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Single Parent of One

I am a single father of a teenage girl about to turn 16. I hope to be making travel arrangements soon for her and I to go to Europe for a vacation. If there are any single parents in a similar circumstance, I would like very much to speak with you.

Posted by
11450 posts

Well Ron, I am not a single parent, but my husband and I take the kids seperately to Europe as we can't afford to fly and hotel for our family of five. Three years ago I took my 14 yr old son bymyself to London and Paris, then last year my hubby took our next son, also then 14 to London, Paris, and Hanover, and this July I am taking my 12 yr old daughter on my own , partly on a tour( RS Family Europe) and then an extra 8 days in Paris.

We do the notarized letters giving permission for travel with one parent .

Posted by
1 posts

Hey, is a place for single parent gathering. You may find other single parents in your area there. Good Luck!

Posted by
505 posts

Dad & daughter trips are great - the days my dad spent here to help me move into my flat are amongst my most previous memories.

A word of warning about Ryan Air and discount airlines - like has been said, they charge extra for everything. Also, the checked weight limits are strict and less than the major airlines so you need to factor that into the size of your checked bag.

Also, it would be WELL worth it for you daughter to get an ISIC card (, which is the international student ID. In Europe, students often get great discounts on everything from museums to public transport etc. And having an internationally recognized ID is really helpful, and I think there's some travel insurance that goes free with the ISIC card. It's about $15 and will save you well more than that on a week or two trip.

Also, check now that your passports are valid and will be for at least six months post-trip. Much easier to renew now that at the last minute.


Posted by
11 posts

I'm not sure how to interpret your post Sam, so let me clarify mine.

Being a single father of a 16 year old girl is very difficult in and of itself. Traveling alone with her to foreign lands will present other challenges that I have not yet faced.

I am looking to hear/read about other people's experiences, get advice or suggestions on what type of traveling abroad others may have done or plan to do in this set of circumstances.

Posted by
21724 posts

What circumstances ?? I don't think your question is very clear. Are you asking if the 16 year old will be hit on? Will she want to go off on her own? A lot will depend on her personality, general behavior, and how the trip is organized.

Posted by
11 posts

Maybe it's not as rare as I have it in my mind, but I don't know too many fathers traveling with their teenage daughter.
I have never taken my daughter away ALONE unless it was to an amusement park ie. Dinsey. This vacation will be much different and especially because she is a girl I want to be sure I'm doing the right things. It would be obviously easier if it were a father traveling with a son or a mother traveling with a daughter.

Posted by
11450 posts

Ron, your daughter wants you to take her shopping, she does not really want your opinion on what to buy since you are an old fuddy dud, but , she does want you to finace her choices, in fact, if you could just wait by the store entrance and pass her your CC she would be happiest,,, LOL< JUST KIDDING,( or maybe not)

Ron, you do know your daughter best, so if you want specifics on what to take her to see you will have to tell us a bit more about her interests. There are cooking classes in Paris, there are mountain hikes in Switzerland, and there Roman ruins in Bath,, so many choices.

Travelling alone with a child is pretty common now, you are right, as a dad/daughter team you have a few extra challenges , but you will be fine, just find out what interests you share and go for it( may involve some research on your part.)

You could also consider a Family Tour to Europe With Rick Steves, click on the " tours" section here, there will be other single parents using them, as well a

Posted by
11 posts

Thanks Pat
It's reassuring that someone understands.
My plans at this moment are sketchy.
I have been invited by a friend in/near Krefeld Germany to visit him and his family. I may be able to stay at his residence and use it as a home base and travel from there.
If anyone can give me an idea on travel distance and time from say, Dusseldorf to Paris, Dusseldorf to London, etc. that would be helpful too.
HAHAHA Already did the CC thing and let her run up a nice tab.
I know my daugher well. I know she'll love it no matter how we accomplish it. I'm just a nervous Dad!
Especially because we are traveling overseas.
I have been to Germany but it was 25 years ago when it was still WEST Germany and I just visited Giulianova and Rome, Italy. It was a great trip that I know she would have loved.

Posted by
31471 posts

Ron, it's great that your daughter wants to travel with you. I was also a single parent with three teenage boys (they're adults now), and travel with "Dad" was about the last thing they wanted to do!

As someone else mentioned, be sure to have the notarized letter or whatever, as it may prevent problems.

Happy travels!

Posted by
11450 posts

Ron, I looked at two airlines, Ryanair and Air Berlin.

Air Berlin to Dusseldorf to Paris, March 17-20 , for both of you , 208 euros complete.

Ryanair Dusseldorf to Rome April 14th -18th , 235 euros for both total.

These prices don't include the extra insurance and priority seating these airlines try to get you to buy .

Flight to Paris is about 1.5 hours, flight to Rome 2 hours.

There are more cheapo airlines , and if you play with dates you can probaly find even better prices.

