The best holidays for single parents

 By Cathy Winston, Editor

Booking a great family break can be a tricky task at the best of times – especially during school holidays – as you try to find something to appeal to kids and adults and avoid inflated prices.

So it can seem even more of a challenge as a single parent, with some companies charging supplements if you book for one adult. But as the number of lone parents in the UK grows, tour operators and hotels are offering a bigger range of holidays if you’re travelling solo with kids.

I’ve picked some of the best holidays for single parents with kids of all ages. Follow the links below for details of dates, prices and deposits.

Quick links

BeachUKSkiToursBooking tips

Beach breaks for single parents

There’s a good reason the beach features in most childhood holidays – sand, sea and ice cream usually top most younger kids’ wish lists.

If you’re looking for budget solutions, Siblu has deals for single parent families at its holiday parks across France, many of which are in beautiful locations near lakes and seaside.

Also in the UK, PGL has family adventure holidays that work well for single parents, and the best hotels include Sands Resort in Cornwall and the Merton Hotel in Jersey.

Mark Warner has a great selection of beach club holidays which work particularly well for young children (the childcare is great) and teenagers (who get a lot of freedom to roam the resort). If you’re travelling with young children, avoid school holidays and you’ll keep the costs right down.

On the Italian island of Sardinia, Forte Village resort is a superb family destination where you’ll fit right in if you enjoy sports and activities – and some spa treatments. For more upmarket ideas, visit Club Med.

Ski holidays with kids

If you love skiing – or have kids that do – there’s no reason to miss out on the slopes if you’re a single parent. With more ski companies catering to solo travellers, it’s no surprise that several have introduced breaks for single parents too.

Esprit Ski has trips to suit experienced skiers and total beginners, plus ski classes for kids aged three to 12 as well as guiding and classes for older children. Or if you’re the only one strapping on skis, there’s also Esprit Classic Child Care.

Staying in chalets and Chalet Hotels, there’s a lounge to socialise, delicious dinners – and high tea for younger kids – plus Esprit staff on hand if you need them. And the company also has special offers on some rooms, with one adult sharing with one child at no supplement and the full child discount, even in the school holidays.

For a snow holiday with a difference, there’s not much more magical than a trip to Santa’s Lapland with short breaks in the Arctic Circle, taking reindeer sleigh rides, husky sledding, looking for the Northern Lights and meeting Santa himself. The company also has special offers for single parents at Santa’s Holiday Club hotel.

Single parent tours

There’s no reason why having kids should limit you to beach breaks and staycations if you fancy a more adventurous escape. If you’d prefer not to travel alone, the support and sociability of a group is a great alternative, with plenty of tour operators offering family-friendly trips.

On The Go Tours has some great options for family holidays including safaris, and departures designed specifically for teens or for younger ones. Head to Egypt on a Classic Family Adventure.

A cruise is also a good option for one parent and one child sharing a cabin. Check out these deals from Iglu Cruise.

How about a cycling holiday in the UK? Saddle Skedaddle has group cycling breaks which are family-friendly, including the Lake District and Derbyshire.

Tips for booking single parent holidays

Not all family holidays are made equally – and the same goes for solo parent breaks. But with 25% of UK households with children headed up by single parents, you’re far from alone, so don’t be put off.

If you’re planning your first holiday as a single parent, consider these questions before you book.

Which holiday?

Find out who the holiday is aimed at, or ask the company for details of families who have already signed up. A trip that will delight a toddler isn’t likely to keep a tween or teen happy, and vice versa. If you’re hoping your kids will make friends on holiday, discovering the other children are all five years older or younger isn’t a great start.

If your child has another holiday planned with their other parent, it’s best to avoid any temptation to compare or compete. Try to plan something completely different.

Single parent friendly – or single parent only?

Who else is going to be on the holiday? If you’re looking for a trip that’s exclusively for single parents, it’s worth starting with the specialists as some other companies will mix different family groups. If you (and your children) are newly bereaved or divorced, being surrounded by nuclear families could be particularly hard.

Equally if the trips are aimed at solo travellers, with children ‘allowed’ rather than encouraged to come, it might not be the family memory you’re hoping for.

You might also want to check out our tips on where to go on holiday after a divorce.

What facilities are on offer?

If you’re choosing a hotel, rather than a tour, double check what’s on offer – and whether it applies to school holidays only. Is there babysitting/baby listening or a kids’ club? Are there communal tables for dinner, or early restaurant opening for kids? Can you join in communal activities?

How flexible are these holidays?

If you’re travelling as a group, is every minute spent together or is there time for you as a family as well – assuming you can drag your kids away from their new-found friends?

How much will it cost?

If there’s only one parent travelling, it’s worth making sure if free child places still apply, or checking if they’ll automatically be charged as a second adult. Even when companies don’t charge single supplements outside school holidays, some discounts are restricted so they don’t apply during peak times.

What support will you get?

If something does go wrong, is there anyone you can rely on – a tour leader or holiday host can help with advice as needed, as well as back-up if you’re in an accident, for example.

The best single parent holiday companies will also create a community, with many families returning again and again, and online groups with tips and support outside the breaks themselves.

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Last updated: 10 January 2022

Before you book

Travel guidelines and advice are changing constantly amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Check the latest travel restrictions for UK residents.