Traveling Solo With Kids

Single parent travelers can plan memorable family vacations with activities that encourage quality time with the kids.


Solo parents face daily challenges as they juggle a full-time career and double-duty parenting. Single-parent travel is an even greater challenge, as the needs of these families are different from families traveling with both parents.

When planning a single-parent holiday with your family, choose a destination and itinerary that offer appropriate accommodations—such as hotels that offer vacation packages—and a wide range of activities that will foster quality time with your kids. Perhaps the easiest way to do this is to visit destinations and participate in activities that are different from your day-to-day life, and are a sure way to promote bonding.

No matter where you ultimately choose to vacation, seek out mother/daughter or father/son activities, for example, that allow you to share common interests and learn new skills together. Engage in active recreation and activities that require communication (as opposed to passive activities, such as going to the movies). Some single parents prefer to avoid the convenient hotel or resort kids programs that offers supervised kid-friendly, camp-like activities, yet others mix that option with activities that allow them to bond with their children on vacation.

Plan an activity-rich vacation and remove your kids from their familiar environment. Even consider involving them with trip planning and choosing the itinerary before you go. You’ll probably find they’re extremely open and willing to engage in activities they’ve selected. And while it’s important to maintain your role as the parent while on vacation, it’s also OK to take on the role of best friend.

Parent and Child Bonding Activities 

Choosing the perfect interactive vacation activities might take a bit of creativity and experimentation. The following are a few ideas you might incorporate into your next itinerary:

  • Camping: Especially for “city folk,” spending one or two nights in the woods camping in a tent can be a memorable experience. It’s also a great way for single-parent families to stretch their vacation dollar, and it offers a laid-back getaway. Make sure you plan the trip properly, pack all of the necessary equipment, and choose a campground or national park that offers activities you and your kids can engage in together, whether it’s hiking, fishing, kayaking or having a cookout.
  • Golfing:  A growing number of golf resorts across the country, such as the PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., (tel. 800-633-9150,, or The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo., (tel. 866-837-9520,, not only offer several on-property championship golf courses, they also offer golf schools and private instruction for parents and kids interested in playing and fully experiencing this popular sport together. Sign up for a private lesson as a parent and child “team,” and play nine or 18 holes of golf together for a wonderful bonding experience.
  • Scuba diving: If you’re vacationing in a tropical destination, like the Caribbean, sign up for an introductory scuba diving lesson with your kids. Some families opt to participate in a full scuba diving certification course before leaving home, and then travel to a popular dive destination for vacation. Otherwise, the introductory dive program offered at many resorts and dive shops includes the necessary basic training to dive with a certified dive master. To learn more about scuba diving opportunities worldwide, visit
  • Sporting event: What’s more American than spending a day at a baseball stadium watching a game on a summer’s day? If you and your child are sports fans, consider picking up tickets to a professional sporting event. If you’re overseas, a futbol game, for example, offers something different for Americans to experience.
  • The “American Girl” experience: Spend an afternoon with your daughter at one of the popular American Girl stores across the country where she can shop for new outfits and take her American Girl doll to the hairdresser. You can dine together at the American Girl café and see the daily live show. Visit stores in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta and Dallas.
  • Visit a local zoo or aquarium: Animal encounters are great opportunities to learn with your child. Sign up for special programs offered at zoos or aquariums, you could find yourselves feeding or swimming with dolphins, or interacting with other exotic animals that are typically off-limits to visitors. Remember, the goal is to create a memorable and unique experience for you and your child.
  • Have a spa day: What better way to unwind, relax and pamper yourself and your teenager than with a mother/daughter spa day? Get massages, manicures, pedicures and facials, or even get new hairstyles or a makeover. Most day spas, especially those in resorts and upscale hotels, offer special spa options for teens. 

Themes: Single-Parent Family Travel

Activities: Camping, Golf, Museums, Scuba Diving, Shopping, Spas

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