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How To Have A Hawaiian Family Vacation Without Murdering Your Siblings

If you are headed to Hawaii for a hawaiian family vacation, you are probably already indulging in dreams of kicking it on white sands with the sound of the ukulele strumming in the background. Sounds like heaven right?

Throw in the family and suddenly this idyllic dream clouds over with passive aggressive mutterings from your father, stony silences from your great aunt and your sister whining about sunburn as she slathers herself in factor 50 and insists everyone moves to the air conditioned bar.

Family vacations are sent to test us, have no doubt.

You are endlessly dragged on day trips to stare at pineapples that would literally win the prize for pineapple you cared least about. You barely get three pages into your book, when your mom wants to chat about ‘your love life’. And, getting smashed on Mai Tai’s with the fam? Clearly going to end in tears.

But, having your bloodline in tow doesn’t need to ruin your trip to paradise. Take a look at these tips to have your holiday in Hawaii, without anyone coming home in a body bag. Or if that fails, it turns out that scientists have developed a way of making time go faster…


Go All-Inclusive


Seriously, unless you relish the idea of your broke-ass brother counting his dimes out on the table to tip the waiter or forking out a fortune on lobster thermidor because your cousins really wanted to see what a Michelin-starred restaurant was like – go all-inclusive in Hawaii.

Opting for all-inclusive means that it is perfectly acceptable to start knocking back the cocktails at breakfast, and God knows – the only thing that is REALLY going to help you survive a family holiday, as an adult, is being half tanked. Suddenly, Uncle Barry’s jokes just got funnier, Aunt Mary’s long winded stories about enamel tableware seems more interesting and, if you squint your eyes at your baby niece, she could actually look cute, rather than being mistaken for a squashed potato.

Another perk of going all-inclusive is the size of the resorts. You can escape, without it appearing that you have escaped. Where was I? Oh, in the other pool / bar / restaurant.

Participate in Activities

Hey, want to know how to seriously annoy every member of your family? Sulk in a corner while they all decide to play tennis or indulge in some other wholesome family activity.

Sometimes, you just got to throw down that smart phone, pick up a racket and throw yourself head first into the game. This is especially true if your parents have actually paid for you to come on this Hawaiian vacation. Life is a system of give and take.

No matter how much you were coerced or forced at gun point to get on the plane and fly to Hawaii, you are here now, so join in once or twice, or find a tour in Hawaii that you like and get the family to join in (turtle tours are great for families FYI). Whether it’s taking a horseback ride along the sands, stuffing yourself into a helicopter to fly over volcanoes or actually throwing down at that limbo party, the whole point of being here with your nearest and dearest is to spend time together.

Now is the perfect chance for you to practice a phenomenon known as ‘adulting’.

But Do Run Away at Times

If you want to watch the world crumble at your feet, then make an effort to be stitched to your sister’s side at all times.

Part of adulting is realizing that you actually need time on your own, away from the clan, to keep your cool. When we talk about running away, we don’t mean stealing your father’s credit card, packing your belongings into a bindle and thumbing a ride across the ocean with a baker’s dozen of sailors (been there, done that).

Haleakala National Park

We mean, going for a solo hike, a morning surf session or tackling happy hour on your own. Don’t be a martyr, when it comes to family fun.  Remind yourself that the best things come in small doses (opium, gummy bears and wasabi are all good examples of this).

This is especially true if you feel your own, or others, tempers fraying.  Do not attempt to unwind that sweater or pull that thread as you walk away…Weezer fans out there will know what we are talking about…

You will be amazed how a of couple hours swinging in a hammock with a cold beer can put life into perspective.

Hire a Driver

If you can afford to hire a driver or private tour guide that will literally be the best decision you ever make on a family trip to Hawaii. This is a pointer worth its weight in gold.

Anyone who has ever seen Mom turn a funny shade of purple, from trying to park in Honolulu or watched Dad desperately turn a map upside down, five times, in an attempt to understand it or, been stuck in a hot sputtering car on a mountain road, with a screaming five-year-old, will get this.

Also, throw in the fact that having a driver to take you on a tour of the Volcano National Park means that everyone can indulge in unwinding Mai -Tai fun. Suddenly, instead of a car full of seething snakes waiting to bite, everyone is crooning along to Elvis tunes and having the time of their life.

Be Flexible

Sure, you thought you would be at the beach by nine am.  But, your brother’s kids have other ideas and you gaze in horror as they pack their fifth tote bag full of toys.  It makes you feel like throwing a five-year-old inspired tantrum yourself, especially as that storm cloud is edging closer and ruining any chance you have of catching a tan.

Flexibility is your friend, when it comes to Hawaiian family vacations. Making a plan is good, but being hell-bent on sticking to it is only going to deliver hair pulling and eye rolling.

The best thing that you can do in this situation is to go in with the attitude of flexibility and to ensure that everyone gets a balanced say on what they want to do. Maybe today is the day that your brother wants to go parasailing in Waikiki, or take five hours to get to the beach.  But, tomorrow is your day and you will make them pay, by dragging them around the Pearl Harbor Museum.

On a final note, if you truly want to get out of this family vacay to Hawaii, then we suggest faking an injury….it never fails 🙂

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  • Brian K

    Brian K has been a writer and publisher for 10+ years and has worked for LiveYourAloha as a freelance author and content manager for several of them. There's not much about Hawaii he can't tell you about!