Flying in Europe is a great way to get around and save time!! Just watch the cheapo airlines charge extra for EVERYTHING, including checked luggage( which if you are only going for a few days you can get away with carryon, but I did allow your daughter one checked bag when I did price checks, she is a girl after all, LOL) .
You must ask daughter if you she had her choice where else she would like to visit.

Posted by
11 posts

Thanks so much Pat
If I ask she'll tell me both. She's very spoiled and even on a shoestring budget, she usually gets what she wants.

If I had to decide, I would pick Rome. I've already been there, I have the number to a great tour guide if I feel the need, but I know the lay of the land and all the landmarks from the Vatican to the Pantheon and more!
This is exactly the insight and experience I was referring to. I don't have enough money to also include a love connection as implied above. HAHAHA

Posted by
11 posts

I guess if the it takes 1.5 hours to get to Paris by plane, it would be A LOT longer by rail? Correct?

Posted by
11450 posts

Ron, I am not sure how long it takes to get from Dusseldorf to Rome by train, but, I do know that while researching for our upcoming trip that from Paris to Rome I had a choice between basically what appeared to be an all day train , or a "night train". Both options very expensive, I am flying Air Vueling for half the price instead.
It used to be trains were cheaper then flying, not so, but as pointed out the discount airlines have many ways of making money, tacking on extra fees for so many things.
Play with web sites, I enter John Smith etc and phoney address so I can go through entire booking process, right until CC information requested, as you will discover the intial price can be alot different right at booking.

Posted by
28 posts


I'm also a single Dad. My daughter (now 14) and I have been on four amazing trips to Europe, beginning when she was 10. Here's what's worked best for us:

Bring a notarized letter from her mother giving permission to travel out of the US. I've never been asked to show it, but you never know. Either bring a tri-band GSM cell phone (and buy a pre-paid SIM card) or get a calling card so she can call her Mom/friends. Give her a 3x5 card with embassy and hotel addresses in case you get separated.

Let her help you decide the itinerary before you go, and don't try to cram too much into a given day. Be a team--let her pick the restaurant, navigate the metro in the cities, etc. The famously rude Parisian waiters will melt if she tries to order in French--and give you a pass to order in English :)

Shopping. Give her a budget and let her browse. H&M and Zara are good stores to get your feet wet. Observe local teens and ask her, "do you like those shoes?" Instant uber Dad!

Have fun.

Posted by
13086 posts

You can take the train from Düsseldorf to Paris; it takes about 5 hours, with a train change in Köln. That is about the same as flying if you add up the time to get to and from each airport, security and waiting time, etc. And the train puts you right in Paris. The website showed a price of 91 euro for one train but there are often discounts.

You can find the train schedules on the German rail website, There are many great places you could take her without going as far as Rome. How about a cruise to see castles on the Rhein?

Posted by
95 posts

I'm not a single mom, but my dh HATES to travel, so it has always been me and the two kids. This year my daughter is going to camp in Spain, so it will be my 12yo son and I alone in Madrid for 10 days. I am letting him pick one thing to do a day and going from there. Since they have gotten older I have found it better to schedule time for things that do NOT involve 24 hours of together time -- like a video game cafe (for the boy) or a soccer game in the park with other kids. I nearly had a heart attack the first time I sent them to the market down the street alone, but just the 15 minutes of unsupervised time was huge in their minds.

Posted by
11 posts

Thanks for the information and advice. These are things I am looking into now. Train travel, Notirized letter from Mom,

My trip will most likely have me starting where my host family is from.....Tonisvorst, Krefeld, Germany.
Bonn/Koln is the airport I flew into for my last visit which was MANY MOONS AGO.

Anyone familiar with this area.
I was there for 10 days...........25 years ago.
Toured the town and surrounding areas.
Gleumes Brewery
The Dome Cathedral, Dusseldorf
Mountain side ride on the back of a burro
Paraded, gave concerts and celebrated 300 years of Germans in America.

Another BTW
I am a Philadelphia Mummer

Check us out
We are an amazing group of people.

Posted by
28 posts


Notarized letter is pretty simple:


I, (mother's full name) hereby give my permission for my daughter (daughters name on passport) to travel to (countries you will visit) with her father, (your name on passport) from (departure date) until (return date).

(mothers signature, signed in front of notary)
(mother's address and telephone number)

Your bank has a notary, and likely someone in your band (they look pretty civic minded) can tell you the name of a notary. They typically charge $10. Her mother will have to bring ID (drivers license or passport.) Neither your nor your daughter need to be present.

You must carry the original document, not a fax or photocopy.

IMO, you should provide her mother with a complete itinerary before asking her to sign the document: copies of airline and train tickets, hotel reservation info, etc.

Posted by
11 posts

I sit right next to a Notary at work. How convenient is that? HAHAHA
Thanks Dave, BIG HELP and absolutely I would provide her mother with the itinerary as I did just going to Disney World.

I will also make sure that she calls home every day to talk to her mother and share some experiences over the phone.