Hawaii is, without a doubt, one of the best family destinations. The warm ocean water, sandy beaches, and friendly people with an exciting and hospitable culture justifies the claim. At the same time, traveling to Hawaii with kids will require some advanced preparation. However, with the right traveling tips, you can have a smooth experience for everyone. Header photo by Wes Miracle.
Flying to Hawaii with Kids
Unless your kids are used to long trips, you’ll need to prepare so they have a safe and comfortable flight. Before you board the plane, pack some goodies for your children to play with. You can include travel games, audio games, paper, crayons, workbooks, etc. depending on their age and interests.
If your children are of age, teach them how to wear oxygen masks during an emergency. While relaxing on the plane may sound enticing, it’s better to stay sober and keep an eye on the kids.
Don’t forget your kids’ medications if needed, and always pack some band-aids and a painkiller. Extra snacks will also come handy. You might include motion sickness tablets if needed, a thick pair of socks to wear on the plane and an extra set of clothes. Remember, your kids will need to be dressed very lightly as soon as they step out of the plane – it’s hot and and humid in Hawaii!
Lastly, remember to ensure you and your kids fasten the seat belts tightly. A loose safe belt is as good as no seat belt. The pilot may be required to hit brakes harshly, which may lead to injuries if you’re not buckled up well.
Activities on the Plane
A favorite activity for the whole family – both educating for kids and entertaining for adults – are perfectly-sized Puzzle Snacks. Check out their free puzzle at the bottom of the home page.
For watching, we can recommend the following animated movies set in Hawaii. Lilo & Stitch is a favorite Walt Disney classic. The Legend of Halowaiian, courtesy of local bread company, is a fun, color-soaked flick that celebrates the wonders of Hawaii.
Safety Tips for Transportation in Hawaii
Transportation options in Hawaii are different from island to island. You can either use a bus, taxi, shuttle, or use apps like Lyft and Uber, or public transport.
But for the best experience in Hawaii with kids, consider renting a car. once you land at the airport. If you like having extra space in your car, check out this cheapest car rental option for a larger car.
Take it slow in the Aloha state! Be courteous, avoid unnecessary honking, and give others space.
It’s essential to check the best route before you start your journey. Some sections of the road through less traveled areas may be unsafe and unimproved; they are usually marked on the maps that car rental companies supply to you. Driving on those stretches of the road will void your rental road protection, so if anything happens with the car while in those areas , the rental company will not get out to save you and you will be on your own.
Ensure everyone in the car has their seat belts on, both in front and back seats. There are fines for not buckling up of $102-$112 as of the time of this writing. Children under 4 years of age are required to ride in a child safety seat. Children between the age of 4 and 8 years are required to ride in either a child safety seat or a booster seat. You might want to get the best car seat protector in advance to avoid messing the rental car.
Renting Baby Equipment
If you stay in vacation rentals, some owners provide beach toys and baby gear, but it might be old and not properly sterilized. Local baby equipment companies carry many useful items in good condition. They are licensed, bonded and insured should anything happen and they can deliver and install the items in your vacation place before arrival.
Going to Beaches in Hawaii with Kids
The beach is the first must-go place when traveling to Hawaii with kids. Yet, the ocean can be dangerous and the hot Hawaiian sun requires caution.
1. Use good sun protection
The sun is very hot and active in Hawaii. Use a good sunscreen of at least 30 SPF. Wearing sun protection clothing and hats is very useful, but it will not completely remove the need to apply sunscreen to exposed skin. The bright sand reflects sun rays, so even if your child’s face is shadowed, (s)he might still get sunburns. Clouds don’t obstruct UV rays at all, so don’t be tricked into applying less sun protection!
If you realize that your child’s skin is turning pink, head indoors. Sunscreen won’t protect their skin at this point because it’s already burnt.
Hawaii is going to ban coral-harming sunscreens starting on January 1, 2021. Most commercial sunscreens contain oxybenzone and parabens, that are harmful not only to marine life but to humans as well. Our favorite sunscreen is Thinkbaby Safe Sunscreen SPF 50+. It spreads easier than many other sunscreens with Zinc Oxide, and it’s very safe for the environment.
2. Check ocean conditions
It’s important to always make sure you only go swimming when the conditions are favorable. Check Hawaii Beach Safety website for recommended beaches and beaches with lifeguards. Only swim when conditions are right, and listen to lifeguards’ warnings and recommendations.
When in Hawaii with kids, try to only take them to beaches with shallow bottoms, with a very gradual slope. On such beaches, the waves break down father from the shoreline and the kids have much more safe space to play and swim. If you visit other beaches where the water gets deep very close to the shoreline, watch your kids like a hawk – a wave can sweep a little kid from the sand in a blink of an eye.
3. Stay away from rocks
Hawaii are volcanic islands and most beaches have lava rocks. If your child is boogie boarding, it’s especially important to make sure (s)he stays away from the sharp lava rocks. Many swimming beaches have rock-free stretches of sand where kids can play and swim safely.
3. Wear a life jacket
If your children need assistance swimming, make sure they wear a life jacket.
Use inflatable tubes and arm floaters ONLY for kids who can swim confidently by themselves. Ocean in Hawaii can get rough at any moment, wind picks up and waves form quickly.
4. Carry a first aid kit
Accidents happen, and although you’re not looking forward to them, it’s essential to be prepared. Often they are just small injuries and having a first aid kit with you might be enough to continue enjoying your beach time and not having to head back to your place or a pharmacy.
5. Make sure you’re safe
You can’t protect your kids if you’re not taking care of yourself. Respect your swimming limits, wear your sunscreen, have enough water and snacks with you. You need to always have the energy to act fast in case of an emergency.
Family vacations are beautiful, and they give us a chance to bond with our families. With crazy business schedules, we hardly get a chance to play and talk with our kids. By preparing in advance, you will enjoy your time in Hawaii with kids to the fullest.
We hope our tips for traveling to Hawaii with kids were helpful. If you have any questions or any additions, please let us know in the comment section.
Carolyn Landis is a content writer, creative photographer, and young mom of little princess Anna. In addition to writing, Carolyn love travels with her family and a cute dog Larry, but despite this, their favorite place is home in San-Diego, California. Generally, she has already visited 12 countries and 31 cities, but this is only the beginning of their adventure!