Planning a gap year?


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But feeling a little daunted?

Not sure which way to turn?

Wondering where you'll end up

And what might happen along the way?

Fear not!!

We have loads of tips and advice to share with you

From our own amazing Family Gap Year!

Single Parent Gap Year

Travel for the young is a part of education, for the old, a part of experience.” Francis Bacon

Don’t let being a lone parent put you off travelling.

Yes, a scary business and I spent many hours wondering if I was doing the wrong thing, taking them away from home and out into a world that was in all likelihood still going to be there in ten years time. But it was something that I wanted to do very badly and I wanted the children to experience my joy and satisfaction in travelling. I also wanted them to get to know me rather than the stressed out harried mum who always was rushing.

There were a lot of things that I had to do different because of the fact that I was a single parent. I couldn't rely on a father to look after them if I fell down a manhole or became ill etc. I had to prime the kids to be self sufficient and impress on them the need to be so without scaring them or without making them into precocious little know it alls who were so full of themselves because they 'travelled round the world'.

What I did before I left:

  • I needed to teach the children a degree of self sufficiency so they could phone their aunt in England from Malaysia/Malawi without panicking.

  • I needed to teach them our itinerary and the names and places and contacts of the hotels that we had pre booked so if something went wrong they knew where they needed to be

  • They had to learn the dialing codes home and the important numbers for various contacts in the various countries

  • They had to learn to pack and unpack their own stuff

  • They had to learn to do laundry

  • They had to learn how to use banking machines and the internet. Internet for research, data storage and email and they had their own blogs.

What I learnt along the way:

  • It wasn't a surprise but we did get sick and tired of each others company and I would have given my eye teeth for a break at certain times

  • I learnt that if you stayed in campsites in the holiday season the kids got to meet and play with lots of other kids

  • I learnt campsites were more lonely for me

  • I learnt that hotels were posher but often more lonely and insular for all of us

  • I learnt that youth hostels were fun but many of the people were just that, youth and I was something of an oddity to them.

  • I learnt that hostels were good in that I could send the kids to bed yet just be down the corridor so I could have some adult time with some of the other travellers.

What I wished I had done:

  • I wished I'd networked before I left. Met up with other families doing the same thing, arranged to meet along the way, share our fears and boost each others courage

  • I wished I'd saved a little longer and got a bigger campervan in Australia because it would have made a big difference to our comfort

  • I would have liked to have met more children along the way so my girls could have had other children to play with.

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