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Single Parents Single parents, unite! Single Parent Travel Tips

 
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  #1  
Old 11-04-2009, 10:22 AM
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LauraS LauraS is offline
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Default Single Parents Unite!

Traveling with kids is tough enough -- but doing so as a Single Parent comes with special issues -- such as crossing borders with your kids, or maybe even pricing on resort accommodations!

We hope this forum eases the stress as you share with others your tips and experiences about traveling as a single parent!

Enjoy!

Laura
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  #2  
Old 11-04-2009, 01:12 PM
tourista tourista is offline
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Default Any Single Parents Out There?

I'm a single parent of a 13 yr. old.

We've gone to family resorts & cruised & although we had fun, it would have been a lot more fun for me if we could have connected with some other single parent families.

Anybody else out there in my "boat"?

If so, I'd love to talk with you.

tourista
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  #3  
Old 11-07-2009, 12:56 AM
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HostColleen HostColleen is offline
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Exclamation Careful crossing Canada/Mexico borders

My Dad is a private pilot and one time he and my youngest sister decided to fly to Toronto. He DID NOT consult me prior to do doing so, even knowing that I work in "travel knowledge" for a long time now.

What happened when they landed in Toronto, Canada? They almost could not enter Canada. This was before the new Passport change laws, BTW. Since he did not have a signed letter from my stepmother indicating that she gave permission for my sister to leave with my Dad into Canada, they were about to deny entry. They tried reaching her by phone but were unable to do so. My father is now silently freaking out. So the customs agent decided to take my sister inside by herself, I think she was maybe 12 or 13 at the time, and simply question her as to whether or not she was here willingly, was there any other reason than to come for a vacation, no strife between the parents etc. This all took quite a bit of time. They seemed to find confidence in my sister, i.e. she wasn't in a panic. They were ultimately allowed to enter Canada and stay in Toronto for a few days. But they came VERY close to being turned away.

Lesson here is this. If you are a single parent traveling with your child, make sure you have documentation from your former spouse that you have their permission to take the child out of the USA and if possible, get it notarized. A letter alone should suffice, and that they are reachable by phone even better. International "BAD" custody kidnappings force customs agents force what for my sister and father was just a fun trip planned, into a scary time and almost a ruined trip. They got LUCKY. Had he consulted me, he would have had the letter with him. But that doesn't always happen

Many of you might already know this, but just putting it out there as an IMPORTANT reminder if you are traveling outside USA as a single parent. Plan ahead and get the letter. Then, have a ball during your time with your child/ren!
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  #4  
Old 11-07-2009, 09:18 AM
tourista tourista is offline
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Default Traveling out of country with Single Parent

[Thanks Colleen,

Yes, I learned that I needed a letter signed by my ex when my daughter & I trveled to Mexico a few yrs ago. No one asked for it but we had it just in case. I think the government travel site has an example. We had it notarized.

tourista

& had a letter QUOTE=HostColleen;2888]My Dad is a private pilot and one time he and my youngest sister decided to fly to Toronto. He DID NOT consult me prior to do doing so, even knowing that I work in "travel knowledge" for a long time now.

What happened when they landed in Toronto, Canada? They almost could not enter Canada. This was before the new Passport change laws, BTW. Since he did not have a signed letter from my stepmother indicating that she gave permission for my sister to leave with my Dad into Canada, they were about to deny entry. They tried reaching her by phone but were unable to do so. My father is now silently freaking out. So the customs agent decided to take my sister inside by herself, I think she was maybe 12 or 13 at the time, and simply question her as to whether or not she was here willingly, was there any other reason than to come for a vacation, no strife between the parents etc. This all took quite a bit of time. They seemed to find confidence in my sister, i.e. she wasn't in a panic. They were ultimately allowed to enter Canada and stay in Toronto for a few days. But they came VERY close to being turned away.

