Weekend Today and Australian Ninja Warrior host Rebecca Maddern loves getting away and spending quality time with her husband Trent and their daughter Ruby
Hi Rebecca Maddern, your daughter, Ruby, is two-years-old now. Have you done much travelling with her?
We’ve done quite a bit of travel with Ruby. We took her to Los Angeles when she was five months old. I was nervous but it really was quite easy. She’s always been a good sleeper, so she slept like a dream on the way there and back and we were lucky enough to get a seat with a bassinet. She wasn’t eating solids then, which made it a lot easier. She was young enough that we could go out for dinner and she would fall asleep in the pram after a quick walk around the block. We also took her to Fiji when she was one, which wasn’t quite as easy. She was eating solids and it isn’t always easy to get what you need when you’re staying in a hotel. It’s also a bit limiting when they are still having two naps a day but, in saying that, the Fijians love kids so much that all of the staff at our hotel would pick Ruby up and take her for walks, and play with her all the time. She also came to Noosa with us when she was 15 months and, since our family has a beach house along the Great Ocean Road, we love taking Ruby and spending time there during the week, both in summer and winter.
How has the way you travel changed since becoming a mum?
Travel has changed because when I used to pack I used to worry about putting my outfits together. Now I worry about what to pack on the plane for her, in terms of snacks or entertainment. I’m lucky if I remember to pack matching shoes!
Rebecca, what do you enjoy about travelling with a toddler?
I wouldn’t say I love travelling with a toddler, because it can be hard work and stressful at times, but if you’re going to a warm place there is nothing better than splashing around in the pool or the ocean with your baby. It’s a lovely special time with your family.
What advice do you have for other parents travelling with a toddler?
Be organised. Pack more than you need because you could just drop the baby formula all over the floor of the plane when you are trying to mix it up. Try to book flights that work around your baby’s schedule, if possible. Get to the airport early, because you can’t rush when you have a toddler. Pack spare clothes for you and your toddler for the plane. Invest in a good travel pram and travel cot or hire them. They are brilliant.
Do you have to travel for work? How do you juggle it?
Yes, pre-COVID I travelled to Sydney every Friday for a weekend of work. Travelling for work is actually quite easy. My toiletries just stay in my carry-on luggage from week to week, and I wear clothes on the plane that can be easily matched and work again with what is in my bag. I stick to neutral colours and black and white so everything can be worn together. I like to travel with a trench coat because it’s light and gives you some warmth if you need it. I always pack leggings, as I like being comfortable in my hotel room.
I have a nanny for Ruby on Fridays, which allows me to get on a plane mid-afternoon. My husband looks after Ruby over the weekend when I’m away working. Grandparents help out too.
Why do you think travelling with kids is important?
My parents travelled with me quite extensively when I was young, and I think it’s extremely beneficial. It’s great for your geography and in terms of history, if you can see it with your own eyes, it means so much more than just learning it from a textbook. You learn so much from being submerged into a different culture, even if it’s for just a short time. It’s an invaluable experience and we’ll be trying to travel with Ruby as much as we can. I believe it’s one of the greatest gifts you can give to your children.
Where would you love to go for your next family holiday?
Post-COVID I’d be happy with just a trip to Queensland. In terms of overseas destinations, we look for more family-friendly destinations these days. I’d consider going back to Fiji, as I think it would be even more fun now that Ruby is a little older. Of course, when she is old enough to remember it, Disneyland will be on the list. I’ve never been, so I can’t wait!