Hawaii Travel Guides

Hawaiʻi With Kids: Prepping Your Family For A Great Vacation

Traveling to Hawaiʻi with kids of any age is likely to be both a joy and a bit of a logistical challenge. We love kids here at Ohana Fun! and we want to help your children have the best trip possible. While the trip itself will look different for every family, we’ve decided to collect a few tips for making the pre-trip, flights, and post-trip a little more fun.

Before the Trip

Make sure your kids can swim

If you have very, very young toddlers, there may still be basic lessons available. While it’s not necessary to be an Olympic athlete to have a great time on the islands, knowing that your kids will be safe in the pool can be a massive relief.

Check out our article on Ocean Safety Tips for extra peace of mind at the beach as well.

Choose age-appropriate “psych up” activities

Teach your young children a couple of basic Hawaiian words, such as Ohana (family), Aloha (hello/goodbye/love), and Mahalo (thank you).

Print out blank maps of the islands you’ll be visiting and mark the areas you’ll be visiting/staying and color the islands in.

Establish a budget for souvenirs.

Allow your teenagers to make minor decisions, like which room in a hotel you’ll be staying in, or having a real vote between two or three totally acceptable activities.

Ask them to find a restaurant/cafe/coffee shop they want to try with the family.

Help them pack

With young children, this might involve helping them decide on a toy or two to bring along; with teens, remember that the Hawai’i dress code is very casual.

Decide in advance what the electronics level will be on the trip. Teens are often great at taking family photos and getting good shots of the trip if that is their assigned “job,” though this is somewhat dependent on personality. Take a look at what we think you should pack, and what you can leave at home.

During the Trip: Airline Tips

If you’ve not flown with your kids, remember that children who get carsick are relatively likely to get slightly airsick. Bringing a few lollipops and some chewing gum can really help alleviate this. If you’re traveling with an infant, bringing a few sets of earplugs for your nearest neighbors will win you some allies. Most travelers understand that small children cry; don’t worry too much if the experience is stressful for them.

Dress all kids under seven or so in totally TSA-friendly clothing; children older than that are usually fine with removing their belts/shoes and re-tying them. Bringing one or two small blankets can also be hugely helpful for cuddling and also keeping warm, as planes can be cold for children in particular. If you can, bring a couple DVDs or pre-load movies onto your computer; some planes don’t have many options for kid-friendly viewing. While most planes flying into Hawaiʻi have USB charging ports, AC adapters are hit-and-miss. Plan for either.

After the Trip

Actual, physical scrapbooks are a great way to help your kids remember your trip, provided that the project isn’t too ambitious. My family made simple scrapbooks for every trip; they were never Pinterest-worthy, but it gave us a chance to talk about favorite memories and places we had visited. If you completed the drawing projects we suggested, you can include these as well.

Bring home a couple of recipes for foods your kids really enjoyed (a kids’ favorite is shoyu chicken). Integrating these recipes into your normal menu choices can bring your trip closer and keep the post-trip blues to a minimum.

If you purchased an ukulele (a popular souvenir to rememberHawaiʻi by), check out free YouTube channels (like Lahaina Music’s) that will help you keep up with it when you’re home again.


We hope this gives you some good tips as you make the trip to Hawaiʻi with kids in tow. For further prepping tips check out our other helpful articles or book a family friendly activity in Hawaiʻi with us.

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