Lesson here is this. If you are a single parent traveling with your child, make sure you have documentation from your former spouse that you have their permission to take the child out of the USA and if possible, get it notarized. A letter alone should suffice, and that they are reachable by phone even better. International "BAD" custody kidnappings force customs agents force what for my sister and father was just a fun trip planned, into a scary time and almost a ruined trip. They got LUCKY. Had he consulted me, he would have had the letter with him. But that doesn't always happen

Many of you might already know this, but just putting it out there as an IMPORTANT reminder if you are traveling outside USA as a single parent. Plan ahead and get the letter. Then, have a ball during your time with your child/ren![/quote]
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  #5  
Old 11-09-2009, 02:58 AM
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Talking

Hi tourista,

(great screen name by the way!)

It is great that you had the letter though I AM NOT surprised that Mexico did not check it at the time although I have heard that they have gotten stricter lately, again with the increase if international custody kidnappings, and just kidnappings, everyone is on higher alert. The Agency for Missing and Exploited children is to be commended for all their work on that effort.

Most of US HERE are simply taking children on vacation but unfortunately, if we are leaving America, the letter is required and you will not get out of the country without it. So do be prepared with it before traveling so your plans can proceed and the fun can begin.

I had SOOO many fun trips with my Dad after my parents divorce but all of them were domestic so we never had to worry. But he did good by us as a single father taking us lots of fun places and giving us so many fun memories that I still treasure today!

And I'm hoping to get him to take me up for a plane ride to someplace nice while I am down in PA visiting during the Thanksgiving holidays. Even grown up kids still like to have fun with their Dads!! We took great fun flights when I was a kid and we still do it now! YEAH!! My job is to hold the pre-flight "in plane" checklist and the charts we need for where we fly to. Sometimes he's like "find the airport Colleen!" (He knows where it is, he's testing me!! ugh) Most of the times now the planes have GPS so it's too easy; but with ones that don't I need to use the maps! We wear headsets and can talk during the flight but I know when to shut up when the tower comes on over the radio! That's when he has to do his thing. Makes me feel like a kid again, I guess that's why it's SO special. So ya gotta do all this fun stuff as a single parent, cause from *THIS* person's point of view, it STICKS with you and makes great memories and as an adult, and definitely keeps you close to their hearts! SINGLE PARENT TRAVEL ROCKS!!!!!

And again - outside America, don't forget permission letter from ex to bring child outside USA. Then let the fun begin!!

I'm hoping we can all go to Ireland to see where his Dad lived and grew up (I got Irish citizenship through him!) and would like it to be with my Dad. It would be a "single parent" trip, but I won't need permission, LOL. Just my passports.......American and Irish!! I think I'll start nagging him on Thanksgiving since he's retiring 12/31/09. Why wait?? Maybe it's a girl thing, but you never stop wanting to be with your Dad

It's why I love this thread!!!!

Last edited by HostColleen; 11-09-2009 at 03:05 AM.
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  #6  
Old 11-09-2009, 07:19 AM
tourista tourista is offline
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Default Sincle Parent Travel

Hi Colleen,

It was good to hear how much you now value your earlier travels with your dad because my daughter (13) doesn't seem to appreciate much these days.

Also, it is very hard to plan & pull off big trips single handedly.

Both have made me feel reluctant to take more trips with her lately 'cause she's so-o-o adversarial lately.

It's reassuring to hear she will probably appreciate my efforts later

My sister & I were both closer to my dad as we got older than my brother was. My daughter will probably feel the same about her dad as she gets older. She adores him & values time with him a lot.

It seems that same gender parents & kids often "lock horns" at adolescence.

Oh well, this too shall pass.

Hope you get to go to Ireland with your dad. Never been there but have been to Scotland (have some Scottish heritage) & England. Would love to go to Ireland.

Thanks for your response.

tourista
Quote:
Originally Posted by HostColleen View Post
Hi tourista,

(great screen name by the way!)

It is great that you had the letter though I AM NOT surprised that Mexico did not check it at the time although I have heard that they have gotten stricter lately, again with the increase if international custody kidnappings, and just kidnappings, everyone is on higher alert. The Agency for Missing and Exploited children is to be commended for all their work on that effort.

Most of US HERE are simply taking children on vacation but unfortunately, if we are leaving America, the letter is required and you will not get out of the country without it. So do be prepared with it before traveling so your plans can proceed and the fun can begin.

I had SOOO many fun trips with my Dad after my parents divorce but all of them were domestic so we never had to worry. But he did good by us as a single father taking us lots of fun places and giving us so many fun memories that I still treasure today!

