Embarking on a journey with little ones can be a formidable endeavor, especially when you’re a single parent. But here’s the truth: your children should never be the obstacle preventing you from pursuing your travel dreams. In fact, they should be your greatest inspiration to explore the world and create cherished memories together.
These valuable tips and life hacks are tailored to support single parents who are venturing into travel with their children. With these insights, you’ll find that your travel dreams can become a splendid reality for you and your little ones.
Bypass The Vacation Rental
Countless families often lean toward vacation rentals to enjoy the comforts of a home away from home. However, it’s worth considering that baby-friendly resorts can provide an equally, if not more, convenient experience with additional services. Picture having helpful bellhops to handle your luggage, housekeeping staff ready to swiftly clear away diapers and crumbs, and room service available to deliver a snack for the little one and yourself. The essence of a vacation lies in escaping the mundane chores, not merely relocating them.
Upgrade Your Airport Experience
Prior to traveling, consider applying for TSA PreCheck. PreCheck status is a handy option where kids under 12 years old can accompany you without requiring their individual membership. This eases the security process significantly, eliminating the need to remove your shoes or electronic devices while juggling a baby.
Exploring lounge access can also be advantageous. Services like Priority Pass enable you to check the lounge policies at your airport, especially regarding the age at which they permit children to enter under their parent’s membership without extra charges. Many lounges extend this courtesy to babies aged two or younger, offering a serene space with amenities to await your boarding time.
Avoid The Gate Check
Contrary to popular advice suggesting gate-checking your stroller, opting for a lightweight travel stroller that fits neatly into the overhead bin, such as the MINU V2, can be a more convenient choice. You can effortlessly navigate the plane’s aisle, rolling your baby along with your diaper bag safely stowed beneath the seat. Upon landing, you can efficiently arrange your baby and carry-on items in the stroller while preparing to disembark.
Relish a Spacious Flight Experience
Flying with a baby can be a delightful experience rather than a headache. For solo parents seeking a bit more breathing room, securing additional space can be one of the top-flight tricks. While upgrades can be elusive, consider aiming for a seat without a neighboring passenger. Peruse the flight map when checking in to modify your seat selection or make friends with a gate attendant prior to boarding. These attendants often exhibit empathy and can facilitate last-minute adjustments, increasing the likelihood of having an unoccupied seat next to you for a more comfortable journey.
Familiarize Yourself with Your Plane
Airplanes come in various shapes and sizes, each with its unique quirks and features. Consider conducting a brief pre-flight investigation to ensure a smoother journey with your baby. On a recent trip, one traveler flew aboard an Airbus A321neo, and a little research beforehand yielded valuable insights. They discovered a handy loop in the seatback, which served as the perfect spot to hang a pocketed organizer. This small but crucial detail kept essential items within arm’s reach, sparing the hassle of rummaging under the seat while balancing a baby on their lap.
Knowing your aircraft also helps you determine if your seat is equipped with built-in screens or electrical outlets on board. This information can be a game-changer for parents, ensuring you’re well-prepared with charged devices for soothing sounds, entertainment, or essential equipment like electric breast pumps. Before you board, a little research can make a world of difference in the friendly skies.
Conquering Jet Lag and Adapting to New Schedules
Traveling with a baby can disrupt their sleep routine due to a new sleep environment and time changes. To make your travels smoother, try maintaining some aspects of your baby’s home routine and plan activities around nap times. An ingenious solution for ensuring your baby gets quality sleep is the SlumberPod, a blackout tent designed to fit over pack ‘n’ plays and small cribs. With the SlumberPod, you can provide a consistently dark sleeping environment for your baby, even if you need to keep the lights on in the room.
To further protect your baby’s sleep schedule, it’s a good idea to disconnect your room phone and bring a “baby sleeping” sign to hang on your door, in addition to the standard “do not disturb” sign. This extra measure will help ensure your baby’s privacy and prevent hotel staff from knocking on your door or calling your room phone while your little one is napping. Maintaining a sleep-conducive environment and a consistent routine can make traveling with your baby a much more enjoyable experience.
Rent or Ship Your Baby Gear
For solo parents, traveling light isn’t just a convenience—it’s a lifeline. If you’re on the go with your baby, consider lightening your load in every way possible. Websites like BabyQuip come to the rescue, allowing you to rent baby gear at your destination instead of schlepping it along. From strollers to high chairs, these services ensure you have what you need without the hassle of extra baggage.
When it comes to essentials like diapers, consider sending them straight to your destination. A box of diapers waiting for you upon arrival can be a game-changer, saving you the trouble of hauling them around. The same goes for liquids exceeding 3.4 ounces such as sunscreen. Ship them ahead if you’re not checking a bag.
It’s not just your baby’s necessities that you can simplify. Solo parents can now enjoy the benefits of services like Rent the Runway, which offers clothing rentals for your trip. No more packing and laundry concerns – just select your outfits, have them delivered to your hotel under your name and reservation number, and inform the concierge about the incoming packages. Traveling as a solo parent may have its challenges, but with these strategies, it can be much easier.
Bring A Companion
When it comes to traveling as a parent, juggling childcare services and costs can be a daunting task. Babysitters and daycare services at your destination can sometimes be quite pricey. One cost-effective and reliable solution is to invite a friend or family member to join you on your trip. By having a trusted companion accompany you, you not only share the joy of the journey but also gain a reliable partner to look after your child when you need some personal time. Whether it’s treating yourself to a spa day, indulging in a leisurely brunch, or exploring the local nightlife scene, having a travel companion means you won’t have to compromise on your well-deserved moments of relaxation and adventure.