Royal Kona Resort

Planning your Big Island Family Vacation

Vacations are nice, until something goes awry and months of saving up & planning end up earning you nothing but frustration. Bad travel experiences may make for funny cinema (without ticket mess-ups, we wouldn't have "Planes, Trains and Automobiles"), but having this happen in real life due to accident or carelessness is anything but a recipe for laughter.

We asked the staff at Royal Kona Resort for suggestions on how to plan for your Big Island family vacation in order to get the most out of your time on Hawaii and avoid major disruptions to your schedule in case of lost papers, bad weather or any other unanticipated event. Here are some of their tips:

Don't stress out about planning. Try to enjoy the anticipation as well as the vacation itself; get your family involved in the process.

Decide if you want to rent a car before you arrive. The Big Island is the largest Hawaiian island and it can take some time to get around. Do you want to wait for a shuttle or cab to pick you up or do you want to be able to go at your convenience? The Royal Kona Resort is within walking distance to Kailua-Kona town which has many restaurants and shops, so you may not need a car if you plan to stay near the hotel throughout your vacation; but if you're going further afield, it's best to decide on a rental in advance.

Before you leave for your vacation plan a few must-do activities like a luau, helicopter ride, snorkeling, whale watching, and a few activities to do if you have extra free time. This way you won't feel you are missing out if you don't get a chance to do everything, and will give you some backup plans if your #1 choice doesn't work out. This will also save precious vacation time by planning out your activities in advance.

Sampling a taste of the local cuisine is always fun on vacation. We offer great deals for pre-purchasing buffet breakfast before you arrive at our Don the Beachcomber Restaurant and we have great lunch and dinner selections featuring fresh, local ingredients at Don's Mai Tai Bar. Our front desk staff is always available to make recommendations for nearby restaurants in town but, you might want to spend some time researching local restaurants in Kailua-Kona on the internet before you arrive so you won't end up wasting time and energy deciding where to eat once you arrive. If you're a drinker, no trip to Hawaii would be complete without trying one of Hawaii's favorite cocktails - the Mai Tai. In fact, so popular is the Mai Tai, our Don's Mai Tai Bar offers over 10 different varieties to choose from.

Pack casual, comfortable clothes like t-shirts, tank tops, shorts, light skirts and of course, at least one or two swim suits. A hat to protect your head and face from getting too much sun is also a must. If you do plan to visit Mauna Kea or some of the mountain summits it can get cold up there so make sure to bring something warm to wear for these activities.

Sunscreen, needless to say, is a must. The trade winds can help keep you cool, so you may not realize you are getting sunburned just as you're being toasted to a crisp. This applies doubly to highland excursions where you will be even less protected from UV rays than at sea level.

Finally, bring emergency contact numbers and back-up copies of your identification and credit icard nformation with you. You don't want to be stranded in the center of Earth's biggest ocean without your essential personal information. Bonus safety tip: While Hawaii is a safe and friendly place, you still shouldn't leave valuables in your rental car; keep your rental car locked when not in use.

Plan ahead and follow these common-sense tips, and your Hawaii family vacation will be an experience you'll always remember fondly!