Traveling with Kids is Hard Work!

by Dave Taylor on August 23, 2010

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I’m a single dad. In fact, I think I’m the only single dad who contributes to the API Speaks blog. That’s why I’m asking for your advice, dear reader. I have three delightful kids, a 13yo girl, 10yo boy and a 6yo girl, and while I like traveling with them, it’s darn hard work.

We just got back from a week in Southern California and I had the foresight to invite my sister to join us, so the room configuration at the hotel was her + my 13yo in one room, and me and the two younger children in another. Not too bad, but since I don’t have the $$ to just get a beautiful two-room suite, there’s really no way that we can’t end up on top of each other.

They’re great travelers – the two older each have a solo flight under their belts too! – but when we get to a destination, it just seems extraordinarily hard to find something to do that meets all their needs. At home, of course, we have friends who can either join us or to whom one of the kids can duck out rather than go somewhere they don’t like, but on the road, there’s no “plan b”, no-one else to help out.

So my question to you: how do you deal with travel logistics?  How do you retain your sanity?  And, most of all, if you’re a single parent, do you travel at all, and if so, what tricks and strategies have you found that help maximize the fun and minimize the arguments, fighting and unhappiness?

If you want to read more about our LA travel adventures, btw, I’ve written about them on my attachment parenting blog too. 🙂

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Dave Taylor (5 Posts)

Dave is a single dad with three children, a 15yo daughter, 11yo son and 8yo daughter, and blogs about life and parenting both here at API and at his popular Go Fatherhood Blog.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Ali Harkness August 26, 2010 at 3:21 pm

I completely feel your pain. I have no advice…in fact, I’m in a similar situation. I have a wedding that I must take a 6 hr flight to get to…and a 1yr old. I am having a hard time making the decision to take her on a plane. Anyone have any suggestions or comments??? Somewhere inside I just feel like it’s the wrong thing to do.


Sharron August 29, 2010 at 7:58 pm

Just wanted to say that you are doing more than you know for your children simply by going on vacation with them. Hopefully you will resist the urge to let them invite other friends and continue to make memories as a family. Although there are problems now they will still remember these trips for a lifetime and those memories will become more nostalgic and happy as they get older.

My girls are close in age (8/6/2.5) so our trips are much different. However we couldn’t quite swing a vacation this year so we drove 11 hours to stay in a friend’s lake cabin for a week. We were treated to 5 days of cold rain and no signs of civilization. i was sure they were pretty unhappy with the trip until my mother told me months later that they talked on and on about how fun it was.

You’re doing just great. Try to give each child a turn choosing activities/meals. Always research online first so they can be a part of the planning. Have each child write or draw a journal during the trip. And don’t be too alarmed by the arguing. Sometimes it’s just a coping mechanism for children. They were probably stressed and tired too.


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