One of the primary functions of the sling library is to enable people to rent carriers to take on holiday. It’s a great opportunity for people who do not normally use carriers to get out and about in some amazing locations without the research and outlay of carrier purchase. As a result, the library carriers are seasoned travellers, and many have been all over the world carrying their precious cargo.
The advantages to taking a carrier on holiday will depend on the type of holiday you’re taking, but whether you’re hiking up mountains and through forests, eating out in European cities well into the evening, popping to the portaloos at a campsite or festival, taking long beach walks or mounting narrow castle turrets or historical monuments, a sling or carrier can help you get the most from your experience.
So, what are the considerations when selecting a carrier for your holiday? What do you need for travel? And what do you need to know once you get there?
– Packing your carrier
Pack size might not matter so much if you’re driving to a holiday cottage, but if you’re camping or taking a flight, it can be an important consideration. Weight is important, for baggage allowance, but also if you choose to take a carrier along with you in a beach or changing bag. One of the lightest carriers in the library is the Boba Air, which weighs under 300g, and folds down to pencilcase size, and one of the smallest is a pouch, which can fit into a back pocket if necessary. Whatever you choose, be sure to check how best to fold a carrier away – whether it is a wrap, pouch, ring sling, mei tai or buckle carrier, there is often a knack to getting it folded down small and neat that your sling library should be able to show you. Some carriers come with small clips which allow them to attach to a belt or backpack, or come with their own storage bags, but a simple canvas shopping bag for storage is a useful accessory. Wraps can do double duty as blankets, pillows, sunshades, and picnic blankets, if space is at a premium.
– Carrying when travelling
It’s important to consider how your carrier will work for you on a long journey. If you’re taking a train or a plane, and plan to carry during periods of the journey, it is important to choose a carrier that will be comfortable for you in a seated position and easy to use in a confined space – preferably with no knots or buckles behind you, and with a soft or unstructured waistband. Some carriers have built in storage pockets and accessories ideal for travelling, for example the Beco Soleil accessory pack includes a bag which attaches to the panel of the carrier, and the Boba 3G has several small pockets, and a clever shoulder strap which you can use to snap the strap of your bag into place, should it tend to drop from your shoulder. Airport security varies on requiring babies to be taken from carriers for checking, so be prepared for this on the day. You might consider whether you prefer a carrier without metal components such as zips or rings.
For travel by car, or coach, frequent stops at service stations make a carrier easy to drop baby in and out of essential. Any carrier can be quick to use once you get the hang of it, but some of the quickest are ring slings and pouches, small enough to pop into a handbag then support your little one on your front or hip as you nip in to the facilities.
– Carrying in all weathers
We all hope for good holiday weather, of course we don’t always get it. The library has a selection of carriers suited to different weather conditions. You might consider a cool Calin Bleu gauze wrap or a linen ring sling. Carrying on the back tends to be cooler than the front, so how about an all cotton or solarweave Connecta? It is easier to keep tabs on your baby’s temperature when they are close to you sharing the same environment, and your body can even help to cool theirs, although carrying in very hot periods can sometimes be a sticky experience. Hats with long ties or fastenings under the chin are useful for sun protection, and many are available to buy from library supporters, such as this lovely selection which are in the sale at Love to be Natural, or for the hat-avoider, a big floppy hat for the adult can shade you both effectively. Sun cream can be important for you and your baby over six months, pay special attention to area such as your shoulders and your baby’s legs after you remove a carrier as sometimes having straps resting on your shoulders for long periods can remove some of the cream from those areas. Treat carrying a bit like swimming and reapply where necessary, and of course make sure you and your baby keep well hydrated.
Of course, not all holidays are sunny ones, or hot! For travelling to colder climates, the library has wool wraps and carriers lined with sherpa fleece to keep your little ones warm and cosy wherever you are going, as well as a selection of carrying coat accessories such as the Hoppediz carrying cover and Pentelka carrying fleeces. An umbrella can be useful if you’re facing British weather, for a sunshade one moment and downpour protection the next! Even the hottest places can get very chilly after dark, and snuggling up to your baby whilst out in the evening is a lovely way to keep warm when the sun goes down.
– Trips and activities with your baby
Whether you’re jetting off to tropical climates, or enojying good old wellies on the beach weather right here in the UK, taking a carrier along can help you to enjoy more activities and access more places than you think. As a general rule, if you need to have protective clothing to attempt your activity, it’s not a great idea with a baby on board, but airports, stations, rough terrain, sandy beaches, historical monuments and tourist attractions are often more easily accessed with your child using a carrier, and it certainly helps if you’re aiming to travel light.
– Have a wonderful time!
The West Yorkshire Sling Library offers a 2-week rental option ideal for holidaying, for a cost of only £3 per week. If you’re not local, take a look at the UK Sling Library Network for a library near you, and contact them for pricing and options. If you’re taking a library carrier away with you, we always welcome a holiday snap of you and the carrier in some famous location, or a holiday story of how it helped you make the most of your time away. Even if you’re not heading off and away this year, your carrier can be useful for day trips, staycations and anywhere else you care to use it. Have a wonderful summer, whatever the weather and wherever you are going, and enjoy!