There are many things single mothers are told they can’t do. Just succeeding as a single mother in itself is one of those things. You may be used to dismissing the concerns of others – well-intentioned or otherwise – and going about doing what we need to do. However, sometimes those concerns can feel all too real when traveling.
International travel is something that some single mothers approach tentatively. Going overseas can be difficult enough on your own. Traveling with children is especially tough. A lot can go wrong and finding solutions can be more difficult in a foreign country.
There are steps you can take to make your trip less risky, like getting travel insurance, making sure someone has your daily itinerary back home, and leaving expensive jewelry at home. Nowadays, depending on where you are going, they already require some sort of travel insurance, like Costa Rica. Take a look at these additional tips for protecting your valuables while traveling. They will ensure that falling victim to theft is unlikely.
But it’s not enough to protect your valuables. You’ve got to protect yourself and your child. Is it possible to be careful without ruining your trip?
Choosing a destination
As with most other endeavors as a single mother, travel is perfectly possible if you are prepared for the challenges and limitations. It may not be possible to backpack around Europe for a month, but you can manage a vacation to an interesting destination or two. You simply need to know how to choose a destination.
In many ways, this comes down to the age of your child and their personality. It is more difficult to travel safely with small children to bustling cities with many tourist sites. A beach vacation, during which you stay mostly in one place, is far more manageable.
On the other hand, an older child might get bored with nothing to do but sit on the beach. You’ll need to find a location with things you can both enjoy.
One factor that should inform any single parent’s decision is the crime rates and other safety threats. There are some amazing countries with beautiful sites to see – if you’re willing to risk high crime rates. It will be hard to enjoy your trip if you’re constantly on edge about safety issues. Some of the countries I have felt super safe internationally in were Singapore, Greece, Germany, Mexico Canada, Turks and Caicos, Australia, Scotland, and Sri Lanka.
No matter where you go be sure to go easy on the cocktails, especially if you are jet lagged and dehydrated.
Finding a guide
You might think that staying in a hotel is the best option. After all, you and your child have specific needs, and the privacy you’ll get there is a big help. However, you might benefit from a shared house found on a platform like VRBO. This is because there are many VRBO hosts who love meeting new people and showing them around.
These hosts can be better guides than any professional. They know what it means to live in the area, and will be able to give you tailored advice. They may even offer the service of showing you around. It also gives you the chance to meet interesting locals. If the person has children or friends with children, your kid might get to know someone from a very different culture from their own.
If you do stay in a hotel and feel uneasy, ask to be put in a room near the front desk.
Postpone your social media updates
Whether you’re an influencer or just want to share your experience with the people in your life, social media can be a big part of travel. You share photos and videos, along with updates on how the trip is going. However, as a single parent, you should leave the updates for when you get home.
Updating people online about where you are and what you’re doing makes you and your child vulnerable. Criminals may see your posts and take advantage of what you’re telling them. I know this is doubtful, but you never know.
But beyond the safety risks of social media, postponing your updates allows you to be present in the moment. You experience the sites and activities with your child before anyone else. Only once you’ve processed it together do you share it with the rest of the world.
Staying present during the experience is good advice for any traveler, but especially for single mothers. It means you will be attuned to everything going on around you, aware of potential threats without letting them ruin your trip.
Being a single mom is hard and traveling internationally as a single mother does take a bit more work than you may wish, it can still be done. You can do it safely and actually enjoy yourself. Make sure to prepare well in advance so that, when the time comes, you can enjoy it in the moment.
Join my private Facebook group just for Single Moms traveling with their kids!