With summer finally here, you’ll no doubt be looking ahead to what the summer months will bring. One of the best things about spring and summer when you’re a parent is the time you’re able to spend outdoors with your little one. Taking a family day trip is a great way to make the most of the longer daylight hours, though knowing what to pack (particularly for the temperamental Irish weather) can be tricky.
Travelling with an infant does involve some extra packing, but it’s worth it - sharing a day out with your little one is something you’ll both enjoy. It’s also the perfect way to broaden your baby’s experiences and provide them with rich development opportunities. A little bit of preparation goes a long way when you’re going anywhere with a baby, so take heed of our checklist to avoid any tantrums (yours, as well as theirs!).
Tips for planning your family day trip
- Plan the route ahead of time: use your GPS to find the easiest and quickest way to get there, however you intend to travel.
- Avoid queues by investing in pre-booked tickets to family attractions, especially during peak times.
- Look for discount vouchers or offers online; you’ll find there are plenty of family-friendly places that will help you to save money on the day.
- Be realistic when it comes to what you can fit into that day; plan your activities in order of preference ahead of time and create an itinerary together as a family.
- Research your destination: read online reviews for the places you’d like to visit and have a look at their website before deciding where to go. Note the facilities that are available, as well as its all-round family appeal.
Tips for travelling with your baby
What you’ll need to think about for your journey will depend upon how you’re planning to get there. Public versus private modes of transport both come with varying pros and cons, but ultimately there’s no one way that doesn’t involve some degree of planning.
If you’re travelling by car, you’ll be able to pack up more supplies in the boot, but remember to check any delays on the roads beforehand. Try to travel outside of rush hour and peak times to avoid traffic jams.
If you’re making your journey by train or bus, where possible you should reserve a seat with enough space nearby to safely store your buggy and day luggage. A baby sling may be a good option for families living in a busy city or town. Otherwise, investing in a light buggy will be a lifesaver when it comes to getting you from A to B throughout the day.
Your day trip checklist
Unsurprisingly, you’ll need fewer things for a day trip than you would were you travelling abroad or staying away from home (globe trotters should see our tips on how to holiday with your baby), though the temptation may still be to overpack. As a guide, our checklist below includes the essentials you’ll need. You may want to pack additional items at your own discretion, but be realistic – having too much to carry may prove an unnecessary hindrance once you’ve reached your destination.
- Take some spare baby clothes. Your baby may need extra layers come the afternoon, or clean clothes in case of any accidents. They’ll also need a sun hat for the day.
- Nappies and baby wipes are essentials: whether you use cloth nappies or disposable ones, your baby is obviously going to need changing throughout the day.
- A travel changing mat is a necessity for days out: lightweight and easy to pack, they provide a soft surface for your baby to lie on, wherever you may be.
- If you’re breastfeeding, a muslin cloth is perfect for providing some privacy. You’ll need to take some milk or formula, as well as extra bottles if you’re not breastfeeding.
- Baby sun cream is a must. Even on overcast days, it’s vital to protect your baby’s sensitive skin from the sun’s harmful rays.
- A couple of your baby’s favourite toys will keep them entertained for the day, and prove a helpful distraction if they start getting restless on the way there or back.
- Basic first-aid items like plasters and antiseptic wipes may come in handy - it’s always better to be safe than sorry!
- Don’t forget to bring some snacks and baby food! Depending on where you’re going, you might need to take a packed lunch for yourself and your family too.
- You’ll need to take a baby sling or pushchair with you. Generally, slings are considered simpler for travel, but some babies just don’t like them, and that’s fine – a lightweight pushchair will work just as well when you’re on the move.
- A power bank and mobile charger is important, especially since you’ll want to take plenty of photos with your little one!