images which will give you the satisfaction of knowing about actual user experience. When you start searching for hotels, always look out for ‘kid-friendly’ hotels. You can ask your colleagues or other parents for their recommendations. You should know whether the property is family friendly before you go ahead and book.
7. Inform the hotel that you have kids
Many top rated hotels insist that at the time of reservation, you must inform the hotel that you will be traveling with kids. This is because some hotels have kid friendly programs. There are kid centric amenities and a special menu for the kids. As a parent you know how much this means to your kids. So you must inform the reservation counter in advance so that they can make the requisite arrangements. The kids will also get a lot of treats from the hotel.
8. Rooms must have a fridge
When you are making a hotel reservation, don’t forget to request for a room that has a mini-fridge. It will be very useful as you can store a carton of milk for the kid. Nowadays, almost all good hotels have rooms that are equipped with a mini-fridge. You can also keep cheese sticks and fresh yoghurt in the fridge. This will be a better alternative to room service as it is time consuming and expensive.
9. Don’t eat out frequently
It becomes difficult for the kids to sit in a restaurant on consecutive days. Stock your fridge with kid friendly meals and try to have your meals in the room. You can eat out once but it will be difficult for you to control the kids in a restaurant night after night.