Parent Review – Hawaii with a Toddler

Norah and Ed tell Kinder Travel Guide about their fantastic trip to Hawaii with their daughter Niamh

Where did you go?

We went to Oahu Island, Hawaii for 3 weeks with our daughter. We got married on the beach there and had a great time exploring the island.

When did you go?

August 2013

How old was your daughter when you travelled?

22 months

Where did you stay?

We stayed in an apartment in Honolulu for 10 days and then rented a house on the Southern Shore of Oahu from Air BnB for 10 days. Both were fantastic. The house on South Shore was idyllic and right on the water. There was no safety railing so we had to watch Niamh carefully to make sure she did not fall in but she loved playing outside and when she was playing near the water’s edge she wore a life jacket at all times.

How was the journey there?

The journey was very long. We flew from Shannon to Newark in New York which took 6 and a half hours. We then had a stopover of 2 and a half hours and then an 11 and a half hour flight to Honolulu. Niamh slept intermittently and we brought loads of snacks and toys. We bought small toys and put them in envelopes and made a big deal about opening them. These kept her happy for some of the time. We also had downloaded games which could be played offline on our I-Pad. We shared earphones and watched TV and walked up and down the isles. We changed Niamh into her pyjamas at the start of the flight and had a travel pillow with us to help her get comfortable. The way back was more difficult as we had an 11 hour stopover in Newark airport which doesn’t have much in the way of shopping or entertainment. We spent much of the time sitting on the ground trying to keep our daughter entertained.

What was the food like at your destination?

The food was not great in general. Everything has to be imported so food shopping is very expensive (particularly fresh cows milk) although the cost of fruit is reasonable. Eating out was expensive. There are a lot of chain restaurants such as Denney’s which don’t have a lot of fresh, healthy options. One good thing was that there were high chairs and changing facilities in most places. You can buy bottled water everywhere and most places use a filter so you can drink tap

Were you able to find all your baby and toddler essentials at your destination (formula, food, wipes, nappies, medication etc)?

We brought nappies and wipes with us and used the space to bring home souvenirs and presents. There are plenty of places to rent what you need and they drop it to your door. We rented a baby carrier (backpack) for hiking. Cows milk, fruit and cereals are available in supermarkets and you can buy bottled water everywhere.

How was the public transport system?

We had our car so we drove and used GPS. Public transport is not great and car rental is cheap. We rented a car seat but the company would not install it for insurance reasons so we did it ourselves.

Did you use a baby carrier or a stroller?

We used both a stroller and a baby carrier. We brought a jogging buggy and rented a backpack baby carrier for one week for hiking. The beaches aren’t designed for walking to and from and its difficult to access the beach with a stroller.

What kind of activities did you do?

There are loads of things to do in Oahu. We went to the beach, hiked, went shopping, went to a pineapple farm and a macadamia nut factory. We visited Barrack Obama’s childhood home, the set of Jurassic Park and 50 First Dates and went to the zoo and Ocean World. We also visited Pearl Harbour (bring a stroller if you are going here as there is loads of walking, also they wouldn’t allow us to bring our baby bag so leave it in the car). There’s horse riding and are loads of water sports but Niamh was a bit young for these.

Overall, did you have a good trip?

We would highly recommend a trip to Hawaii. It is particularly good for older children. We would love to go back when Niamh’s a teenager.

Do you have any advice for parents travelling to the same place?

Bring your wipes and nappies if possible as they are expensive also bring plenty of distractions for the plane. We would definitely recommend going with Airbnb. Make sure you rent a car as its the best way to see the island.