Title: A two weeks family vacation in the Big Island, Hawaii - preparation
Preparation: 1. Book the flight tickets and hotels or rental homes as early as possible to get good deals. Sometimes even one day earlier you could get $500 discounts for several nights in some hotels. Use the credit card that can give your mileage points to redeem some costs or other benefits. 2. Be aware of baggage fee charges when you compare the flight ticket prices. We were charged for $200 for the round trip for 2 bags. 3. Be aware of the agriculture inspections( animal, plants, fruits) in the airplane when you are going to fly in or out of the state of Hawaii. So it's better not to bring in any fruits or plants with you to Hawaii. I was not aware of this and I have brought some grapefruits to the plane and then we had to throw them away. When you come back from Hawaii, Pineapple is allowed but not other fruits. 4. Research online before you decide to go to all kinds of places whenever you could. There is also an excellent book named: "Hawaii, The Big Island Revealed The ultimate guidebook" by Andrew Doughty. We bought this book in an ABC store in Kona downtown. This book helped us a lot. When we drove through some mountain area, there were no GPS signals and we used the map in the book to guide us to explore the natural beauty in the Big Island, Hawaii. 5. In the summer, sunblock is a must. Remember to get a bottle of mosquito repellent. In the first several days, I've got a lot of mosquito bites but when I wore pants, instead of shorts or skirts, got fewer bites. 6. Pack a medical kit that contains bandage, alcohol swabs, etc. Because some of the beaches, even the Kayak, snorkeling sites have rough rocks. Kids or even yourself may get scratches or cuts, you need the medical kit. 7. Pack or buy water shoes before you go to the lava pools or snorkeling sites. Most probably there are rough rocks in the bottom and it's impossible for you to walk or play there with bare feet.
General opinion: Our family, 2 adults, 2 Kids, stayed in Hawaii + flight time: 16 days. We had a flexible schedule, did not join any travel agency tours. The cost: more than $2500/person. Flight tickets are a big cost from Houston to Hawaii. It's worth to take a vacation in Hawaii. Especially if you have enough time and not join a travel agency's tour, schedule a more flexible time to enjoy the fabulous view and explore the natural beauty in Hawaii.
Attractions and activities: See http://www.youishare.com/search/yanz/A_two_weeks_family_vacation_in_the_Big_Island__Hawaii_-_sight_views_and_activities/MTp5YW56LTE
Dining: See: http://www.youishare.com/search/yanz/A_two_weeks_family_vacation_in_the_Big_Island__Hawaii_-_dining_and_commute/Mjg6eWFuei04
Lodge: See: http://www.youishare.com/search/yanz/A_two_weeks_family_vacation_in_the_Big_Island__Hawaii_-_lodging_and_shopping/Mjk6eWFuei05
Things I wish I had known before: See http://www.youishare.com/search/yanz/A_two_weeks_family_vacation_in_the_Big_Island__Hawaii_-_lessons_learned/MzA6eWFuei0xMA