Hope you have some time because this is a long one! Taking a baby on any trip is a daunting task. I know I sometimes get anxious taking Zachary to Target on a rainy day, let alone an overnight trip! Prior to Maui we've been on several weekend trips to see family in the Sacramento area as well as LA, each trip lasting no longer than a 2-night stay. When planning to bring our 5-month-old baby on a 7-day vacation to an unfamiliar place with tropical climate and unpredictable weather, I had to spend a lot more time preparing. I would say that our smaller trips prepped me for it.
What made our trip to Maui most challenging was the amount of luggage (see Packing) we had to bring. We lugged our stuff from home to our Uber to the airport, from the check-in gate to the security checkpoint, the airport at our destination to the rental car place, from the rental car place to our hotel, and then did the entire thing again in reverse going back home. Shoutout to the hubby, Leejay for carrying all the cargo while I focused my energy on the baby!
Weather is a big one to consider when traveling anywhere. In San Francisco I look up the weather everyday before I even step outside. In preparation for this trip I looked up the 10-day forecast in Kapalua and read reviews about the weather in Kapalua in January on TripAdvisor and other various blogs to get a sense of what I needed.
It doesn't hurt to check in with your pediatrician prior to travel either. Zac had a mild cold in between her regular 4-month well-child visit and our vacation. We decided to make an appointment to ensure that we were good to go and get educated on what to do if her cold progressed into an ear infection, who to call, and what to bring. Her pediatrician said to make sure to use a nasal saline rinse, stay hydrated, have a thermometer and tylenol handy, and get info on the closest urgent care and hospital from the hotel when we arrive. He also honed in on the importance of sunblock. I learned that you could use plain zinc oxide (like in diaper cream) as sunblock and it didn't really matter what SPF you use, as long as it was at least SPF 20 and was applied frequently every few hours and/or if she got wet/submerged in water.
I began packing for Maui 2 weeks in advance. I know that sounds crazy, but I knew that it would be important in case I missed something. One thing I had to keep in mind was that babies grow super fast and 2 weeks can make a big difference. I made sure not to pack anything that already fit too snug. On top of the regular baby items I pack for overnight trips, I had to also keep in mind that we were going somewhere with pools, beaches, and harsh sunlight. So here's what I packed:
- Stroller/stroller bag - Strollers are considered a free check-in bag! We brought our Uppababy G-Lite umbrella stroller because it's much lighter than our regular Uppababy Cruz. We definitely missed the cargo space below, but it was nice not having to lug such a big stroller around.
- Car seat/car seat bag- We used our UppaBaby Mesa carseat without the actual mesa platform. It's lightweight and easy to install. These are free to check-in too!
- Lulyboo lounger- We used this poolside for Zac to lounge and nap. We also ended up using it to co-sleep with her in the bed on the days she was very congested so I could help her clear her sinuses more frequently.
- Pop-up chair- We got so much use out of this chair! We initially just wanted to get her a little beach chair but ended up using this at every restaurant instead of having to use the high chairs provided. It's basically a collapsible Bumbo seat. This was important to us because we didn't want her cold to get any worse while we were on vacation. (Yes, I'm a bit of a germaphobe.) It folds up small and fits into a drawstring bag that didn't take up much space in our luggage.
- Diaper bag - We brought a different one than the one we use daily because we knew it would get sand in it or wet.
- 2 blankets
- 6 burp cloths
- 6 bibs
- 5 pajamas
- 2 bathing suits- Target has a great selection!
- 1 coverup
- 3 pants
- 3 shorts
- 6 onesie shirts/tanks/summer dress
- 1 rain jacket- Ours looks different than the one linked here, because they are likely out of stock.
- 2 sandals
- 6 pairs socks
- Woolino- I posted about this wearable blanket awhile ago. She still sleeps with this every night. It's the best!
- Teething necklace
- 2 nursing covers - You can see how I use my covers. They are the same ones I used when taking Zac to Disneyland.
- Secure-a-toy strap- These things are great! It keeps toys and teethers from falling on the ground.
- Teething toys- She was chewing on this thing the WHOLE TIME. Almost every photo of her on this trip was with this teether in her mouth.
- 2 stroller toys
- 1 highchair toy
- 1-2 pack of wipes- Wipes are hella expensive in Hawaii. You especially don't want to run out of wipes while at the airport. This happened to us because I thought 1 large pack of wipes (75 count) would be enough and we had to purchase wipes at the Kahului Airport. A travel pack of wipes cost $8.99!
- 1 box diapers (or 40 diapers)- Again, expensive in Hawaii. I brought 60 but I could have brought less. I ended up using less than 40 diapers. I overestimated because when you are on the road and/or swimming and beach hopping, you end up using less diapers than you would use being home all day.
