Winter Weekend Roadtrip to a Cottage – Three Tips for traveling with a toddler and enjoying it!

This past weekend my parents treated my family and my sisters family to a cottage getaway. We were so lucky to have this time together. One of my favourite things about parenthood is watching my daughter build relationships with other people. Especially with the people who are very important to me. Traveling with a toddler may not be easy, but I have three tips on how to travel with them and actually enjoy it!

View out of the cottage window looking into the forest.

Since becoming a mother the idea of a weekend getaway doesn’t seem as relaxing as it once did. Trying NOT to pack all the things you will NOT need, planning meals and snacks, where and how will your child sleep? How will you get from point A to be B and not be exhausted by the time you get to your destination….these are just a few things that run through my mind when the idea of a weekend getaway is thrown my way.

Over the past year and a bit, we have done a few weekend road trips. The more we travel the easier it gets. So, I thought I would share a few things that have made traveling with a baby a little easier.

Just say yes

When the opportunity arises to go on an adventure just say Yes! Forget about all the questions and worries that pop into your head and figure them out as they come – because most of your worries won’t even show up to the party. My biggest worry is always the car ride and unfortunately, this is usually the best mode of transportation. We try to do the bulk of your driving over nap times. We were blessed with a daughter who despises her car seat. Well, I think she dislikes anything that she gets buckled into. She spends a lot of her time playing with the buckle on her buckle board – She is probably planning her escape.

I have said “No” to a lot of things in the past year because I was worried about how the car ride would go. But every time I have said “yes” I am a so happy that I did. Usually, the car ride ends up not being as bad as I expect it to be or if the car ride is really horrible I am blessed with some wonderful moments once we arrived at our destination.

Luckily, this time she slept the whole way there and back. Keeping the destination within two hours has worked well for us, as this is generally the length of her nap. I was also prepared with snacks, toys, and some pre-loaded Netflix videos just in case!

Getting ready to go for a snowshoe in the woods.
Simone enjoy the outdoor time at the cottage.
Adventuring into the woods with the family.
Found an old truck in the woods while snowshoeing.

Nathan carrying Simone while snowshoeing.

Plan an activity that YOU want to do and include the whole family

Something that my husband, Nathan, is really good at is making sure that the things that were important to us pre-baby still have a place in our baby filled lives. Which is my next tip for traveling with a toddler and probably the most important tip. Make sure that your weekend includes an activity that you are really looking forward to. It may not look the same way it did before and that is ok. Think of an activity you really want to do and figure out a way to include the whole family.

If you read my first post you may know that Nathan and I love to snowshoe or cross country ski deep into the woods and have a fire. Pre-Simone we used to spend hours snowshoeing around looking for the perfect spot to stop and relax. We may have not spent hours snowshoeing this past weekend, but we did manage to get out for a few short trips to explore the woods behind the cottage. Once we returned to the cottage we were greeted by a campfire my Dad and Sister had started.

returning from our adventure into the woods to sit around the fire.
Nathan and Simone in front of the fire
Taking a break after snowshoeing. Simone and me lying on the bed.

Relax when the opportunity presents itself

Remember when everyone told you to sleep when the baby was sleeping? Well, it’s a bit easier to do when on holidays because you aren’t surrounded by all the things you have been putting off. It’s the perfect time to lye down and relax as your little one naps.

I actually took this opportunity to hold Simone while she slept. After we came in from a snowshoe adventure I cuddled up with Simone in front of the wood stove and rocked her to sleep. At home when nap time is approaching I start to get excited by all the things ‘I am going to get done’. Instead, while she slept I study her little features and felt the weight of her body sinking into mine, something I haven’t done in a while.

Our weekend was sprinkled with so many joy-filled moments. One of my favorites was watching Simone and her cousin play and laugh together. Her cousin loves to be silly. I know, this blog post may not have been filled with the magic tips and tricks to having a stress-free weekend away. But the truth is that parenthood is never going to be that. It’s filled with a million little hurdles that you have to navigate around but if you can figure out how to still smile and take a minute to enjoy the little moments you are going to have a great little getaway!



4 thoughts on “Winter Weekend Roadtrip to a Cottage – Three Tips for traveling with a toddler and enjoying it!”

  1. I love these tips! I expected practical things like pack snacks, but no amount of snacks make travelling with little ones easier. Finding the joy even among the tough parts is such a good reminder!

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