And I'm hoping to get him to take me up for a plane ride to someplace nice while I am down in PA visiting during the Thanksgiving holidays. Even grown up kids still like to have fun with their Dads!! We took great fun flights when I was a kid and we still do it now! YEAH!! My job is to hold the pre-flight "in plane" checklist and the charts we need for where we fly to. Sometimes he's like "find the airport Colleen!" (He knows where it is, he's testing me!! ugh) Most of the times now the planes have GPS so it's too easy; but with ones that don't I need to use the maps! We wear headsets and can talk during the flight but I know when to shut up when the tower comes on over the radio! That's when he has to do his thing. Makes me feel like a kid again, I guess that's why it's SO special. So ya gotta do all this fun stuff as a single parent, cause from *THIS* person's point of view, it STICKS with you and makes great memories and as an adult, and definitely keeps you close to their hearts! SINGLE PARENT TRAVEL ROCKS!!!!!

And again - outside America, don't forget permission letter from ex to bring child outside USA. Then let the fun begin!!

I'm hoping we can all go to Ireland to see where his Dad lived and grew up (I got Irish citizenship through him!) and would like it to be with my Dad. It would be a "single parent" trip, but I won't need permission, LOL. Just my passports.......American and Irish!! I think I'll start nagging him on Thanksgiving since he's retiring 12/31/09. Why wait?? Maybe it's a girl thing, but you never stop wanting to be with your Dad

It's why I love this thread!!!!
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  #7  
Old 11-09-2009, 09:10 PM
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HostColleen HostColleen is offline
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Hi tourista,

Well one thing we can do for you here is to help take some of the difficulty out of planning your trips! Our wide variety of forums and resources here on this website are loaded with info that can cut down your "legwork" so that planning a trip will become almost effortless because we have a lot of well traveled staff working here and a huge number of well traveled members that are SO GREAT about sharing their experiences with each other. So maybe that will help alleviate some of that stress for you insofar as getting these trips together!!

Next, I have an idea. Since you are same sex, i.e. Mother-Daughter, well we have a thread on here, I think it's under the "Family Vacation Planning" label.....
And a lot of folks write about "getting their kids involved in planning vacations" and folks come up with all kinds of ideas - for ALL AGE RANGES. That might help make your daughter a bit more "excited" if she's involved in some aspects of the trip planning or day trips, itinerary ideas, picking sites or helping pick destinations (within reason of course!) etc. It seems to work for a lot of families.

Also, she's at THAT age. No getting around it. Plus, it sounds like you are the custodial parent and so you are the one who has to tell her what to do, not do etc., and that Dad gets to just come around and take her for fun. For me, it was the opposite.......well, I lived with my Mom but it was HORRIBLE and my Dad was always trying to "rescue" us and keep us happy with the little time he had with us. We suffered except when we were with him. I don't need specifics, and this isn't the place for it but it sounds like a "regular type scenario" is what I'm getting. But I think that her AGE is having a lot to do with it.

An idea? She's not quite a full on teen yet, but she "thinks" she is.....how about penciling in a "ladies" day on your next trip. Maybe go to a shop and buy a lipstick together, get manicures or hair done, or pick out a new perfume together - or shoes, something YOU BOTH WOULD HAVE FUN WITH. Of course this would all depend upon where you are, but except for staying in very, very rural places, I can't think of many places where this wouldn't be possible. And be sure to see if it works in your budget as a day's activity. I think it would be something feminine that would make it a fun, happy day filled with laughs as you tried different things, saw what "worked" and what DID NOT, and just spent a day together as "girls" and have FUN!! Takes the pressure off "mother/daughter" type normal arrangement and lightens things up a bit. I think she might have a nice, light easy day and you will too! That might set the pace for an overall more relaxing, there's no homework, chores, etc., thing going on while on vacation!!

I would love for her to be enjoying these vacations now. At first, I was a very confused, upset child myself but when Dad took us away, he made sure we laughed. It IS possible for you to create these moments with her. I think a Dad with two young girls - what does a Man do with them? He figured it out. And he figured it out as we passed through those changing years too. Again, not easy, but we got through it. I always knew he was trying and I'm SURE your daughter knows it too.

