How To Travel With Kids One on One


Have you ever thought about taking only one of your children on their own vacation? I'm sharing tips on how to travel with your child one and one, the benefits of parent and child traveling, and places to go! Read How to travel with kids one on and one and start planning your own adventure today!

Have you ever thought about taking only one of your children on their own vacation? I’m sharing tips on how to travel with your child one and one, the benefits of parent and child traveling, and places to go! Read How to travel with kids one on and one and start planning your own adventure today!

Have you ever thought about taking only one of your children on their own vacation? I'm sharing tips on how to travel with your child one and one, the benefits of parent and child traveling, and places to go! Read How to travel with kids one on and one and start planning your own adventure today!

How To Travel With Kids One on One

We travel together as a family quite often. Usually, we take several vacations a year as a family. Derrick and I also travel just as a couple. And I take important vacations all by myself. At the beginning of the year, we sat down as a family and talked about our family travel for the year. This year the boys wanted to switch things up a bit. They want to travel with just one parent. I’ve thought about doing this last year but didn’t want to split them up and have someone miss out on all the family fun. 

But my boys are growing up, and they want to have more involvement in the planning and final say on what we do. 

So, I listen to what they are asking of us. They are saying:

  • I want to spend time with you Mom (or Dad). 
  • I want to be able to decide what we do on our vacation. 

The twins are 14, and the youngest will be 12 in July. I’m realizing more and more how quickly they are growing up, and will soon be gone and taking their own adventures. 

There are many benefits to traveling with just one child:

  • Bonding time spent with your son or daughter. 
  • You get to travel more (since you will be taking several one-on-one trips). 
  • It’s not as expensive (and as long as you set a budget for each trip, you will come out on top!)
  • Sharing priceless memories with your child. 

In a big family, kids can easily get lost in the shuffle. We have three boys, and each one of them demands our attention. I do my best to spend the time to connect with each one of them. I’m watching them grow into young men, and I’m sitting here wondering HOW did this happen? 

When they mentioned the solo trips, I knew this year was the perfect time to start. So, the questions that may come up when trying to plan a solo trip with one child. 

  • How do you decide which child goes first?
  • How much do you budget for each trip?
  • Where do you go, and what activities do you plan to do?
  • How long do you go?
  • When do you go?

I’m sharing how we decided our solo trips, who went first, our budget, and all that jazz below! 

Disney's Animal Kingdom rides

Zayd’n (the youngest) got to go on the first solo trip. During the month of February, he has a winter break from school. The twins are no longer at the same school, so Zayd’n was the obvious choice. 

For our solo trips, we decided just 2-3 days would be ideal. Since the other kids are at home, the other parent is in charge of holding down the fort. Going away for just 2-3 days gives you enough to spend time with your child, create some memories, and also save money. 

For our budget, I decided to treat each trip on a case by case basis. My initial budget was set for $500. However, depending on the activities we had planned (like going to Disney), I estimated to add those extra expenses. 

For Zayd’n’s solo trip, I knew I wanted to go somewhere warm. We typically travel to Florida during the winter months (because of Michigan, hello!).  

Here’s how you can save money by going during the winter months:

  • If you can, pull your kid(s) out of school. It’s not peak season, and you will save more money on a hotel, airfare, and car rental. 
  • Instead of picking a destination, look for destinations with cheap airfare and go there. 
  • If you have multiple airports within driving distance, be sure to check all of those airports to see which location is more affordable. 
  • When traveling during off peak season, you have wiggle room to negotiate on car rental, hotel, and even your activities. 
  • Use sites like Groupon or Living Social to find discounted deals on hotels, restaurants, and activities. 
  • Start planning early. You will find cheap airfare deals start dropping at the beginning of each year, and the winter and fall seasons are the cheaper times to travel. {Read: Best time to buy Airplane Tickets}

I started planning our solo trip in January (a month before our vacation). If I were planning a family vacation, I would have started planning our trip sooner. However, since it was just two people, I was able to put it all together in a short amount of time. 

I always start with looking for the best airfare deals. I look at the best times to travel, which airline has the better deal, and making sure it aligns with my dates. 

