Natasha's Pick of the Week. MAUI!

Last year at this time we were just returning from a week of fun, sun, and sandy beaches. It was our second trip to the beautiful island of Maui, Hawaii. And I miss it sooo much! It really is the perfect holiday location for just about everyone. Honeymooning couples, families with small children, families with teenagers and also big extended families too!

Here is a list of my favourite spots to stay, eat, play and just chill while on Maui.

Where to stay.

I love Wailea. It is on the south-west side of the island and is home to some of the best beaches, shopping and resort hotels on Maui. Both times we stayed in Wailea we rented our accommodations from private owners through www.VRBO.com. You can find some great deals if you shop around and I would also recommend getting some referrals or recommendations from people who have been before. Year one, my parents came with us and we stayed in a private home (complete with our own pool) and I would totally recommend it for a larger family. Last year we rented a 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo at Wailea Ekolu Village and it was perfect for the four of us.

Where to eat.

Maui is full of fabulous restaurants, but there are definitely a few clear stand outs. Mama's Fish House is by far my favourite restaurant in THE WHOLE WORLD. No trip to Maui is complete unless you eat there at least once. Make a reservation though, it's a popular place! If you are in Wailea, another great family place to eat is Matteo's Pizzeria. The food is awesome, the atmosphere friendly and relaxed and it really feels like you are going to a friend's house to eat! Another repeat fave of ours is LuLu's in Kihei. It is an open air restaurant that is on the 2nd floor of Kihei Kalama Village Market. Hit the market for some shopping in the morning and then LuLu's for lunch. I recommend the fish tacos!!

Where to play.

There is so much to do on Maui and to be honest we still have a lot to discover ourselves. We love the Maui Ocean Centre and if you have kids of any age you really have to check it out. The 750,000 salt water aquarium is pretty amazing, especially when you see giant sting rays and tiger sharks swim right past you! I also recommend a whale watching tour with the Pacific Whale Foudation. These guys really know what they are doing and are very accommodating for families with little kids. If you are into hiking, then a trip to the Iao Valley State Park is in order. There are lots of different hikes and trails that you can do, depending on your ability and of course how many little ones you have with you! For shopping, I have four words for you...The Shops at Wailea. From casual to luxury, gift buying to art galleries and everything in between, you will find it at the Shops. Make sure you check out Lapperts Ice Cream and Coffee for some after dinner treats and sneak out before everyone else wakes up and get your morning fix at the Honolulu Coffee Co..

Where to chill.

The beaches on Maui are incredible. And we have a few favourites. Keawakapu Beach at the southern end of South Kihei Road is great, as are Ulua and Mokapu in Wailea. These two are right next to each other and if you have babies and get to either beach early you will be able to get a spot in a shaded area. There is also some great lava outcroppings between these two beaches and you can get in some nice snorkelling there too! We also spent a lot of time on Wailea Beach. It is centrally located and fronts the very swank Grand Wailea Resort. It can get busy, so get there early for prime spots on the beach.

Whatever you do on Maui, trust me you won't be disappointed with this vacation. You can even shop at the local Safeway and use your Canadian Safeway card to get the discounts! And big bonus--they sell wine at the Maui Safeways!!

Just remember that if you are traveling with babies and toddlers, make sure you check out my babywearing tips before you go (the WaterBaby Sling is a must for a trip to Maui!) and above all, relax, leave all your worries and all your schedules behind and have fun!

Aloha!

Natasha~

Have Baby, Will Travel

I just got a tweet from the lovely @JenBanksYEG who is on her way back from a weekend of debauchery relaxation and fun in Las Vegas. She told me that one of the things that she noticed while in Sin City was all the improper babywearing. My first thought was, really people? I am pretty sure Vegas switched from the whole 'family friendly' vacation thing a few years back. And then my next thought was, OK, if you are going to be taking your baby with you to Vegas, or anywhere else on vacation than the least I could do is offer some babywearing tips for how to do this more effectively.

Tip #1

Take your baby carrier with you and skip the big ass stroller. This may seem like a no brainer, but really, DO this! Think about how many of your friends have gone on holidays with their very expensive Bugaboos and Quinny's and the like, only to have them totally wrecked during transportation. Not to mention the hassle of getting the stroller through airport security and then to a holiday location that may not be extremely stroller friendly.

(If you really do need a stroller or any other bulky baby items, check into a baby gear rental company for where you are going. They can save you the hassle of transporting bulky items and is usually not too expensive. Maui has a fabulous company called Akamai Mother that we have used in the past and highly recommend!)

Tip #2

Bring a GOOD baby carrier with you. You know how I feel about crappy carriers. No crotch-danglers please!

Tip #3

Think about where you are going and what you will be doing. A trip to a tropical location with lots of beach and pool time? Take a water sling or wrap. Going to the mountains to do some hiking or anywhere where there will be lots of walking around? A soft-structured or buckle carrier may be what you need. Florida or Anaheim to hit up the Disney's? A lightweight gauze wrap or ring sling will keep you and baby from overheating.

Tip #4

If in doubt about what you will be doing and the different places you will be visiting while on holidays, take more than one carrier with you. I have been known to pack at least three carriers on all of our vacations and invariably end up using all of them at least once.

Tip#5

Practice with any new baby carriers BEFORE you get to you holiday destination (and get help/education if you need it). The last thing you want is to buy a fabulous new carrier and get to the airport, have a 3 hour flight delay and a cranky baby and then realize that you don't really know how to use your baby carrier properly!!

Incorporating babywearing while on holidays really is the best way to travel with babies and toddlers. You will most likely be getting away from your very carefully constructed routines from home and being able to wear your babies and toddlers can really help them with the changes that happen while away.  As long as there is a nice comfy and familiar tummy or back to snuggle into at times, they are likely to enjoy their vacation a whole lot more and trust me, so will you!

Happy Travels Everyone!

Natasha~