For someone who spends the majority of their life planning holidays, moaning about having itchy feet and repeatedly opening SkyScanner, it’s felt particularly tranquil having no impending travel plans.
Why the change? Well it turns out the littlest people demand the most luggage. We’ve gone from organising a February weekend in Amsterdam, an Easter trip to Lake Bled and a summer holiday in the Mediterranean sunshine to planning a midweek stay in a pine lodge in the lakes. If it’s got a microwave, a travel cot and room for a pram you’ve got me.
With family living up in Glasgow, there was always going to be an early trip away. And I couldn’t believe how anxious I felt about it.
What if he screamed the hotel down? And people complained? How do you pack all the parafanailia you need for a bottle fed baby?
But, with the need to visit a poorly family member the anxiety was quashed and the hatchback filled to the brim ready for the weekend.
So now we are safely home in one piece here’s my top tips to make that first trip away as stress free as possible!
1. How to survive the journey
Think you can fit all your belongings and your family of 4 into your small car- think again. Every available space was filled with stuff, and now I understand why my Dad had a roof rack (you can tell that was the 90’s) Pack wisely!
Remember the golden rule with car seats and stop every two hours for at least 30 mins. We timed these with feeds (him and us) and chose service stations we presumed would be the most family friendly. Tebay on the M6 for example is ideal.
If you think the baby will distract you, ask someone to sit in the back with then. Yes I may have been a little lonely riding up front but I didn’t need to worry if the dummy went awol.
Factor in traffic into your journey, nobody wants to be stuck in the city centre rush hour with a ravenous baby screaming away.
Choosing somewhere to stay
Think practically about your accommodation. An Air BnB would probably be my top choice for a baby friendly ‘holiday’ but booking with mere hours before we arrived we opted for a Premier Inn, and I’m so glad we did.
The Family Room was huge, featuring a sumptuous double bed, single sofa bed and a pristine travel cot. The bathroom was a decent size and there was plenty of space for the pram and the abundance of toys I’d packed to keep him occupied. But the main draw was the incredible staff. Pauline welcomed us with open arms, nothing was too much trouble (including fetching scissors to open the pack of formula!) and she kindly reminded me ‘he’s a baby and babies cry- so what!’.
Another bonus was the Beefeater restaurant attached to the hotel. We didn’t need to even walk outside to find a hot meal or cold glass of wine. Again, not the sort of thing I’d be raving about this time last year, but with an over tired baby it was a haven.
Large tables with lots of space in a secluded corner = less stressed mummy. Plus they do an all you can eat breakfast, meaning less need to somehow find time and a free hand to eat lunch. A welcome bonus!
The baby changing room was also pretty swanky. (I did not even begin to imagine I’d be commenting on bum changing facilities in a restaurant chain on this blog…. oh how life changes!)
What to pack
Probably pretty obvious, but a hell of a lot of clothes, nappies, muslins and favourite toys / comforters. Let’s me honest most things you’ll pack will be for them- Ace had a full suitcase and 12 outfits… I had a small weekend bag and 2.
We also packed the sleepyhead, because going from a cocooned crib to a big boy travel cot might have lost us some much needed shut eye. But if you do plan on just using the cot, I would personally pack my own sheets.
The main issue for us was feeding. By god it would of been easier I’m sure if I was able to be breast feeding. (Or is this a case of grass is always greener? Intrigued to hear of your travel thoughts breast feeding Mummas!)
Luckily my mum is the most super organised person on the planet and had already purchased a travel kettle just for Aces feeds. I know, who even thinks of these things!
So we had our own kettle, the sterilising unit and some cold sterilising tablets. Plus you’ll need your bottle brushes, enough bottles for the days feeds, washing up liquid and tea towels / kitchen towel. We also packed our box of powdered formula plus a load of the pre-made ones in case of late night/early morning emergencies. Where is that Perfect Prep when you need it!!
See I told you they need a hell of a lot of stuff!
Anyway, I suppose this post is more of a ‘being away from home with a baby isn’t that bad’, rather than a ‘go to Glasgow and stay at a Premier Inn’ sort of post. And the first step to A Weekend Escape not disappearing into thin air along with my late night social life and ability to carry my life essentials in a clutch bag.
It’s here to say to any travel anxious mummies out there- “If I can do it, you can too”.