Taking the kids on holiday is stressful enough when there are two parents involved, but single mums and dads are faced with even greater pressures.
Along with having to do all the childcare, there’s the obstacle of added costs to consider. Find out how to save money on your break…
Book through a specialist operator
With a rising number of single parents in the UK, the demand for ‘one adult only’ holidays has increased and a number of specialist tour operators now cater for this growing market.
They arrange holidays for groups or individuals, where no irritating single person supplements apply.
For a more luxurious getaway, www.singleparentsonholiday.co.uk offer packages with a number of four- and five-star properties in Europe and North Africa. All trips are escorted group tours, giving parents an opportunity to meet other adults while their children also have the opportunity to make friends.
If you’re after something more adventurous, try www.mangokids.co.uk who offer a number of activity breaks in the UK and to long- and short-haul destinations. They also have a dating agency and can arrange ‘no-children’ holidays for single parents eager to travel with like-minded people, but leave the kids at home.
Similarly, www.smallfamilies.co.uk lists a good variety of holidays including cruises, ski trips and safaris. They also offer a tailored travel insurance package.
Sometimes even a day out can seem like a chore if you’re caring for kids alone. The Single Parent Travel Club arranges both holidays and day trips. Pay £20 to join and you’ll be given access to a local network of contacts along with details of forthcoming trips.
Take the all-inclusive route
A good way to keep control of your budget is to book an all-inclusive break where all meals and accommodation are paid for in advance. You may even be able to pre-arrange activities too.
Many resorts run reasonably priced kids’ clubs for different age groups, and some are even available for free.
Big operators will offer early booking discounts and if you and the kids share a room, there will be further savings.
Staying on a resort is also a great way to meet other people, either around the pool or at the buffet table.
Renting a property with friends – perhaps with another single parent family – is a great way to keep costs down as you can split the rental charge.
If the weather’s going to be good, consider pitching a tent and camping. Either bring your own tent and pay for a basic pitch, or save some time and effort by booking a package through operators such as Canvas Holidays or Eurocamp, who will pitch a tent for you.
As you pay for the pitch and not the number of people staying, there are no penalties for single parents – and you can book your flights or train journey separately.
Make use of benefit schemes
If you receive benefits or your child is disabled, you may be entitled to financial help with family holidays. For a list of organisations, visit Gingerbread.
For instance, the Youth Hostelling Association (YHA) runs activity summer camps for children aged 10-19 and parents receiving income support or working tax credit are entitled to a 50 per cent bursary.