Does she like how things are now? Probably not. But you are trying to continue on with life and now she is old enough to a) help participate in some of the planning b) appreciate maybe the idea of a "girls day" early on in the trip to help "set the tone" for things so it becomes more relaxing for the both of you. It's not to say that there aren't rules or to not respect Mom, but to just lighten things up as a vacation SHOULD do!! She's been through stress and it takes a while to relax to it. It takes time, as you know. What she's LUCKY SHE'S GOT IS A MOM WHO CARES ENOUGH TO WANT TO DO THINGS WITH HER!! I only wish I had had that!

And remember, we are HERE for you to help you with plans - you are not alone.....as this thread indicates, and look through the rest of the forums, even if they are "families" doing things, you can just take the ideas for TRIPS and go with their ideas if you are not sure of what to do or how to do it. It's all here!! We got your back!!!

Don't give up tourista!! It will all turn around just fine.
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  #8  
Old 07-23-2010, 10:06 PM
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Hi Single Moms & Dads,

Latest talk on this board has been about getting together and talking travel, maybe even joining in on travel.

You know what? On our sister site, CruiseCritic.com, our members organize "member" trips together all the time! While we are not yet as established as CC.com because our site is still very new - CC.com is in the double digits in years, and I've been around for 14 of them, working on our IndependentTraveler.com (for landlubbers) so anyway, here we are on FVC.com and who's to say we can't adopt some of the great ideas that have been happening on other boards and maybe get them rolling over here?

Getting members together and traveling is NOT hard to do. It just takes getting to know one another on the boards, some PMs maybe and then, choosing a destination, putting down deposits and then OFF YOU GO!! And guess what? A group can start with just two groups of travelers and grow from there once you came back and reported about the success of the FIRST FVC Single Parent Group Getaway! Folks will be posting like crazy about when the next one will be happening!

It's a great phenomenon I've seen happen on both IT.com and it's epidemic on CC.com, so why not get it going on THIS website too! It's a perfect thing for Single Parent families to do together for fun and company, for the grown ups and the kids! Everyone wins

Keep posting, keep getting to know each other and who knows, we could be chatting about the next great big FVC.com planned getaway! We have the best members, why not go ahead and share some great memories!
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  #9  
Old 07-23-2010, 11:02 PM
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Hi JsMom2,

Yes, absolutely you can do that! As I stated, it's done all the time on CC.com and we've had it on IT.com too, and members can and do rally together and plan group trips together of their own planning on the message boards all the time. There are so many group trips going on at this moment, it'd be hard to count them. We just would like that everything is clearly posted on the board for all to see/understand about the trip, i.e. everything is done in our usual "community style" and indeed it would be a great thing to see happen here on the board. You could also post this in our thread in the Family Travel Planning Ideas - (I think) where there are many topics on different types of travel, including a cruise thread. So while your target audience may be Single Parents, you could post that "Single Parent Group Cruise" in the Cruise thread and see what kind of response you get in there as well. Perhaps include a link to the "Single Parents" thread in your post so that the post comes back to you and you can easily keep track of things. Or put it in the post in that thread to come to the "Single Parent's" thread for all the details of the trip. If you decide you want to make it an all out Family Vacation Cruise, that's OK but it's entirely up to you. You might give others the idea to start planning group trips of their own!

Let's see if we can't get something going here! Start making history on FVC.com with some fabulous, member planned, member joined, exciting trips!
This is what it's all about folks - a travel community that has come together, can now really GET together and share good times
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  #10  
Old 08-18-2010, 05:44 AM
simonharryes simonharryes is offline
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Default Re: Single Parents Unite!

In recent years, concern about parental abductions -- where one divorced parent steals the child away from the other one-- has prompted border officials to be more cautious when they encounter a child traveling with just one birth parent.

If you're traveling as a solo parent with your child -- or if the child is traveling with a grandparent or guardian-- at a minimum, the traveling parent should carry a letter of authorization from the absent parent, giving permission for the travel. It's quite likely that, for most countries, you won't be asked to show any travel consent letter -- but better safe than sorry, right?
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