Travelling with little ones. Does the idea give you immediate anxiety? Packing lists as long as your arm, having more bags than you can count, and the joy of wrestling with awkward shaped prams/ strollers/ travel cots. Who’d have realised such tiny people need so much stuff!
Good news - the game is changing.
Eva Wintersberger set up Tree Hut Village to take the hassle out of family travel. Instead of taking those much-needed items with you, Tree Hut Village allows you to rent prams, cots, highchairs - even clothes - from local families, at a reasonable rate.
We caught up with Eva to talk travel tips, balance, and why she’s still in awe at the kindness of strangers...
Tell us a bit about you? How do you like to spend your weekends
I live in Melbourne, and being based here is all about the food, coffee, and making the most of the sunshine we get. I love spending time with my family, and being present with them. I find the odd glass of wine with my friends extremely energising, and have realised I should do it more often when I don't have to get up the next day!
How did you come up with the idea for Tree Hut Village ?
It all started when we went travelling with our then four-month-old son to the Whitsundays. I didn't want to take my pram because I didn’t like the thought of it getting damaged by baggage handlers, and I'm not a big fan of travelling with lots of luggage. I ended up connecting online with a family who lived locally, and we rented theirs. It was so easy, and having that immediate friendly connection in a new place was so lovely! I left feeling really motivated to help make this experience available to more people.
What’s the best thing about the business?
I love that it's such a win-win for everyone involved! Parents can use equipment they already have to earn them extra money for their holiday-fund, others get to travel with less stress and less baggage, and the sharing of equipment helps towards a sustainable, conscious way of living. The social angle is really important to me - parents get to connect and chat with locals, sharing tips about where to take their littlies and what there is to see and do. It’s really heartwarming.
What’s your best piece of advice for balancing work and family life?
Be present in anything you do. Focus either on work, or focus on family and then give it 100%. I accepted that I'm not productive when my son is at home with me, so I decided not to work when he's around. When he’s awake, we play, and I get back to work when he naps.
Any top tips for travelling with babies or young children?
Be prepared, and be confident that it isn't going to be as bad as you think. One thing I love about being a mum is other mums – the kindness of strangers always moves me so much. I travelled by myself with a 10-month-old to Europe, and at one point I had a mini-meltdown when I had to take him out of the carrier and I couldn’t carry everything I had with me… don’t underestimate how kind people can be when they see you are handling a lot!
On a more practical note, take a selection of small toys, and don’t forget travel snacks – in case they won’t eat the plane food. Oh, and a pillow! My old breastfeeding pillow worked a treat.
Tell us something you always pack when travelling with your little one!
His digger duvet. It’s his must-have.
What’s been your favourite family getaway?
Going back to my home town in the Austrian alps. It was winter, and I got to show my husband and my baby boy the beauty of snowflakes, icy temperatures, skiing and warm fireplaces. In Australia I’d say Lorne – a stark contrast to the snow! I have a water baby and he is most happy when he can throw himself into the waves.
Next holiday destination?
New Zealand to visit family, and we are thinking about going to Bali for the very first time this July! My list of places to go to is very long though, Iceland, Vietnam, Samoa, New Orleans...it’s never ending.
Prepping for your next family adventure? Booking a Travelshoot is an easy and enjoyable way of capturing those magical moments. Packages start at only $399