- Aquaphor- Zachary is prone to diaper rash and has eczema. Fortunately the humidity in Hawaii was great for her skin. No eczema flare-ups the whole week!
- Toy wipes- Because her teethers can get really gross and there isn't always a place to wash them
- Sanitizing wipes- Families with young children get to board the airplane first! I took a tip from a mommy friend of mine and wiped down our entire seat area, armrests, food trays, TV screens and remotes as soon as we boarded. Those things are extremely filthy.
- Baby Tylenol- Brought this in case her cold progressed into an ear infection (per her pediatrician).
- Thermometer- Same as above.
- Saline drops- To moisten her nostrils and ease her congestion
- Windi - She did get gassy at one point during the trip and this helped get it out.
- Nose frida- Had to suck that snot out!
- Nail clippers and file- Zac's nails grow so fast. I clip them almost every 2 days because she's a scratcher!
- Baby sunblock- ThinkBaby is our fave. Leejay, Zac and I all used the same sunblock throughout the vacation. This sunblock doesn't smell bad like a lot of others and it doesn't leave you feeling chalky or sticky.
- 2 bucket hats- Sun protection is so important. Bucket hats protect baby's face, neck, and scalp.
- 2 swim diapers- We used the ones by Honest Company. They fit nice and snug (so snug that I would recommend sizing up). We used regular diapers if we were just lounging by the pool and/or beach and then I would change her into swim diapers right before taking a dip in the water. Babies poop and pee whenever they feel like it, so I think it's best to just have them in regular diapers for the majority of the time. When the sun is blaring and you are out in the pool, it's unlikely that the baby would even be in the pool for very long.
- Baby sunglasses
- Shampoo/body wash Cetaphil pack- I use Cetaphil for Zachary because of her eczema. She is sensitive to a lot of products that have chemicals or fragrances. Cetaphil is mild and hypoallergenic.
- Travel bath tub- This little bath sling worked great and folds flat to fit well in your luggage. We have been using this since Zac was 1-month-old on her first overnight trip and every trip thereafter.
- Pool floater- We got a ton of compliments on this floater at our hotel pool. Even the adults were hoping it came in their size! This floater is easy to inflate, comes with some pool toys, and most importantly has a sun shield for skin protection.
- Hair ties/clips
- Changing pad
- Sound spa travel - Part of Zachary's bedtime ritual is to have the sound of water as white noise. We bring it on all our travels but ended up not using it in Maui, and for good reason. Our partial ocean view room allowed us to hear the ocean waves from our room!
- Sollybaby- This was the golden ticket to having a comfy, sleeping baby on the airplane. I wore her in my Solly and she fell asleep right before boarding. Once we were ready for take off, I loosened my Solly a bit and got her to latch onto my breast while she was sleeping. The pediatrician advised me to feed her during take-off and landing to avoid ear pressure and it was a success! Zac did amazing and didn't cry at all on both the flight there and back. I am one proud momma! Let's hope she does the same when she's older.
- Ergo Baby- We used this carrier for longer baby wearing sessions on the island.
- Bug repellent stickers- I'm not a huge fan of bug repellant sprays. They tend to feel oily and gross, especially on top of sunblock. These stickers did a great job! The only person who got mosquito bites this trip was the hub. He probably should have worn these stickers on his legs.
- Umbrella - The pediatrician advised us to take an umbrella to block the sun. This umbrella was clutch while we were on the beach. There weren't a lot of trees on the sand, and when you visit beaches near other resorts, you can't use their beach umbrellas. This one clamps on to just about anything. We clamped ours onto Zac's little pop-up chair. We stored it away in her stroller bag and checked it in during travel.
- Go pro
- Travel breast pump- I sometimes need to pump in the middle of the night when she sleeps longer than 8 hours. I didn't end up using this (or any of the baby bottle items below) on this trip at all because the time change messed up her sleep schedule. She slept less than 8 hours at night, and napped more in the day. I ended up nursing more frequently throughout the vacation.
- Travel bottle brush kit
- Breastmilk bags
- 1 Baby bottle
- Baby food- I had this on the list but ended up leaving it behind. She was still just starting to be introduced to new foods and I didn't want to deal with having any allergic reactions while on vacation so I left the food behind.
This list is just what we packed for Zachary. Leejay and I packed as lightly as we could for ourselves. We ended up with 2 paid check-in items (1 large luggage and 1 large duffel), 2 free check-in items (1 stroller and 1 carseat), 2 carry-ons (2 duffels), and 2 personal bags (1 backpack and 1 diaper bag).
Parking at SFO can get pricey so we decided to take an Uber XL to the airport. Our flight left early in the morning so we made sure to call our driver once it was assigned to us to give him a heads up that we had a lot of luggage, a carseat, and a baby. He was extremely nice and very helpful when he arrived. Uber XL drivers are used to having to give rides in these situations and are very patient with passengers with multiple needs.
