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Solo Mom Adventure. Doesn’t that sound like the heavenly elixir you’ve been needing since giving birth to your kids?
Now before you allow that mom guilt to come flying in and cancel your solo travel plans immediately, allow me to help push that aside so you can deal with just the truth. You deserve it and your family will be okay!
Your kids and husband will be better off for it as you’ll return a refreshed and rejuvenated woman fully appreciating what you have at home.
Plus, you’re bound to bring back a souvenir or two for the kids, which will take away any of their evil eyes that cursed your leaving.
As Carl Jung says, “The greatest tragedy of the family is the unlived lives of the parents.”
It’s important they see you pursuing dreams and experiencing joy and all those positive benefits that come from travel. It helps them see possibilities for themselves and not feel guilty about it.
So, grab your passport and pack your bags. In this post, I’ll share with you a few pros and cons of solo travel, the wide range of emotions you’ll feel, and tips for a happy solo mom trip.
My First Solo Mom Trip
For a little context, most of the tips and stories in this post will be based on my recent trip to Greece for the TBEX travel blogging conference. I presented a session on how to create a business that doesn’t rely solely on Google or Instagram algorithms and like any good Australian, I used that opportunity to travel longer in Greece, exploring Athens and the Peloponnese peninsula.
Aussies typically don’t consider going to a foreign country for just a couple of days. Even 10 days was too short.
It was my first solo trip in over 20 years, so it was equal parts daunting and thrilling. I’ve traveled on my own before, but as part of a larger blogger trip.
This vacation was an independent vacation where I was responsible for where I went and what I did. I loved it and plan to do more of it. I have already planned a trip to Banff National Park in September to attend a retreat my friend is running!! (I also encourage my other half to do the same! Family breaks are vital to the wellbeing and mental health of everyone!)
This content is sponsored by Allianz Partners (AGA Service Co.) and I have received financial compensation, but all opinions expressed are my own.
Get Travel Insurance
We always recommend that you leave home WITH a travel insurance policy in place and purchase it the moment you start booking your flights or accommodation, not waiting until the night before you depart!
The peace of mind of a travel insurance policy is especially important as a solo mom traveler so you can get that extra help should anything go wrong.
We have an annual travel insurance policy with Allianz Travel – our long-term partner and sponsor of this content, so we don’t have to worry about purchasing a policy for every trip. We can just pack our bags and walk out the door!
We hope you never have to use your travel insurance policy, but you’ll definitely want one for security and peace of mind. Should something unexpected happen that is covered by your policy, it can save you hundreds, potentially thousands of dollars in lost pre-paid expenses.
One of the added benefits of having travel insurance if renting a car is you may be able to skip the added extra expense of purchasing a Collision Damage Waiver depending on your policy, as rental car loss/damage coverage is included in some single trip and annual travel insurance policies. You may also be able to add it to your policy if it’s not!
Traveling in Europe, especially during peak season, can be a headache with delays and lost luggage. Your travel insurance policy may also help you in those instances. I almost missed my connecting flight in Paris, I was grateful I had my insurance policy to help me if I did and incurred any extra expenses.
The Wide Range of Emotions on your Solo Trip
Your wildly swinging hormones have taught you for years that life is never linear, it’s a ball of yarn after a cat has played with it.
Your solo mom trip will have the same up and down emotions. Here’s a few of the oscillations between pros and cons, joys and sadness.
You’ll appreciate your family more
It’s hard to appreciate your family when you’re stuck in the mire of family life 24/7. You can never find the space to take a shower most days, let alone reflect on why your loved ones are so important to you.
This mom adventure will give you the space to remember why you love your family, what makes your bond so unique and awesome, and help you consider how you want to continue to build on that as you do life together.
After only a couple of days on my trip, I sent Craig a text message, “First stop when we’re empty nesters is Greece.” And then the girls, “Next year, let’s do a cruise around the Greek Islands.”
I may have been taking a short break from the demands of mom life, but I never take a break from adventuring with my family. Spending time away from them helps me to see just why I love it so much.
