Travel for the single mom
Traveling as a single mom comes with its own unique set of challenges and obstacles. Most of them I had never thought of until I actually attempted to travel across the country with a baby and a toddler in tow. Alone. Like all by myself.
How hard could it be?! I was a champion single mom. I’d walked through hell and back. If I could raise 2 girls under the age of four, work 2 jobs and go to school, the Atlanta airport was not going to scare me.
Oh Boy! I was definitely in for a very special treat. Don’t do what I did… do these things instead.
Pack Light- I initially took the “be prepared for anything angle” and packed my entire house in 3 suitcases. There was nothing that could go wrong I wasn’t going to be able to handle.
That was until I arrived at the airport and parked and it dawned on me that there would be no one to carry said bags since I had a baby on my hip and a 4 year old toddling behind me. Some rearranging definitely occurred.
1 large suitcase on wheels. That’s it. No baby needs 16 outfits for a 3 day trip. If it doesn’t fit, you don’t need it.
Ditch the shoulder baby bag- For a comfortable backpack. Think padded straps. Pack only the essentials you need to take on the plane and may need immediately. Snacks, juice, water, formula, pacifiers, diapers, toys and tablets to entertain.
Do not forget the tablet- Or some other similar form of entertainment. You may be standing in lines or waiting at gates for long periods of time and need a distraction.
There is nothing more humiliating than melting down in front of thousands of strangers because your baby is screaming, your toddler keeps running away and the lady at the ticket counter just wants you to find your ID so she can get rid of you and your mess. This may or may not have happened to me. DO NOT FORGET THE TABLET.
Invest in a safety harness- Yep, I said it. Put your little on a leash and secure it to your belt loop, the airport can be a very scary place. Anything you can do to free up the use of your hands, do it!
I use to think people who put their kids on a leash were weird. Now I’m a weirdo. It’s ok, all the people who look at you strangely will inevitably have children one day and they will be weirdos too. It’s called Karma.
Invest in a baby carrier- forward facing, rear facing, doesn’t matter. Strap that baby to the front of you and free those hands lady!
Be prepared- before you leave the house. Check into your flights early online. Print your boarding passes. Look at a map of the airport online. Have addresses, itineraries, maps, ID etc ready and in the side pocket of your backpack.
Know exactly where you’re going and how to get there.
Leave the baby gear at home- You will not be able carry it and even if you could it’s a huge pain. I have yet to travel to a destination that did not offer a baby gear rental service and surprisingly they are at a reasonable price. Strollers, car sets and cribs will be waiting for you at the airport or hotel, your choice.
Keep your vacation itinerary simple- Don’t pack your schedule so full it doesn’t allow for down time, nap times and change of plans. You will inevitably run into hiccups.
Plan a day just at the hotel or by the pool or a movie day. Whatever fits your circumstances.
Accept that things are going to change. Do that now, so when it does, you just adapt and go with the flow.
This will save your sanity and everybody will have fun the whole vacation.
Above all enjoy your vacation- Ok captain obvious, that’s a given right?!
Being a single mom is hard. Traveling as one can be a nightmare. You can be left needing a vacation from your vacation. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
I know you have worked so hard for this. You have poured blood, sweat and tears into giving those littles the best vacation in the world.
You did it! Don’t let anything steal your joy mama.
Every time there’s a set back, a change in plans, a meltdown, remember how much this means to you and to them.
Breathe. Go with the flow. Redirect when you have to. Savor the moments. Take pictures. Have a glass of wine.
Cancel an entire days itinerary because someone would rather go to the pool than to see the castle. It’s ok.
All that matters at the end of the day is that you were together. They will remember that!
Bon voyage mama!