Intrepid Travel is offering itineraries specifically for single parents
Traveling as a single mom can be a bumpy ride.
Just ask Lissa Poirot, a 47-year-old mother of two who has traveled solo with her kids when they were 3 and 4-year-old toddlers to destinations from the Dominican Republic to Alaska.
“Traveling alone with kids wasn’t always a picnic,” Poirot tells Moneyish. “I was boarding a plane once and struggling with the kids who were too small to carry their own bags, and a woman behind me who offered to help said, ‘I bet you wished you were still married now, don’t you?’” she adds, of getting shamed for her single status.
And while she said she doesn’t wish she was still married, she’s thrilled she singlehandedly hiked her pint-sized travelers up the Grand Canyon, went dog sledding in Alaska, hit the slopes in Vermont and strolled around the Mardi Gras Museum in New Orleans.
According to the United States Census Bureau’s current population survey, 27% of children under the age of 18 live in single parent households, and travel companies are finally starting to take note of that. Intrepid Travel, a company specializing in adventurous excursions, created six new tours specifically designed with single parents in mind. The trips allow kids to bond and make friends with other children their age on the trip while solo moms and dads can mingle with other adults from a similar family dynamic.
The new itineraries feature exotic excursions to destinations such as Thailand, Northern India, Egypt, Vietnam, Morocco and Costa Rica. While many family travel experiences are priced on double occupancy, Intrepid Travel’s new tours are offered at no additional cost for room sharing. All children aged 17 years and younger receive a 10% discount off the price of their trip, and the packages cost between $555 to $3,185 per person including transportation, lodging, activities and meals. The trips are also designed to eliminate the social discomfort one parent might feel when they’re traveling alone with kids, like eating without a significant other. Instead, parents are encouraged to mingle with other parents on the trip.
“I’m a single mom and I travel with my daughter, and there’s only so many dinners you can have with a 5-year-old and talking about Sesame Street,” Dyan Mckie, a brand and product manager at Intrepid Travel who thought up the idea for the new series, says.
“These destinations were intentionally chosen to make it easier for solo parents who might otherwise feel intimidated to travel to these destinations alone with their kids,” she adds.
Nashville-native and single mom Raeshal Solomon, 37, says she sometimes needs a vacation from her family vacation after planning out trips for her 5-year-old sons.
“When my boys were younger we would fly and I’d have to carry luggage, strollers and car seats through an airport. It’s a lot of stressful work and you’re continuously trying to find something for them to play with,” she says.
Solomon remembers traveling with her sons to Animal Kingdom in Disney World and feeling overwhelmed and lonely.
“Having a mommy travel club would be nice,” Solomon says. “I would have another adult to talk to while traveling. Someone who could help when my hands were full.”
The children’s book author says she’s considering signing up for vacations that have group activities so her kids can play with other kids and she can associate with people her age.
“It’s awkward, sometimes when we go places and they see families that have mom and dad situations. We did have conversations in the past just about ‘Well, mommy and daddy, we’re just friends now, but we both love you.’ Now that they’re older they see and understand,” she says.
More specials targeted at single parents are starting to pop up at hotels and resorts. Grand Velas Hotel in Riviera Maya offers an all-inclusive single parents getaway package for parents and kids aged 4 to 12 to enjoy fun at the kid’s club while adults get a massage and soak up the sun by the pool. Prices for each family member start at $400 per night. And last year, the Riverdance Lodge in Idaho offered a $200 discount for single parents interested in their glamping Mountain and Discovery gateway.
When Poirot was newly divorced, she had a hard time leaving her kids at a kids club to do grown up things like get a massage or have a glass of wine because they didn’t want to leave her side, but now that they’re approaching their teenage years, the new task is finding activities they can all enjoy, sometimes separately.
“My daughter loves museums and history and my son enjoys hikes and go-carts so I try to plan trips that cater to both of them,” she says.
Poirot feels fortunate that she was able to travel with her kids as as single mom while they were so young because she says it gave them a sense of independence and confidence.
“It’s made me stronger doing it alone, and it’s made them more self-sufficient because I needed them to carry their own gear and move quickly through airports and be aware of their surroundings in cities so we didn’t get separated,” she says. “They are now 12 and 13 and now experienced travelers.”
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