The joy of solo travel vs missing your kids
You’ve been riding the roller coaster of emotions since you first fell pregnant, so you’ve got this. You’ll move through contrasting feelings of enjoying the freedom of traveling on your own to missing experiencing it with your special people.
But you and your family have made this sacrifice, so enjoy it.
I look for that human connection by talking with the local people and other travelers I encounter along the way. Mostly that will be tour guides, waiters, and other travelers.
And while you may feel sadness when you experience the joy of a particular moment or beautiful view with your most beloved people, and they are not there, the joy of this brief interlude of mom freedom and peace will hold you up from collapsing in a pile of tears.
Savor the Experience
Make that your mantra. For this brief solo trip, you have permission to do nothing else but be present and sink into being YOU.
You can linger longer over a coffee in cafes. You can read all the signs now in the museum. You can converse with the locals as you move about their community, you can laze about at resort bools and beaches, and you can drive along the coastline at your own pace with the windows down and Pearl Jam blasting on the radio!
Just make sure you buy a return plane ticket, otherwise you just might not make it home. Savoring mom chores just doesn’t have the same kind of buzz.
This is your one chance – possibly the only opportunity you’ve had for decades – to reconnect with YOU, the true You that got buried underneath a pile of dirty diapers and carpool runs.
Who are you? What do you love to do? You have the freedom now to explore your curiosities and interests.
Remember, we’re savoring and we’re making the most of this sacrifice of leaving your family behind to fend for themselves.
Make every tour, attraction, meal and driving path have purpose for the enrichment of YOUR spirit. You don’t have to say no because the oldest child will get bored, or the youngest is just too young!
Share the journey with those you left behind
Back in the old days, it was postcards that kept our loved ones connected to our travels. Except they usually arrived long after we got home!
Now you can keep your kids in the loop by sending them messages right in the moment. You can even facetime them while swinging across the jungle canopy (although I don’t recommend it).
I like to send my girls photos of things I encounter that I know they love or have a passion for. Kalyra also watches my Instagram stories and I know she enjoys seeing what I’m doing.
As we’re new kitten owners, and are cat obsessed ladies, I sent the girls photos of all the cats in Greece. There are many!
You’ll always feel you’re missing something
No matter how hard you try, you won’t ever shake the feeling that you’re missing something the entire time you’re traveling. It’s part of the hole in the heart of missing those little cherubs that have been attached to your body parts since conception.
But the other constant feeling that something is not right will come from the now huge gap caused by you not having to account for multiple people.
You don’t have to count the kids and all their luggage to make sure you’re not missing anyone or anything. You can just get up and walk away with yourself.
It’s an unusual feeling. I guarantee you’ll keep looking back over your shoulder as you walk away from anywhere convinced that you’re leaving something behind.
It’s unnerving but also light and freeing. You only have to do the “wallet, house keys, phone, bag” check for yourself.
You’re responsible for everything on your trip
Some may argue this is nothing new for a mom, but it does mean you have to be extra vigilant and prepared.
You’re responsible for the planning, the reservations, the rental car driving, showing up on time, where you eat, and of course, your personal safety.
It wasn’t a big deal for me – and I’m sure you’re used to doing most of these travel planning tasks anyway – and let’s face it, getting yourself somewhere on time is easy sans family. But there was that moment when the car rental guy showed me the tire kit in case, I got a flat…
“Faarrrrrk. I don’t know what to do!”
At that stage it was too late to take a class, and I had no Wi-Fi to watch a YouTube video. All I had was a daily prayer to please keep the tires intact and the plan to stay off pothole filled roads!
It’s being the sole problem solver and action taker if these kinds of things happen that will raise your discomfort level.
Hey, but at least for the duration of your solo trip, you don’t have to monitor all the kids’ suitcases and account for where they are every second.
You won’t have fingers prying your eyes open with the crow of the rooster, and you won’t be having to place a screaming child under a dinner table praying they’ll calm down so you can enjoy the plate of perfectly cooked octopus in front of you.
