We made it! We’re in Hawaii again this year and feeling so lucky. My husband and I will both be working on the road for the next 5 weeks, but we get to do it in Hawaii so were thrilled.
So far the trip has been a blast. In fact, I can’t believe what a difference a year makes. Traveling this year has been so much easier than last year. I think the extra year has given my older boys some time to mature. There have been fewer tantrums and they are more independent so I don’t feel like the activities director all the time. And my little guy can do so much more that it’s much easier for me to have him tag along with his brothers – like swimming and walking out and about. Plus, he’s not napping 20 hours a day like he was last time.
Here’s what else I learned while traveling this time around with my kids:
- Older kids can entertain themselves. Our flight was soooooo much easier compared to our trip last year. Our older boys were pretty self sufficient. We packed electronics (an old iPhone and a Kindle Fire) and got them in-flight movies on Hawaiian Airlines. Yes, I know. It’s a lot of TV and electronics but on a 5-hour plane ride, mom and dad just needed a break.
- I’ll never regret buying my toddler an airline seat. Sometimes it’s tempting to save the money but honestly I’d probably spend more on therapy after arriving at our destination. Buying an airline seat is worth it. I rotated toys, movies on a portable DVD player, snacks and all-natural lollipops to help with takeoff and landing (sucking on a lollipop or chewing gum helps to pop those little ears). We even took a few walks in the plane to get a little energy out.
- I’m glad I booked the largest car I could get for the cheapest price. This time, I booked a full-size car because it fit 5 people comfortably. But then I got upgraded for just an extra $20 a day for a roomier SUV (normally it’s an extra $40 a day). The front desk at the car rental told me that’s the secret to booking a car.
- A hotel in a good location is a life saver. Staying with family and friends is a great way to save money, but it all comes down to location and space. We ended up in a condo in Waikiki that’s just one block from the beach after spending a few days with friends and family. My husband enjoyed the space and, with the proximity to the beach, managing with just one car was easier than I thought. For instance, if my husband surfed, I walked the kids to the beach to go for a swim.
- Anything can be a field trip. In any city or town, you can take kids on mini field trips to show them around without overwhelming them with a full day packed with activities. For our first field trip, we hit up International Marketplace in Waikiki – an outdoor, ongoing street fair that’s full of knick-knacks, trinkets, real and fake jewelry, cheap bags and shoes, psychic readers and other vendors you’d expect to find at a street fair.
- Take learning on the road. My oldest son is a budding geologist so he instantly loved the saltwater pearl stand in Waikiki. He went nuts over the experience of opening an oyster to find a pearl. Plus, he’s learning a bit about marine life and where things come from.
- Be flexible. I have some math worksheets and summer reading for my older boys. Instead of sticking to a rigid schedule, I’ve been flexible about them doing their summer work. They’re a lot happier about the prospect of playing in between work time.
- Stuff happens. Let go and move on. My son lost his pearl the first day he bought it with his own allowance. As tempted as I was to buy him a new one, I told him I’d help him look for his old one but he needed to save his money to buy another pearl – if that’s what he wanted. He was so sad about it, but it was a good lesson on being mindful of his stuff as well as letting go.
Traveling is such a great way to bond with your family and learn new things. What are your favorite lessons learned while traveling with kids?
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