Travelling with kids as a single parent can be intimidating! But I’ll let you in on a little tip – if you can do everyday life as a single parent, you can travel as a single parent too! We’ve listed some tips below that will show you how to start travelling with kids as a single parent.

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We’re a single parent family and have travelled quite a bit, both locally and internationally. As a single mom of twins, I couldn’t fly with the boys when they were under the age of two, but after that, we were off!

I’ll be honest, our first few adventures were just that – adventures. There were some mishaps and some lessons learned, but we still had a great time and continued travelling.

If you want to start travelling with your kids as a single parent, but you’re not sure if – or how – you can do it, believe me, you can! Honestly, most of it comes down to planning, practice and believing that you can. Have a positive attitude, plan a bit, and go for it!

We’ve got 6 tips to get you to start travelling with kids as a single parent!

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How to Start Travelling with Kids as a Single Parent

Start off Easy

This might seem like an obvious tip, but it’s one that I didn’t think of when I started travelling as a single mom. I wish someone had told me this advice before our first trip, but I’d travelled quite a bit before kids and figured it wasn’t much different – we’d be fine! And we were. But it definitely would have been better to start small (and not with a 10 hour flight for the first time…).

So take my advice and start off easy. Try a weekend away somewhere, or even an overnight trip. Choose somewhere nearby, whether it’s a staycation at a hotel or campground near you, or choose somewhere within a few hours’ drive or a short flight.

Wherever you choose to go, treat it like a vacation. And enjoy!

Decide What Type of Travel You Want

First off, think of what kind of travel you are interested in. What do you envision your trip looking like?  Is it spending time on the beach? Or visiting museums and exploring tourist attractions? Is there something specific you want to see or do?

Everyone has different ideas of travel, and there’s no right or wrong answer. But once you know what type of travel you and your family want, it will be easier to plan your trip.

It’s also important that while you are thinking about the kind of travel experience you want, make sure to keep your expectations realistic for the age of your kids.

While mom may enjoy spending all day visiting cultural and tourist attractions, young kids won’t find that too fun, and will end up being tired and cranky kids.

Which is NOT fun for anyone!  (But add in some play or rest time, and they’ll be fine!)

Begin Planning

Now that you’ve figured out what kind of trip you want to have, what are you going to do? Are there sights you want to see? Something you want to try while you’re there?

This is the time to plan out a rough itinerary and make note of some things you want to see and do. Try not to plan too many things in one day though, especially as it’s your first time travelling with kids!

Plan for one or two activities a day, with plenty of rest or play time in between. There will probably be a park or play area around, and if not, quiet time at your accommodation is also a good option.

This is also the time to look for those accommodations! We use to book most of our stays. They have a range of accommodations, including hotels and apartments, and many are very family-friendly.


You know how you might pack your bag a few days ahead of time, just to make sure you’re not forgetting anything? The same idea applies to the whole trip. Practice ahead of time!

Gather your bags (packed or not), and see how you will be able to manage the luggage, PLUS the kids. If your children are young and still in a stroller, can you manage your luggage, the kids’ bags and the stroller? (Something I didn’t consider before we headed to Italy was the cobblestone streets playing havoc with my idea of balancing the carryon bags on the stroller board…)

Do you have hands free to hold on to your kids’ hands, plus manoeuvring luggage? If you’re heading on a road trip, does everything fit in the car? (Don’t laugh, but it’s happened!)

If your kids are carrying their own backpack and suitcase, take a few short walks down the street and make sure it’s not too heavy or awkward for them!

Related read: What to Pack in a Carry-On when Travelling with Kids

Child pulling his suitcase to practice which will make it easier to start travelling as a single parent
Have the kids practice with their luggage ahead of time!

Go on That First Trip

Now that you’ve planned and even practiced, it’s time to go and do it! Take that first step and start travelling with kids as a single parent! Whether it’s an overnight or a few days away, it’s still travelling! You can do it!

Don’t Give Up

The first time or two might be a bit tricky, even with the practice and planning. Just know that each time will be better!

There may be some hard moments and times where you’re wondering what on earth you’ve gotten yourself into, but that’s single parent life anyways, isn’t it?

And if you can do everyday life as a single parent, you can start travelling with kids as a single parent!

Other Important Tips for Travelling as a Single Parent


It’s VERY important to make sure you have the proper paperwork when you’re a single parent travelling with kids, especially if you are travelling internationally!

In addition to passports for everyone (kids included!), you’ll also need a notarized letter from the other parent stating that you have permission to travel with the child or children.

You can find a sample letter of consent here.

If there is no other parent listed on the birth certificate, you can bring a copy of the long form birth certificate, stating that you are the sole parent.

Personal Time

When you’re a single parent travelling with kids, you are with them 24/7. There’s no down time, no daycare, school or work to provide even a bit of ‘you’ time. But that’s still important!

Make sure to schedule some time to yourself, whether it’s watching a show or taking a bath after the kids have gone to sleep, or getting up earlier to have a coffee, meditate or work out before the kids wake up.

If you are staying at a resort or on a cruise, are there activities for the kids to join? (Many kids club start at age 4 or 5).  

Emergency Contacts

While we all hope that nothing happens while we’re away, it’s always a good idea to have emergency contacts, JUST IN CASE!

And as a single parent, there’s no other adult to contact anyone if something happens to you!

I’ll admit that I hadn’t even thought of this on our first trip, but after experiencing an earthquake while we were away, I realized that if something ever happened to me, the boys would have no idea how to contact family members at home.

Now I carry contact information (grandparents’ phone numbers and embassy number) along with our paperwork and the boys each have a copy in their bags as well. Just in case…

Extra Copies of Paperwork

This actually applies to any family travelling with kids, but it’s important to have multiple copies of any important paperwork, just in case something happens to one copy.

It’s another thing I didn’t do the first time I was travelling with kids, but after having my purse stolen on a subsequent trip – with the copy of the boys’ birth certificate in it, and then having a hard time crossing the next international border without their birth certificates – we now carry multiple copies!

In addition to a photocopy of the birth certificates, we also carry copies of health cards and travel insurance for all of us, as well as a photocopy of all of our passports. Again, just in case.

Read more on the Essential Documents you Need for Travelling

Final Thoughts: Travelling as a Single Parent

Travelling as a single parent can be intimidating at first, but honestly, with a bit of planning and realistic expectations, it’s absolutely doable. And it will definitely get easier with each trip. So take that first step and let me know how it goes!

mom and child looking at the mountains - it's not too hard to start travelling as a single parent
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  1. Great tips! And I never even thought of getting a paper signed by the other parent. Thank you for that! I’ll do that for my next trip. I LOVE traveling alone and with my kids. I can’t wait to do overseas traveling but I added twins to the mix lol so now I’m a single mom of 4 so I’ll be starting small like your first tip all over again! Safe travels everyone!!

  2. Such great tips! When I was a single mom trying to travel it was so chaotic. It took time to learn and adjust to the quirks. Phew!

    1. These are great tips, because it is not easy with little ones!

      1. It’s definitely challenging at times!

    2. Thanks! Yes, it can be a bit chaotic! But after that first time or two, it gets better!

  3. Great read!! Thanks for posting this. The first time I traveled as a single mom was definitely intimidating!!

    1. It can definitely be intimidating, but then I find it just gets easier!

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