The reality of travelling as a single mum is that it is both rewarding as well as being hard work.
Since I work remotely, I like to take Lola on the road with me several times a year so that we can experience different cultures as well as spend some quality time together.
Following are some of the situations I find stressful and how I manage them.
Lola is still not quite old enough to handle her own luggage. This means I need to carry everything and make sure that I am still holding her hand.
She has a little trolley case, and once we are in the airport we are OK, but this is a nightmare for me when we are in between destinations as I have a large trolley suitcase to carry all our belongings, a pram and my carry on as well.
I prefer to take public transport everywhere, but at the moment I just budget for taxis as it makes traveling less stressful.
Lola, like all kids, can spend the entire day in the pool. Since she can’t swim and wears floaties, I have to be within an arm’s length at all times.
I love swimming too, however, being in the pool all day is one thing I struggle with. Especially if the water is cold.
To make things more enjoyable, we spend about half a day in the pool, take a break for lunch, and then Lola can stay in the pool as long as she plays at the water’s edge. This gives me a break.
Before our next holiday, we will be doing intensive swimming lessons. Especially since we plan to spend about three months in Bali at the end of the year and they have so many unfenced pools.
Lola can be quite fussy with food. If we eat in a restaurant, there is a good chance when the food arrives she will crack it if it isn’t just right.
To avoid this, I pack snacks and sandwiches, and we eat mostly in our hotel room. Otherwise, I give strict instructions to the wait staff to avert any issue before it manifests.
The things that will set her off are if there are extra condiments all over the plate, sugar sprinkled on her pancakes or anything green added on top of pasta. I don’t know why they add condiments and garnishes to children’s food. It really doesn’t make sense. They don’t care about the presentation but one extra garnish can mean the difference between a child eating a meal or not.
This is one thing that she will grow out of. In the meantime, I just make sure I’m prepared to avert any meltdowns.
Lola still sleeps with me. As a single mum I don’t mind, but on holidays there is always the risk of her falling out of bed.
To combat this, we bring our own pillows and use the hotel ones as a barrier down one side of the bed to prevent her falling out.
The longest flight we have been on was a total of four hours. As with most kids, 30 minutes into the flight you keep hearing “are we there yet?” and “I’m bored.” Therefore I’m not quite ready to embark on anything further for a while yet.
The worst thing about travelling with a child is being squashed into economy not being able to move for at least 9 hours, and that is what we are faced with when we want to leave Australia.
For our overseas trips I save up or use points for business class seats. It just makes the whole trip that bit more pleasant. You don’t dread the flights and your holiday starts the minute you leave home.
To help with small trips, I preorder all meals and carry her own drinks and snacks. We also always bring our own entertainment. That way there is always a game to play and movie to watch that she would like.
Even though travelling with a five-year-old has its challenges, we are creating life-long memories together so I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What are your challenges travelling on your own with a child and how do you combat them? I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.