If you’re an average Australian family of two adults and two children, things are relatively simple when it comes to booking travel. However, if you’re a single-parent family, a large clan or any other type of family grouping, finding a holiday deal can be a frustrating exercise.
Families who find themselves one adult short or one child too many can see the advertised price of a holiday nearly double when surcharges or extra hotel rooms are added to the quote. And with policies varying from operator to operator, it can take hours of searching through the fine print and booking conditions to find a deal that fits.
A single mother who asks not to be named says she believes single-parent families are ignored and even discriminated against by the travel industry. “It’s very frustrating to be tempted by all these kids fly/eat/stay free offers and start imagining myself relaxing by the pool as my two sons happily frolic in the pool … just to find the offer is based on two adults,” she says.
“To purchase these offers as a single parent, there is up to a 75 per cent singles’ surcharge. Doesn’t the tourist market understand that the mum, dad and two-kid model is probably outdated? I can’t believe I am the only single parent in Australia who wants to travel with my family and receive the same discounts as other families.”
Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show one-parent families account for one-fifth of Australian families with children aged 0-17. The vast majority of offers advertised to families are based on two adults and up to two children, with deals such as “kids stay free” and “kids eat free” based on one paying adult per child.