Single Parent Holidays – How to Travel Light with Children

How to travel light with children
Women and Divorce
Wendi Schuller
Author of
The Global Guide to Divorce

There are tricks to packing for a holiday to make life easier, whether going alone or with the kids.  My sons and I usually only have carry on, and in order to do this we have perfected a few practices.

We save socks and underwear with a hole in them for holidays, so they can be worn and thrown away on the trip. Trousers and shoes that still look okay but are getting a bit worn, are also packed and discarded too.

When my sons were little, I took almost outgrown clothes and left them behind in the hotels with a note.

I went to South Africa right after my divorce and the nice looking shirts that my ex had given me, were worn and donated to a local charity. I went to Egypt with a stuffed carry on and got rid of most of my clothes and had room for many souvenirs.

I do not take a handbag, but only a money pouch that can also hold a few other essentials like lip balm. I carry a small bag for books, snacks, an umbrella, etc around the city or while on tours which takes up no space in my suitcase. I take a larger tote bag as my personal item when travelling, that is roomier than a handbag.

Have a small travel wardrobe that washes well in a hotel or cabin’s sink and can be hung up to dry. This includes nice dresses in washable silk, for more formal affairs. I use the shampoo to wash clothes that is provided by the hotel or ship.

Magazines have foundation, lotion, and serum samples that I save for holidays. I get facials at Neal’s Yard and they are generous with trip size containers of their wonderful products.

How to Travel Light A pharmacy has special days where companies come in and hand out small promotional size goodies in their skin care lines. Stash these away for your next holiday, including the small tubes of toothpaste from your dentist.

I save small eye cream and lip balm containers and put my own creams and lotions into them to save space when packing toiletries.

Our local library has a rack where people leave their magazines and pick up other ones. I get some of these freebies for a trip. I read a book and often leave it in the ship or hotel’s library to lighten my load. Some people swear by the plastic bags that take the air out of clothes and squash them for more packing space, however I have not had much luck with these.

Business travellers often take apparel in just two or three colours to mix and match more easily, especially when they have both casual and formal functions.

When travelling with children, accept strangers’ help.

My toddler had a meltdown in an airport and I was losing my cool. I happily let a grandmother entertain him in his stroller with a new toy that she was giving her grandson. I had a newborn and a pre-schooler on a flight when the man sitting in front of us graciously got my stroller and kids’ luggage down from the overhead locker. Then Tiger Woods even insisted that we got off the plane before him.

Wrap up activity books, travel sized games and other entertaining small toys and dole them out on the trip. I gave my young sons medication for their ears on flights after consulting with their paediatrician, since the other remedies did not help their Eustachian tubes.

I took premeasured formula in a container that held three individual bottles’ worth and only had to put water in the bottle. I dumped in the right amount of powdered formula for each bottle given and this made travelling with a baby very easy. Of course carry extra snacks since there can be flight delays.

One doctor thought she would be smart and gave her young sons an anti-histamine on a long haul flight to get them to sleep most of the way. It was a trip from Hell. She said for the entire flight they screamed and cried like when they were on the verge of sleep at home, but were cranky and did not nap at all on the plane.

This is quoted by many folks, “Take twice the money and half of the clothes that you think that you will need on a trip.”



Wendi Schuller is a nurse, hypnotherapist and is certified in Neuro-linguistic Programing (NLP).

Her most recent book is The Global Guide to Divorce and she has over 200 published articles.

She is a guest on radio programs in the US and UK. Her website is

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