These are the things I learned on my recent 12 day vacation with my family to the islands of Kauai and Maui:
1. It is completely possible (and a lot cheaper these days due to airlines charging for checked bags) to pack for four people with one large duffle style suitcase and 4 small carry ons. And yes, that includes shoes and toiletries. **Caveat: This works best if you have laundry facilities at your final destination.
2. Do not assume that all flights have those back of the seat TV monitors and in-flight movies. BRING BACK UP!
3. Your kid (and most of the others on the flight) will not fall asleep until 20 minutes before you are scheduled to land.
- 3b. Don't be the asshole who gets on the plane and immediately says to the dad and toddler sitting in the row with him, "He isn't going to be a problem is he?"
4. You just don't know if you are a bidet kind of person until you try it. This all-in-one seat thing is HEATED and does all the ahem... dirty work for you, all with a touch of a few buttons! Now where do I get one in Canada?
5. Never underestimate the value of two $3 inner tubes OR the amount of time your children will want to spend in the pool with said inflatables.
- 5b. DON'T FORGET TO SUNSCREEN YOURSELF MORE THAN ONCE IN THOSE 4.25 hours!
6. Something called an Island Coconut Latte is always a good idea.
7. We have ugly chickens in Canada and we eat them. Kauai has pretty ones and it is illegal to kill them. AND they are feral, and LOUD, and everywhere and sometimes they even lay eggs on the goods at the stalls at an outdoor market.
8. There is a little town in Kauai called Old Koloa that is an almost exact replica of Coombs on Vancouver Island. Just swap out palm trees for pines and Douglas firs and chickens and roosters for goats on the roof.
9. You can make friends with little green lizards with a dab of guava flavoured shave ice.
10. Be nice to people, especially the dude at the car rental place. Because he just might upgrade you to a fancy hybrid. (The Ford C-MAX is my new car crush!)
11. A day at the beach without kids is about sunning, reading, walking and an occasional dip in the ocean.
12. A day at the beach with kids is about always having to be in the ocean, because that is where they want to be and the waves are relentless and there will be sand EVERY-DAMN-WHERE!
- 12b. You just have to go with it, embrace the sand and the waves, make epic sand castles and learn to boogie board!
13. DO NOT WEAR YOUR SUNGLASSES IN THE OCEAN WHILE BOOGIE-BOARDING.
14. Poke is SO GOOD! If you love sushi/sashimi, you have to try this local Hawaiian dish.
15. When your daughter gets it in her head that she wants a pink ukelele with flowers on it, she will not rest or stop asking you for it until it is in her hot little hands.
- 15b. And every time she plays it and sings Twinkle, Twinkle (which is a-the only song she knows all the words to and b- is at least 1000 times a day), your husband will give you some serious side-eye.
16. Leave the beaches and go exploring. Upcountry Maui is beautiful, slightly cooler (both weather-wise and you know, coolness-wise) and you find the best artisans and shops in the most unlikely places.
17. Keiki (kids) menus, might just be my undoing!! (Future ranty post about this coming soon.)
18. I don't care how many times I see it, EVERY time I see a humpback whale exhale, do a tail dive, or any kind of breach, I will squeal and excitedly point it out to anyone around me like it's the very first time I've ever laid eyes on this marvel of a mammal!
19. All the males in my family have issues with boat travel.
20. Mama's Fish House never gets old and is a must on every trip to Maui.
21. There are times to obey all the signs and times to venture off the beaten/paved path.
22. Sunrise yoga at Maui Yoga Path. A perfect way to start your day, I only wish I had found them sooner and bought a five day pass for the week.
23. Not all Shave Ice is created equal. Get yourself to Tobi's in Paia for the good stuff.
24. When a piece of art moves you, you should buy it. Because you are at a time in your life when you can. Same goes with original clothing designs and locally made jewelry.
25. Hanging out with friends also on the island is a fun day for everyone. Also, Napili Beach and ALL THE TURTLES! Who knew??
26. Nothing bottled will ever truly compare to the pure smell of the plumeria flower that has just fallen off the tree.
27. The direct flight home is always the right choice.