The First Solo Parent Travel Group Trip

18 Jul

It’s now only three days away from the first group trip of my Meetup group, Solo Parent Travel.

I have bitten off far more than I chew with my grand idea to organise a snow trip for us all. So now I’m chewing like mad. In Australia the snow is very, very expensive. It’s hard to get to, impossible to afford accommodation, the surrounding towns are a bit of a distance away and all in all it’s a pretty pathetic skiing experience. I say this with all fondness, but honestly, we’ve got nothing on Europe, Japan or even New Zealand. Nonetheless, it’s an ideal trip to try and organise for single parents, because no one would be able to afford to do it alone and it is an amazing chance to show our babies the snow, and let them explore a new landscape.

From Sydney it’s about a six hour drive. The first challenge was to get a mini bus that would allow us to fulfill all of the requirements for car seats and children! Australia has car seat laws that require an anchor strap that goes to a bolt behind the seat, as well as lap sash attachments. Do you think I could find a mini bus with at least four of the anchor strap points? It took days and days of research. Finally, I found one. But it needed a special licence to drive – a bus licence, whereas normal mini buses can use a car license. ARRGGHH.

Off I go to try and employ our own bus driver. It’s pretty hard to find and employ your own driver and pick one that you won’t mind sharing a cabin with! I also had the added pressure (jokingly) placed on me by the mamas. Could I please find a single,cute, bus driver who may be up for a little fun!? I’m not sure I succeeded on that point, but he’s a safe, experienced guy (DRIVING. NOT IN BED. WELL THAT WE KNOW ABOUT YET!)

Then onto accommodation. Cheap, able to sleep multiple families and be flexible enough that co-sleeping mamas could cosleep in comfort, mama’s that prefer their kids in their own bedroom could have two rooms, and mamas that didn’t mind sharing a room as long as it has a cot for their bubs also had space for that option.

I think it was at this point I started to question my sanity! We were up to five families, five toddlers, all aged 18months-3 years, and one 10 year old boy. We were too big a group for most of the houses. We couldn’t afford some of the options. So I settled on 3 bedroom cabins in a cabin park. Warm, cosy, self-catering with laundries and lounge rooms but by booking three of these cabins in a row meant we had room to spread out and still have privacy too.

I decided that I wasn’t happy enough just co-ordinating a cheap trip. I wanted single parents to be able to enjoy themselves so decided to also take along our own nanny. That’s luxury! After two nannies dropped out, it looks like our third is really actually going to get on the bus with us. She will take the kids one day to allow the parents to ski, tube, board or toboggan alone. And she’ll also look out for them at night if we decide to go out for dinner and drinks when our babies are asleep! Heaven.

That seemed like the last piece of the puzzle. Until I felt the urge to created branded merchandise. We needed tote bags full of toys for the bus! We needed t-shirts! We needed branding along side our hired van! Yes indeedy. So I spent my own money on an order of promotional stuff, just for the fun of it! That’s it in the picture.

Wish us luck!

x

Jody (ps. I know there are far too many exclamation points in this blog entry. But I am truly excited!!!!!!!)

 

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