Sole Parent Travelling with Children 9

It’s hard enough travelling with children when you have both parents to help juggle the load.  Take one parent away from the equation and it sounds like a nightmare!

So what can you do to help lessen the pain?

Tips for travelling with children on a plane as a sole parent.

  • When booking your flights check to see if your airline offer a Meet and Assist Service.
    • Some airlines offer assistance from the moment you check-in until you arrive at your destination and clear customs.
    • Others will offer nothing.
    • Then some whilst not willing to carry baggage or babies will help with pushing prams and trolleys – so when speaking to the ticket officer choose your words carefully to get the most help.
    • Whilst it is better to pre-book the assistance, if you have received a negative response when booking your ticket arrive at the airport early and ask again for help.
  • If travelling with an infant and toddler consider baby slings and an umbrella stroller to take all the way to the cabin door.  Some strollers are so compact you can even take them on board – shop around.
  • When packing your carry on luggage consider how you will manage.  Instead of a nappy bag a large backpack might be easier keeping both hands free.  Consider a pull along bag for each child (whether they are a toddler, pre-schooler or older child) young kids will think it’s fun and older kids learn responsibility.  For tickets and passports use a small pouch that can be hung over your shoulder – making these documents easy to access at each stage of the journey (don’t forget to pack a pen).
  • Visit the airport websites.  Each airport is run slightly differently and will allow different things.  Make sure you are up-to-date with the airports that you will be passing through.
  • Make sure you have all the correct documentation authorising you to travel with your child alone.
  • For all our tips on aeroplane travel visit Flying with kids

Tips for travelling by car with children as a sole parent.

Travelling by road poses different challenges than flying.  Now you are behind the wheel and responsible for getting everyone to your destination safely.  You cannot take your eyes off the road and bury your head in a bag looking for a lost item.  Nor can you sit next to your children and help entertain them.

Preparation is the key!

  • Ensure you have all the correct child restraints fitted and your car has been serviced.
  • Place you packed bag of goodies on the passenger seat beside you so they are in easy reach when you kids start demanding.
  • If your kids are old enough have them pack there own goodies bag that can be kept at their feet or perhaps on a spare seat next to them.
  • Have a selection of road trip games ready to play.
  • Have music ready at your fingertips – that is in the CD player ready to push in.
  • Plan your itinerary.
    • If you have an infant on a feeding schedule this will determine your driving and stopping times.
    • If travelling with toddlers and older children schedule the stops near a playground to burn off energy.
    • Be sure to have food for these stops.  Take enough for everyone including you.

For more advice on road travel with kids visit Tips for Travelling by Car with Kids

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9 thoughts on “Sole Parent Travelling with Children

  • Terri

    I’d also say that when traveling solo with kids, try to make friends! Sometimes another family with kids can be a lifesaver in order to give your kids someone to new to play with, other adults to talk to and extra eyes on all the children. People in airports can be very helpful when they see you alone with bags and kids…so definitely take up the kind offers of strangers!

  • Sally Black

    Always a good idea to keep a couple of starbucks gift cards (or comparable) on your person while flying. If somebody offers you assistance or is tolerant when your child is acting out…saying thank you with a cup of coffee, sandwich etc goes a VERY long way towards good will.

  • Living Serenely

    I recently travelled with my 3 y.o. toddler and 5-month old baby over Christmas too! It wasn’t easy, but it’s not impossible. Just had to pace ourselves and tackle each ‘station’ one step at a time. I did try to book everything early but wasn’t able to get a bassinetor bulkhead seat. I shared my pitiful plight to the attendant at the check-in counter and she booked out a row for us so we were able to have 3 seats between all of us.

    One thing I did was to prepare a special present (a small matchbox car) wrapped up to bring out in much needed moments… it came in handy as we sat at the gate waiting to board. It always seems to take forever and never seems to happen on time. So the little gift helped to stretch my toddler’s patience out a bit.

    I also prepared a little treat (small pack of choc/sweets) as a little thank you for the attendants or kind folks who helped us along the way.

    • Sally@Toddlers on Tour Post author

      Oh how brave of you to travel with 2 little ones.
      What a lovely idea to have gifts for cabin crew or anyone who helps you out that little bit extra – they wouldn’t be expecting a gift yet they would appreciate that their efforts were well received.

  • Jessica Bowers

    These are such great tips! I have just started traveling alone with my kids and all of these are things that I wouldn’t have thought of before we hit the road. Would you mind if I linked them in a post?

  • April

    This is great! I should let my sister read this because nowadays she keeps on flying for business trips and she wants to take her son for the next trips. She should have this in her mind right now.