When we were planning our trip to Hawaii, we knew the planning for the trip on the plane could potentially be hard. In today’s blog post, I’m sharing everything we brought with us to help our trip going there and coming back be successful. We booked our flights nonstop from Houston which meant about 9 hours going to Honolulu and about 7 hours on the way back.
Let me preface this by saying that we have had good and bad plane trips with Colton. Chloe has only been on a short plane ride before this trip, but at her age she is usually pretty content as long as I am with her and she has had something to eat. Just know that even if you are well prepared and have everything you think you need for your child, they may still have a meltdown and it’s okay. They are little and it happens! Most people are very understanding, and if not, you probably won’t see them again anyway so it doesn’t matter.
As soon as I booked our flight, I called United to request the baby bassinet. This usually works for international flights only, but our flight to Hawaii was using a big international plane. We were able to have them upgrade our seats to sit behind the bulk head where a baby bassinet can be fastened. The seats we were in usually require you to pay for Economy Plus seating, but since we “needed” the baby bassinet, we were upgraded for free! We also had a ton of leg room which was very nice and made the flight feel not so cramped!
Before we even got on the plane, one of the biggest challenges we faced was how to carry all of our stuff to the gate! Some of you may find this helpful so I wanted to include it. We have this car seat cart that attaches to the car seat so we can wheel it around the airport. There are also these giant backpacks that I have seen some people use, but since we usually have backpacks already, we like the cart better. I wear Chloe in this baby carrier – it is so comfortable and she took a lot of naps with me wearing her during our trip! I love it when we are on the go. Colton either walks or I push him in this amazing stroller that folds up SO small that we can carry it on board with us and don’t have to wait at the gate for them to unload it when we arrive. I have friends that own this stroller for the same reason and have heard you can attach an infant car seat to it, which is amazing! We usually check in our infant car seat, but if you wanted to gate check it or bring it on board with you, that stroller may be a better option for you. While wearing Chloe and holding Colton’s hand or pushing him in the stroller, I have Chloe’s car seat in my other hand, my purse on my shoulder, and the diaper backpack on my back. My strong husband is pushing two check in bags (one on top of the other), pulling Colton’s car seat, wearing a duffel bag strapped across him, and wearing another backpack. We had a wedding to go to on this trip, otherwise we may have gotten away with doing just one check in bag. I’ll have to remember to show how I organize all of our stuff in a future blog post. Let me know in the comments if you’d be interested in seeing that!
Let me continue with what we brought for our 3 year old!
We have this car seat that only weighs 10 lbs and this travel tray for Colton to use on the plane. He does so much better when he’s strapped in to his car seat and falls asleep easily without putting up a fight (hallelujah). In my opinion it would be harder for him to sleep if he was in a regular seat by himself, so this set up works perfectly for us! We also made sure to have his dinosaur on the plane that he sleeps with at night and for naps, so that helps too.
Our flight leaving Houston left at 9:40 a.m, so we made sure to purchase food for lunch from the airport before boarding. We also had a variety of his favorite snacks with us, along with some milk and water. This bag is what I use to store some small toys in case he got bored on the plane. We put it in our favorite diaper bag backpack. Colton loves Disney cars, so we brought along 4 of his favorites along with a coloring book, markers, crayons, and even Play Doh. We didn’t end up using the Play Doh, but I knew that would have entertained him for a long time if he was bored. I also wrapped a couple of new cars he hadn’t seen yet and a small book. Opening a present is always fun, so this is a great thing to pull out if needed. We also brought our iPad with a couple of shows that he likes to watch and a movie. Once we got on the plane, we let him watch a short show, then he ate lunch. After lunch, he watched a movie. Then we took the tray off, gave him his dinosaur and put a blanket on him and told him to try to sleep. To my shock and amazement, he actually slept for a really long time! When he woke up he was content looking around the plane, eating snacks, and playing with his cars.
Here’s what we brought for our 11 month old baby!
Chloe is still taking a morning nap and afternoon nap, so I tried as much as possible to keep her on the same schedule. For her, we pack these spoons, these adorable bibs that are perfect to travel with, lots of baby food pouches, Cheerios, and puffs. She also has a small bag with her toys in the diaper bag. I am all about using little bags to organize different categories of things within a big bag, so everything is easy to find and there aren’t loose things floating around everywhere. We didn’t need many toys for her as she is actually pretty content watching Colton play and he is pretty great about letting her have a car to play with too. I am still breastfeeding Chloe, so having this inexpensive nursing cover was an absolute must. I fed her during takeoff and she immediately fell asleep and slept on me for about an hour! When she woke up, we fed her lunch and then after that we let her have some play time. She is a social butterfly, so anytime she was sitting in her bassinet playing or sitting on me, she was looking around and catching the eyes of other passengers and flashing a grin at them. I’m convinced everyone said she was adorable because I insist that she always has one of these bows on her head! She’s always worn a headband since the day she was born and she never tries to pull them off. I love those particular bows because they never leave marks on her head and seem very comfortable, soft, and stretchy. Plus, they are very affordable and come with so many colors that match all of her outfits. When it was about time for her second nap, I breastfed her again, then rocked her since she was resisting laying down in the bassinet. I put a travel pillow under my arm to support her head and then she slept another 2 hours. In no time, we had landed in Honolulu and both kids were in great moods!
The returning red eye flight was even smoother! We had a day full of activities and both kids had a short nap in the car that afternoon. We got to the airport with plenty of time to spare, so we had dinner together, changed the kids into comfy and warm clothes (the plane was cold!) and they both slept the entire way back. We are all still a bit jet lagged and we all took long naps when we arrived at home, but I’m already looking forward to planning our next trip!
My number one tip for traveling with little ones is to PRAY. Ask everyone you know to pray for your trip. Our families were praying, I asked my bible study fellowship group to pray for us, and I asked some close friends to pray as well. At the end of the day I had faith knowing that whatever happened, God was watching over us. He is so good and I clearly saw God’s protection over us throughout our trip.
I hope you found this helpful, and thank you for reading!
Colton’s Car Seat: HERE
Car Seat Cart: HERE
Chloe’s Car Seat: HERE
Diaper Backpack: HERE
Baby Carrier: HERE
Travel Tray: HERE
Small Bags for Toys: HERE
Nursing Cover: HERE
Chloe’s Bows: HERE
Travel Pillow: HERE
As a photographer myself, it is SO hard to take my own family photos! We looked crazy on this afternoon and parked our car right in front of this tree with my camera on a tripod and me frantically pressing a remote trying to capture my kids smiling in photos. I set my expectations low and was really happy with how these photos came out! With two little ones, taking pictures like this can be hectic but I love looking back at them. Also, it was unexpectedly super windy while we were taking pictures so my hair looks crazy, but I don’t care!
The main reason why I wanted to do this little photoshoot of my family is because my husband and I are celebrating our 7th wedding anniversary! We have been together for 12 years! Time has flown by and I can’t believe we are parents of two beautiful children now. I think back on our relationship at this time every year and am so thankful that we have each other! God is so good!
Hi there! I'm Sharon and I LOVE being a photographer. Capturing the beauty and joy in the lives of my clients is one of the most fulfilling and rewarding parts of my job. Feel free to stay awhile!