How to Vacation with the Kids As a Single Parent
Last March was the first year I had vacationed with my children completely alone post divorce. The beach was always somewhere we went as a family, but I had to face it and do it. I couldn't disrupt that part of my children's life, it was the only tradition we had left once we began rotating houses bi-weekly etc.
I ordered our plane tickets several months ahead of time through Airtran. We got tickets round trip, on non-stop flights for $62.00 a person from Columbus, Ohio to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. These tickets were for peak travel time, it was a spring break trip. When I researched these rates closer to our travel date after having already purchased them, they were nearly $400.00 per passenger. By booking ahead, I darn near stole the tickets.
From there I began to price hotel rooms. I had never traveled peak season, and was in complete sticker shock. I was trying to remain under a $2000 budget with flights, lodging, and activities. Needless to say, I did. We spent 2 nights in an oceanfront hotel that I won on Priceline for 1/4th of the actual price. After winning those two nights I clicked on lastminutecruises.com and booked a 5 day four night carnival cruise for around $200 a person. They often go as low as $159.00 if you watch them closely and are available for travel within 90 days.
Once our cruise was booked to Cozumel I did additional homework on excursions. I had read on numerous sites that cruise companies will make profit on excursions, therefor they urge you to book only through them. They tell you scary stories about booking outside of them to intimidate you. Don't fall for it though. I insisted on doing my own homework, and it paid off. By doing so, all four of us enjoyed our 40 minute swim with the dolphins in Cozumel, for $206.00! A dolphin swim for one person in the States averages about $250.00 for about 15 minutes!
It was the best vacation we had ever taken. The ship had activities for everyone, and plenty to do. Our meals were included in the price of the cruise, and we could have food anytime we wanted. The shows on the ship, comedians, dancers, contests, activities, employees, and even other guests were fabulous. My children were three of the 2200 aboard the ship that week, and they had a blast.
Vacationing can be lonely, and depressing when we are raising children alone. But by taking a cruise, and a trip filled with action those feelings of loneliness aren't there like they would be sitting in a condo on the beach with the kids fast asleep. The vacation by far topped any vacation we have ever taken, and nobody is paying me to say these things. A cruise, as a single parent traveling alone with children, is the best way to go! Try it, you will be glad you did!