Before you slap on your sunscreen and pack your kids’ swimsuits, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind for the perfect Hawaiian getaway. As per our previous article on ‘Preparing for a Tropical Vacation’, preparing for a trip is no easy feat, especially with children in tow. From budgeting, creating an itinerary, and making sure your home is set up for your time away, there’s a lot to do. To ease some of your pre-vacation woes and help build up the anticipation for your upcoming trip to the Aloha State, here are a few things to know about traveling to Hawaii with your kids.
One of the many customs tourists in Hawaii look forward to is being received with a warm “aloha” and a garland of flowers. The traditional lei greeting is an expression of love, respect, congratulations, and of course, welcome. Setting up a proper lei greeting is a great way for your family to kickstart your vacation. However, despite what films and TV shows portray, lei greetings in Hawaii are not free or automatic. Just like renting a car for your trip, a lei greeting must be planned and booked in advance of your arrival.
The lei greeting holds cultural significance, so involve your kids and share with them the proper etiquette. When receiving a lei, a kiss on the cheek or a hug is expected. Make sure they know that the proper way to wear a lei is to drape it across the shoulders and that it shouldn’t be thrown in the trash. Due to the Hawaiians’ cyclical belief in returning things to nature, it’s better to leave your lei in a garden — a valuable lesson for kids and adults alike.
Travel guides often recommend mid-March to early April for families wishing to visit Hawaii, as it is generally a slower time to travel. The weather is also ideal — cool and comfortable rather than hot and humid. The only downside is that it might rain occasionally.
For gloomy days when you can’t snorkel or build sandcastles, try exploring local museums. You can check out Honolulu Museum of Art’s weekend events for something a little different. On Friday and Saturday evenings, your kids can enjoy interactive art experiences while you sip on coffee or cocktails as a live band plays in the background. Some hotels also offer complimentary activities for kids. You can also ask your concierge about local cultural and education centers that welcome tourists wanting to try something new.
If your children enjoy getting their hands dirty, the Kauai Nature School offers fun and educational family-friendly excursions to the Garden Island’s lush forests. National Geographic explains that foraging for edible plants is a great bonding activity that allows you and your kids to explore natural wonders. Foraging doesn’t require fancy tools, but you need to dress accordingly. To protect yourself from bugs and shrubbery, opt for long pants tucked into socks as well as rain boots. Additionally, to make your kids feel like true adventurers, give them a small notebook to keep track of the plants you find. Most importantly, do not wander off on your own and lean on your guide to tell you what is and isn’t safe to consume.
Have you been dreaming of escaping dreary city life through a summery getaway with your family? You’re not alone. However, not all beaches in Hawaii are family-friendly, as some have strong waves for surfing. If you’re bringing along younger kids, look no further than Po’ipu Beach. This is a crescent-shaped oceanfront with the left side of the coastline interrupted by lava rocks that protect the sandbar. The result? Gentle waves and knee-high waters, which are perfect for your little one to splash around in. Po’ipu Beach is also equipped with lifeguards, restrooms, showers, and picnic tables. You might even be lucky and spot the occasional Hawaiian monk seal. But do keep your distance as they are considered wild animals!
Regardless of age, there is no shortage of things you and your family can do in Hawaii. To make the most out of your vacation, start your planning early, book what you can in advance, and research, research, research!