With the weather heating up and the holiday season quickly approaching, we begin to plan our next destination. However, for new parents, the stress of passports and oversea healthcare starting to play on the mind, it makes the idea of a staycation even more tempting. Today, we share our top UK destinations for families and talk to Melanie, Mum to the beautiful Benji, about the joys, challenges and top tips of travelling with a baby on board.

What are some items you can’t live without when travelling with a baby?

  • Benji’s blanket: Benji has a very special blanket that he loves to snuggle into when he's tired, and he certainly can't sleep without it. It was the same blanket we wrapped him in on the day we brought him home from the hospital. If there's one thing neither of us would travel without, it’s his blanket!
  • Mac Pac: We have a Mac Pac child carrier that allows me to carry Benji on my back for quite some time before he gets bored, sometimes he has a nap in there! It’s perfect for off-roading and beach walks and a key item whenever we go away, especially as we walk our dog Mollie so often.
  • Baby Walkie-Talkies: We recently got married in Sri Lanka, Benji was nine months old and I honestly think the best thing we ever took with us was the baby walkie-talkies. It meant we could hear Benji sleeping or if he cried without having to be in the same room. Jamie and I had dinner by the pool or near the ocean and we knew Benji was safely sleeping in our room.

What about an item you pack but never end up using?

When Benji was just starting to eat solids, I met a Mum in The Jam Jar who swore by this adorable little foldable chair and tray for her little one, the chair is small enough to take with you when you travel or even for a day out. I bought Benji one in grey and we take it on our travels, but to this day, we've still not needed to use it, everywhere caters so well for little ones these days!

What are your favourite holiday activities to do with your little one?

I guess nothing has really changed when it comes to our favourite holidaying activities. Before Benji we always spent hours at the beach, surfing, chilling, eating yummy picnics or making a fire. That’s still what we do on holiday and at home, the only difference is we can't surf together and there are far more sandcastles to build!

What is your favourite place you’ve been on holiday with your little one?

Sri Lanka - we were there for the best part of a month; friends and family came out for our wedding and then we had our honeymoon just the three of us! Benji barely wore any clothes or a nappy the whole time we were there, he was such a little beach baby by the end of our trip!

What is your most stressful baby travel story?

When Benji was about three months old, we took him to Hartland in Devon, it’s one of our favourite places that are not too far from home. The landscape is rugged and dramatic, especially in March. We stayed in a beautiful cottage on the coast and couldn't wait to explore, so as soon as we arrived, we bundled Benji in the carrier and off we went for a walk. The weather was mild and the sun was out, we'd just got the edge of the cliffs, below us was our favourite beach but as I looked out to the horizon I could see this wall of white cloud coming towards us and within about five minutes the weather turned and we found ourselves in a howling snowstorm. As the temperature dropped, and the snow continued to fall we realised how unprepared we were. We had no waterproof clothing, barely any coats on at all, and the snow began to settle, the visibility was terrible, the wind was howling and my new Mum panic set in. As we turned to head home, all the back roads looked the same, I was barely looking where I was going while I tried to cocoon myself around Benji to keep him warm and dry. Thank goodness Jamie has a sense of direction as I would have most definitely taken a wrong turn! We arrived back at the cottage, freezing cold, dripping wet and in a bit of shock, no one caught a cold and we laugh about it now, but at the time it wasn't that funny! For the rest of our stay, we checked the weather forecast before heading out.

What are your top items to entertain your baby on a long journey?

I always bring lots of snacks like chopped up fruit, baby crisps and teething biscuits. I also let Benji watch tractor videos on YouTube from my phone; he's obsessed with them! I also bring a stack of his books as he loves to read.

What are your top three baby travel hacks?

My number one piece of advice if you're travelling in a car or plane is to hide the toys or books and only give one out at a time, if you hand them all out at once, then it’s all over in the first half an hour. The next is always take a phone charger so you can link up to YouTube and still have a working phone when you get lost and need a satnav. And finally, always check the weather forecast!

Thinking of a staycation? opt for a September/October getaway to beat the crowds and inflated prices while you still can. We recommend The Hide for a quiet paired-back Cornish retreat, Castaway for a mountainous escape and Amethyst Meadows to join the whole family. Discover our full baby-friendly collection

Images by Melanie Johnstone at The Hide.