We’ve been travelling with our baby, Evie, ever since she was a few months old. We’ve been on some big adventures together as a family, including the Cook Islands and Byron Bay, and also smaller weekend getaways close to our home in Melbourne. I’ve got to say, going on any trip with a baby is a lot of work and no matter how close you stay to home, there’s a lot of planning and packing involved! If you’re thinking of planning a weekend away with a baby soon, here are some of my best tips that have helped us minimise stress and have made the weekend more relaxing and enjoyable.
Tips for planning a weekend away with a baby:
1. Keep it close to home
Let’s be honest: packing the car for a weekend away with a baby is no small feat. Unless you plan on spending more than two nights away, it’s best to stay somewhat close to home so you’ve got more time to enjoy your destination. After all, you don’t want to waste half of your weekend stuck in the car! Somewhere within an hour or two from home is ideal. We’re lucky that there are so many beautiful destinations that are driving distance away from Melbourne, including the Mornington Peninsula, the Yarra Valley and the Macedon and Yarra Ranges. Most recently, we headed to Healesville for a couple of nights.
2. Choose accommodation wisely
Do your research beforehand and think carefully about what kind of accommodation is going to suit your needs. Depending on the age of your baby and your sleeping arrangement at home, you might look at booking somewhere with more than one bedroom so your baby has their own place to sleep. For us this was really important. Evie sleeps in her own room at home and I know that she would have had a disrupted night if she didn’t have her own, quiet space, like she was used to.
Also, think about what facilities the accommodation has that will make your life easier. Is there a bath or a deep sink to wash your baby? A place to sterilise bottles if needed? Somewhere to store baby food? And is the accommodation actually safe for a baby, particularly one that is mobile? Are there dangers like an open fireplace or stairs that you need to be mindful of? These are all things to think about.
3. Pack the essentials but don’t go overboard
You want to enjoy your weekend away rather than have to hunt for supplies in the supermarket, right? It’s best to pack everything that you will need – enough nappies, wipes and food that will last you a couple of days. I like to keep Evie’s routine as similar to home as I can so this meant packing familiar things like a bedtime book and our portable white noise machine. If you’re worried about how your baby might sleep, it might be worthwhile packing a blackout blind to make the room nice and dark too.
While it is good to have everything on hand, do try to only bring the essentials. It’s crazy how much stuff babies seem to need and the car boot quickly fills up! Try to save space where you can, such as bringing the baby carrier and leaving the pram at home.
4. Plan ahead but don’t cram in too much
Before you go, do a bit of research and plan out roughly how you’d like to spend your days. Find out about some nice things to do in the area and think about how you can fit them in amongst your baby’s sleeps and feeds. We knew that we really wanted to go to the Healesville Sanctuary, for example. As tempting as it might be, however, don’t try to pack too much in, as there’s nothing worse than an overtired, cranky baby! We generally stuck with one big activity per day and then spent the rest of the time relaxing in the cabin, cooking, dancing around to music and feeding the birds outside. It was the perfect balance.
Looking for more posts on travelling with kids? Check these out next:
- What to Pack When Travelling with a Baby: 28 Travel Essentials
- 8 Important Tips for Travelling Safely with Kids
- Travelling with a Newborn vs a 3-Month-Old: The Main Differences
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Have any other tips for planning a weekend away with a baby? Add them in the comments below!