We flew with Hawaiian Airlines and checked in using their kiosk (because they told us to). I have a love/hate relationship with check-in kiosks because they are great when you have nothing to check-in or if your check-in items are just straightforward. When you have what they call "special items" it can be a little more complicated if you haven't done it before. Make sure that when you choose your luggage types, to enter your stroller and carseat as special items. Then when it prints out the luggage tags, be sure to read the tags and put them on the appropriate bag. We didn't realize that the luggage tags had the type of item printed onto them. Luckily one of the workers pointed it out right as we were about to stick it on. Additionally, make sure to check your seat assignments. When we booked out flights, we paid extra to upgrade our seats for more room. We didn't check our seats on the kiosk because we had already received confirmation via email ahead of time. Apparently the planes had been upgraded recently and the seats we originally chose no longer existed so by default they just assigned us regular economy seats. We didn't realize this until we were already on the plane. We had to wait until almost everyone was seated to get our seats reassigned. Fortunately Zac was sound asleep in the Solly during all the seat chaos on the plane. All was well when they found available seats for us.
We thought it would be a good idea to do a "gate check" with our stroller so that we could use the stroller throughout the airport. This turned out being a bad idea and inconvenient in the end. We didn't know that you needed to pick up a gate-checked item at the gate again as you are walking off the plane. Our seats were very close to the front so we were one of the first people off the plane. When we didn't see our stroller we thought that maybe it would just be a baggage claim. We were wrong and some lady had to go and retrieve our stroller for us. Interestingly enough we weren't the only ones who did this. Some other first-time parents didn't wait for theirs either. Go figure! As it turned out, we didn't even really need the stroller throughout the airport since we just sat and waited to board.
We rented a car in Maui and retrieving your rental in Hawaii is never a fun process. You almost always need to take a shuttle to the rental car place and this can be difficult when you are coming with a lot of luggage. It's great to have a strong partner along to help with this (aka ALL THE BAGS). Again, shoutout to Poppa Leej!!
Vacation finally began when we got to our hotel. It was finally time to relax! We requested a crib to be delivered to our room. Hotel cribs are never the best but they do the job. If you have the space and strength to bring your own portable crib, Lulyboo or Dock-a-Tot, I'd recommend it.
Like I said earlier, getting to Hawaii is more challenging than actually being there. We had so much fun eating food, visiting beaches and being poolside. Zac hated the beach and the san touching her skin. When we dipped her in the ocean she cried really hard. I don't think she liked the crashing of waves. She did love swimming in the pool, though! Every day stocked up our insulated picnic basket with stuff from the local markets and ventured throughout the island. Our days started early and ended early. We did our best to make the most out of our days and still attempt to keep Zachary on her regular sleep schedule. This was important to use because we knew that the time change might bite us in the butt when we returned home. Every Hawaii trip that we had been on prior to parenthood usually lasted only 3 to 4 days max but we made the most of it. When your days start at 7am and end at 7pm, being there for 7 days makes up for the evenings lost. At the end of it, I think 7 days was perfect for us.
Make sure to leave enough space in your luggage if you plan on bringing anything new home (like clothes, chocolate, yummy Hawaiian snacks). I thought I was going to have more space to bring stuff home because of the diapers I packed. It made sense to bring diapers to avoid paying the high price of diapers in Hawaii, but I ended up using less diapers than I thought and had to return with unused diapers taking up space in my luggage.
The airport in Maui was extremely busy the day we left. Luckily we got to the airport 2 hours before boarding time so we didn't feel rushed. It's good to keep in mind that although you don't need to go through agriculture inspection from California to Hawaii, you will need to on the way home. This is in addition to the security line. We had forgotten that the agriculture inspection requires you to put your bag through x-ray multiple times and takes more time. Next time we'll be prepared! We had the same issue with our seats on the way home but we were able to get it changed at the gate prior to boarding. This made the trip home feel much less stressful.
When we got back to San Francisco, we took an Uber XL just like we did when on the way to Hawaii. There is something so nice about not having to get in your car and drive back home after a relaxing vacation. It makes it feel like the vacation is still going.
When we got home, we feared that Zac's sleep schedule would change drastically. Rightly so. When we first returned she wouldn't be asleep until 9 or 9:30 pm. It took about 5 days to get her to sleep closer to 7pm again. She did end up going through another growth spurt and started to sleep a little bit more. Currently she is sleeping at 7pm again and sleeping anywhere from 6-8 hours straight.
This is the first of many big vacations with our daughter and I'm already excited for the next one. I don't know when and I don't know where, but I CAN'T WAIT!
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