No need to guzzle the glass of wine to calm your nerves, you can simply sip and savor while you watch the foreign world go by.
Practical Tips for Solo Mom Travel
These tips will help you plan for, and have a happy, and secure (not foolproof) trip!
Travel at a less chaotic family lifetime
I didn’t get this choice as I was tied to the TBEX conference schedule in Kalamata Greece, but, if you can plan your solo trip at a time that’s not too hectic for those you left behind.
It worked out that we didn’t have too much on. Kalyra even had an overnight field trip, which made things a little easier for Craig. And we only had one soccer game left for Savannah.
He did have to take Savannah on a window-shopping trip with her friends, which was a fun new experience for him!
Plan your itinerary in advance
You’re used to doing a hundred things at once and often on the fly, give the mom in you a break and plan your trip in advance so you can just show up and enjoy it.
You’ll be surprised at how easy this is when it’s just you that you’re planning for!
You don’t have to worry about finding kids playgrounds or kid-friendly museums or scheduling in nap breaks – well maybe if that’s your adult thing.
On this solo mom trip, you have permission and the freedom to take care of only YOUR interests.
But leave flexibility
Unless you have to book tours, be prepared to move your itinerary around so you can account for anything else interesting that pops up or for bad weather interruptions.
I swapped days around in Nafplio when I encountered a day of rain.
As nothing was booked in, I was able to move the beach road trip to the next day with perfect sunny weather, and instead visit the ancient historical sites of Mycenae and do wine tasting in Nemea, neither of which really was weather dependent.
Consider your safety
The energy was buzzing on my last night in Old Town Nafplio. I had a lovely dinner, caught the remains of the sunset on the harbor and considered popping into a bar for a drink before walking the quiet alleyways home.
In all honesty, I think it would have been perfectly safe to do so. But my safety radar was on, and after a small group of three men lasciviously looked at me on the harbor, and lingered nearby, I decided no drink was worth placing myself in that kind of danger.
I went back to my hotel at a decent hour for an early night.
I think moms have spent so many years sucked up by the chaos of mom life with unkempt hair and clothes covered in vomit and food scraps, they may forget that they could in fact be a target for a crime.
This is not to scare you. I felt safe traveling on my own, but we still must be aware. Trusting your gut is your first solid line of defense.
I did have a man approach me in the parking lot in Nafplio by the beach on a busy day. I was getting into the car, and he started asking me all the questions – “What’s your name and how long are you here for?”
“Angela, and I’m leaving for Athens right now. “Even though I was staying two more nights. He then asked if I was married, and smiled sheepishly and walked away as soon as I said yes.
Act confident and bold rather than scared but be ready to act. I was ready to pounce and yell if I needed to and there were plenty of people around which helped me to stay calm.
Wear your wedding ring if you are married and frequently mention your partner in conversations. You can say they’re shopping and you’re on your way to meet them.
This also goes for wearing a money belt and not carrying expensive items as it’s just going to be you, defending yourself against any attempted robberies or pick pockets.
To be honest, I had many people tell me to watch my belongings, especially in Athens. I did not experience any suspicious people that made me worry about this.
But again, don’t take any unnecessary risks. Wear a money belt with minimal cash and keep your passport locked in the safe in the room.
Here are more in-depth safety tips for solo female travel.
Hire a Reliable Car
This is your trip to tap back into freedom – there’s no better way to do that than by traveling with a car. I loved not being tied to anyone’s schedules – public transport or people – for a few blissful days.
I could go off the beaten path and discover wineries with the best red wine I’ve ever had, or stunning beaches along the coastline and hidden waterfalls along a hiking trail. A few tips:
- As you’re on your own, you can save money with a smaller car.
- Rent an auto if you have little experience with a manual
- Hire a car with GPS – I thought of this when it was too late
- Rent a car from a reliable provider (you can filter by ratings on DiscoverCars.com)
- Be sure you are covered with insurance. If you have travel insurance, rental car loss/damage coverage may be covered.
