Published Wednesday 24 April 2019

Getting away for a few days with the kids can sometimes feel like it takes more planning than the actual event – you know – who’s feeding the dog, who’s collecting the mail, who’s packing what? 

But every step you take towards being organised is a moment you don’t have to worry while you are away, leaving you free to deliberate the finer points of cocktail hour, or which vintage wine will best match your dinner.   

So, we wanted to help you thrive on your break – not just survive - with these master hacks for travelling with kids.

  1. Make technology your friend – and make memories – encourage the kids to take lots of photos and videos to document your trip away. Install some photo and video editing apps on the phone or iPad and set them the task of creating a personalised photo album or video of your trip on the car journey home. Or if it’s a digital free holiday, buy the kids a cheap exercise book and get them to write about their own Yarra Valley adventure.
  2. Snack packs for the car ride home – pre-plan this one and make sure each child has their own goody bag of healthy treats. If you get delayed in traffic, or want to avoid the inevitable “I’m hungry” this one will save your life, or at least your ear drums.
  3. Dinner sorted – arriving home late to an empty fridge and nothing to put on a plate is no fun, and hungry kids are to be avoided! If you’ve got a tub of spag bol sauce in the freezer (or even better pick up a jar of Yarra Valley Pasta sauce and your favourite fresh pasta from their Healesville shop), you’ve always got a meal ready to go – just pop it in the fridge to defrost while you are away. Groceries can be home delivered in anticipation of your return home – although you might need to ask your friendliest neighbour to sign for them. You can’t live without milk, bread, coffee and food for the next day and this is a real time saver!
  4. Plan ahead for toilet stops! There’s nothing worse than hearing the words “I’m busting” from the back seat!  You can download the public toilet app (yes, there's an app for that!) or set your itnerary with a toilet stop at the start of each location (and a reminder to the kids before you leave for the next destination).
  5. Add an extra day and avoid the traffic on the way home (especially good advice for public holidays). Be a super hero parent and give the kids an extra morning off school – stay an extra night and make your way home fresh in the morning when the roads are clear and everyone is rested. For just a few hours of school time you’ll feel like you’ve added a whole day to your experience.
  6. Ring ahead and double check on the creature comforts.  Do the bedrooms have block out curtains (you will absolutely want a sleep in!). Kids settle best with their own things so special toys, their own pillow and something from home (books, favourite board games) are essential inclusions. (You’re thinking ‘occupy them’ so you get some down time too.) And there is also the option of BYOBS – Bring Your Own Baby Sitters – aka the grandparents. These upwardly mobile baby boomers may even pay their own way (and yours too if you’re lucky!)
  7. Washing, grrrr! How often do you get home all relaxed only to find yourself doing 5 loads of washing the next day? Can you get a jump start and do a load or two at your accommodation?  Or pay for a laundry service while you are away, or a cleaner when you get home. It’s a good feeling to come home to a clean house – so leaving it clean and tidy before you go can feel like a real relief when open that front door. 
  8. Plan for success – if there is a body of water, chances are one kid is going to fall in. If there is a cycling track, your kids are going to insist on riding. If you have room, pack the bikes (and don’t forget the helmets), the skateboard and a permanent day pack of spare clothes in the back of the car. An emergency scooter in the car boot can be a good strategy too – especially if you’re space poor.

Why day trip when you can stay overnight and give everyone a break? For accommodation options click here.

Plan your getaway and enjoy time away that is all about making memories to share around the family dinner table for years to come!