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7 Useful Things I Learned from Traveling with Kids Alone

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Lots of people have asked me, “So, how was the trip traveling with kids alone?”  and my answer has been mixed.  Traveling alone with two small children is a roller coaster.  It is full of exhilarating moments of intense joy and exhausting lows.

traveling with kids

Overall, though our little mini vacation had more positives than negatives.  I had been building up layers of fear about traveling with the kiddos. It really helped to give me confidence. I know now that I CAN take on traveling with kids alone should I choose to, and I will have moments of joy and great memories as a reward for my efforts.

It was harder and easier than I thought it was going to be

My 3.5 year old son did great (most of the time)…he actually helped out a lot. The physical and mental toll of being solely in charge of them from waking until bed wore me down by the end (big kudos to you single moms out there…I don’t know how you do it.)

Choosing the right destination is key, especially when your kids are small

We always think about things like choosing hotels near parks when traveling with the kids and/or making sure that you will have some space where they can be let “free”.  It is also important to have a plan for other essentials like feeding them, etc. The Holiday Inn Resort in Panama City Beach, FL was SUPER kid friendly, making this trip possible and enjoyable.

traveling with kids

 All of those things that your partner does that you take for granted…some of them are really hard with two kids

Like when hubby brings the luggage to and from the car while you wait in the room with the kids…nope, that doesn’t work. Or when one of you distracts the kids so the other can search on the computer to try and figure out what you are going to do the next day…not good, either.

Everything needs to be planned out to a “T” because without a second person, backtracking is just too hard.

This requires constant vigilance and lots of thought. There is no moment to let you guard down, lest you forget something important in the room and have to drag both kids back for it. I really missed having he second body to run back for all of the “oops” things that I forgot.

Lots of people will look at you strangely…

Not in a bad way, but more just wondering where the second person is to help you wrangle your two tornados. Most people are quite kind, and when you get the sympathetic offer of help, if you need it, take it. There are a lot of kind people who will step in when they see you struggling with something (thank you nice man who offered his umbrella in the parking lot…)

There are limited options for putting sunscreen on your back without your partner

It felt awkward to me to ask a stranger, so I turned it into a game and gave the kids each a handful and told them to go to town (checking their results in the mirror to make sure there were not glaring omissions).

Heading Off Inappropriate Behavior

Setting up expectations for behavior for each new situation becomes even more important without the second parent to step in to deal with any inapropriate behavior.  I got in the habit of letting my 3.5 year old know what was expected of him at the store, walking through the parking lot, by the pool (and I reminded him each time because they have short attention spans). He got used to me doing this more consistently, and learned that he could have his own freedom within the confines of momma’s rules.

traveling with kids

What are your best tips for traveling with kids alone? What do you struggle with or what are you afraid of?

Shanna Schultz

Hello, my name is Shanna, and I am a detail obsessed travel addict on a mission to make planning your own family trips fun and easy! I offer tools, guides and resources to help you through all of the steps of planning meaningful, memorable family vacations. Come over and check out our Facebook community where I share real tools and resources to help you move the needle on your travel goals. Let's start making those travel dreams real, y'all! Life is too short to spend dreaming...let's start DOING!

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Bobbi

    I read this and smiled! As a single mom, I’ve been traveling solo with the kids since the last one was born (and the others were all under 5). It ain’t easy, but it’s definitely better than the option that I hear many parents say, “I’ll wait ’till the kids are grown!”

    What if that day never comes for one reason or another? lol SO in the meantime, we make it work and the kids have been around the country and to a total of 17 countries and growing. What has worked with my kids and my nieces and nephews when I take them on the road is what we call “PT time” (Private time) And that means every day in the afternoon, whether they nap or not, EVERYONE is in their own space for 1 – 1.5 hours. As the mom, it’s the key to successfully navigating dinner/bedtime and not navigating quite so well……. 😉
    Love your blog and all that you and your family are doing!

  2. Leo Tat

    I have two kids, nine and six years old. My wife went abroad for training for three weeks in the summer so I was solely responsible for looking after them. It was so much work, constantly having to think of things to entertain them, feed them as well as deal with their arguments. For me, it would feel like a mountain to climb if I am to take them on holiday alone. Also, my kids are older so you have a tougher job.

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