Bank holiday fun: How to organise a stress-free family staycation
Planning a bank holiday weekend away with your family? Here’s how to organise a stress-free staycation.
There’s nothing better than spending quality time with your family, but with young children, there can be a lot to think about! To help things run more smoothly, Baby Planet share their top tips on how to plan a stress-free staycation on your next bank holiday.
School holidays and long weekends are a great time to take a trip without taking your children out of school, making them perfect for family holiday.
However, as many parents know, a lot more goes into a family trip than meets the eye! If you’ve got your eye on somewhere special this year, here’s how to prepare for a fun-filled weekend getaway with the kids.
Staycations are a great choice for families, as not only do they tend to be cheaper than going abroad, but you don’t have to consider the extra stress and organisation that goes into travelling by plane. They are also an excellent way to see more of what our own country has to offer, and considering the British Isles has an abundance of coastlines just waiting to explore, you can even head to the beach!
Travelling with babies and toddlers might take a little more forward planning (and patience!), but it doesn’t have to be stressful. The most important thing to start with is ensuring their safety when you intend to travel by car, and this will require finding the right car seat for their age and size.
In the UK, the law states that you should use a rear-facing car seat until your child is 15 months old, and that children under 135cm or 12 years old (whichever comes first) should use a booster seat. You can also determine the correct car seat depending on their weight via the government website.
Once you’ve found the right car seat to keep them safe and secure on your journey, it’s time to pack the car with some travel essentials. Some hotels or holiday homes will provide a cot for their guests, so it’s always worth checking their website or calling ahead of time and asking if they do so, as this will help you save valuable space in your car.
However, if they don’t, a travel cot is a great investment for any growing family. These compact models are designed to fold down and pop up easily, giving you one less thing to worry about at the end of the day.
You’ll also need to pack the pram, stroller, or buggy of your choice to get out and about during your staycation. This will again depend on your child’s age, size, and developmental stage, so ensure that you find the right model well before you intend to travel. Travel systems that include interchangeable car seats, bassinets, and folding frames can also help your day run that bit more smoothly as you switch from the car to on the go.
Before you head off on your trip, it’s wise to do a little research and find a few restaurants or cafes for family dinners. It’s your holiday too, so chances are you won’t want to do much cooking —instead, with a little forward planning, you can try out some restaurants in the surrounding area.
Have a look at a venue’s website or social media to see if they cater to families, both in terms of what meals they serve but also whether they can provide highchairs and can accommodate large groups. It’s generally best to book a table ahead of time to avoid any disappointments, and bring things like books or their favourite toys to keep them occupied while you wait.
When you are eating out, remember to bring a few essentials from home such as bibs, wet wipes, and sippy cups to keep mess to a minimum. If you have a young baby, you may also need to bring a few portions of pre-prepared food if they’re weaning. Try to bring food that they’ve tried before and you know they like, as a busy restaurant isn’t the best time to introduce them to something new!
Always check the weather before you travel, so you know what you’ll need to pack both in terms of clothes and the kind of toys you’ll need to keep your little ones entertained. If you’re lucky enough to have a dry, sunny forecast, then organising a scavenger hunt for the toddlers and older children in your family can be a great way to keep them occupied throughout the day.
This can be particularly fun if you’re staying on a campsite during your trip, as you can even get other families involved and have all the kids socialising. There are plenty of templates you can find online, and you can get creative with the prize you assign.
However, even if the unpredictable British springtime doesn’t go your way, there are plenty of ways you can keep the whole family entertained. If you’re staying in accommodation like an Airbnb, bringing arts and crafts supplies is a great idea, even if the weather forecast looks promising.
This way, if any of your outdoor plans change, you can still set up an activity like drawing, painting, or building their own toys out of crafts supplies or cardboard and plastic items from the recycling.
In between or often during your daytime activities, all parents know how useful it can be to have something that keeps their little ones occupied. Be sure to pack a selection of their favourite toys to keep them stimulated in the car, out a restaurant, or waiting for your next activity. If your baby is teething, you’ll also want to bring plenty of teething toys they can chew on to keep them calm.
As well as packing toys in the pram or nappy bag for when you’re out and about, it’s also wise to keep some things back at your accommodation. This might be a rocker or bouncer, play mat, or musical mobile to hang above their travel cot — anything that makes your hotel or Airbnb feel more like home.
Use these tips to give you and your family a stress-free, fun-filled staycation this Easter. And make sure you check out the rest of our parenting articles for more advice.
Photo by Rachel