Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wow, 3 generations travel together to Hawaii...

Wow, its not often that you get 3 generations travelling together - 3 ladies in fact (well 2 and a very little lady). Emma travelled with her daughter and her mother to Hawaii, and from the sounds of things, had a brilliant trip. Fabulous Emma was kind enough to tell us about her travels, and has some brilliant tips to share with us all. Take it away Emma....

So, tell us a bit about you and your family?
There is me, Emma and my beautiful 21month old daughter Piper.
Piper is a very sweet little girl who knows what she wants and will kick and scream to get it.
My mum Pirjo also came on holiday with us, or Mummi (grandma) in Finnish.
And where have you been of late with your little ‘hip’?
We went to Hawaii for 9 nights in March 2011, myself, Piper and Mummi.
How did you get there? 
We flew there with Jetstar - flying out of Melbourne at 10:30am to Sydney and then flying from Sydney to Hawaii at 6pm that evening. The wait at Sydney airport actually worked out to be a good thing as it got Piper prepared for the long flight that evening. She ran around the airport, had a nap in her pram and ate some lunch.  
The hardest part would have to be collecting our luggage from our first flight, catching a bus from the domestic to the international terminal and then having to re check in.  The bus cost $5.50 for no more that a 10min ride, it was hard to get the suitcases, stroller and toddler on and off the bus and there was not enough room everyone’s suitcases to be stored on the bus as well. I would just catch a taxi next time.
The actual flight turned out to be much better than expected.  I had booked the bassinet when I had first booked the tickets, and although Piper was a tad small for it, it was a life saver for the trip.  Not only did Piper sleep for about 5hours in it, when she was awake she could sit and play in it as well as eat.
The hostess were great (we ended up having the same lady on the way back as well), very friendly and helpful.  I also paid to have the entertainment unit which Piper loved to watch (even if only for 15min).
The menu had limited choice but what we ate was lovely.

The flight back was a little more difficult as it was during the day rather than overnight, so keeping little miss entertained for longer periods was challenging but she did pretty good considering.  Again the bassinet was great, it also gave us more leg room, and there were other little ones close by in the other bassinets for Piper to play with.
The worst part of the trip back would have to be again trying to collect and then get our luggage from the international terminal to domestic and re check it in.  Other than that I was very happy with the airline and staff that worked there.
Where did you stay?
We stayed at The courtyard by Marriott in a one bedroom room.  
The separate bedroom was great as I was able to put Piper to sleep and then relax/watch tv without waking her.  We also had a kitchenette with a bar fridge, sink, microwave and coffee maker.  This proved handy as we were able to have breakfast in our room each morning.
All the staff were extremely lovely, they had two pools, one of which, although smaller was heated and used more than the other one by us.
There were 3 computers and a printer in the foyer, a travel desk where we booked all of our tours and a bar.
With restaurants and shops across the road or no more that a 5min stroll away, and the beach only 10min walk away it was the perfect spot for us.  
Your biggest challenge?
  • Picking up and then rechecking baggage at Sydney airport, as well as the bus journey to the other terminal.
  • Trying to keep Piper sitting still on the bus journeys we did, and by the end while eating out at restaurants.

Any big recommendations?
  • I was very impressed with my maclaren stroller.  It lay back if Piper fell asleep in it, was lightweight and very easy to fold and put over my shoulder when getting on and off buses.  
  • Playdough, would bring it out at some dinners to keep Piper amused while we were waiting for our food.
  • We ate at Chillies restaurant and The Cheesecake Factory several times and they were very kid friendly, always with plenty of highchairs.  Chillies gave crayons and activity book on arrival and the Cheesecake Factory gave children a plate of bread and banana on arrival as well.
  • Swim Vest for Piper, especially when at the beach.  Was easier to grab her when she fell over in the water and was that extra bit of piece of mind.
What are your main tips for travelling with kids?
  • Always have a variety of snacks on hand as well as a packet of wipes to clean up sticky fingers and any mess made along the way.
  • Don’t pack to many toys but pack a variety and bring them out and varying times.  This way they don’t get bored of all their toys by the 2nd day of the holiday.
  • A little bit of screaming from your kids is ok, most passengers won’t mind, and it is more stressful trying to keep them quiet for 10hours straight. 
  • Always ask for directions so your child doesn’t have to sit in there pram longer than needed.
  • Try to pack everything into the least amount of bags as possible, as trying to push a stroller and carry the bags isn’t always easy.
  • Zip lock bags - so many uses. Perfect for snacks for Piper, use them as a toiletry bag as they take up less space and are water proof, or even for packing some jewellery for example.
What would you not have left home without?
Dummies, snacks and wipes for Piper.

And finally, anything else you want to add?
Enjoy your holiday, if your little one eats chips everyday of their holiday and hasn’t seen a green veggie in a few days it is ok, whatever keeps them happy and the healthy eating will return once returning home.

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