Home » Hawaii Travel Tips » Just Booked Your Hawaiian Flight? Here’s What Every Mom Needs to Do Next

Just Booked Your Hawaiian Flight? Here’s What Every Mom Needs to Do Next

Are you planning your first Hawaii family vacation? Find out exactly what you need to do after you book your flight!
This guide to what to do after booking your Hawaii flight was written by Hawaii travel expert Marcie Cheung and may contain affiliate links, which means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.

Congratulations! You’ve just booked your flights to Hawaii—a dream destination for many and a familiar playground for your family.

But, as any seasoned mom traveler knows, booking your flight is just the beginning.

Whether it’s your first visit or your forty-first, planning a Hawaiian vacation requires attention to detail, especially when you’re coordinating for the whole family.

Here’s your ultimate checklist of what every mom needs to do after booking that flight to ensure a seamless, fun-filled trip to the Hawaiian Islands.

Photo credit: Michaela with Flytographer

1. Secure Your Accommodations

What to Consider


Choose a location that serves as a convenient base for your planned activities. For instance, if you’re focusing on beach activities and relaxation, staying close to the major beaches on any island, like Waikiki on Oahu, might be ideal.

Type of Accommodation

Decide between hotels, resorts, vacation rentals, or condos. Resorts are great for comprehensive amenities and activities that are kid-friendly, while rentals or condos can offer more space and a kitchen—which is gold for family budgeting and convenience.

Here are our favorite resorts on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island.

Booking Tips

Book Early

Especially if you’re traveling during peak seasons like summer or winter breaks. The best places fill up fast!

Check Reviews

Look at recent reviews for insights on cleanliness, safety, and suitability for kids.

2. Rent a Car

Why It’s Essential

Hawaii’s public transport is limited, and you’ll want the freedom to explore the islands at your own pace.

Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Plus, with kids, having your own transport is a lifesaver for those unexpected needs—be it a bathroom emergency or an impromptu stop at a scenic spot.

What to Do

Book Early

Just like accommodations, car rentals should be booked as soon as possible after flights, especially during high tourist seasons.

The cheapest place I’ve found is Discount Hawaii Car Rental. They get the best rates from top national companies like Alamo, Dollar, Thrifty, Avis, Enterprise, Budget, and Payless. Check out the latest prices and more details.

Choose the Right Size

Make sure the car fits all passengers and luggage comfortably. Consider a larger vehicle or an SUV for extra space and comfort.

And don’t forget about car seats or boosters, if you’re kids need them. I highly recommend bringing them from home versus renting them.

3. Plan and Book Key Activities

Must-Do Activities


Experience authentic Hawaiian culture, food, and entertainment. Book a luau at least a few weeks in advance.

Aulii Luau on Kauai: Image of a boy in the front row of a luau
Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Here are our favorite luaus on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island.

Snorkeling Tours

Places like the Na Pali Coast on Kauai or Molokini Crater near Maui are popular spots. Secure your spots early.

Here are some popular snorkeling tours on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island.

State Park Reservations

A lot of people don’t realize that you’ll also need to make reservations for places like Haena on Kauai, Haleakala Crater, Waianapanapa Black Sand Beach, or Hanauma Bay.

Booking Strategy

Use Reputable Sites

Book through reputable sites or directly through the official tour providers to avoid scams or overcharges. I’ve had good luck with Viator and Hawaii Activities.

Check for Family Discounts

Many tours offer discounts for kids or family packages.

4. Check Entry Requirements and Regulations

What to Check

Cultural and Environmental Regulations

Some areas may have specific regulations to protect local wildlife or cultural sites. It’s essential to educate yourself and your kids to respect these during your visit.

Reef-Safe Sunscreen

It’s super important to only use reef-safe sunscreen in Hawaii. It’s actually a law and it’s to protect the marine animals.

5. Dining Out and Groceries

Planning Meals:

Research Restaurants

Look for family-friendly restaurants with good reviews. Consider making reservations for popular places.

Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Here are our favorite kid-friendly restaurants on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island.

Grocery Shopping

Plan a trip to the local grocery store if you’re staying somewhere with a kitchen. Stocking up on essentials can save you a lot on dining out.

I really like shopping at Foodland or Big Save because they have a LOT of locally-made products and farm-fresh produce.

I’d also only recommend shopping at Costco if you’re staying longer than a week. Otherwise, you risk overspending and having a lot of extra food/drinks at the end of your trip.

6. Pack Smart

Essentials to Pack

Reef-Safe Sunscreen

Protect your family and the coral reefs with eco-friendly sunscreen.

Comfortable Footwear

For beach days, hikes, and walking around town. I really like Olukai slippers (aka flip flops) because they are really sturdy.


Evenings can be cool, especially if you’re exploring higher elevations like Haleakala National Park in Maui or Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island.

Snacks and Toys

Keep the kids happy during downtimes or long drives. Here are a few of our favorite travel toys for Hawaii.

7. Prepare Your Home for Departure

Checklist Before You Go


Ensure all doors and windows are locked, and security systems are activated. If you’re friendly with your neighbors, give them a heads up that you’ll be gone and see if they can keep an eye on your house.


Consider adjusting your thermostat or main water supply to avoid unnecessary bills or accidents while you’re away.

Pets and Plants

Arrange for care if needed.

8. Build Excitement

Getting Kids Ready

Educational Videos

Watch videos about Hawaiian culture and wildlife. I also suggest going on YouTube and watching videos about things to do on whichever island(s) you’re visiting.

Have your kids pick an activity/attraction they’d like to add to the itinerary.

Packing Participation

Let the kids help choose and pack their clothes and toys. It builds the anticipation and helps them feel involved.

We always have our kids pack their own backpack for the airplane. They can choose their favorite snacks and they they can pick a drink at the airport.

Want to skip all the planning and just access my detailed Hawaii Itineraries, complete with daily schedules, kid-friendly activities, and travel hacks? Click the button below.

Hawaii Family Travel Tips Wrap-Up

Planning a Hawaiian vacation might feel overwhelming, but breaking it down into manageable tasks can make the process enjoyable and exciting.

By following this checklist, you ensure that your family’s trip to Hawaii is not only memorable but also smooth and stress-free.

So, embrace the aloha spirit, prepare thoroughly, and get ready for another fantastic family adventure in paradise!

Looking for more Hawaii tips? Check out The Hawaii Planning Guide Every Mom Needs: When to Book Everything from Flights to Fun, Beware of Hawaii’s Vacation Rentals: What No One Tells You About Staying with Kids, The Truth About Renting a Car in Hawaii: Mistakes You’re Making Now!, and 10 Insider Tips for Planning an Unforgettable Hawaii Family Adventure!