7 Single Parent Hacks You Need to Know When Traveling with Kids
Spending real quality time with your kids isn’t always the easiest in the hustle and bustle of daily life. As a single parent, it’s often even harder. So, the idea of hitting the road together in an RV and leaving chores, schedules, and all those other necessities in the rearview mirror is hugely appealing.
But as magical as this might sound, the implications of traveling with young kids are often romanticized. It’s not as simple as piling everyone in and hitting the road. If you want to organize an RV adventure with your kids, read on. We’ve got great practical advice for single parents with a sense of adventure.
1. Do Your Research
The first step in ensuring the success of any holiday—particularly one involving kids—is to do your research. Ideally, you should be informed of the distances you are going to travel, the climate, and the relative child-friendliness of your holiday destination.
For example, taking your kids into a snowy region in the middle of winter might not be the easy-going holiday experience you envisioned. And, if your itinerary entails 8-hours of driving every second day, then you need to prepare yourself for a significant amount of restlessness, “are we there yet” questions, and possible boredom-induced meltdowns.
The greater your level of preparedness, the less likely you are to encounter unpleasant surprises. More than anything else, knowing what to expect makes planning easier all around. And while there may always be surprises, they won’t be an 8-hour drive with nothing to look at but miles and miles of dirt!
2. Utilize Online Check-Ins
Checking into your accommodation or travel arrangements online reduces the chances of coming up against any unexpected complications during the day. You’re likely preoccupied with packing your kid’s bags, making them breakfast, checking that they’re appropriately dressed for the weather, and soothing the daily emotional rollercoasters. You certainly don’t need to handle the last-minute anxiety of a check-in.
Doing this ahead of time prevents the frustrating possibility of having to check in with young kids pulling at your arms and demanding your attention.
3. Tell Your Accommodation You Have Kids
If ahead of time, you notify your accommodation of the fact that you are a single parent traveling with children, they will probably be able to recommend the most suitable room. They could also run you through the potential catering options.
Furthermore, any accommodation venue worth its salt will recommend fun activities for children in the area. If your kids know there is a special excursion awaiting them, they’re more inclined to be patient and cooperative. Practicalities aside, it is a precious opportunity for family bonding.
Harvest Hosts provides excellent family-friendly activities and overnight stays on beautiful farms. You can park your RV in a safe, private spot and let your kids run wild. Harvest Hosts also offers visits to interesting museums everyone will find fascinating, along with numerous other family-orientated activities.
4. Invest In Audio Books
Audio books are an excellent way of keeping both yourself and your kids entertained on a long drive or train trip. If possible, select a kid’s story that you would enjoy listening to. Roald Dahl’s books are a wonderful option, and there are loads of other authors that cater to all ages.
Listening to an audio book gives you endless hours of calm and an entertaining commute. Plus, if you’re listening to a series or a fairly lengthy book, then you all become invested in the story. Travel time becomes something you can collectively look forward to and you can focus on the road ahead.
5. Don’t Forget To Pack Toys
Toys are absolutely essential if you are a single parent traveling with kids. Try to pack toys that are not too large and not too noisy. The last thing you want is something that squeaks for hours in the car or that takes up a huge amount of room.
Select toys or playthings that your children find comforting and are practical for entertainment on the go. If they have a favorite toy, it could be an incredibly precious memory to know that toy accompanied them on your special family holiday.
6. Play Car Games
There are a number of fun car games that will keep both you and your kids entertained on a long RV—or even train or bus—journey. Our all-time favorite is “eye spy”. Take turns noting things that you observe on your trip and share the letter that the word starts with. Guessing the object can prove to be a surprisingly amusing endeavor. Naturally, only kids with a vague sense of words and spelling can play this game.
If your kids are younger, you can play color-based games such as seeing who the first person is to spot something red or blue and so on.
For older children with a better grasp of mathematics, encouraging them to add up all the numbers of the number plate on the vehicle in front of you is a fun and educational activity, and you can make it competitive too.
7. Involve Them in the Process
Whether it’s planning a holiday, budgeting, organizing a sitter when you’re going on a date, or just dealing with day-to-day admin, children don’t often realize the effort that goes into things. While you’re excited about your holiday and feeling relaxed, they might experience moments of boredom and frustration. Involve them in the process to increase their overall enjoyment of the experience. You can do this through small daily actions.
If you have a free day, ask them if there is anything that they feel like doing. Perhaps they want to see a specific animal or to spend a day frolicking in the ocean.
Of course, you don’t always need to give in to their requests, but a little compromise goes a long way. As a parent, you most likely already know this!
Traveling together is a wonderful bonding experience. Like any parent, single parents need to plan ahead and do some research to ensure the kids are happy, comfortable, and entertained along the way. A bit of forward-thinking will ensure you and your kids make memories that last a lifetime.
What kid doesn’t love coloring? It’s a great way to pass the time while traveling. Download our FREE Harvest Hosts coloring book here for your next RV family adventure.
JoAnn Daniels is an adventure-seeking nomad and wellness expert who loves to inspire other people to live healthier by making small changes every day. In addition to writing about health & wellness topics, she covers strategies for running a home-based business. She’s often on the go with her dog Buzzer, because he’s just as adventurous as she is!
Harvest Hosts is not associated with referral links, if any, cited within this article.
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