We headed off on our first weekend trip as a family of 3 last weekend, leaving the bright lights of Dublin City for a few nights in Letterkenny, Donegal.
Even though it’s only really a 3.5/4.5 hour long drive (in our case 4.5 hours would be more realistic taking into consideration nappy changes and feeding pitstops), we were slightly nervous about the thought of going away for a weekend for the first time. Packing the car was another experience unto itself. Did I have enough changes of clothes? Or too many? Did I really need to bring a whole pack of nappies? How many bibs would I go through in a weekend? Anyone who has ever travelled with a new baby will probably relate to the fact that I might as well have been going away for a month with the amount I packed. But as I said to hubby – I’d rather have something and not need it, than need something and not have it!
Dylan’s 6.5 months now and still doesn’t enjoy car journeys too much so it meant hubby had to sit in the back while we travelled. Having said that the trip up went well, bar the enormous poonami explosion that resulted in us stopping at the side of the road to change all Dylan’s clothes!
We stayed in the Mount Errigal Hotel in Letterkenny which I have to say was so baby-friendly. They had a travel cot in our room on arrival (I had emailed and told them we would be staying with our 6 month old), as well as a fridge for his milk/food which I wasn’t expecting. At lunch and dinner times they happily heated up Dylan’s food for us, and didn’t seem to mind the mess that inevitably comes with a baby who is starting with finger foods. Staying in a hotel for a couple of nights wasn’t as bad as I anticipated. We brought a selection of toys for Dylan to play with which seemed to keep him occupied and he slept really well in the room which was a bonus as I was worried he wouldn’t sleep in a “strange” place.
Friday night we had a lovely chilled evening visiting Joanne from Beaus & Belles Baby Massage. I met Joanne when we did our baby massage instructor training together and we’ve stayed great friends ever since. Her little boy Noah is just 6 weeks older than Dylan so it was great to see them have so much fun playing together while we enjoyed a takeaway and cheeky glass of prosecco! Dylan’s at such a lovely age now. He loves watching other babies and toddlers, and tries to get involved in what they’re doing.
Saturday was an exciting day for us as Joanne had booked us in for a family photoshoot with the lovely Rosey from Rosey Pics. I’m going to do a seperate post going into more detail on this but it’s safe to say I was absolutely delighted with how our pictures turned out. Rosey has such a gentle, calming way with children and had Dylan smiling from the minute we met her. If you’re interested on hearing more about our family photoshoot, pop back to the blog next week for the full post on it!
We also popped into Babyzone where I managed to make a great dent in the Christmas shopping! Santa’s being very practical this year getting Dylan his next stage car seat and Lee in Babyzone was extremely helpful in finding us one to suit our needs, even going as far as having it delivered down to us in Dublin. I managed to restrain myself and just buy a few little things for his stocking too but I could easily have spent a fortune in there, it’s got everything you could want!
And as if that all wasn’t exciting enough, to finish off our day we headed to dinner where we met up with the lovely Maria from Secrets of S Mum. I’ve been a follower of her blog for ages so it was great to finally meet her and her brood in person.
On the Sunday we braved the weather and decided to do the touristy option before we left – a walk up to Glenveagh Castle for a coffee and cake. Although it wasn’t the most ideal weather, there was no taking away from how stunning it is there. Such a beautiful part of the country. We were sad saying bye to Joanne and her gorgeous family but we’re already planning our next trip up there in the Spring!
Before we had Dylan everyone said to us “do lots of weekend breaks now because you’ll not be able to once he arrives”. Yes our weekends away have changed significantly (all three of us were in bed by 11pm each night for example!) but weekends away are definitely still possible. And in fact, even though it’s hard work with a baby, I loved going away the three of us and filling our days with things to do with Dylan.
Things I learned road tripping and travelling with baby:
- Bring changes of clothes in your nappy bag so you don’t have to rummage through your luggage at the side of the road should baby need changed.
- On that note, be prepared for epic poonami explosions – make sure you have a plastic bag to toss any dirty clothes into and plenty of wipes!!
- Plan your tip around nap times. We didn’t on the way up and paid for it but learnt from our mistake on the way back which meant we timed it so he slept for 2.5 hours – bliss!
- You can never pack too many bibs when you have a teething baby. We ended up buying a new pack of bibs as we ran out of clean ones.
- Save space by not packing too many toys. Dylan ended up having much more fun with a packet of wipes and playing peek-a-boo with a muslin cloth than he did with any of the toys I packed for him!
- Take your time and allow for plenty of stops if necessary.
- Choose family-friendly accommodation. Get recommendations from friends or online reviews as to where is child-friendly, it makes all the difference.
- Enjoy it! Try not to stress and enjoy the time away together as a family. Dylan has loved having his daddy off work for a couple of weeks and it’s been great to see them spend quality time together.