A Single Dad’s Guide to Traveling With Kids

The holiday season is the perfect time to pack up, go somewhere special, and bond with your family over fun activities. Make it memorable.

Christmas. It’s both a stressful and wonderful time of year. It’s an opportunity for you to spend quality time with your kids and to create special memories, strengthening the bond between you and them. Taking your kids on holiday for a few days is your chance to be fully involved in their lives and their care, which is something you may have been missing out on. Spending a solid chunk of time with your children can help to ease the pain of the times you may have to spend away.

Christmas brings out the excitement in any area, so there are bound to be plenty of things to see and do wherever you go. Traveling with kids is never as straightforward as it may seem, but with these tips for single dads you can ensure it all goes as smoothly as possible, allowing you to focus on what’s really important: spending quality time together.


Choose Somewhere Unique

Christmas offers the chance to take your kids somewhere special and out of the ordinary, somewhere they’ve never been before. Kids love discovering new things, and if you can find something that is new to you too, it makes it even better. Being able to experience something new together—whether that’s a sport, a place, or an activity—is a great way to bond with your children, and gives you plenty to talk about afterwards. It also creates those shared memories that they will never forget. Experiences like these can inspire your children and encourage them to try new things, so it’s worth making that extra effort to find something truly engaging.

Let the Kids Decide

Your children might even have their own ideas of where they want to go or what they want to do. Sure, they might suggest something that’s a little impractical (like a trip to the moon) but they might just come up with some great angles.

Pick the Activity First

Instead of saying “we’re going here” and then trying to find suitable activities in the chosen area, why not swap things around? Think of an activity first that would be the perfect Christmas experience (like skiing or snowboarding) and then look to see if you can find it somewhere nearby for a realistic price.

Team Up With Another Single Parent

Teaming up with another single parent and their kids to share the trip can be a great way to ensure that you all have an exciting and memorable experience. By bringing along another single mom or dad, you can split the cost and avoid the dreaded Single Supplement. Not only that, but it gives the kids someone else their own age to talk to (which can be especially useful if both of you have one child) and you have another adult to share the experience with.

Be Flexible

Being flexible is very important, as things don’t always go according to plan and sometimes it just isn’t possible to keep to your child’s normal routine while traveling. Allow yourself room for the unexpected, such as having to take a rest stop five minutes after the previous one, and don’t worry if your little ones miss a nap or two.

Use Public Transportation

It may seem counter-intuitive, but wherever you choose to go, you don’t necessarily have to drive. Taking public transport means you can focus on spending more time with your kids instead of on the driving, and they might even get a kick out of catching a bus or a train. Whichever way you travel, make sure you’ve got plenty of food at hand, both healthy snacks and a few treats, as nothing makes for a more stressful journey than trying to find the nearest place to buy supplies for a tired and hungry child.

Savor the Experience

Sure, traveling with your kids can sometimes be a little stressful, and things don’t always go according to plan, but remember why you’re doing it—and don’t let the little things get you down. The important bit is that you are getting to spend quality time with them. They won’t remember the bits where they got a little cranky because the journey was taking too long; what they will remember is the magical Christmas where their dad took them on an amazing trip and shared with them loads of new sights and experiences.


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—Photo Paul.White/Flickr

About Matt Lindley

Matt Lindley is a London-based philosophy fan and music lover with a passion for weird gigs and riding his bike around the city. He also writes for HotelClub where he helps others find the best things to do in the UK.


  1. Daniel Smulevich says:

    Great article Matt. The ending really hit me hard…you’re right when you say that you should savor the experience. Back in 1999 I didn’t do that…and I have no one to blame but myself….

    Oh cruel world…

  2. My dad took just me to Hawaii when I was a child. I was young enough that I don’t remember most of the trip, but I know I had a lot of fun, and I’m glad my dad took the time with me. It may be silly to cherish a memory of something I don’t really remember, but that trip was hard evidence that my dad cared/cares about me.

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