Are you planning a trip to Hawaii with kids and want to hear from other parents who have done it (and survived)? I asked some top family travel bloggers for their best advice for traveling to Hawaii with kids. Keep scrolling to see what they said!
I’ve been traveling to Hawaii since I was 10 years old. Of course, my perspective has slightly changed each trip. And the islands themselves have changed over the years. I’ve now been to all of the main Hawaiian Islands with my wife and two young daughters. Family trips make for great memories. But lack of planning can lead to heartache.
Here is my list of travel tips that I wish I knew before going to Hawaii with kids.
1. Rent a car – We rented a car for our most recent trip and it was a life saver! The hotel we were staying at was a bit remote and we were able to get around much easier with a car. We also used the car to explore different parts of each island.
2. Bring your own food – This is especially important if you are staying in a hotel without a kitchenette. There are some great grocery stores on each island where you can buy snacks, meals, drinks, etc. We would often pick up some sandwiches and snacks at the grocery store for our drive to the beach. We’d have a little picnic on the way out or sometimes even pack it all up so we could take it down to the beach with us.
3. Rent a stroller – The islands seem pretty safe and outside of Waikiki, you are not likely to see a lot of people. However, if you are doing a lot of walking (or even just taking the bus around), it can be really helpful to have a stroller.
4. Bring your own supplies – If you have kids who like to swim, bring their own swim diapers and goggles. If you have a baby, bring a few extra bibs and pacifiers just in case. Don’t forget to pack sunscreen and aloe or after sun rub too!
5. Buy your kids their own “Hawaii shirts” – This is one of my favorite childhood memories from visiting the islands. I would buy my kids their own “Hawaii shirts” and we would all wear them on the plane ride home. It was a great way to show off our trip and it made the long flight a little more fun.
6. Take a helicopter tour – This is something I did for the first time on our most recent trip and it was AMAZING! I don’t think it is something you have to do, but if the opportunity presents itself, it is well worth taking advantage of. You get a much different perspective from being in the air and a helicopter tour will give you a lot more time to take photos.
7. Train rides – If your kids enjoy trains, the islands have a few train rides worth checking out. The best one is on Kauai and it takes you through some of the most beautiful parts of the island.
8. Go to Pearl Harbor – This is a must-do for any visit to Hawaii. The history and the memorials are so powerful and it is something that everyone in your family will enjoy.
9. Get a hotel or condo with a kitchenette – The last thing you want to do is have to eat every single meal out while you are on vacation. Spend a little extra and get a place that has a kitchenette so you can save money and time by cooking your own meals. Even if you don’t use the kitchenette, having a fridge and coffee maker can be great for keeping snacks and drinks.
10. Pick up some adult beverages – This might not be as helpful as the rest of my list but it is something that we always do when we travel to Hawaii. If you are flying, make sure you buy them after you go through security. And if you are driving to Hawaii, be sure to check your state’s liquor laws for open container rules.
11. Have your kids try surfing lessons – Surfing is super popular in Hawaii and there are tons of surf schools that offer classes for kids. My son loves learning how to surf and he absolutely loved his lesson. He now wants to learn how to snowboard next year!
12. Visit the zoo – The Honolulu Zoo is a great option for families. They have lots of animals and they also have a small playground area for kids.
Since you’ll be flying to Hawaii with your kids, it’s also best to prepare them for airport security, and the long plane ride. While it’s considered domestic travel, obviously due to the distance, you should prepare as though it’s international travel. Here are 10 tips for ensuring a less stressful travel day by air:
1. Make a game out of looking for the security checkpoint.
2. Explain that they will need to take their shoes and belts off and put all of their belongings in a bin.
3. Pack a few small toys or books that they can read or play with while going through security.
4. Prepare them for the long plane ride by bringing along a few snacks and drinks.
5. Make sure they get plenty of rest before the trip.
6. Bring all prescription medications and medical supplies in their original containers.
7. Don’t forget to bring your boarding pass and passport. (Have you gotten the kid’s passport photos yet?)
8. Arrive at least 2 hours before departure for flights to allow time to clear customs and board the flight.
9. Know where everything is located in the airport.
10. Remember to pack comfortable clothes since you won’t be able to lounge around once onboard.
If you’re looking for more tips on flying with kids, check out this post from The Huffington Post: How to Make Air Travel With Kids Less Stressful.
Bottom line, traveling to Hawaii with kids can be stressful. But with a little planning and some advanced organization, you can have a stress-free trip. Start planning your Hawaii vacation now and have a safe flight!