Image: Matthew Porter, Lower Canyon, archival pigment print mounted to Plexiglas with satin laminate, ed. of 5, 20 x 25 inches (From Marty Walker Gallery’s Dallas Art Fair selections.) … “Fountainhead” by Frances Bagley (Dallas), Jesse Morgan Barnett (Dallas), Laetitia Benat (Paris, FR), Rebecca Carter (Dallas), Piotr Chiszinski (Ithaca, NY), Steve Cruz (Dallas), Matt Cusick (Dallas), Laura Doughtie (Dallas), Erika Duque (Fort Worth), Celia Eberle (Dallas), Cassandra …
I have been pregnant for what seems like eternity and so I haven’t taken a family vacation since 2010 and this would be prior to having my 2 year old and my little man. Last year was a lot of trials and tribulations in the form of extenuating legal issues with regards to child custody. So funds were limited last year on taking a family vacation. This year with some proactive planning, some increased income due to the popularity of this blog and with a little bit of eBay selling and master budgeting, I’m able to take a family vacation to Maui, Hawaii.
I’m so excited to be taking the first mega family vacation to such a wonderful destination with all my children. If you are not aware, I was born and raised there and moved to Texas in 2000 right after getting my bachelor’s degree from Hawaii Pacific University. I have been “home” to Maui a few times since then but this time all of my children will be there together as well and get to visit my family rather than my family coming to visit them.
Why would a single mom travel 8 hours by plane with three children under 5 years old?
To be quite honest with you, I like the challenge. I’m also going to write a story about it. As a single parent, how often do you hear about your friends taking what seems to be relaxing and romantic vacations far away and your single self is left at home, pondering about how you’re going to get all the kids into the zoo and stay sane.
This is what I do. I try it first before you do so that you can see for yourself that you can travel to great locations as a single parent. So first things first I have a few pieces of advice before you plan on traveling.
- Plan your budget – Plan out how much you want to spend, increase that amount by 20% and then you have your budget. I do this because my idea of a vacation is to relax. If you have to penny pinch it, then you will NOT relax. Cheap and getting a bargain is good but not if it will leave you stressed. I always increase my budget by 20% because I want a little bit of insurance and peace of mind.
- If you can’t afford it, you can’t afford it – I’ve been to enough timeshare presentations to get my free Dallas Stars tickets to know that if you can’t afford it, than you shouldn’t go on that particular vacation. Oh anyone can tell you memories, education etc BUT you can get all of that at home without taking a vacation. You might have to wait years, but I say plan first even though you see dropping last minute airfares around you. Slow and steady wins the race and you’ll enjoy it more. Or stay at home with a staycation or do a short road trip. The point of a vacation is to relax and spend time with your kids.
- Use a travel agent – When trying to coordinate your family trip, I go with using a travel agent over planning it myself. It came out cheaper for me and within budget than trying to price it out on so many other sites. For my vacation I used Hawaii-Aloha.com. I had a $5,000 budget and they were well below that with the cost of my trip coming out to about $3500. The extra $1500 is spending money for me and for incidentals. I have another friend who planned a trip to Hong Kong and he eventually used a travel agent. Travel agents are knowledgeable and they have access to wholesale deals that we don’t know about. They do the searching for you so that you don’t have to. I like the travel agent that I’m using because their sales agents are in the US and are home based. I would rather support a US company and speak to someone that can understand my needs. Also their agents are home based, so like us bloggers they have a life and make a living being able to work from home. How cool!?!
- Practice,Practice,Practice – Research as much as you can and have practice drills with your kids on traveling, buckling their seats, going through security and more. The easier and less scared they are, the easier it will be for you. Practice everything from packing their own bag, carrying their bags, labeling etc.
- Be flexible and anticipate stress – learn to be flexible. Flight delays happen, lost baggage happens, bad weather happens so you need to be flexible, patient, and grounded. People are inevitably going to give you bad looks on the plane because you are traveling 8 hours and they are afraid your kids will cry the whole time. Anticipate that and let it roll off of your back. Yes toddlers will cry but you have shrug, smile and do your best to calm them down. That’s about all you can do but don’t let it bother your vacation once you step off the plane.
I will be writing out more tips as I get closer to my trip. One of the great things about being a blogger is being able to travel and have sponsors with you along the way. I’ll be sharing all of that with you as we get closer and closer, so stay tuned. Mahalo!
Also, if you are a travel related company, electronics company, or family friendly business and would like to be one of the sponsors for Dallas Single Mom, please don’t hesitate in contacting me as this is a PR friendly blog.
Disclaimer: The above post may contain affiliate links, sponsored messages, and promotional consideration from sponsors. All opinions presented are 100% my own. For more information, please visit my disclosure page.