 I use Spirit Airlines quite often to find good deals. Many people sleep on Spirit. Yes, they are a low budget airline, but they tell you that upfront. Searching on their site, I was able to find tickets from Detroit to Tampa for $43 each way. Then it was cheaper to fly out from Orlando to Dallas. That’s when I decided to split our vacation up and hit two destinations in one swoop. Our tickets from Orlando to Dallas was $23 each! Our final flight home from Dallas was $37 bucks. That’s a total of $103 for each ticket! 

That’s a total of $103 for each ticket! It was cheaper to add in the Dallas destination versus flying back home. 

Things to do in Orlando

We spent three days in Orlando and three days in Dallas. Here’s how we set up our itinerary:

We arrived in Tampa on a Tuesday afternoon. After our Kia Sportage was delivered to us in collaboration with KIA and DriveShop, we headed down to the Orlando Inn and checked into our room at the Mission Inn Resort. 

Mission Inn Resort Orlando

Zayd’n immediately wanted to jump into the pool. 

Mission Inn Resort

It’s safe to say he was having a good time. While he was in the pool, I was able to sit back and soak in the warm sun! After a game of ping pong (Zayd’n won), we changed our clothes to head down to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. When Zayd’n and I sat down to make our plans, going to Disney (again) was one of the top things on our list. Animal Kingdom has quite the line-up of new shows, interactions, rides, and even staying open up later to highlight Animal Kingdom at night. So of course, we had to start there first.

Disney's Animal Kingdom Tree of Life at night

We made it into Disney in time for a few rides, the Rivers of Light show, fireworks, and of course, some Disney celebration! You can read about the top things to do at Animal Kingdom at night

Disney's River of Light Attraction

The next day we were up early to spend more time at Animal Kingdom. 

Disney's Animal Kingdom Safari Ride at night

After reserving our top rides and shows via the fast pass, we headed on the safari ride to check out all the animals. Now, we’ve done this Safari ride several times, but each time you see something different, and the story line is never the same. 

Disney's Animal Kingdom Safari Ride at night

{Look at the baby elephant!}

After our exciting adventure on the safari ride, we met up with friends. One of Zayd’n’s friend and his family was at Disney too! How cool was that? Their boys go to the same school as Zayd’n and had planned their family vacation to Universal and Disney. When I found out (via Zayd’n) that they were going to be there at the same time, I knew we had to meet up! 

Zayd’n didn’t have his brothers, but he had a BLAST with his friend and brother. The H family are friends of ours, so we had fun hanging out together for the rest of the day. Zayd’n was able to go on rides with his friend, as well as drag me on the Mount Everest ride (it’s seriously not scary as they told me it would be lol). 

things to do at Disney

It rained on and off all day, but we didn’t let that stop us from experiencing Disney’s magic. After taking in a few shows (The Lion King and Finding Nemo), we took the bus over to Hollywood Studios. 

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lion King show

{my favorite show!}

Hollywood Studios has a cool new Starwars night show. It rained on and off during the show, but we were able to enjoy it. After the show was over, we made our way to Magic Kingdom in time for the fireworks. 

Magic Kingdom Fireworks

It’s so cool seeing the castle lit up at night! One good thing about going to Disney in the rain, is there are no lines. Zayd’n and I was able to go on a few rides again and again! We stayed until the park closed! We had to take the bus back over to Animal Kingdom, and it wasn’t too hard to locate our KIA Sportage! 

After a long day, we needed rest. We slept in, then had a delicious breakfast from the buffet at Mission Inn Resort. After exploring the resort for a little bit and the surrounding areas, we headed to Flipper’s for Pizza. Flipper’s has the BEST pizza in the Orlando area! 

best pizza in Orlando- Flippers

We made it to the airport and on to our next destination- Dallas. After arriving and making a pit stop at In-N-Out, we headed to Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine. There are a ton of family-friendly things to do in the Grapevine area. 

Things to do in Grapevine TX for families

We explored Grapevine, spent time in the water at the Great Wolf Lodge, took in a few sights in downtown Dallas, and even snuck in a trip to Waco (this was totally for me. I had to take another trip to Magnolia Market!). 

Visiting Magnolia Market

The last question you may ask, how do the other children handle seeing all the fun while they are at school?

Well, we told each child they would have their turn, and we would do things THEY wanted to do. Yes, they were slightly bummed, but overall they were not jealous. They know we will keep our word and take them each on their solo adventure. And now that my solo trip with Zayd’n is over, I’m planning the next one! 

