Aah the joys of teenage trickery & parenting. Is there a secret formula, where everyone gets to enjoy a holiday? Well YES. I’ve just discovered it!
As a single parent I’m finding the quest of booking the perfect trip abroad to be an increasingly difficult task. My two children are moving deeper into the teen years, adding further trickery to my situation as chief holiday booker.
I’ve begun to face the reality, as hard as it may be, that my close bond with my two kids is loosening. I’m learning to accepted that I must sympathise with a teenagers age. Yes I get it! I guess it’s not so cool to travel with someone that creates rules, curfews and boundaries.
Luckily, our family team of 3 tends to get on very well. At home and abroad. But our lack of shared mutual interests often causes conflict in opinions, of what constitutes a perfect vacation. So where is the common ground?
I’ve noticed our best memories have been with other people. Meeting other like-minded families. It hasn’t mattered if there were other single parents. The key ingredients, were the similar aged kids. I’ve noticed now, I can coax my son and daughter onto most experiences, if I lure them with the promise of meeting teens their own age.
Two things stood out for me, when I found Green World Holidays. They were very transparent about family dynamics. Very willing to offer information about the gender and ages of the children already booked on their trips. Secondly, they care about Responsible Tourism and give back more than the average tour operator.
The Return of the Balkan’s
I’d always wanted to return to the Balkan’s. I’d been briefly to Yugoslavia in my mid-20s back packing. The regions beauty had left a strong impression. I remember vividly seeing Lake Bled and the expanse of its pristine waters. It’s a memory you want your children to have. It’s a memory you want to share.
So faced with an impossible decision to re-connect with my love of Slovenia or explore Croatia, I chose both. The plan was for a multi active week in Slovenia. A two day self exploration by car in northern Croatia. Then ending our time close to Split for another week of adventure, based in the coastal town of Podstrana.
For my two teenagers, I’d already checked there were same aged teens booked on. So I knew a degree of pressure was off my shoulders.
“The affordable wine and beer would do the rest to ease any pressure’ – I jested with a work colleague.
After enquiring & speaking with a Tour Leader @Green World, I was very attracted to the balance of fun activities with space to relax. Both the Teenager Adventure in Slovenia and Croatia family activity holidays promised that equilibrium. Having time to ourselves is still very important, as is meeting people. Especially, when travelling as a single parent with teenagers.
These two separate family focused adventures really didn’t disappoint. Single parents don’t feel so single when surrounded by new friends, fun guides and sunny days. The adventures are cleverly designed to be all inclusive and non-competitive, which allows even the quietest of kids to shine.
“If teenagers are reading this – RELAX – Wi-Fi is readily available.”
For parents reading this; I was overly satisfied to see my son & daughter disconnect and just be in the moment. The group sizes are small enough to fee that sense of togetherness and large enough to meet a mixture of personalities. I found the majority of parents to be open & liberal thinkers and easy going.
Socialising was easy and I can honestly say I have never felt more connected with my two children. To enjoy land & water sports in Croatia and Slovenia as a family was truly a winning lottery ticket. It might not have been the Double Rollover European millions. But can you really put a price on memories?
“Money gives you options, it doesn’t give you guarantees!”
After returning home, I did have one burning question for the Green World Holidays ‘Help Desk’. Why didn’t they mention the dedicated Single Parents active holiday featured on their website? Naturally, being a single parent I would have been interested in these departures.
Rachel on the ‘Help desk’ kindly answered my question:
“We try every year to create a dedicated single parent adventure week with teenagers. However, we will only operate it with enough interest. It takes a minimum of 4 families to book on, to make it a guaranteed departure. We welcome Mums and Dads to register their interest every September. We cannot guarantee a departure and will only contact parents if a date has been confirmed to run. We are not single parent specialists. Solo parent adventure holidays are not our focus, as we believe in bringing together all types of family dynamics. All mum and dads are welcome to join our trips, just don’t forget to bring the kids!”
“Here’s a top tip …
Don’t just search for single only parent trips. You’ll only miss out on some wonderful adventures. Don’t be closed minded to joining a standard group. The key question to ask is: “What are the ages of children already booked on”. If you get the right matches, you’ve just added the secret ingredients.
If you are a fun spirited family and easy going in nature, I imagine you’ll connect with some amazing characters. These are very authentic experiences, with very kind and passionate guides. If you’d describe yourself as high maintenance and a little fussy, then these mix-in family adventures will not be right for you. Bring the good energy!
“Come with a smile and I imagine like we did, you’ll leave with a bigger smile.”
Mainly due to my teenagers Instagram feeds, our summer adventure did intrigue a lot of parents at the school gate. I was delighted to tell them about it. Just as I was delighted ‘to be asked’ to write this blog. However, there is still one question I refuse to be pinned on. ‘Which was the better week?’ The Slovenia adventure or the Croatia adventure? That I won’t answer. This is something your family will have to discover for yourselves.
p.s. If interested, my 16 yr old daughter Bella wrote a Blog. It’s about her experiences during the Slovenia activity week for families with teenagers. The article is called ‘Teenagers Talk Back’.