Is there anything that sounds worse to you than 16 hours of travel via flying with a ten month old? I’m not here to tell you that there is a magical antidote to flying with babies or that it’s going to go perfectly smoothly, but I can tell you that it is worth it.
I got an amazing last minute offer to go second shoot a wedding on the Big Island of Hawaii in July. It was an all expenses paid kind of trip and we absolutely love going vacationing in Kona. When the opportunity presented itself to drinks Lava Flows on the beach in the middle of a 100 degree Virginia summer it was a no brainer to me.
Here are my tips and tricks for taking a Hawaiian Vacation with a babe.
Tip #1: Don’t get frazzled: It’s much easier said than done but try your hardest to not overthink everything. Hadley screamed for two hours on our flight to Hawaii. The lady in front of me repeatedly made snarky comments, called the flight attendants multiple times to complain and at one point told me to “be a parent and fix your baby”. This was in my mind the worse case scenario coming to life in front of me. Thankfully, everyone else on the flight was super understanding and kind. Hadley was overly tired and has a hard time falling asleep on us, so there wasn’t much we could do until she fell asleep. Come to find out the very opinionated gal in front of us had been rude to multiple people on the flight before Hadley started losing her mind. Moral of the story? some people are just miserable and there isn’t much you can do to avoid their wrath. I was super overwhelmed in the moment but in hindsight it was a good thing to have to experience. My biggest fear for traveling came true and we survived and you know what, we never have to see those people again. I personally refuse to not enjoy our lives and experience news things for for fear of how a baby who has no control over it’s emotions might react to change. My advice to you? Take lots of snacks, toys and an iPad. We had to walk up and down the aisles with Hadley to get her to fall asleep but she eventually caved and was completely fine.
Tip #2: Don’t over plan your vacation: Be aware that your trip may not be as eventful as your pre-baby vacays. Babies still need a routine and will have to adapt to your new location. We faced a six hour time change when we went to Hawaii so Hadley’s sleep schedule was definitely not on track with her home schedule. We went into the trip knowing that she would need to adjust so our first twenty four hours were spent relaxing. We didn’t charter a boat or spend eight hours at the beach. We actually went to the store, swam in the pool a little bit and let Hadley nap throughout the day. Once she was caught up we were free to enjoy the rest of our trip because she wasn’t overly tired and stressed. Plus, it was really nice for us to the just chill out after traveling and not dive right into a full itinerary of events.
Tip #3: Utilize what Hawaii has to offer: Because we lived in Hawaii for so many years we have the pleasure of knowing the ins and outs of the islands. We very, very rarely pay to go do anything in Hawaii. The main reason being because there are so many free resources in Hawaii that don’t require a huge financial or time commitment. We spent 90% of our time and some of the prettiest beaches on the island and at the Mauna Kea Resort (pictured below.) The Mauna Kea Resort is hands down my absolute favorite place in Hawaii to hang out. They have a giant pool, umbrella covered chairs, good food, amazing drinks and the best beach that I have seen on the Big Island. It’s great because you can hang out there all day and not have to worry about getting too much sun, or having to leave to get food. We LOVE the Mauna Kea Resort and highly recommend it for anyone with kids or without.
Tip #4: Plan your excursions around their locations: Since we all know that time is a precious commodity with a baby planning your day ventures around their location is vital to having a relaxing trip. I see it happen all the time, people go to Hawaii and plan twelve different things in one day and ping pong all over the island trying to see as much as they can without taking the driving factor into account. If you like to do multiple things a day make sure that you visit sections of the island and capitalize on what those areas have to offer. This way you will get the most out of your time and won’t feel like you missed out on your trip.
Tip #5: Enjoy yourself and have a drink: We really went into our trip with no expectations (which is a key to any successful event) we woke up daily with the “what should we do today?” mentality. Our mornings usually started with breakfast or going to get coffee, followed by a small morning nap for Hadley and then the rest of the day was spent at a resort or beach. On our way back we would stop and grab dinner and head home for sunset so Hadley could be in bed at a reasonable time. You guys, it was amazing. There was no pressure and we really just enjoyed going to the beach and hanging out as a family. Since we didn’t have a ridiculous list of things that we thought we had to do we were actually able to relax and enjoy each other, which is what a vacation is supposed to be all about. I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to charter a boat, pay for a snorkeling trip or go to a luau. You can get all the beauty and fun of those things by going to the beach on your own and taking a snorkel mask. Luaus are completely overrated, the food is gross and they cost a fortune. Take the money and go to a nice restaurant with some quality Hawaiian food and live music. When all else fails, crack open a cold one and watch the sunset. There is nothing more beautiful than a Hawaii sunset with your family and a nice refreshing drink.
Our Favorite Big Island Places:
Mauna Kea Resort: For all day chilling. They have a pool, insanely gorgeous beach and great food.
Jackie Rey Ohana’s Grill: *AMAZING FOOD* fun environment
Red Water Cafe in Waimea: This is about twenty minutes from Mauna Kea Resort, they have fantastic sushi and some of the best fried rice you will ever have
Tommy Bahamas: This is more of a mom and dad out on the town type of restaurant. We love getting dressed up and hitting up their Happy Hour. The open rooftop terrace is beautiful and helps give you the full Hawaii feel.
Basik Acai: For the best acai bowls, we went here a couple of times for breakfast.
Kona Brewing Company: Obviously they have awesome beer but their kale salad is to die for so make sure to try it.
Caption Cook’s Cove: The best snorkeling you will ever see. No doubt about it.
Kua Bay: The bluest water with tons of parking and fun waves for body surfing.
Mauna Kea Observatory: This is the mountain Mauna Kea (it has snow!) and the best view of the Milky Way Galaxy in all of America. It will knock your socks off. I’ve never seen anything so beautiful. Side note, it could be a little intense with kiddos so you can always drive up to Waimea for dinner at Red Water Cafe and pull of on the road when it’s dark to look at the stars. That area of the island is very dark at night and is optimal for viewing the Milky Way.
Feel free to message me for more places and beaches to check out on island!
Ultimately, try not stress and just have fun. Remember what you came for and that is to enjoy your family and take in some beautiful aloha.