Travel Tips For Heading For Having a Fun, Safe Visit to Hawaii
If you are taking a trip anywhere, you need to make sure you are safe and have an enjoyable trip. Here are some great tips if you are heading to Hawaii, but they can also be useful in other places as well.
Need to Know
It is always helpful to have inside insight when traveling to a new place. For instance unspoken rules, laws, or general tips with locals and the culture. I am happy to share with you some things that will help you when you travel to Hawaii.
Culture & Aina – The culture and land are two of the most important things. Respect them, their culture and their land, and no worries. Hawaiians are all about Malala (to care for) Aina (the land), Aloha (the spirit of aloha is a written law, and you should treat everyone with respect), and Pono (to live a righteous life).
Pack out what you pack in – No matter where you go, whatever you pack in with you, make sure you pack out. Littering is a serious crime, and it takes away from the beauty of the islands. It doesn’t sit well with anyone when you leave trash behind. It is your kuleana (responsibility) to remove all your garbage.
Honu/Nene/Monk Seals – Nene is the Hawaiian state bird, and it is also endangered. Therefore, always brake for Nene, and never touch or chase them. Basically appreciate them if you see them, but nothing more. Same goes for Honu/Sea Turtles, which are also endangered. You are not supposed to touch or engage with them. IF you come across their eggs on the beach, please contact the local NOAA office to notify them. They may ask you to stake the area and create a small barrier until they can fence it off. It is always important to not lose where you saw the eggs, as it is insanely important to protect them! The same goes for the Hawaiian Monk Seal which is critically endangered. If you come across a Monk Seal which seems sick or hurt, please contact both NOAA and Ke Kai Ola Marine Mammal Center. If you find any Monk Seal in general and you are on the Big Island, please call 808-987-0765 and make sure you can give precise directions and descriptions of your location.
Kapu – This means in most cases Sacred Land. However, plenty of Hawaiians use Kapu for “Keep Out” or “No Trespassing.” If you see this sign, stay away… no questions asked. Whether it is someone wanting to keep their privacy or actual sacred land, do. Keep Out.
Rock Walls and Formations- If you are out hiking and not in a resort or residential area, and you see rock formations or walls build which are usually 1-3 feet wide, and anywhere from 2 feet to 10 feet tall… DO NOT climb on them. These are typically ancient ruins. Not all of them are protected. If you find these walls going into the ocean and creating what appears to be a small pond of sorts, this is likely an ancient fish hatchery. Most places are protected by the National Park Services, but not all of them. So again, respect the land and respect their ancestors.
Attitude – This goes both ways, for either Hawaiians or visitors. Here is the deal if you come to Hawaii with a mainland attitude, you probably won’t be received well, which means locals are not going to like you much or help you. However, if you come with aloha in your heart and treat people with aloha and malama, you will be received well by locals. Yes, there are islands and areas where Hawaiians do not like tourists (Haole’s – this is actually a derogatory term and used for mainlanders.. especially those who are not respectful), but if you enter an area where you get a bad vibe.. leave. Like any other place in this world, paradise is still not utopia. There is still crime. But, having the aloha spirit will help you in most all cases.
Theft – Here is the deal, if you have a rental car and you leave your purse, backpack, nice camera in your car where people can see it… there is a pretty good chance your car will be broken into. No different than if you were in your own town or city. Opportunity presents itself around the wrong person, just because you are vacation doesn’t mean you won’t have theft happen to you. Toss your items in your trunk or taken them with you and you shouldn’t have an issue. If you have a lot of expensive or nice jewelry.. leave it at home or in a lock box at your place. There is no reason you need that stuff when you are out hiking or playing on the beach. Just be smart and use common sense. Again, just because you are on vacation and in paradise.. it does not mean that you cant be a victim of theft.
Flying with Kids – Flying with kids under 10, and especially under five can be difficult. Now put them on a plane for 5+ hours where they are locked into one seat. First of all, check with your doctor first.. but Dramamine was my friend for our first big flight. My boys were 2.5 and 4. Both still took naps and needed naps. Our pediatrician said use Dramamine, as it was safe, would help with motion sickness if they had it.. but also would likely make them sleepy. Lets just say our first two flights were a dream. We waited until the plane was leaving the gate and game them each half of a Dramamine, and by the time the first beverage service started.. they were out. They slept until about the time we were 45 minutes from landing. The key is to ensure their comforts from home are there. Blankie, teddy, whatever it is they need for bed to sleep, have that!
Activities, games, tablets.. I don’t care what it is.. have about five options (something new for every hour of the big flight). We usually download two movies for each of their Kindles. But they each get different movies. That way the return flight they switch tablets to see opposing movies. Two movies can cover almost the entire flight. Perfect. However, when my boys were younger.. they didn’t have tablets. So I had coloring books, small games, various activities, and smaller toys for the plane. My four year old helped me draw a Hawaiian Airlines plane, then he colored it. We wrote Mahalo on it, and when we were getting off the plane, he handed it over to the pilots. They loved it, and he loved that they appreciated his work.
The last key ingredient to a good flight is beverages and snacks. Drinks are important so that their ears can pop and not cause them pain. Snacks are important because they buy time and keep kids from getting hungry when they don’t like the plane food. Honestly, on a plane is a fantastic time to bribe your children with some of their favorite treats. “hey Brady, if you are a good boy for the entire flight.. we will buy you a packet of Oreo’s to eat!” It might be a small item, and sure some people say you should never bribe or bargain with your children.. but when it comes to your sanity. SO WORTH IT!
If you break up your 5-6 hour flight across the ocean into 30-minute increments (this is for smaller children), you can essentially plan out the entire flight. You figure they will nap at some point if they are younger. But look at the time you are flying, and plan your schedule around their potential nap and eating times. Try to keep them on your regular schedule. Then have movies or various activities for them in between. As long as they are engaged, it will he a happy flight. Additionally, if they still ride in the car in a 5pt harness take that on the plane and strap that bad boy in. They are already comfortable in that seat in your car, might as well carry the comfort over to the plane. Plus, you know they won’t be escaping from their seats. Even bigger bonus.. usually families with a child under two can get in on that hot pre-boarding time! If your child is in a car seat that is a 5 point harness which they will use on the plane and is approved for the plane, it doesn’t matter if your kid is four years old.. You usually can get in on that awesome pre-boarding period. We milked that as long as we could. Technically my 9 year old is still in a 5 point harness (he is SUPER small, and not even 40 lbs yet – he was born as a micro preemie, at 1 lbs flat.. so he is behind on growing), and we could probably still use his car seat as a reason to board early – but we don’t anymore. We take a booster seat when we travel.
[Image Credit Heather Irwin]