This is another article in our series on planning and enjoying your Hawaii vacation. We asked our staff at Royal Kona Resort for advice for visitors on how to maximize their good times in Hawaii while minimizing the chance of something going wrong. We have already written about planning a getaway, as well as listed some of the activities you can enjoy on your Big Island family vacation. However, since no-one wants to leave Hawaii without immortalizing their good times, we have decided to write an article on how to preserve your vacation memories, as well.
Aside from the pictures and movies that are safely stored inside your mind, there are a number of things you can bring with you from vacation that, unlike a tropical tan, won't fade with time. These can be photos, video recordings, and physical souvenirs.
A camera is the sine qua non of a tropical vacation. Luckily, these days just about any gadget can take pictures. Whether they will be of adequate quality depends both on your hardware and skill as photographer. One of the things that distinguishes experienced photographers is their skill at seeing novel angles and scenes; even tourist traps and landmarks can be photographed in new and engaging ways, so always challenge yourself to do something interesting! Many good photographers have also developed the ability to anticipate interesting events and juxtapositions, which helps them capture once-in-a-lifetime shots of people or wildlife. If you don't have this photographer's sixth sense, don't despair - take many quick shots of the same scene and sort through them later, you never know when you will capture a true gem.
Like the photographer, the family videographer's work has gotten significantly easier, as well. Back in the pre-digital days, taking video would require bringing a whole other piece of equipment in the form of a video camcorder. Fortunately, those days are over - freed from the need to store physical film, and with storage medium capacity growing ever larger, every digital camera available today can record video and sound of passable quality; moreover, professional cameras such as the Canon 5D shoot not only top-notch still images, but video of such high quality that they have been used to film footage for major motion pictures. These days, even cell phones can shoot full-motion video, though the quality still generally lags behind dedicated cameras.
The biggest hazards for any electronic device are hard falls and moisture, which is why Royal Kona would like to remind you to:
1. Carry your camera in a water-resistant camera case; attach a strap to your camera or phone, and always remember to secure the device to your wrist - or you may end up waving your camera goodbye as it disappears down a waterfall.
2. Always bring your camera with you - you never know when you might see something worth capturing. Even dining or walking the resort grounds might afford you a view of some of Hawaii's marine life at play.
3. Sometimes you can forget where you took those great scenic shots once you get home so take a picture of a location sign so you can remember where you were.
4. Remember to charge your camera's battery nightly or bring extra batteries with you.
5. Have an extra memory card for your digital camera just in case.
6. Finally, be safe when trying to get a shot - don't hang over dangerous ledges or get tangled up with local wildlife.
Hawaii is awash with gifts that you can buy to remind yourself of the good times, and to bring for your friends & loved ones on the mainland. There are many gift shops within walking distance of Royal Kona, as well as elsewhere on the island. Depending on your tastes and the taste of your gift recipients, you may want to go for modern-style gifts such as keychains, shot glasses, watches and so on.
If you want a more traditional and authentic Hawaiian keepsake, you can check out traditional crafts - leis, wooden bowls, hula dolls, and the ubiquitous ukulele.
There are also plenty of art shops around where you can buy a beautiful oil or watercolor landscape, for a personal touch that a photograph would be hard pressed to match.
Finally, truly daring visitors can choose a souvenir that is literally impossible to re-gift - a traditional Hawaiian tattoo. Be aware that true tattoo masters who have been trained in the traditional style and use the old tapping technique may be booked months in advance, for their expert skill is in great demand.
Some people may be tempted to take rocks, leaves or even animals with them as they leave. With few exceptions, this activity is strongly discouraged, since it leads to the degradation and loss of the very environment that makes Hawaii special. If you really want to take a natural souvenir with you, check a gift shop for items such as shells and Hawaii black coral jewelry, and make sure they source their wares in a sustainable way. Oh, and don't take lava rocks off the island - it will bring you bad luck!