For single parents, vacations can be a challenge. Booking the correct room, finding the perfect resort, and choosing the right destination for every member of your family can be troublesome, but it’s not impossible. There are great options available for every family’s make up and budget, and with these five industry insiders, you’ll be relaxing in your dream destination in no time.
Industry Insider #1: Single Parent Promotions
Some resorts, like Beaches in the Caribbean, have single parent promotions. Beaches hosts Single Parent Fun Months—September is the next one—where their resorts waive the single supplement and schedule extra activities geared toward single parents and their families. Such events include special guest participation in Beaches Caribbean Adventure with Sesame Street™ Parades, Kinect® for Xbox 360® Family Game Nights, beach bonfires, dive-in movie nights, and more. Single parent packages at Grand Velas Resorts in Riviera Maya and Riviera Nayarit include roundtrip transportation, two tickets to the Xel-Ha Park (for guests in Riviera May) and two discounted tickets to a Canopy Adventure Park Tour (for guests in Riviera Nayarit) among other activities and attractions.
Industry Insider #2: Kids Free Promotions
Some chains, such as Hard Rock Hotels, Palace Resorts, and even Walt Disney World offer kids free promotions. For all-inclusive destinations, like the Dominican Republic and Cancun, this generally means two children 12 and younger stay and eat free, which is a great bargain for the single parent. Some chains still require the eldest child to pay an adult rate, but the benefit of not paying for the second child is an incredible savings. In Disney World and Disneyland, children 17 and younger stay free during certain times of the year, helping those single parents with teens enjoy a luxury vacation for a fraction of the cost.
Industry Insider #3: Choosing the Right Destination
Even with children free and no single supplement, all-inclusive resorts and the accompanied airfare can be pricey. A domestic option is to “vacay”—as the kids are calling it these days—at a national park. Backpacking, white-water rafting, camping, even art classes and photography lessons are available (the latter at bigger parks, like Yosemite or Zion). If you’re looking to travel internationally, it’s best to check with your local travel agent about qualifications and necessary items. While you and your child will need the normal essentials—passports, visas, etc.—most countries require a notarized letter from the absent parent to allow a child entrance. Without this, you and your child will be detained until the absent parent can provide consent.
Industry Insider #4: Vacation Houses
Sometimes a family vacation can be as easy as a trip to the beach. Vacation housing is an affordable way for the whole family—not just single parents but also grandparents and extended family—to enjoy time together for the cost of a rental house. The rentals are drastically cheaper than hotel rates, and in places like the beach, they provide close access to either free or very inexpensive entertainment. In destinations like Florida and California, vacation homes are close to the theme parks and give privacy to numerous occupants with as many as five bedrooms, each room with its own bathroom. Many houses also come equipped with full kitchens, a washer and a dryer, and a built-in swimming pool.
Industry Insider #5: Clubbing It
Whether heading to an all-inclusive resort or traveling to a historic city, you undoubtedly will want some alone time during part of the trip. The best way to do that is to pick a hotel with a kids’ club, which is an area with supervised activities just for the little ones. Usually geared toward children aged 3 through 12 and for teens, aged 13-17, kids’ and teens’ clubs allow your children to socialize and enjoy vacation with friends their own age and give you peace of mind to relax at the hotel bar or enjoy the more mature sights of the city without disruptions. Babysitting is also available at most resorts, which will give your kids downtime in your guest suite.