When you start planning, one of the very first things you’ll need to consider is where you’re going to stay. Here is our advice on choosing accommodation for single parent holidays.
The best accommodation for your single parent holiday will depend largely on how you intend to spend your holiday. For example, is this a rare opportunity to spend quality time with your kids and you’re happy to spend the days together? Or are you hoping for some alone time and relaxation?
For most of us, the perfect holiday will strike a balance between the two and the accommodation you choose should be able to meet everybody’s needs. So what are the things you should consider when choosing accommodation for single parent holidays?
Research the facilities
Choosing accommodation with a kids’ club is a great way to keep the kids entertained while you can enjoy some quiet time to yourself. Kids clubs are particularly useful if you have an only child as it will help them make friends they can play with the rest of the time too. If a kids club is a must-have for your single parent holiday, then make sure to check what ages they accept before you book. If really little ones can’t attend, then a nanny or babysitting service is a great alternative.
My kids are water babies so the other must-have for our trips is a great pool. Any pool will do, but I know if I can find one with slides or a splash area, it will keep them entertained for hours. They’ll swim all year round in Australia and in colder climates we keep an eye out for heated or indoor pools. Failing that, being close to a beach is perfect too.
If you’re happy to stay in a resort, many will include activities such as water sports, movie nights and tours which provide plenty for you all to enjoy together while also providing opportunities to meet other people.
Location, location, location
Convenience is key when travelling as a single parent, so the location of your accommodation is critical. The last thing you want to be doing as the only adult is having to carry everybody’s gear for 15-20 minutes every time you leave the hotel. Particularly on a snow trip when you’ve got multiple pairs of skis and you’re walking everywhere in ski boots!
Choosing accommodation in a location that minimises travel time and is also well connected via public transport to any activities you want to do is key.
Pay close attention to room configuration
When holidaying with my kids, one way we save money is by always sharing a room. It’s one of the distinct advantages of travelling as a single parent, I think! It’s a great way to save money (avoiding the ‘single supplement’) and once the kids are in bed I’m happy to pop my headphones in and watch Netflix in bed while they sleep. However, while I’m more than happy to share a room, I draw the line at us all sharing a bed together. So I make sure I know the bed configuration in advance and can request single beds if necessary. Personally, I like Booking.com for visibility of the sleeping arrangements.
The last, and probably most significant, factor when you’re choosing accommodation for your single parent holiday will be your budget.
Beware the ‘single supplement’
A ‘single supplement’ is a fee attached to a holiday deal or hotel room that’s only occupied by one adult when it has space for two or more. It exists because the travel industry traditionally targets couples and families of four. This is in large part because many hotels calculate their profit margin per room, not per person. This means, in order to make a profit, the hotel has to charge the same fee for the room however many people are sleeping in it. The easiest way to get around single supplements attached to rooms, as mentioned before, is to share a room with your kid(s). Chances are, if they’re little you’d want to do this anyway.
However, with 1.1 million single parent families in Australia alone, the travel industry is starting to take notice of this important group. Providers are increasingly accommodating the needs of single parents holidaying with kids by offering pricing on a per-person and per-child basis, rather than family pricing.
However, also beware ‘single parent specials’. While it’s great to see single parents being catered to, before going ahead and booking any kind of special, make sure you’re actually getting value for money. It always pays to shop around and compare prices.
Keep an eye on the bigger picture
When choosing accommodation for single parent holidays, it’s important always to compare like for like. It’s easy to fall for deals that look too good to be true on paper, but make sure you’ve really dug into what extras you might need to pay for that could wind up costing more in the long run.
Similarly, you might be able to save $200 by choosing accommodation further away but if the flights you need to get there are $500 more expensive, it’s false economy.
Rethink your trip entirely
If budget has suddenly become a bigger concern since becoming a single parent, you might need to rethink the type of holiday and accommodation you go for. Just because you’ve been able to go on a luxury safari previously, doesn’t mean that it’s in your scope now (although it might be and if so, yay!). It’s difficult to let go of the expectations you might have had or holidays you’d dreamed of taking but you might need to pop those dreams on hold just for a little while. Some budget-saving accommodation includes:
- Camping or hiring a campervan
- Staying with friends/relatives
- House swaps
The good news is, budget holidays can be just as (if not more) wonderful and you’ll still create memories and shared experiences with your kids.
Hopefully that’s helped you get started choosing accommodation for single parent holidays, but if you’re unsure and would like help choosing accommodation, consider one of our single parent family group trips, here.
Ellie is the founder of outnumbered holidays. She is a single mum to two incredible boys and a host of fur kids. Ellie believes in the magic of making memories through shared experiences and is on a mission to make travel accessible to all single parents through tailored trips, advice and content.