Travel's Second Class Citizens: Single Parents
Can you imagine the travel industry, limping along in this sclerotic economy, not catering to the needs of an important travel niche market: single parents?
Some would argue that this travel demographic feels like second class citizens. They’re not swingers and aren't looking for wild parties. They want quality vacations that let them connect with other single parents and they want attention paid to them and their kids. Additionally, and more importantly, they want the travel industry to know they have needs that are different from couples and families on the road.
Brenda Elwell, a single mom who’s traveled solo with her kids for years, says she often has no one to talk to or ‘hang out’ with when she vacations with her two sons.
“It’s lonely,” she says. “It’s a coupled world! The other guests are either couples or have no kids and don’t want my company. Traveling as a single mom can be a pretty lonely experience.”
Elwell took action and wrote what some consider the best book on single parent travel: The Single Parent Travel Handbook, which deals with multiple single parent travel issues and, she says, since more than one-quarter of all US households with children are headed by a single parent (16.5 million single parent households), the travel industry is leaving money on the table, and under-serving an important group.
They're getting the message, apparently. Increasingly, there are single-parent only weekend getaways or short cruises that combine the need for a single mom or dad to spend quality time with their children, but also quality time with other single parents.
Sure, some single parent travelers say they’re not averse to a little romance on the road or high seas, but mostly they want a vacation that’s designed for them.