Our last week in Hawaii was bittersweet. We hung out one last time with my sister and her kids and our Hawaii friends. We ate shave ice from Matsumoto’s one last time. And we feasted on sushi and Apple Napples (turnovers) from Zippy’s on our last night.
On our last full day in Oahu, we took the boys stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) in Haleiwa. There were a lot of places to rent the gear, but we ended up with Uncle Bryan’s Sunset Suratt Surf Academy. I loved these guys because they were the only ones who had SUP gear and surfboard rentals on the beach, and Uncle Bryan was a cool local who liked to “talk story” (chat). With other rentals, we would’ve had to transport the gear on our own. Uncle Bryan had all the rentals available, and offered really great pricing – just $25/hour or $40/day for a paddleboard and paddle. We just paid the hourly rate, and Uncle Bryan let us keep it for two hours without charging extra. Plus, I love that you can actually book and pay for SUP and surf lessons online. Way to modernize the surfing experience!
My husband took each of the boys tandem on it, and both of them tried paddling themselves. I was so proud of them. They had started surfing on their own on a foam longboard when we left Kauai, and hadn’t had any opportunities to surf on Oahu (it was too windy and big on the North Shore). Even I went out for a paddle – and let me say it’s a great core workout. I still prefer longboarding though.
Being the planner that I am, I started packing three days before we left. Thank goodness I sent a box of stuff we weren’t using from Kauai to San Diego – otherwise, I don’t think we would have been able to use our bags.
Note: I challenged myself to bring just 2 medium-sized check-in bags for our family of 5. Yes, I know it’s crazy but I wanted to travel light. We did pretty well, except we bought a few souvenirs so that took up too much space. I only brought 7 days of clothes for each of us (10 days worth for the baby), and we only ended up using about half that. So the other half went into the box that I shipped back to San Diego.
After we loaded up the car with our luggage, my husband and I stood on the deck of our beachfront vacation rental and just took in the gorgeous scenery of the North Shore. That rental was fantastic.
On the way to the airport, we filled up our gas tank at Costco – it’s way cheaper and the Waipio Costco was literally on the way the airport. I checked our bags and got our tickets while my husband took our 4 year old to return the car rental.
My boys have always been great at the airport – helping us during the security checkpoint. But somehow we misjudged our time, and missed family pre-boarding. Luckily, the Hawaiian Airlines staff let us cut in line and we boarded the plane.
The flight itself was pretty good. My 4 year old got antsy about halfway through the flight as he always does. Thank goodness for portable DVD players and video games. They kept him preoccupied for most of the time.
Once we got to San Diego, it was late, my 4 year old was bouncing off the walls, and I was getting grumpy. He wasn’t listening and staying put when I asked. It felt like the longest day ever.
At home, my 4 year old had a hard time going to bed. He had a huge tantrum for about 30 minutes that ended with him crying and then falling asleep from pure exhaustion in my bed. Poor guy.
By then, I needed a pina colada.
It’s been a few days since we returned, and my 4 year old has been a complete angel. I’m starting to wonder if the constant change in vacation rental and new environment was just too much for him. He seems to be so happy to be home with his bed and his toys.
He’s even sleeping in his own bed. And for the first time in two months, my husband and I are sleeping in the same bed.
I suspect I’ll need a mini-vacation with just my husband after all this.
And yet as I reflect on it all – good, bad, exhausting, frustrating and of course fun, it was all worth it. We kept costs down pretty well considering – just vacation and car rentals were our biggest expenses since we ate in most of the time. We saved up for years and used some of my husband’s bonus from the last year to pay for the trip. But honestly, I would recommend getting creative to pay for a big family trip like ours – whether it be using up your tax refund from your IRS efile to garage sales to cutting down on entertainment and dining out. Just a little savings can add up to a lot and before you know it you’ll have your travel fund for the year.