Single parents who have traveled with children offer these tips for successful vacations:
*Think about what your child likes to do, not what you did as a child that you enjoyed. Listen to what your child is saying. A vacation with younger children needs to be child-centered.
*Involve your child in planning a vacation. Brochures help everyone to visualize what a vacation destination will look like. Have children research points of interest in the area you will visit. Encourage them to use maps and write to the Chamber of Commerce.
*Check office bulletin boards or employee newsletters for notices about time-share facilities that owners can't use and want to rent out. This can be less expensive than staying in a hotel.
*Find hotels and motels where other families are likely to be vacationing. If it has a swimming pool and a game room, you can relax on the sidelines while your child plays.
*When you make reservations, ask if the hotel's emphasis is on business or leisure travelers.
*Find a place to stay with access to public transportation so you won't have to drive everywhere. Take along travel toys and books, for spare time in the hotel and rainy days.
*Plan to come home two days before you return to work and children go back to school or day care. This gives everyone time to ease into routines gradually.
*Consider exchanging baby-sitting with another single parent if you want a brief vacation without children.