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Stuff your pockets full with these awesome tips and tricks for solo travel with kids.
I went on my first solo adventure as a mom when my first baby was two weeks old. Fast forward many years, three more kids later, and too many more flights, countries, and solo adventures with all four kids in tow to count…. Let’s just say, I’ve discovered a tip or trick or two to share with parents planning solo travel adventures.
To reassure you that you’ve totally got this adventure, mama (or dad), here is a compilation of brilliant solo travel advice and tips from parents who have also been there, done that solo travel with kids thing before. Soak up this advice and you’ll definitely be good to go!
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The Best Tips & Tricks for Solo Travel with Kids in Tow
1. Have Each Kid Wear a Backpack.
Stephanie of the blog Mommysaurus offers this fabulous advice to the parent solo traveling with kids in tow:
“When solo traveling with kids in tow, I recommend having each child wear a backpack. Inside, include snacks, toys, games, charging cords, and a change of clothes. That way you aren’t stuck trying to find items for each child or carrying it all yourself. It’s a self-contained travel pack with each child’s favorites.”
Tried and True: I’ve used this tip & trick over the years. Even little ones can wear tiny backpacks. My youngest used to sport the cutest little Kelty backpack stuffed with matchbox cars and toys, which was light enough for him to carry and easy to stuff under a plane seat; he later he got a slightly bigger pack at Decathlon in Barcelona for a couple of Euros (love, love, love Decathlon!!!).
2. Share Your Itinerary with Trusted ‘Anchors’ Back Home
Sage of the blog Everyday Wanderer offers up this pro solo parent travel tip:
“Always share your itinerary with a few trusted ‘anchors’ back home, and check-in with them regularly. For example, shoot them a quick text to let them know when you embark on a solo hike and when you get back. That way they can be your lifeline if anything goes amiss.”
Tried and True: Ditto x 1000! I can’t stress enough how much I agree with this wise and important solo traveling parent tip. I have spent many, many hours out of cell phone range, on back roads, in the backcountry, or on remote trails with my kids, such as sections of Saint Cuthbert’s Way or during my 50 State USA RV Tour in the middle of absolutely nowhere to know that letting someone you trust know your itinerary and expected return timetable is beyond important. Even if I am stepping out of a hotel in a familiar city or heading on a routine trail with my kids, it is a habit to shoot a text (at minimum) to a family member or a friend to let them know my plans and time of expected return.
3. Take a Photo Reminder of Where You are Staying
Ayngelina of the blog Bacon is Magic offers this great solo travel advice:
“Always take a photo of the business card of where you are staying, even if you think you will remember. Some cities have hotels or hostels that are the same name so if you get lost or just want to taxi a taxi back it’s easiest to provide the card. If you prefer to go paperless just take a photo with your phone.”
Tried and True: Yes! Yes! Yes! This is awesome advice and something I also highly recommend doing. I also recommend taking photos of the hotel from the outside and nearby landmarks to help you navigate new places (and do the same when you park a rental car). Last year when the kids and I were in London, we managed to make our way to the wrong hotel which had the same name as the one we were staying at. I had put the hotel into Google Maps and relied on the map directions as I navigated us along streets to the hotel. Thankfully, I had an image of what the hotel looked like on the outside to know that we were definitely in the wrong spot! Oops!
4. Wear a Worry-Free Backpack to Secure Your Valuables
Jacqueline of the blog Mom Money Map explains, “it’s best to wear a backpack with a back zip up pocket so you don’t have to worry about guarding your personal valuables (like your wallet or passport). This is particularly useful if you’re also trying to manage your kids.”
Tried and True: How I carry my valuables when I’m traveling solo, with or without kids in tow, is always a top priority. There are some awesome travel backpacks on the market that include anti-theft features, such as a hidden main compartment zipper close to the backpanel, locks, and slash-proof designs. When you’re traveling with kids, it is all too easy to get distracted from keeping an eye on your important belongings. Just bending down to tie your child’s shoe provides time and opportunity for an experienced thief to lift valuables. Therefore, worry-free backpacks, under shirt pocket pouches, concealed pockets, or scarves with zipped interior pockets can be especially useful to secure your valuables during a trip and are always a good idea.
5. Opt for Accommodations with Self-Laundry Service or Washing Machines
Over the years, my kids and I have become experts at traveling light. Typically, we each wear a backpack that contains everything we need, regardless of trip length. The only exception is when we are doing an extended trip that crosses seasons, such as when we need winter and warmer weather wear in one trip. To keep packs light, we pack minimally and opt for hotels, AirBnBs, or other accommodations that offer self-catering laundry services or washing machine facilities. I’m not talking about using hotel concierge laundry service, like my hotel in London offered that charged £12 for washing one pair of underwear. I’m talking about you doing the laundry yourself. While you can always opt to do laundry in the sink, if you’re willing (and daring) you can also try local laundromats in your destination if your accommodation lacks laundry facilities. Wow, do I ever have laundromat travel stories…but that’s another post. 😉
Have other awesome tips or tricks for solo travel with kids? If so, drop a comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts.