Aloha from Hawaii!

I’ve been absent for a while because we took a family trip to Hawaii last month. I’m taking a little break from all things yarn to share a little about our trip with you.

*This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on them and buy the product through that link, they’ll send me a little check as a thank you, and I’ll get to keep buying yarn, making the things, and sharing them with you.*

When I say family trip, I mean FAMILY trip – my parents, my sister, brother-in-law, 2 nephews, my husband, myself and my daughter. 9 people. 1 house. 1 island. 12 days. (And let’s not forget that I’m pregnant…like really pregnant.) There were good moments, bad moments, and everything in between. Overall, it was a great trip and we made SO many memories!


We went to the Big Island of Hawaii and rented a house in Kona. It was nice to be able to be all together in one place so that we had help entertaining our daughter during downtime, and we didn’t have to get up with her every morning at 6 am. 🙂 Grammie got up with her and they enjoyed their mornings on the lanai very much. Another benefit of the house was not having to go out to eat for EVERY SINGLE MEAL. We got to pick and choose when we ate out, keeping things within our budget this way, and we always had snacks and drinks handy. Also, we could do laundry. I highly recommend renting a condo/house when you visit the island if it’s possible within your budget, even if you’re not traveling with a group of 9.

This was my daughter’s first time on a plane, my first time on a plane while pregnant, and it was just as stressful as you can imagine. My tips for traveling with a toddler:

  • If traveling with a newly potty-trained little, like we were, I suggest getting a folding travel potty seat. This way you have a clean place for their little booties to sit, and you don’t have to hold them over the toilet and hope they don’t slip and fall in.
  • Whether you typically allow screen time or not, take a device with games/movies/shows loaded specifically for your little one. We used an old iPad that only has stuff for her on there, and we got her a kid-friendly case to protect the iPad, give her a handle to hold/carry, and that handle doubles as a little stand to prop up the iPad. Along with the device, take headphones! You don’t want to bug everyone around you with the sounds, and drowning out the airplane noise might make for a more pleasant trip for your little one.
  • Small backpack with leash – I know this one might be a little controversial. Some people are completely opposed to using leashes on kids, but let me tell you, this has come in SO handy for us when we used it at Disneyland and at the airports for our recent Hawaii trip. I don’t care what you think about it…the fact that I could keep a hold on my 3 year old while still carrying all our carry-on items and not worry about her slipping away was PRICELESS.
  • For her snacks/activities, we used this backpack as her carry-on. It’s small and easy enough for her to carry herself, but when she gets tired, it was still easy for us to carry for her. When we got to the island, we also took this with us EVERYWHERE with her snacks in it, along with her travel potty seat, a change of clothes, wipes, and an extra pull-up (just in case).
  • This insulated water bottle was perfect for traveling. Leave it empty as you go through security, and then fill it up afterward. It will keep the water cold for hours, and you don’t have to worry about paying outrageous airport prices for bottled water for your little one. There are lots of styles/characters to choose from, too.
  • SNACKS!!! Take lots of snacks, and take a variety. Throw in something they don’t get often, like M&M’s or Skittles, to make it a little special. You’re basically just trying to get them through the flight without a total meltdown, and that might mean breaking some of your own rules temporarily.

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Most importantly, know your child. If they like to draw/color, take lots of different coloring books for them to choose from. If they like to play with toys more, buy some new (cheap) toys that they can enjoy on the plane. Keep them small, but not TOO small that they’ll get lost. At the end of the day, the flight may be a little uncomfortable, but it’s such a SMALL part of your trip that it doesn’t really matter. It will come to an end, and you’ll be back to having a blast in no time!

We were there for 12 days, so there’s WAY too much to talk about everything, but here are some highlights and some pictures. This was my 3rd time to the Big Island, and while I’m NO expert, I am pretty familiar with the island, so I’d be happy to answer any questions you have or make suggestions for your next trip!

She swam with the dolphins! Since I’m pregnant, we chose not to do the big snorkel boat trip, and instead spent the money on the DolphinQuest experience for her to meet a dolphin. She LOVED it! I wouldn’t do it every time, but I am so glad she got to do it at least once. We also saw dolphins on our dinner cruise and at lunch the last day.

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Huggo’s On The Rocks is a STAPLE whenever we visit the island. All outdoor seating, toes in the sand, great view of the bay, and this time we got to see some dolphins swimming, jumping, and spinning. Plus, the food is delicious, and you get to enjoy live music most evenings.

Volcano National Park is a must-see. The lava flows change frequently, so always stop by the visitor center first and find out where the active flows are and plan your route through the park. The Thurston lava tube is a great walk, and there are some crater overlooks you can access from the parking area. If the road is open, take the 19 mile Crater Rim Road out to the sea arch – there is a brief walk from the parking area to the actual viewing point for the arch, but it’s worth it to see at least once. From this same parking area, you can also access a lava field where you can walk out and see the lava pouring into the ocean. We didn’t do that this time, due to having a toddler and pregnant woman along, but we have done it in the past. Pros – you get to see the lava pouring into the ocean and that’s pretty cool. Cons – it’s a lot of walking and it is HOT…like H.O.T. This particular day, it was actually cooler (we were all sporting long sleeves) and it was raining off and on, so it wouldn’t have been a bad day to do that walk. Last time we did it, it was full sun and HOT. If you’re there in the afternoon, consider staying until sunset and seeing the glow of the lava from Jaggar Museum. It’s beautiful.

Punalu’u Black Sand Beach is a great place to see turtles up close and personal. They like to come up on the sand and just hang out in the sun. Be respectful – don’t touch them, give them their space, but enjoy being able to see them so close.

There were definitely parts of the trip that were stressful, but overall we had a great time and I’m glad we were able to give Ava so many great memories before the baby gets here.

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