Your Summer Staycation Cheat Sheet
With tens of thousands of us staying safe by planning staycations within the UK this summer, we’ll soon be facing a new challenge: packing light. When we jump on a plane for a week in sunnier climes, we’re forced to stay under luggage weight limits and carry-on guidelines, but when your vehicle is effectively your suitcase, it can be tempting to pack the kitchen sink.
Does it really matter? Yes, and no. Although there’s no harm in bringing EVERYTHING you could possibly need, it’s only going to cause you a headache. By packing intentionally and trying to keep it to the bare essentials, you make life easier for yourself in the long run. After all, it’s not just packing, you’ll also be unpacking at your destination, repacking when it’s time to leave and then unpacking again when you get home.
Whether you’re an expectant parent planning your first trip away with baby, or a new mum worried you’re going to need to upgrade to an estate car in order to fit all your luggage, we’ve got you covered with our Staycation Cheat Sheet.
Condense Your Clothing
The best part of holidaying during summer is you can get away without having to pack too many layers. Of course, we’re in the UK, so hats and raincoats go without saying, but keep the rest of your wardrobe simple. Choose light, floaty dresses that you can wear more than once, a comfortable pair of casual trousers or jeans, and a few plain tees or vests which can be dressed up or down. Planning for the “what-if’s” is where most of us get caught out. Do you really need to bring a specific “dining out” dress and shoes, or can you just add a nice necklace to a casual outfit?
Between reflux, weaning and nappy explosions, babies can get through a lot of clothes, but that doesn’t mean you need to overpack. Instead, opt for a handful of muslins and some bodysuits in vest or tee styles. Not only will they help keep your little one cool, but they’re easy to clean and quick to pack. Bring a bottle of liquid clothing detergent and in 5 minutes you can have cleaned half of your baby’s bodysuits or a week's worth of muslins in the sink, ready to dry and use again. While there’s no harm in throwing a cute holiday outfit into baby’s bag, the more two-piece outfits you bring, the more washing you’ll be left with at the end of your holiday - and no one wants that.
Best of all, invest in some compression packing cubes. These handy zippered pouches are ideal for keeping everyone’s clothes separate and easy to unpack, but also compress down to a fraction of their original size. Top tip: spend a little extra to buy a trusted brand as the strength of the stitching and zips are essential to the cubes staying intact.
In most places the sink makes a good alternative to a baby bath; at least for a limited period of time.
Ditch The Baby Gear
You’d be surprised at just how little “stuff” you actually need when you’re going away for a week or two. Why pack your baby bath, when the kitchen sink of your accommodation will do the same job? That being said, there are a few core bits of kit that every parent should consider bringing along on their staycation.
Perhaps one of the best tips for travelling with a baby is to invest in a baby carrier. There are a multitude of options available, but for anyone new to babywearing, we’d suggest trying the “buckles” style, which fits in a similar way to a backpack. Popular brands are Baby Bjorn, Je Porte Mon Bebe, Ergobaby and Tula, all of which have options that fit from newborn to preschool.
Why is this such an awesome investment? Well, not only does it mean you don’t need to lug around a buggy, but it also frees you up to climb mountains, stroll over cobblestones streets and navigate through busy shops, all with baby safe and sound against you. It can also be used to secure older babies onto their chairs in a cafe or restaurant.
Perhaps one of the best tips for travelling with a baby is to invest in a baby carrier.
Instead of bringing your bulky microwave or electric steriliser, bring a box of Milton tablets which are simply added to water. Although it takes a little longer to sterilise, they’re just as effective and take up much less space.
Shop Like A Local
Last of all, remember the best part of being on a staycation - convenience! Whether you’re in Portsmouth, Pontypridd or Penrith, if you’re self-catering, the chances are that you’ll be able to order groceries to be delivered to your doorstep, or at the very least Click & Collect. Make the most of it by only packing the essentials you need for the journey and perhaps the 24 hours following, and get your nappies and wipes (and wine and chocolate) locally.
There you have it, your Staycation Cheat Sheet. Happy holidays all!
First holiday with a newborn? Check out How to Breastfeed In Public.
Originally from New Zealand, Sarah is a mother to two boys and has lived in the UK for the past 10 years. She is a home-educator, freelance writer, Netflix-binger and has a penchant for strong black coffee.