Smart Living | Digital Parenting

Digital Parenting | 19 Oct 2023

Single parent holidays: digital guide to the best family trips with one parent

Whether you're trying to avoid single supplements or are just stumped for destination and activity ideas, here are ways for single parent families to make the most of their next break.

Family holidays are designed – from the brochure or website images, down to the charges per room –  for two parents and two children. But in the UK today, there are 1.8 million single parents with dependent children, making up nearly a quarter of families with dependent children. These figures are from Gingerbread, the charity that supports single-parent families through advocacy and research.

“We all need a holiday sometimes, but it can feel overwhelming when it comes to affording and booking a break as a single parent,” says Victoria Benson, CEO of Gingerbread. “It’s particularly unfair that single parent families have one household income and yet they are excluded from many holiday deals,” she notes. New ONS research shows that single parent families are more exposed to the cost-of-living crisis. Yet according to travel company Explore, a single parent travelling on their own with one child can pay up to 28% more, per person, than two adults taking the same holiday with one child.

Luckily, things are beginning to change. There are plenty of websites and apps designed to make your getaway as a single parent simpler. Because, let’s face it, you absolutely deserve it.

Specialist single parent holiday companies

… for active families

Acorn Family Holidays organises active camping holidays exclusively for single parent families. The company organises all the cooking and cleaning, a rota of daytime activities and even evening entertainment for the kids. Mums and dads can join in, or relax in the company of other parents. Example destinations include the South of France and Malta.

… for happy campers

Camp Mates holidays brings hundreds of single parent families together, every year, for camping trips in the New Forest. If you don’t have a tent of your own, they’ll put up a bell tent for you and provide all the gear.

Stretch your legs with these walking and hiking apps

Whether you’re a keen hiker or just want new ideas for leisurely strolls, why not limber up with these useful and inspirational apps?

… for widowed families

The WAY Foundation is the UK’s only charity to support people aged 50 and under who have lost their partner. Each year, they organise group holidays for members and their children, from ski trips to Center Parcs breaks. They also hold WAY weekends just for grown-ups. Annual membership costs just £25.

The best of the rest

…. for adventures

Adventure travel company Explore puts thought into welcoming single parent families onto their expert-led tours. They pledge never to charge families more for single rooms or different room configurations, so you won’t have to pay more for being a single parent family.

… for luxury get-aways

Sovereign also has a good range of family hotels that offer reductions for single parent families. In some, children can even stay for free when sharing a room with one parent (meaning the adult will only pay the equivalent of staying in a single room).

Have an appy holiday

Once you’ve found your perfect break, don’t forget to pack your phone with apps to make travelling as a single parent significantly much less stressful…

… for speaking the lingo

screenshot showing the Google Translate app running on an iPhone 13 mini

Google Translate is a must-have. Free for both iOS and Android, it translates words and phrases from English into over 100 other languages and vice-versa. For example, just type in ‘my child just wants plain pasta’, and up it pops in Italian.

… for single mums

Free, with in-app purchases, Tourlina is a women-only app that helps female travellers connect with each other while abroad. Users’ identities are verified, for peace of mind, and you can search by interest, location and timeframe to find other women in a similar position. Chat, meet or plan a trip together.

… for support and advice

Frolo is a free app designed to support and introduce single parents to each other. There’s a dating aspect, but click on the community button and you can find platonic support, too. Swap travel tips, ask for advice and more.

… for safety

TripWhistle Global SOS is a free app that can help provide peace of mind. Available in nearly 200 countries, it allows you to connect with the local emergency services immediately and directly from the app, even if you’ve forgotten or don’t know the local emergency services number. The app will even show you your exact location and address, so you can share that with the operator when you’re connected.

Sticky questions

If you have questions about the logistics of taking your kid on holiday, then Gingerbread’s Going on holiday page is a great place to start. The charity for single parent families in England and Wales provides advice on everything from how holidays impact on Universal Credit and Jobseeker’s Allowance, to the law around getting permission from your child’s other parent.

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