How to Pick the Lodging That Works For You and the Kids

This is the last in our series about travel to Kona, Hawaii.  We travel often and stay in a variety of accommodations.  We rent vacation homes through VBRO or other similar websites. We stay in hotels, timeshares, or hotel/condominiums/resorts (with kitchens and separate rooms and living quarters).  This time we rented a large house in Kailua-Kona through VBRO with Todd’s family.  It was wonderful to have us all under one roof, with plenty of room for us to spread out and enjoy our time there.

By far our favorite way to stay is renting a home or staying in a hotel/condominium/resort.  The two are very different, and both have their pluses and minuses.  Here’s what we’ve learned.

 

Renting a Vacation Home.  We rented a home in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island this July.

Pros:

-Much less expensive, especially if you are traveling with people other than just your immediate family.

Papa J teaching the girls to make scrambled eggs.

Papa J teaching the girls to make scrambled eggs.

-More economical to cook your meals at home.  We had breakfast at home, usually packed lunch and either ate out, got take out or ate left overs for dinner.

-Drinks are much cheaper at your rental house than they are at the pool/bar at hotels!

-Can get a private pool/jacuzzi, right outside your door. Lay out and relax while the kids nap. (Do try to let the kids nap at least every other day, or they are CRANK-Y!)

The pool all to ourselves.

The pool all to ourselves.

-If you rent a kid friendly home, they may already have Pack N Plays, high chairs, child friendly dinnerware, toys, rafts, etc.  No need to lug it with you.

-If you are in an area that has outdoor activities, many times the homes are stocked with outdoor equipment, so you don’t need to rent or bring them (sleds for snow, rafts for pool, etc.)

-You really feel like you are living in a home, in a neighborhood and feel a bit more immersed in the place you are visiting rather than sticking to touristy hotels.  We find it much more relaxing and real.

- You can find pet friendly homes and bring your puppy!

Cons:

-Need to book a bit in advance to ensure you get a house that meets your needs at the quality you want, in the area you want.

-You need to clean up after yourself.  No daily maid service.

-No restaurant/bar downstairs for a quick meal.

-Although, we’ve always had great experiences with rentals, it’s always kind of a gamble and you really don’t know what you are you going to get.

- No concierge, but with Yelp and Trip Advisor, etc. you don’t really need much of that anyway.  You can always ask a local in town when you are out grocery shopping for some tips. 

Renting a Condominium Type of Room at a Resort Property- This is where we stayed two years ago in Hawaii in a 3 bedroom condo/hotel room with friends on Kauai in Poipu.  We loved it and would totally return.  It was spanking new when we went, so it was a lot more affordable then.

 

Pros:

-Can be less expensive, if you are traveling with people other than just your immediate family to split the bill.  Still not as inexpensive as a house, though, unless you find a killer deal.

-More economical to cook your meals at home base.  We went with another family and took a trip to Costco and stocked up on food to eat mostly at home.

The pool in the distance.

The pool in the distance.

-You also have the option to stroll down to a restaurant/bar for food or drinks, heck, have them bring it to the pool!

- DAILY MAID SERVICE!

-Meet other travellers and your kids possibly have the chance to meet other kids to play with.

-Need tips or directions?  Ask the consierge.

-May have free entertainment.

Cons:

-Shared pool.  Can be far from your room, but okay, if you have someone that can hang back with the baby nappers. 

Having to put the baby in a HUGE closet in an orphanage looking crib to make a bit of extra room, so she didn't wake her sister with her horrible sleeping rituals that came with travel.

Having to put the baby in a HUGE closet in an orphanage looking crib to make a bit of extra room, so she didn't wake her sister with her horrible sleeping rituals that came with travel.

-Need to book a lot in advance to get any sort of deal.

-Not stocked with toys or kid friendly items.

I’ve also heard of Airbnb that a lot of the cool kids are using these days for inexpensive lodging.  It’s where someone puts their personal home up for rent for a certain amount of time and you choose to rent it during that time.  People seem to love it and it’s supposed to be very reasonably priced. I’ve just never done it.  Anyone else have experiences?

So regardless of where you stay I learned a good lesson this last time and was thankful I had the forethought I did. 

Pro tips:

-If your child might wet the bed, bring a crib sized piddle pad to put beneath the fitted sheet.  I was so very thankful I did this, because Maren had two nighttime accidents, but no mattresses were harmed!  I just popped the sheets in the washer and dryer and we were set to go!  Just don't forget it. I just forgot mine on our last trip- oops!

 (Not from Hawaii- from our recent stay in a cabin, but you get the idea.)

 (Not from Hawaii- from our recent stay in a cabin, but you get the idea.)

-Don’t be afraid to re-arrange furniture, no matter where you stay. Just put it back before you leave.  I was afraid Maren was going to roll out of her twin bed, so we moved a high backed bench chair next to her bed.  Problem solved.  I didn’t want the girls to have access to the sliding door to outside.   We blocked it with a desk.

Your kid WILL eat way too many french fries, helpings of mac and cheese and chicken nuggets.  Let it go, it’s only a week! Oh and they may also get way too much screen time, so you can get them to stay in bed and go to sleep, while you enjoy an adult conversation, eh, it’s only a week!  Seriously, my kids lived to tell the tale, and if you ask them, it was one of the highlights of the trip.  Never mind the dolphins or the fish we saw snorkeling, they got to watch the Disney Channel in BED!!

Any other lodging tips?  I’d love to hear them, please share in comments!

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Our last three posts on Kona, HI:

 

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becky

I'm a part-time work from home, full time stay at home mom to two daughters and an Australian Labradoodle puppy. We are enjoying our last year before big girl school, playing with friends, swapping childcare to get the job done and getting crafty when we can fit it in. We live together in a wonderful community that we are truly thankful for and proud to be a part of. It takes a village and this is ours.