- Reserve parking ahead of time at your hotel (I nearly got caught out with my Athens hotel, luckily, they had space)
- Research toll road costs (and payments) as well as parking options beforehand so you’re prepared.
Download Google Maps
This is especially important if you have no internet connection and are driving. You can download the maps of the areas you are visiting so you can still use them offline. I would still be driving around Athens if I didn’t do this.
Make sure you have a clear idea of where you are going before you start, so you can find yourself should your maps fail.
I have all my potential stops, attractions, restaurants, and cafes mapped out before I leave home, so I always know where I’m going on my maps.
Who do you call if there’s an issue?
When I picked up my rental car, and the attendant showed me the flat tire kit, I had a miniature panic attack. I don’t know how to change a tire.
So that may be something you want to learn before you travel solo. It was too late for me, and I just had to drive away praying nothing would happen and avoid those unpaved roads and potholes. Or check if they offer roadside assistance?
This is my warning to you. Be prepared with emergency numbers etc. you can call the destination you’re traveling to. I didn’t even have a cell phone connection, so I was in trouble.
I spent so many years traveling before the internet and loving that feeling of no one knowing where you are. So I dived back into that gleefully, choosing not to do the expensive $10 a day roaming cost from AT&T.
Unfortunately, AT&T locks your phone if they are on a plan, so you have no other option for getting connected. That’s a big boo hiss to AT&T.
I’m now looking at moving to Google Fi or T Mobile who offer unlimited plans without this nonsense. And apparently Verizon doesn’t lock your phones either, so you can get a very cheap eSim. (Airalo are great for cheap rates for eSims for unlocked phones.)
Take a selfie stick or small tripod
I really hope you don’t have to take as many photos as I do on a trip. I do this for a living so I’m alternating between DSLR and smart phone videos and photos. But I couldn’t travel without this job, so I do the best I can and still enjoy myself even though work is a part of it.
Craig is usually our photographer, so I hated being solely responsible for this. It also meant I didn’t get that many photos of me enjoying myself on this mom solo trip!
I had a small selfie stick/ tripod, but it wasn’t a good one and it couldn’t hold the weight of my phone. Test that out before you leave.
Honestly, I hate selfies and am terrible at taking them. I much prefer to ask a stranger to take a photo for me. Really make an effort to do this as you’ll regret not capturing your smiling face in the memories. These are solo moments to savor!!
Organize the home before you’re gone (as little as possible)
A happy home while you’re gone means less worry for you while you’re away and more future trips.
If you have a partner at home with the kids, they are more than capable of taking care of things while you’re gone, so, leave them the responsibility.
But we all know that moms tend to have their pulse on All The Things.
I tend to write a list of appointments that are happening while I’m gone. Although Craig and I now have synchronized Google calendars this is less of an issue.
How else can you organize the home so there will be less issues?
Can you call for extra help or tasks like carpooling for school drop-offs? We carpool with our neighbors, and I always give them the heads up when I’m going (or when Craig goes away).
Generally, we handle it okay (our girls go to different schools so it’s an extra challenge) but our neighbors are willing to lend an extra hand when one of us is gone. We also do not have any extended family, so we have to rely on neighbors and friends.
You may even arrange for a sleepover or play date with your kid’s friends (at their homes!) to help give your partner a break while you’re gone. Then they can sip and savor at home on the couch.
Some moms may even batch cook and freeze food before they leave. I’ve done things like that before when going away on work trips, but soon stopped when I realized Craig was more than capable of dishing up what the girls say, “You know we’re just going to get pasta, steak and sausages while you’re gone.”
Ain’t nothing wrong with that my dears!
Final Thoughts about Solo Travel as a Mom
Do it. That’s all you need to know. Start saving now. Talk to relevant parties at home and discuss where, when, and the benefits to all of you.
Travel is a powerful transformative tool. Use it to your advantage to help you become a better mother, spouse, friend, and person.
Your family will thank you for giving them the permission to do the same. And your soul will thank you for giving it that much needed nourishment.
My question is where are you going first? And if you have any more tips, please leave them in the comments below…