(Musically themed for memorability! Bonus Points if You Can Name the Artists)
Getting ready for a family holiday is stressful enough, especially when you’re a busy, working single-parent already juggling a million other things and then, to add one more pointy object to your circus-level feat of dexterity, single-parents often have to be aware of issues that other parents will never even dream of. To help, we’ve put together this handy pre-travel guide so that you can tick off 12 pre-holiday jobs, several of which take on even more importance when you’re the only adult.
1. Never Forget …. your Parental Consent
Ensure that you have written permission from anyone else who has parental responsibility for your child(ren) to take them out of the country. See this guide by MMB Magazine to travelling abroad with children for further details.
2. That’s Not My Name
If your child doesn’t have the same surname as you, you may need to show additional documentation to prove your relationship to the child before you board the plane. See this Mumsnet article for more information.
3. It’s Not About the Money, Money, Money… But You Better Talk to Your Bank Anyway
Banks are tougher on potential fraud these days and they will often be suspicious of overseas transactions so it’s a good idea to inform your credit and debit card providers that you are going abroad, which will help to avoid your cards or accounts getting blocked while you’re away.
4. Here’s my number so call me maybe
If you’re worried about younger children wandering off in the airport, write your mobile number on their arm and tell them if they get lost to find a member of airport staff to call you.
5. Bare Necessities
Pack lightly if you can, especially when it comes to hand-luggage as there is nothing worse than having to lug huge bags around an airport and onto a plane when you’re by yourself. Put essential items for the flight right at the top of your cabin baggage or in a separate compartment so that you don’t have to do too much rummaging around for things when you board the flight. You can also ask a member of cabin crew to help you get something out of your bag from the overhead lockers if you’re busy trying to look after small children at the same time.
6. Don’t you, forget about me
Essentials to bring with you include passports, travel insurance, currency (or you can get this from an ATM once in destination), Calpol, plasters, antihistamine tablets or liquid eg. Piriton, Arm bands/ swim aids if needed, sun hats, plenty of sun cream (the NHS recommend children should wear minimum factor 30) and insect repellent. For a really comprehensive list take a look at this article from The Telegraph on what to pack for a family holiday.
Check with your airport and airline whether they offer a meet & assist service to help you through check-in, boarding and even on arrival if you’re worried about juggling everything.
8. Weapon of Choice
If you’re travelling with an airline that doesn’t have allocated seating, consider opting to select your seats before you travel. It might cost a couple of pounds, but it might well be worth it. That way you can pick the most convenient seats for you, such as being near the exit so that you’re not waiting around for too long to get off the plane after landing.
9. Be Prepared
Give yourself plenty of time for your journey to the airport, check traffic conditions and other transport information before travelling.
10. All the Small Things
As we all know, airport security will not let you take liquids or pastes in containers larger than 100ml in your hand luggage. But you can buy handy packs of empty 100ml bottles from places like Boots or Primark and fill them with all of your essential toiletries. Then you can re-use the bottles again and again rather than buying the expensive travel-size versions from the shop every time you travel.
11. Eat It
Take some savoury snacks in your hand luggage for the flight and buy bottles of water once you’re through security to carry on board the plane.
12. That’s Entertainment
Bring things that will keep your kids entertained on the flight such as a pack of playing cards, a tablet (and, possibly an extra battery pack) stocked up with episodes of favourite shows, movies, books or some colouring pens and paper.
Please let us know your top travel tips in the comments!