You may be thinking January is an odd time to write about travel, but I love traveling. January is often a time we start to think about holidays. Over the years Adam and I have come to realise that we cannot give up our holiday as it is really bad for our mental health. Of course traveling with baby or toddler is a different proposition but we were keen to still go on holiday. Our first holiday was a trip to Filey in North Yorkshire for a week. My parents came for the weekend too. B was 4 months old at the time. Our next trip was to Turkey when B was 6 months old having been given the confidence that we could manage the trip. This year we decided off the bat to have two holidays again. We went to Greece at the start of the summer (B was 16 months) and Italy at the end (B was 18 months). The trip to Italy had been planned for quite a while as it was our 10th Wedding Anniversary and we wanted to go back to where we got married.
So that gives you an idea of the background for this article. We would not have been able to do this without slings! When we went to Filey, I had just learnt to wrap, we went in the car and did take the pushchair, we didn’t use it once! I took several wraps and also a buckle carrier with us to Filey, and I used them all. It was great to be mobile, and be able to get up to places and around. We went for walks on the beach (it was a windy week, so being wrapped up and carrying B helped keep me warm). We walked up to the Abbey in Whitby and in and around the town which is not somewhere I would have even considered with a pushchair. It was great to be able to sit down for a meal while he napped and share experiences with him. In all just enjoy a week of time with him with very few restrictions.
Our trip to Turkey involved an aeroplane. We were worried about this. We used a buckle carrier (Connecta Solar Weave) through the airport and it made life so easy. We flew from Doncaster, which is a tiny airport, and found that the whole experience was really easy. We did take a pushchair, but left it with our cases when we checked in. So we were free to wander around the airport, have coffee and relax/entertain B. For the flight I had decided to use a Ring Sling. This was the perfect option as it is easy to have on loosely when he was just on my lap and tighten it when he fell asleep. He was great on the plane and we even had comments on both our flights about how good he was. We had selected the slings we took with us for heat. The Solar Weave is a great option for summer wearing and was what Adam would use when he carried. The Ring sling was Soul linen borrowed from the Carrying Works along with a Wrapsody Bali Breeze. I found the wrap much more comfortable for using for any length of time and we used that on our day trips. The ring sling was good for going down to dinner as it was lightweight and also good for discreet feeding. Being able to feed in the wraps made a lot of difference for me with my hungry boy! All in all it was a great trip. We did use the pushchair around the pool, so when B napped he could go in that and we could sunbathe.
For our trips this year we have taken the JPMBB physio carrier which I reviewed here. This is a great option for a slightly bigger child, as I tend to find the Solar Weave a little diggy now. We again used this through the airport on both trips and he needed it on the way home on both! Our trip to Greece was to Corfu, which has the worst airport I have ever been to. We were in queue after queue and it was literally straight onto the plane once we finally got through security. B was very unhappy, but then fell asleep on my back and slept through most of the process. On the way back from Italy, he was asleep through security and because there was no metal on the carrier I was able to go through without waking him up. This seems to be up to the airport or even the guard at the time whether they make you take the sling off, but it is a reason not to use a ring sling through the airport.
We also predominately used the JPMBB for most of our day out use. This was because I did not want to carry extra stuff with us and we wanted to share the carrying. Adam does not wrap so although I did take a wrap on both trips and did use it a little, it was not nearly as much as the year before as B is much more independent and now wants to walk much more. We were out and about a lot on both of these holidays, and we even managed to add some extra countries in (Albania and San Marino). The carrier enabled us to climb stairs (A LOT OF STAIRS), go into cities and be free to not worry. We did use the pushchair more in Italy as we were eating out every night and would take B in that, and he would invariably fall asleep in it at some point. But on the whole the carrier gave us the freedom and confidence to be able to do a lot more.
The weather conditions – look for a carrier with Mesh or a thin light weight for hot countries there are some great options out there.
The wearer – if there are two or more of you, make sure you take what will work for you both (That may mean more than one) but if you plan on sharing the carrier make sure that you have both tried it before you go.
HIRE – you don’t need to buy a sling for holiday. If you are only going to use it a few weeks a year hire it from your local library, but remember to talk to them in advance to ensure they keep it booked for when you need it.
Don’t Hate your pushchair – It could be really useful, we found ours really handy around the pool etc. but did not take our good one, and in Italy we hired one.
Use it at the airport (Check your Pushchair) – Not sure this needs saying but it gives real peace of mind for a bigger kid when the airport can be a busy hectic place, and can be great when you are pointing at planes together.