Over the holidays, my family and I took a trip to the Big Island of Hawaii. This was our second trip to the islands together; we visited Oahu on our honeymoon.
But it was our girls’ first time to see the ocean and go to a beach. It was extremely special to get to watch them take it all in for the first time.
When we returned, my mom asked me what my favorite part of our trip was. I didn’t hesitate, the entire trip I found myself wiping away intermittent tears that came from being thankful to have time with my family in such an incredibly beautiful place. It truly is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.
I am a true summer lover and the ability to wear sandals and summer dresses in January was a real treasure to me. I, of course, love the beach but getting to see the active volcano on the island ranked high on my list as well. Every day, every corner we drove around, every meal, all of it was a tremendous blessing.
In order to get to Hawaii, there are several steps you have to follow prior to arrival. Vaccination proof has to be uploaded, COVID-19 tests must be taken by those who are not vaccinated, information has to be uploaded to the state of Hawaii’s website all travel reservations have to be documented and then there are all of the normal travel day hoops to jump through.
While traveling with kids is an undertaking, there are a few things we do to help make it easier. One of my favorite tips to share is that we take our own water bottles with us. We dump them before security and fill them up on the other side. We save money and we have water right away without having to find an open shop or restaurant.
In addition, I always pack a lot of snacks. If we travel in the morning, I bring bagels that I put cream cheese on before leaving the car. Afternoon and evening flights, I bring a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for everyone. It never fails, any time we open up our meals someone asks, “You can take that through security?” They are usually pretty shocked when I tell them I’ve been doing this since I saw someone else do it on a flight to Tucson in 2008!
I know at one point, after the Sept. 11th attacks, regulations were more strict about food. However, they haven’t been for some time. Next time you travel I suggest you take your own easy meals and snacks. Save your money for spending at your location instead of the airport.
Even though the steps that had to be taken to get us to Hawaii were stressful, it was absolutely worth it. While we were there, I felt tremendous relief from the anxious tendencies I had been harvesting. My husband rested, really rested and enjoyed every bit of our trip. Our girls played, and played some more, they loved the ocean. They didn’t use a single electronic device or watch even a minute of television our entire trip.
The blessing of the time we had together was incredible. This was our first trip as a family (that wasn’t to see other family members) that was more than an overnight stay. I hope and pray that we get to vacation together more frequently. My goal for 2022 is to skip the small purchases and save for another trip. I want to explore and make memories in new places!
Jamie Reed is a teacher at Cañon City High School and a contributor to the Cañon City Daily Record.