i did it you guys. i traveled ALONE to hawaii and back with a 19 month old for 10 days. i had my family in hawaii to help during the trip but they are no michael blair. for most of the time i felt like a single parent since c was clingy and adjusting to a new environment/family/time-zone/climate.
here is a short account of our trip in hopes that it will help other mamas and families traveling with babies under 2!
we flew out at 7:45am from LAX. i had 1 stroller, 1 backpack, 1 duffle bag, 1 huge parka, and an ergo with me. everything in the backpack and duffle was for just the flight TO hawaii: 5 busy bags, snacks galore, 3 chargers, 1 iPad, 1 iPhone, 1 muslin blanket, 2 changes of clothes for c, 1 shirt for me, and wipes/diapers. i got an extra comfort seat for the flight (window), which allowed a lot of leg room plus an extra 5 inches or so of space for me to store things all around me. honestly, this extra room and window seat were SO CLUTCH. babies are allowed on the plane first so i was able to wipe down all the seats/window and put all of my things where they needed to be before the regular people boarded.
i was able to shove 2-3 busy bags between the seat and window area and i put snacks/drinks/the iPad in the little pocket in front of us. this range of activities allowed me to quickly grab something new when she was antsy or fussy. i also had my backpack in the overhead bin and my big duffle under the seat in front of me. the extra leg room gave c enough room to stand, sit and have limited mobility. this tiny bit of room gave c a different change of scenery and position that SERIOUSLY bought me extra time before any meltdowns or screams erupted.
the first four hours, c was AWESOME. she was in total awe of the plane, snacks and iphone. then after 1.5 hours, she took a 1.15 hour nap in my arms. i could tell she was getting sleepy and i quickly put on my ergo and rocked her in my seat while quietly singing in her ear. while she slept i took out my thermos foogo out, put a packet of oatmeal in there and asked the flight attendant for hot water. By the time C woke up, I knew she would be starving and this oatmeal was the PERFECT in flight item for her to fill her up and smell pleasant for the people around us (it was apple cinnamon flavor). <–such a random note about the for but i put a ton of thought into it for C (healthy snack, filling snack i knew she would eat) and for the people on the plane (those who smelled it wouldn’t want to barf and it wouldn’t linger in the air too long).
the last two hours C was really nasty and the busy bags were loosing it’s appeal. the thing that really hurt me was getting up to go to the bathroom. before i did that, c had no idea we could even leave our confined spot! so once she figured out that the plane was big and there were tons of people to look at~ game OVAH to quiet charlotte. sigh. so the last two hours were more of a struggle where i tried my best to switch out the busy bags, show her as many shows/apps on my phone as possible and bribe her with snacks. on the flight to hawaii, hawaiian airlines gives you a bag of maui potato chips. i would NEVER normally give her chips but the last 60 minutes of the flight was HARD for c to stay quiet so i pulled out my phone and let her eat chips from the bag. best decision of my life. she was SOOOOOOO quiet for about 20-25 minutes just eating chips and watching shows. thank you Jesus. when we landed the people around us gave c tons of compliments for being so good and how they hardly knew a baby was on the flight. YES!
(for luggage + car seat, i didn’t have any of that with me. my bro took my bag earlier since he flies back and forth so much. the car seat i ordered on amazon and had it shipped directly to my parent’s house. we needed a new one and it was nice since they had it installed in the car when they picked me up. i also pre-ordered all the things the baby would need and shipped it to the house so that i didn’t have to bring that. for clothes, i planned for us to do laundry at least one time, so i barely brought stuff.)
hawaii is only 2 hours behind us and with the flight, it wasn’t to hard to get C on schedule for the trip. we didn’t have a crib for her so she slept in bed with me the whole two weeks. that wasn’t easy and it was definitely not the way i like to sleep train her, but whatever works right?
i found that keeping c on a schedule (even if it’s made up) and taking her outside at least twice a day was the way to go. she woke up at around 6:30-7am and was ready to go. so we went to the park or the beach (both 1 block away) and spent about 4-5 hours outside. i got coffee, we walked around the mall/shopping centers (my parents live in the middle of these really popular area), and played at the beach or park. c often napped in the stroller or we came home for her to take her afternoon nap. then around 4-430pm we went out again for about 1 hour to get the last of her wiggles out.
it was GLORIOUS having no schedule and just spending time with c. made me want to be a housewife or stay at home mom SO BAD.
the hardest part of the trip was not having mike. i was “on” 24/7. no one knew c like i did, she was super clingy in this new environment, and no one was going to discipline her or “parent” her like me. i think just not having a partner to tag-team with was hard~ but the trip itself was AWESOME. c was able to swim at several different beaches, see tons of different shows/scenes, and play with local kids everyday. i brought some toys/books that i KNEW she would love but they were kinda hit/miss. like she obviously played with them, but being in a new environment led her to play with a whole bunch of new things. so had i not brought any toys~ she would have been fine. or i could have just bought a couple while we were there? toys/books were one thing that i thought would be HUGE, but it ended up being a minor detail. next time around i wouldn’t have brought so much.
for the entire 2 weeks, unless my family was with me, i didn’t drive anywhere on my own. i walked literally everywhere in ala moana and waikiki. in hindsight i should have taken c to different parts of the island like turtle bay, dole plantation, lanikai and on some picturesque hikes. sigh. next time? when i’m braver?
on the way home, i took the red-eye. AWESOME idea since C slept the entire time, but hard for me. our flight was at 9:45pm and i let c run around and play like a maniac until we boarded. about 20 minutes into the flight c passed out HARD in my ergo.
(one tip with the ergo, i rock her to sleep with her facing my chest and she she is out cold, i flip her around so she leans back and sleeps the rest of the time. that way i can be her “bed” or “car seat” while she’s strapped in. i also put a blanket on her so that she’s wrapped warmly and has the freedom to move around a bit. having her sleep with her head on my chest is comfortable but her legs get squished in my seat so that’s not comfy.)
anyway, c slept HARD for the entire flight and i did not. i probably slept for like 1-2 hours tops. why? because if c was in a comfy sleeping position, i was not. if i was in a comfy position, c would wake up pissed. i stood in my seat and just kind of rocked for a little bit to ease my back and stretch a bit. sigh. if i could do it all over again, i would have still taken the red eye. having c sleep the entire flight and THEN SOME was too good to pass up. even when we were getting off the plane and i was trying to open her stroller~ she was OUT.
i was SO STRESSED OUT over this trip and it could not have gone better. this is probably the one and only time c and i will travel alone like this and i seriously treasured every second alone with her. working full-time comes with so much guilt and feeling like i’m not enough. long breaks like this seriously fill my soul and help me recoup from being so darn burnt out.
can’t believe winter break is almost overrrrr. i’m totally dreading it but hoping this 2017 brings many joys and wonderful changes to our family. xo