Have you ever been to Maui? How about with small children?
Our first and only trip to Hawaii was about two years ago when Luke was 18 months. We wanted to go to HI for our honeymoon but didn’t have the funding or time off to go then. Eight years later, we cashed in our reward miles, packed up the family and enjoyed a week of paradise. It wasn’t the romantic trip we had once upon a time envisioned, but it sure was beautiful, relaxing, and made us want to visit again!
At the time of our first trip, I researched tons of travel blogs and books to get ideas on how to entertain my 18 month old on the trip. We had a well stocked busy bag with loads of snacks, new toys from the Dollar Tree, plenty of sun block, swim diapers and of course, his Puddle Jumpers. We spent the whole trip on Maui and fell in love with the island.
Heading to Maui with children? Here are my 5 tips…
1. Definitely go for the drive called the Road to Hana. Some may say it’s too long in the car with a little one, but we ended up going the day after we arrived. Luke was so exhausted from the time change, he ended up sleeping on and off for most of the drive. And like the locals say, going to Hana is about the journey, so stop off and explore whenever you can.
2. Be prepared for an awkward sleep schedule. We had never been on a trip so many time zones away, so weren’t sure how Luke would react. He ended up waking up much earlier in the morning and took two or three naps instead of his usual once a day nap. He was a little crabbier than usual, but we tried not to get hung up about it and also tried to nap or relax whenever he did.
3. Think about hiring a babysitter. We were really fortunate that one of our friends had a contact for us. Her nanny relocated to HI to be a traveling babysitter for tourists! It was perfect. I contacted her before we left and set up two evening for her to come to the hotel and babysit while my husband and I got out to watch the sunset and have a romantic dinner. Hotels have babysitting services, and I’m definitely planning on using one in the future.
4. The luau is a MUST! We made arrangements through our hotel, and headed over to the Old Lahaina Luau. It was in the evening, but Luke did great, and I was glad we went as a family. We loved walking around before the show, interacting with all the cultural stations like hula dancing, seeing the kalua pig unearthed from the underground oven, and craft sales. The music and dancing was just incredible, really bringing history and culture to life.
5. For years, friends and family told us about the amazing sunrise at the top of Haleakala and biking down afterwards. After a few rough sleeping nights, waking up hours before dawn sounded kind of painful. We opted for driving up after a good nights rest. I think we only started heading up the mountain when the early risers were heading down. If it’s something you want to do, make it work. Your experience might be totally different than you expected or planned, but go for the adventure and it might totally exceed your expectations.
Maybe it’s because we read the book, Goodnight Hawaii at least once a week, or maybe it’s because we still look at our favorite pictures from the trip, but Luke still talks about our trip and the things we saw.
Now, two years later, we will soon go to Hawaii again! This time, it’s with our two little ones, on a business trip, and to an island we’ve never been to.