Single parents have challenges unique to the usual trials and tribulations of taking your family on vacation to a foreign country, not the least of which is keeping costs under control. more...
When envisioning family travel to the Caribbean, itís usually the picture-perfect image of a nuclear family frolicking on the beach. And while that may seem to be the ideal, for many itís simply not reality. Single parents deserve vacations with their kids too. But single parents have challenges unique to the usual trials and tribulations of taking your family on vacation to a foreign country, not the least of which is keeping costs under control. And since this is not your typical family vacation, there will be other considerations as well. While your main objective is probably quality family time, busy single parents deserve their downtime too. Fortunately the travel industry has taken heed of the changing needs of family travelers, and there are now options for parents without partners who still want to travel with their kids.
Some of the larger resorts offer single parent specials, or no single supplement offers that can still apply to parents. Choosing a destination that is especially family-friendly, with lots to do for kids, will help keep everyone busy without the worry of feeling singled-out amongst the family travelers in more traditional situations. You may also consider what many families do, and thatís travel with another single-parent family. You will have another grown-up to socialize with, and you can take turns offering alone-time while the kids hang out.
But aside from the usual logistics of making sure everyone has an up-to-date passport and choosing a destination and resort, single parents have legal constraints to consider before they can bring their children out of the country.
In most cases, a child traveling with only one parent, a guardian, or even grandparents or other relatives, must have written and notarized permission from both birth parents or legal guardians to enter many countries. In my experience, Mexico is the most strict about this, but you should consult with your destinationís embassy to confirm before your departure. Mexican law requires that if only one parent (or grandparent, or other guardian) is accompanying a minor under 18 into Mexico, they must bear a notarized letter from the child's other parent (or guardian) granting permission to enter Mexico with the child, including the dates of travel, the accompanying adult's name, contact information, and a notarized signature.
In my experience of traveling with the kids without my husband to Jamaica and Turks & Caicos, we werenít asked to see our consent letter until we were re-entering Canada. Our letters have not been notarized, although I recommend doing so if entering The United States, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands. Notarizing letters in Canada is not as inexpensive or convenient as it is in the US, so Canadian single parents who travel frequently may find it easier and more economical to have an open-ended generic travel letter drafted and notarized that is valid for a year. Divorced parents should be sure to carry notarized custody papers, and widows or widowers should include a legal copy of their spouseís death certificate.
The warmth of the Caribbean embraces families of all shapes and sizes, and a Caribbean vacation is the perfect way to escape your everyday lives and spend quality time together. A recent trend is for amicable divorced parents to vacation together with their children Ė just another way for everyone to get the break they need.
Corinne McDermott is the founder of http://www.havebabywilltravel.com - your guide for family travel with babies, toddlers & young children. Connect with her on Twitter and on Facebook