Oh No! Is It Summer Already?

Procrastination seems to be my middle name. Late last week, I got the dreaded e-mail from my editor reminding me that I was once again past deadline for one of my Tripso columns. This one, in fact. So after I lied to her (“It’s almost done!”), I sat down and put pen to paper only to realize that not only had I procrastinated writing the column, I also hadn’t I figured out what to do with my three kids for a summer vacation. In the interest of killing two birds with one stone, I did some research on summer vacations for the column. That’s when I made an amazing discovery. When it comes to travel planning, procrastination can sometimes pay off.

Being a middle-aged single dad isn’t all that bad, but traveling with three kids ages 10 to 15 is challenging. A vacation with one or two of them usually goes smoothly, but juggling three can be a chore. To say nothing of money. I already have a fall trip planned for us with Adventures by Disney, so funds are a little tight. Looking for a bargain, I returned to one of my favorite resources, Single Parent Travel, and sure enough, in addition to the staff’s wonderful tips and advice, I found a couple of late-summer trips that appealed to me, my kids and my wallet.

One of the best things about Single Parent’s programs is that the company negotiates with the suppliers to reduce or waive the penalty for not having two adults on the trip. On other vacations, my son will be counted as the second adult (trust me, he’s not that mature) and be charged accordingly even though he doesn’t want to drink, smoke, gamble, golf or take a “Yoga for Seniors” class. The two trips that Single Parent Travel offers in August are all-inclusive (no surprise bills when you get home), in the Caribbean (all of us like some fun in the sun), and take place during hurricane season (oh well, two out of three ain’t bad — and besides, there is always travel insurance.

Single Parent Travel: Beaches Boscobel Resort and Golf Club, Boscobel, Jamaica. I have been to this resort before and it is a lot of fun. Rumor has it that it was one of the original Playboy Clubs back in the day, and if it’s good enough for Hef, it’s good enough for me. The resort’s idea of “all-inclusive” is almost literally all-inclusive: activities, entertainment, meals, drinks, booze, snacks, water sports, golf, scuba, pools, etc. are all included. It is very easy to leave with a bill that has a big fat zero at the bottom. The extras are personal purchases, spa treatments and any off-site excursions; otherwise, from the time you step off the plane to the time you get back on, it’s all there for you.

Single Parent Tours adds a bit to the package. First off, they have the lowest price out there. Secondly, they cater to single parents, creating a group with a lot in common (and it’s nice not to feel like a fifth wheel for a change). Third, they have some fun events planned, including a welcome cocktail party and reception, contests and games. Group members are identified by a red tattoo on their foreheads (kidding — just checking if you are still with me; in fact, they are identified by a bead necklace) so you can seek out other single-parent families if you are looking for some group fun. Seems like there is plenty of together time for family bonding as well as adult and kid time apart — the best of both worlds. As a bonus, everyone gets a signed copy of “The Single Parent Travel Handbook.” I own this book, which was written by noted single parent, world traveler and travel expert Brenda Elwell, and it is an invaluable resource.

This trip is offered just once, from August 18 to August 25, but your stay can be shortened or extended if you like. Prices begin at $1,764 (for one adult and one child for the week), and that includes it all — taxes and everything. Airfare is additional. For more info, check out the Web site or give them a ring at 888-2-SPT-KIDS (888-277-8543). The pricing is actually lower than is shown on the site and it looks like a bargain to me! A perfect end to summer and a great start for school.

Single Parent Travel: Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort and Spa, Providenciales, Grand Turk. Like Boscobel, this resort is all-inclusive. I have been to this property as well, and it is a water wonderland. Pristine beaches and a fantastic kids’ water park are two of the highlights of the resort, which is larger than Boscobel, and features five pools, 10 restaurants, 12 bars and one kick-butt kids’ water park. The Single Parent Tours amenities are the same as at Boscobel — tattoo and all (still with me?).

This trip is more expensive, with a room for a week beginning at $2,389 for a parent and child, because the deluxe rooms have already sold out. But the premium rooms have a private balcony or patio and they are a bit larger than the deluxe rooms, which is probably a good idea for a weeklong stay with the kids. Airfare is extra. Again, the best bet is to give Single Parent Travel a call at 888-2-SPT-KIDS (888-277-8543) to check on availability and pricing.

Well, there you have it: two fabulous choices for a last-minute summer getaway for a single dad, three kids and a happy wallet. I know I will be there; I’m just trying to decide between the two.

Jamaica or Turks? … Jamaica or Turks? Do you have a preference? Have you been to these resorts? Shoot me an e-mail and help me decide.

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