Okay, it’s early. There are many more adventures, problems, mix ups, flights, meals and joy to be had. However, after a week on the road, I have already learned (or re-learned in some cases) a lot about myself and how to do this all better.
Family Dynamics Exist on the Road
This should go without saying, but when you plan a big undertaking like this, you tend to forget that the things that drive you nuts at home still apply when you’re traveling the world.
The fact that my son talks non-stop, enjoys pushing people’s buttons and like to do things that scare his mom doesn’t change when we travel. The fact that my daughter tends to find a way to become a complete grump and loves to boss her brother around isn’t going to change just by going to Hawaii. And the fact that I tend to default to “no” on things and complain or get negative quickly is something that isn’t going away with just a Mai Tai on the beach. My wife is perfect though. She has no issues. Nope, nothing to see here.
The good news is, with the way our travel sets up, we have time to work through these things, and we have four people willing to work together. Well, three people for sure, Little Man is stubborn about this stuff, but he’s easy to lead in the right direction.
Hawaiian Food is Perfect
How can you go wrong with pork…pork…pork…fresh seafood…pork…Mac Salad…pork…fried rice for breakfast…pork…spam musubi…pork…did I mention pork? I’m sure I will encounter more culinary delights…but right now, this is heaven.
Be More Willing to Say “Yes”
This applies directly to myself and my little girl. We both tend to get into a funk where we can be surly and negative. I don’t know where she gets it. Must be from her mother.
The key is allowing yourself to default to happy and be willing to say yes. Part of this is being better at letting go of whatever it is that pissed you off in the first place; let it disappear into the past like it should and then move forward.
I have a feeling there will be more updates and learning on this one.
We aren’t staying in or planning to stay in many hotels, and thank god, because they suck. Oh, they have their place. If you’re on a road trip and need a pit stop, hotels are perfect. If you and the wife are doing a weekend away, a hotel could work. But if you’re staying somewhere for more than a couple days with a family of four? Hotels suck.
They are expensive, they trap you in with food options, the rooms never live up to the pictures, and they are never a good way to experience the place you’re staying. However, they often have nice pools.
However, the dynamic changes if you go all out for the right hotel. The Royal Hawaiian is worth every penny.
Use the Time Changes to Your Advantage
When we planned to fly from Seattle to Hawaii to Australia, one thing we didn’t really consider was the time change. The good news is it worked to our advantage. Seattle being three hours ahead of Hawaii, we’re getting up and moving by 7:30am and we’re all wiped out by 8:30pm. It has meant more sleep for all of us and more time during the day to do things. Just today, we were coming back from a late breakfast and my daughter saw that it wasn’t 11:00am yet, got all excited and said, “Wow, I thought it was a LOT later than that! We still have the whole day!”
It’s one of those things that we tend to forget when traveling: plan for the time changes, and use them to your advantage. When we went to Disney World, many years ago, we had the opposite issue, since Orlando is four hours ahead of Seattle. Still, we made it work. Instead of trying to wake up early and “beat the lines,” we slept in and hit things later, when all early risers have exhausted kids and are ready to head home.
My Son Can Swim Until I Can’t See Straight
Seriously, I think the boy is part seal. Whether it’s in the pool or the beach, he just keeps going. He is fearless in the water, but also not quite fully swimming, which means that we have to stay on high alert with him. It’s tiring, and he never stops. This might drive me to my grave.
It’s Always Better to Tweak Than Force
Listen, with any family travel, there are multiple people invested in having a good time; they all have different ideas of what they want to do, and they all have different limits on things. When you set out with a plan, always be willing to adjust it. This doesn’t mean skipping things, or canceling plans, but it means adjusting. We’ve had several days where we set out with one plan, and changed on the fly due to opportunity, exhaustion levels, or forgotten bug spray (it turns out it was in the car the whole time, but it still worked out).
Forcing the original plan or sticking to a plan that is obviously not working is a bad idea in most arenas, but is especially harmful when traveling with a family. Learn to go with the flow.
This is just the start, I’m sure more pearls of wisdom (or obvious things that I just realized) will come up as we go.