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7 Huge Mistakes Families Make at Hawaii Resorts and How to Avoid Them!

Are you planning a trip to Hawaii and want to stay at a resort? Scroll to find out the biggest Hawaii resort mistakes families make and how you can avoid them like a pro!
This list of Hawaii resort mistakes was written by Hawaii travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

Planning a family trip to Hawaii is an exciting adventure, especially when you decide to stay at one of the incredible resorts that the islands have to offer.

With the ocean at your doorstep and amenities galore, it can feel like paradise. However, even in paradise, things can go wrong if you’re not careful.

I’ve stayed at resorts all over Hawaii, from the Fairmont Orchid on the Big Island to Disney’s Aulani Resort on Oahu, and I’ve learned a thing or two about what to do—and what not to do.

Here are some common mistakes families make when staying at Hawaiian resorts, and how you can avoid them to make sure your vacation is as perfect as the postcards.

We love staying at the Grand Hyatt Kauai. Photo credit: Darren Cheung

Are You Making These Common Resort Mistakes in Hawaii?

Mistake #1: Not Researching Resort Fees

The Problem

Many resorts in Hawaii charge a daily resort fee that covers things like Wi-Fi, pool access, and other amenities.

This fee isn’t always clear when booking, which can lead to an unpleasant surprise at check-in when you find out there’s an additional cost per day.

Renting a car? Watch out for the parking fees (especially in Waikiki).

How to Avoid It

Always read the fine print when you book. If it’s not clear whether a resort fee is included, call the resort directly and ask about any additional fees you should expect. This will help you budget better and avoid surprises.

Mistake #2: Overlooking Location

The Problem

It’s easy to get caught up in how beautiful a resort looks online without considering its location. Some resorts might be far from major attractions or the type of beaches you want, which can mean more travel time and expense.

While we love the Fairmont Orchid, the location is pretty remote! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

How to Avoid It

Think about what you want to do in Hawaii. A centrally located resort might be best if you plan to explore a lot.

Look at a map and see how far the resort is from activities and attractions you’re interested in. Reviews can also be helpful to see what other travelers have said about the location.

Mistake #3: Ignoring Dining Options

The Problem

Resort food can be expensive, and if there aren’t many dining options nearby, you might find yourself paying more for convenience.

Image of a boy sipping a drink from a pineapple
There are SO many dining options just steps from the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

How to Avoid It

Check out what dining options are available at the resort and nearby before you book. If you’re staying at a place like the Hilton Hawaiian Village, you’ll have lots of choices. But in more remote locations, your options might be limited.

Consider booking a room with a kitchenette so you can prepare some meals, especially breakfasts and snacks.

Mistake #4: Missing Out on Amenities

The Problem

You pay for your resort’s amenities whether you use them or not. Families often miss out because they don’t know about all the amenities offered.

Find out how to meet characters at Disney Aulani Resort in Hawaii recommended by top Hawaii blog Hawaii Travel with Kids. Image of Daisy and Donald Duck dressed in Hawaiian clothing
Always make sure to know when characters have meet-and-greets at Disney Aulani Resort. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

How to Avoid It

When you check in, ask for a list of all the amenities and where they are located. Find out the schedule for any free activities, like lei making or hula lessons, which can be fun and save you money on entertainment.

Mistake #5: Not Planning for Pool Time

The Problem

The pool can be one of the best parts of staying at a resort in Hawaii, especially for kids. Not planning time to enjoy it can mean you miss out on one of the easiest and most relaxing parts of your vacation.

My kids LOVE their pool time! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

How to Avoid It

Even if you have lots of activities planned, make sure to set aside a few hours to relax at the pool. It’s a great way for the family to unwind and enjoy some downtime without having to go anywhere.

Mistake #6: Failing to Check for Family Deals

The Problem

Many resorts have special deals for families that can include meal discounts, free kids’ activities, or even free stays for children. Missing these deals can mean spending more than you need to.

How to Avoid It

Always ask about family deals when you book, or look for them online. For example, Disney Aulani often offers packages for off-season travel that can make your stay more affordable.

Mistake #7: Not Using Concierge Services

The Problem

Many families don’t take advantage of the concierge, who can help plan activities, make dining reservations, and often offer insider tips on things to see and do.

How to Avoid It

Visit the concierge desk early in your stay to get help planning your activities. They can help you make the most of your time, and sometimes they even have discount coupons for local attractions.

My Hawaii Resort Reviews

Here are some in-depth reviews of where I’ve stayed in Hawaii that might help you decide:

I’ve also rounded up my favorite places for families to stay on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island.

Hawaii Resort Mistakes Wrap-Up

Staying at a resort in Hawaii should be a relaxing, enjoyable experience for your whole family.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure that your time in paradise is spent making happy memories, not dealing with unexpected issues or expenses.

Remember, a little planning goes a long way, especially when you’re exploring the stunning islands of Hawaii.

Here’s to a great vacation where the only surprises are good ones, like spotting a rainbow or finding a perfect seashell on the beach!

Looking for places to stay in Hawaii? Check out 19 Best Hotels for a Hawaii Christmas Vacation, Where to Stay on the Big Island: Kona or Hilo?, Kauai Timeshares: What You Need to Know, and Hawaii Vacation Condo vs Hotel: the Pros and Cons!