Single mom friends vacation together

Morghan helps Helena catch dinner.


This post originally appeared  in The Huffington Post  and here in September, 2012. It’s about vacationing with my SMILF BFF Morghan and her two kids. We’ve since made other trips and taken other vacations, and remain close, even as our families have changed. 

I want all single moms to have the kind of supportive friendship Morghan and I shared through our divorces and early days as solo moms. That is why I created Single Mom Society, the new forum for professional single moms to  hang out, dish on divorce, kids, sex, dating, money, career — and make friends. 


Traveling alone with kids is rife with challenges: the logistics of packing, maneuvering, organizing and entertaining while away from home are doubled — tripled, I say! — if you go at it alone. Plus, there is the loneliness factor.

Here’s an excerpt from the essay:

We were two moms in different stages of divorce, each armed with a 2- and a 4-year old, sharing a lake house for the week. Along for the ride was Sabine, a French babysitter, who pitched camp in the basement master suite where she entertained the kids while Morghan and I slept in. We’d booked the place at the last minute — the Astoria daycare our kids attended was closed for the week and we were both desperate for some country air, to say nothing of a break from our intense lives.

We found it. The house surprised us as remarkably large, clean and pretty; the lake was beautiful and the fresh air liberating. The kids ran in and out of screened patio doors, splashing in the kiddie pool on the deck as we took turns barbequing, slathering them with sunscreen and filling water guns. What was not to love?

Morghan and I met four years ago at baby music class. At the time, we both told ourselves that we were happily married. Now I was nearly three years into life as a single mom, and this week away was the latest mark of pride I took in the new life I was creating for my little family. Who better to share it with than another single mom, who was still in the tangle of separation?

Later in the story I mention how the the thought of a week away alone with the kids had felt lonely and boring. Such a trip also felt overwhelming. After all, how many times have I heard moms sigh, “I need a vacation from my vacation!” Stale joke aside, there is this whole crop of parents with the financial means to travel with their kids, but the work and the craving of adult company can impede on the enjoyment factor of vacationing. We might even be compelled to stay home.

How have other single parents found ways to better enjoy travel with their kids? What is the travel industry doing to meet this challenge? Please share your tips below!



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Emma Johnson is a veteran money writer, noted blogger, bestselling author and an host of the award-winning podcast, Like a Mother with Emma Johnson. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour,, REAL SIMPLE, Parenting, USA Today and others.

The Kickass Single Mom: Be Financially Independent, Discover Your Sexiest Self, and Raise Fabulous, Happy Children (Penguin, 2017), was a #1 bestseller and was featured in hundreds of media, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, and the New York Post, which named it to its ‘Must Read” list.

Her popular blog, and podcast Like a Mother, explore issues facing professional single moms: business and career, money, sex, relationships and parenting. Emma regularly comments on these topics for outlets such as CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine, Woman’s Day, The Doctors, and many more. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” one of “20 Personal Finance Influencers to Follow on Twitter” by AOL DailyFinance, “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and “Most Eligible New Yorkers” by New York Observer.

A popular speaker on gender equality, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality.

Emma grew up in Sycamore, Ill., and lives in New York City with her children.

3 thoughts on “Single mom friends vacation together

  1. I love traveling with my daughter. Find it’s a great bonding time without the day-to-day distractions of home. We pretty much unplug for the week. She’s old enough now (8) to help pick where we go and the things to do. Never traveled with another single parent, but that’s mostly because I do not know many.

    We went to Costa Rica last summer. Have to say: Best. Vacation. Ever. A good place for both adults and kids to be happy. We volunteered at a wildlife rescue center, hiked the rainforest, visited a chocolate and sugar plantation, went hiking at night for nocturnal animals, and were swarmed by hummingbirds in the cloud forest. And at the end of the day, swam up to the poolside bar in the hot springs and ordered up our drinks. By the end of the day, I was ready for adult conversation and there were no shortage of them at the poolside bar. We’d talk while all the kids swam. We didn’t do the beach, but will the next time.

    We did a tour package for that trip that took care of lodging and transfers and provided a Naturalist guide. I shopped hard to find an operator that was single parent family friendly (would customize the itinerary and did not charge me for my daughter as if she was an adult). They are out there, you just have to hunt for them and let them know what you expect. The operator we used does a number of family packages in South and Central America, Africa, and Asia and were very single parent friendly. If anyone wants their name, feel free to drop me a line.

    Think we’re headed to Europe this summer.

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