Family travel blogger, Becca Ingle, recently spent a month in Maui with her kids. Follow her information-packed guide to safe, healthy and amazing Hawaiian vacations for families right now.
We just got back from spending the entire month of December in Maui Hawaii and all I can say is I am having withdrawal already. Traveling right now is a personal choice, but I can say we've never felt safer than in Hawaii due to the fact anyone traveling to the island has to have a negative COVID-19 test. I work remotely, and my kids are virtual learning so it just felt like the right time to make this trip. Also we live in North Carolina and since everything is shut down I wanted the kids to still be active outside and learn by exploring new areas. Here’s everything you need to know about planning a trip to the Island right now.
Fly into OGG airport for Maui - We chose to fly Hawaiian Airlines due to the fact they have their own Covid testing kits they mail to you, they’ve also just set up drive-thru testing for passengers and are also still blocking middle seats. I did notice American and a few others are starting to participate in Covid testing as well, so double check individual airlines.
Hawaii Arrival Process - First each adult needs to create a Safe Traveler profile on the Hawaii Travel site. On the site you fill out all info on the trip, your personal details and also upload your Covid test results once complete. Hawaii Travel will provide you with a QR Code, I suggest printing this out or screenshotting into a folder on your phone for easy access because every airport/hotel will ask for your QR Code on arrival.
Take a COVID-19 pre-travel test - Avoid quarantine by taking a pre-travel test. The test must be from a state-approved testing provider and taken no more than 72-hours prior to the scheduled departure time of the final leg of your journey to Hawaii. For Trans-Pacific travel, test results must be received prior to flight departure.
Types of Tests - Since we flew Hawaiian Airlines we paid $90 per person (anyone under age 5 doesn't have to take a test FYI) for their Vault Virtual Testing. This test was a very simple saliva test and once complete you drop it off at the nearest UPS. Because I was paranoid, I also opted to pay for the drive thru Nasal Testing, that was $119 per person with a 24-hour turnaround time for results. Here’s some more info on both tests.
Good to know - It's best to do layover in a city that has these testing sites for ease of travel. We stopped at LAX. Also print out all documents and upload PDFs onto Safe Traveler site within 24 hours of departure. They didn't check our paperwork till we got to Hawaii, so prepare to wait in lines and have someone check all your documents on arrival.
Visit Family Traveller Instagram for more COVID-19-safe travel tips from Becca Ingle
Wailea is mainly where all the luxury resorts are and also the side of the island rarely rains. We had one rainy spell during our stay and it maybe lasted an hour. There are also resorts on the West side, Napili area, that are worth checking out if you are going to explore the island and prefer to stay in resorts. Take a look at Family Traveller Instagram to see all the ones we checked out and explored.
Our all time favorite Resort was Four Seasons Maui and here's why:
The rooms - We stayed in an Ocean View one bedroom suite. The rooms had two bathrooms, it felt bigger than normal apartments with a huge lanai. The doors also had cameras on them to see anyone knocking (that was a first).
The pools - Three in total, very spread out. An adults only infinity pool, a family pool with two hot tubs, and a kids pool with mini slide and waterfalls.
The luxury feel - The service was excellent. Drinks were amazing, so were all the restaurants and even room service was We also saw several celebrities at the resort which is always a good sign.
Kids Camp - It was daily and free and my kids lived there. It was such a relief for me to be able to work and enjoy the resort at the same time while they met other kids.
The beach location - Four Seasons Maui is on Wailea Beach which has SUP boards and snorkeling gear you can sign up to use.
Fitness - There's a range of complimentary fitness classes and also Beach Yoga, which I did one morning, so calming. Plus there’s a gym and game room on site too.
If you are staying long term I suggest looking into rentals; they're more affordable and let you hop around the island. I also loved having my own kitchen and being able to do our laundry with small kids. We switched up Airbnb on the West side Napili Area and also rented a few Airbnb in Paia - I only rent from Super Hosts because you can trust the reviews and guests don't lie.
Visit Family Traveller Instagram for more Maui resort reviews from Becca Ingle
Sunrise Snorkel Tour - We booked with Kai Kanani. I recommend doing this the first couple days of the trip since you are already adjusting to the time change anyway and it will be easier to get up at 5am. The breakfast was amazing. You snorkel two spots and see turtles and we were also lucky enough to catch sight of whales.
Northshore Zipline - in Haiku, North Shore Maui, Northshore Zipline is family oriented, good for ages 5 and over, and was our kids favorite activity. Covers seven zipline courses and takes about two hours.
Road to Hana- start in Paia, this drive is windy and could take a full day if you make every stop. I paid $7 for the self guided app which was amazing since you lose service on the drive (search for Gypsy Guide in app store). We only made it to Twin Falls and Garden of Eden with small kids
Helicopter Tour - book this epic experience with Hawaii VIP
Nakalele Blowhole - West Maui, about 20 minutes from Napili area and a windy road. Hike down the mountain to see the rocks and water shoot through! Wear waterproof shoes.
The Feast at Mokapu - try Andaz Maui for the most perfect, luxury, outdoor lu'au you can get in Wailea. They serve a three-course meal and kids are able to run around and play while you enjoy the show.
Haleakala National Park - to drive above the clouds at sunrise you need to reserve with Haleakala National Park.. Or go for sunset, no reservations needed.
IOA Valley National Park - a fun drive and full day of hiking and exploring.
Relax at the best beaches for families - we loved Baby Beach and Ho'okipa on the North Shore, where you can also see turtles.
Visit Family Traveler Instagram for more Maui activity ideas from Becca Ingle
Ready to plan your next family vacation in Hawaii? Take a look at Family Traveler Instagram for more Maui travel tips from Becca Ingle. Don't forget to follow Family Traveler on Facebook and Instagram, and view all Becca Ingle's guides at Beccaingle.com and follow her travels on Instagram too.
Images © Becca Ingle