The act of traveling can be a bit frustrating, especially with kids. We are and have been big travelers since Maisy was first born, with her taking her first plane ride at only 8 weeks old. Here are some tips we’ve learned over the years that we just put to use on our trip from SFO to Kona, Hawaii and back. We enjoyed a lovely 7 days there and can’t wait to return.
I’ll be running a series of posts on kid friendly Kona, and one fun summary post, so enjoy and plan your summer vacations before summer’s over! Please pipe up in the comments if I’ve missed any tips or tricks!
Tip #1- Allow yourself plenty of time, too much time. Rushing and the stress of being late causes many melt downs and freak outs (by me!), so providing plenty of lead time, keeps me and everyone else calm.
Tip #2-Travel through an airport that has a play area! San Francisco has one. We arrived at the airport early to avoid any stressful rush and the girls had time to unwind and play in the science museum play corner. Here is a list of airports with play areas.
Tip #3- Check your car seats in a car seat cover bag (this link isn’t our brand, but it gives you the idea). The bigger and more expandable the car seat bag, the better. We got to the check in scale and our big suitcase was 5 lbs over weight. No problem! We took shoes, books and some cosmetics out and threw them into the car seat bag, zipped it up and it flew for free to our destination! Our suitcase came in under 50 lbs, and we didn’t have to pay a heavy bag fee. Back when the girls were still in diapers, we’d stuff it with diapers. Cannot recommend this highly enough!
I made little bags of toys and activities prior to boarding and split the little bags up between the girls’ backpacks. On the way back they traded bags, so they had new toys to play with. On top of that, we were heavily armed with snacks.
Here is what was in their little bags.
1. Practice sewing kit for Maisy (5 yrs)
Includes: 2 plastic yarn needles, 3 embroidery hoops, large buttons and embroidery floss, all from Michaels.
2. Pipe cleaners- they twisted, bent and made food bracelets and wands and shapes.
3. Cars, lots of zooming cars.
4. Little random action figures. I picked ones I didn't care if we lost. I'm sure some are still flying over the Pacific now.
5. Jewelry for dress up. Also didn't take anything we really couldn't live without.
7. Drawing pads and markers.
On the way there, Maisy made a "Check book". She drew pictures of all of the things she wanted to do in Hawaii and while we were there, she would "check" them off if we did them. She of course added to it during our trip.
8. Playing cards.
We did math and adding with Maisy and Maren just liked to take them out and put them back in.
We also had a couple of iPads in our back pockets. Maisy ended up watching part of a movie, but the iPad I had with Maren, mysteriously had no power, so we hung out the whole 5 hrs without any issue. Full disclosure- she took a good hour and a half nap, so that was awesome!
We were on United on the flight out and on Hawaiian Airlines on the way back. Hawaiian is hands down the best way to fly back and forth to Hawaii! They had some free documentary like shows about the Hawaiian Islands to watch (bring your own headsets), movies for purchase, kids shows for purchase, and an air travel tracker screen. Each seat had their own little TV. They also still serve a real meal and provide the adults with a free adult beverage! The big plus is that they have 4 seats together in the center of the plane, which was nice to have us all together on the return trip.
I’d love to say it’s good to be home, but man, I still want to snorkel daily and lay by the pool in the afternoon!