KIA Sportage

While we were in Orlando, we had a chance to drive the 2017 KIA Sportage. I recently drove this car while out in the LA area, so I was familiar with it. I loved how this compact SUV feels like a car but is still sporty enough to be considered an SUV. 

2017 KIA Sportage Car Review

Things I love about the 2017 KIA Sportage:

  • Great gas mileage (we averaged about 25.8 MPG, and this was 90% city driving)
  • Panoramic Sunroof with Power Shade
  • Heated and Cooling Seats 
  • Smart Power Liftgate which is great for when you have full hands. 
  • Lane Departure Warning which is a great safety feature that tells you when you drift into a new lane. 

You can find more information on the Kia Sportage and other models by going to their website. 

2017 KIA Sportage

The KIA Sportage seats five people and was perfect for our adventure in Orlando. Our resort was about 20 miles from Disney, so we did a lot of driving back and forth. Considering the drive from Tampa to Orlando, back and forth from the resort to the Orlando tourist area, our average of 25 MPG was impressive. And with the hot weather, the cooling option on our seats was a nice treat. 

Traveling with one child

What did Zayd’n think about going with one parent?

Hi, my name is Zaydn Worthey! Going to Dinsey World with only one parent and no siblings was kinda fun and boring because most of the time it was just me riding all the rides, but it was fun getting to ride all the rides with others kids. My friend Patrick and his family were at Disney, and I had fun riding rides and hanging out with him. We got to see awesome late night live shows that were colorful and magical. It was beautiful and a lot of different lights. The weather was awesome, and it was sunny and clear. After we had left Disney World and Orlando, we flew to Dallas and went to Great Wolf Lodge. We got to explore Grapevine and some of the Dallas area. We did some cool stuff like going to Perot Science Museum, and going to the sports section and learning about sports and science. At Great Wolf Lodge, I had fun playing arcade games and going swimming. Thank you GrapeVine for making our stay so much fun!

KIA Sportage and Orlando

After six days together, it was time to go home. I have to honestly say I enjoyed our solo trip just as much as Zayd’n. We were able to talk about things going on in his life, his friends, school, girls he may be interested in, his goals in life, and so much more. We shared many laughs together, and it was totally awesome just to treat one child. Yes, traveling with just one child is a must! 

 

Have you taken just one of your kids on vacation? If so, drop me a line and share your thoughts and tips! If not, what do you think about this idea and would you try it? 

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11 Comments

  1. April 27, 2017
    Reply

    I need to actually do this with my 12yr old who is autistic. I may have to do it with Kyle my 16yr old as well since he’s leaving the household next year for college. Gotta spend some one on one time with him before he leaves. I tend to do a lot with Madison as she’s the baby but I will follow your tips. BTW I have a love/hate relationship with Spirit. 🙂

  2. April 28, 2017
    Reply

    Fantastic tips!! I am intimidated to do this but I will have to give it a go!!

  3. Elizabeth O.
    April 29, 2017
    Reply

    That’s really awesome. I think solo trips with kids are important. It’s nice to spend time with the kids but having one of them with you at a time is also really going to help with your relationship with them.

  4. kelly reci
    April 29, 2017
    Reply

    woah! that looks lilke a lot of fun with your son! looks very interesting places!! im sure your son loves to travel with you!

  5. Neha Saini
    April 29, 2017
    Reply

    Having read all these awesome and really helpful tips for the holy reason :p , I’m just waiting for my kids to grow this mature and understanding.

  6. Rosey
    April 29, 2017
    Reply

    My kids always want to jump in the pool first thing too. This sounds like it was a really nice trip!

  7. April 29, 2017
    Reply

    What amazing memories you are making with your children. So thoughtful of you to take them one on one.

  8. Annemarie LeBlanc
    May 1, 2017
    Reply

    I wish I could do that with my kids but of course, they’d be very impatient waiting for their turn. I think this would be nice for short road trips. It would be a good chance for parents to talk to their child and to child open up with his parents on things that bother him or make him happy.

  9. This is such a good idea and I wish I had done this when my kids were small. I took them everywhere I went but I’m sure they would have enjoyed one on one vacation time.

  10. Catvills
    May 1, 2017
    Reply

    I like this idea of one on one travel with your kids. It gives them a chance to open up about anything and every thing without a sibling chiding them. I might do this sometime soon!

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