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Although summer’s over here in the Midwest, there’s always time to plan a stress-free family vacation to Hawaii. Family vacations can be a little frustrating at times, but they’re often the source of many comical and incredible memories. Whether you plan to go to the beach, volcanoes, or even the big city, you can take a memorable family vacation to the Hawaiian Islands that everyone will enjoy. Read on for our best tips for planning the trip of a lifetime!
Plan Ahead for a Stress-Free Vacation to Hawaii
Planning is a crucial part of any vacation. Take into account the individual needs of your kids. Arm yourself with whatever is necessary to take care of them while on vacation.
For example, if your four-year-old takes naps, bring along the stuffed animal they sleep with at home as their “comfort” item. For your teen, ensure they have their favorite hand-held electronic device to pass the travel time. And if you’re a mom that finds yourself getting hangry (hungry + angry = this is SO me!), pack a lot of snacks to make sure everyone is satisfied.
Set Up a Flexible Schedule for Each Vacation Day
When you have a day-to-day plan, kids can look forward to things they want to do. Plan a unique kid activity for each day. Finding something exciting to do is not hard in Hawaii! There is not only an abundance of free events but also plenty of tourist attractions.
Activities that Expend Energy
Work in an hour or so of swimming in the hotel’s pool each day or another activity your resort may provide. When we stayed at the Grand Wailea on Maui, there were kids everywhere. They do an incredible job of making sure your family vacation is relaxing and full of activities for the kids. We spent plenty of time on the slides even as adults (9 pools are LIFE CHANGING). Exercise keeps stress levels low and expends excess energy, especially for kids. Think of playtime as a de-compression time for kids.
Take a Tour with the Family
To see some sights, consider taking a bus our boat tour. Everyone sits down, which relieves aching feet from walking, while still exploring the new surroundings. You could take a trip to see dolphins, board a catamaran for afternoon snorkeling, or ride a bus to the top of a volcano for sunset. There are plenty of these types of tours on every Hawaiian island. This is one of our favorite reasons to visit!
With kids, visiting just one new indoor sight per day may be your best bet. If it rains on a day you planned to go to the ocean, switch to another day’s plans to do an indoor activity or tour. Many local businesses offer tour deals for children, as well.
Create Stress-Free Mornings While on Family Vacation
Every third or fourth day, plan a relaxed day where you sleep late, hang out at the hotel, or take short walks around on the beach. Plan some low-stress days. Although we like to wake up early to catch the fantastic Hawaiian sunrises, slow mornings are a family routine. We love to take our time eating breakfast and getting ready because we know the rest of the day is full of activities.
Expect the Unexpected on Vacation in Hawaii
It’s a positive experience for kids to learn that, sometimes, even the best planning is affected by weather, mistakes made by the hotel, and other events out of your control. Talk to your kids in advance about these unplanned possibilities. There hasn’t been a trip to Hawaii yet without unforeseeable circumstances, but if you go in with the mindset that everything will work out on your family vacation, it will!
Delegate Responsibilities to Each Child
Maybe your twelve-year-old can be assigned to keep the eight-year-old occupied while at the airport. Or your teen can be in charge of watching over Mom and Dad’s luggage when they go to the restroom before take-off. Giving kids a responsibility to focus on can turn their attention away from long flights and layovers. It can also give your children a special feeling of importance, knowing that you are relying on them to help make traveling fun and stress-free.
Brainstorm with Your Kids About How to Solve Potential Challenges
Ask your ten-year-old what he can do to ensure his fourteen-year-old sister gets along well with him. Talk to your fourteen-year-old about what she might do to make her brother happy.
Tell your kids that you’re counting on them to make the family vacation to Hawaii as enjoyable and stress-free as possible. These types of conversations before traveling is good for everyone. Nobody wants to have a tough conversation at an airport because you did not address potential issues before vacation. Chances are your children are just as excited for a family vacation as you, and want to do what they can to make the trip fun.
Change Seating Arrangements During Travel
Whether you’re flying or traveling by car on the island, switch up the seating every half-day or so. Sit in the back seat with your five-year-old daughter while your eleven-year-old son sits in the front with Dad until lunch.
Then, change seats after lunch. Consistent seat-changing can freshen up conversations and ease tensions between the kids. Splitting up children to be with an adult every so often will give them the attention they need from you. This also provides a much-needed break from their sibling. Honestly, even in my twenties, I follow this rule when I vacation with my brother. I like to sit next to my mom or husband while traveling. Otherwise, my brother and I may find something ridiculous to bicker about, hah!
Take Surprise Items
For each child, pack new, unseen items to thrill and distract them from the monotony of travel. Trinkets like sticker books for younger kids, word puzzles for eight- to twelve-year-olds, and magazines for teens help the time pass. Not only will they love receiving a surprise gift, but these small and inexpensive items could be the difference between being bored and cranky or filling time.
A book about a child’s favorite subjects or even a new game for their hand-held device can be a godsend when stress starts to trickle in. A Hawaiian-themed gift could be even more exciting, and help them look forward to the destination! A book about the marine life they will encounter is one example. You could do something similar on the trip home, so the kids have something to remember the vacation by while staying preoccupied.
Applying these strategies on your next family vacation to Hawaii will make it stress-free for everyone! It’s a lot easier to do some upfront work to ensure the happiness of your family while on vacation to Hawaii. Everyone will be in good spirits, and your trip will be virtually stress-free. What are you waiting for?! Start planning a family get-away to paradise now!
Do you implement any of the above tips or tricks while on family vacations? Do you have more you would add to the list? Let me know your best advice for planning a stress-free family vacation to Hawaii in the comments!