Sunday, 12 March 2017

Travelling as a Lone Mum

Here's Louis with a friend that he made outside that excellent Science Park in Granada last month.   Our trip to Spain was one in a long line of holidays that just my son and I have had together.  When I'm away I hardly ever see other lone mums with their kids and I've only come across one other, a woman from Ireland, with a motorhome. The reasons that we're as rare as rocking horse droppings may be financial.  These single parent stuff isn't an economic walk in the park.  But I suspect it also may be because taking a kid abroad on your own just seems plain scary.  So here's my tips to encourage maybe just one person to take the plunge.

  • I used to read brilliantly intrepid books by an Irish woman called Dervla Murphy.  They come highly recommended. She used to take her child, from the age of five, to fantastically remote places in Africa and Asia.  I admire her nerve but I tend to stay on the beaten track and go to places where I feel safe as a single woman.  
  • I book accommodation where we can feel comfortable using hotel deals, AirBnB and of course my motorhome.  A very cheap hostel  aka  permanent home of dropouts close to the railway station in Vancouver on the last night of our North American trip in 2015 was an exception.  I was scared to use the communal bathroom and Louis whinged heavily to his dad that I'd made him stay somewhere very dodgy.
  • We make friends on our travels.  I keep in touch with quite a few women that I've met on French campsites when they're staying there with their husbands and families.  But I'm careful not to intrude much on their family lives and I don't hit on their husbands!  There's been more than one or two tipsy conversations where other mums admit their envy of my situation.   We won't go there.
  • I keep the pace quite slow.  We rise late and tend to just see one thing in a day.  I might have a siesta after lunch.
  • Now I would have loved to have visited the house of Federico Garcia Lorca whilst in Granada. Similarly some of the art museums in Seattle and Vancouver might have been on my 'must see list' if I was a grown up traveller.  I forego some sites to keep the peace and make room for stuff that a kid wants to see. Science parks and zoos come top of Lou's wishlist.
  • Two travelling is obviously more expensive than one.  There's lots of ways that I keep costs down - booking early, booking late, no new holiday wardrobes, cheap eating out, picnics, free attractions................There's many ways and means.
There's a start to my list.  This post may evolve as I think of more tips.  Happy holiday everyone whoever you choose to travel with!


  1. Good for you! I imagine that yes, both the financial and the 'eek' factors have an influence in making single mums travelling with children rare.

    I looove Dervla Murphy's book. She hasn't quite inspired me to quite my job and cycle all the way to India, but reading her books is an absolute pleasure.
    I also read an interview with her a few years back. She sounded most disgruntled that in her seventies, due to back problems, she could no longer use her trusty rucksack and had to use a wheelie suitcase. Her disdain for the wheelie contrivances came through loud and clear :-)

    1. Yes I saw yesterday when I was researching that she still writes into her eighties. Might have to pick her up again. She makes me look like a right Walter Softie. xx

  2. I'm passing on to a single on friend with three little lovelies, ages four to 11 that wants to break up her families breaks and get out of the house. Sound reverse ideas for supporting single parents enjoyment of travel-be welcoming.

    1. Travelling with kids is a delight. It just takes a bit of thought. xx