How best to safely travel around Hawaii with a baby?
November 24, 2006 9:07 PM   Subscribe

My wife and I are taking our first vacation in years, but we have a 1.5 year old now. We're headed to Hawaii next month and I'm wondering what travel in cabs and buses is like with a baby. Are there small carseats we could travel with or should we suck it up and get a rental car ourselves (and risk the rampant break-ins I constantly hear about)?

We'll be on the west coast of Maui, but I know from my single previous trip to Hawaii many years ago, I had to get away from the tourists to really enjoy myself. I imagine one hiking trip a day to a less-inhabited part of the island will be in order.

Ideally, I'd love to just take the hotel's shuttle or a bus line of some sort and not have to pay for a rental car and parking all week. But I'm worried about the baby's safety. We have some pretty large Britax car seats in our cars, but it's huge and weighs about 20lbs so it'd be a bear to lug around.

I know lots of families with small kids travel but I've never seen travel versions of car seats. None of my friends seem to travel when they have a baby so they have no advice to offer.

What are our options like in Maui? Is it bring a car seat and rent a car or nothing?
posted by mathowie to Travel & Transportation around Hawaii (12 answers total)
When I went to Hawaii with kids earlier this year (not mine!) we brought car seats & used them on the plane and in the rental car. It worked out well. No break-ins. I can imagine that your car is a bit of a target in Lahaina but probably not anywhere else on the west coast...
posted by judith at 9:56 PM on November 24, 2006

I've seen this thing come up a lot on a few of the parents lists I'm on. People seem to swear by it
Most tourist destinations also have rental services for baby gear. A quick google search turned up this.
I'll be watching this thread for more information, though, we're planning a trip to HI with our little in February.
Greg at Daddytypes travels a lot - I bet he'd have good advice.
posted by Wolfie at 10:09 PM on November 24, 2006

I don't know anything about car seats, but I can tell you that Maui has no real bus service. (Well, they're starting a bus line, kind of, but coverage and frequency are pretty spotty.) And if your goal is to get away from tourists, the hotel shuttles aren't going to take you anywhere you want to go. Rent a car, you'll enjoy Maui much more.
posted by flod at 11:55 PM on November 24, 2006

^ what flod said. The best stuff is out around LaPerouse Bay, and rental is the only way to get there.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 1:19 AM on November 25, 2006

Best answer: rent a car. i was on the west side of maui last year (lahaina) and, i can't imagine navigating the island without a ride. it's a small island, and you can really get anywhere on a whim.

everywhere i went seemed perfectly safe to me. i can't see car break-ins being especially rampant there. if you're particularly concerned, use the same common-sense you'd use anywhere - avoid leaving valuables in the car.
posted by gnutron at 5:46 AM on November 25, 2006

The sit 'n stroll is great. We borrowed one from a friend couple for a trip with our one year old to Cancun. It was invaluable, killed 2 birds with one stone.
posted by tdischino at 7:06 AM on November 25, 2006

Response by poster: Ok, cool, a rental it is then. I looked up previous ask mefi questions about hawaii and two people mentioned getting their rental car broken into (one in maui, one in oahu).
posted by mathowie at 8:53 AM on November 25, 2006

Not sure if this is totally obvious, or not, but the rental car company will rent you a car seat if you don't want to bring your own.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:42 AM on November 25, 2006

Yes, rent a car. Especially since in addition to the baby accessories, you will probably be lugging around beach bags, towels, food, drinks, mats, possibly a portable cooler, etc.
Regarding car break-ins, we have seen a lot of broken glass up in the northern parts of Maui - up past Honolua Bay. (There is some nice hiking up there). And a friend of mine lost all his luggage when he put it in his trunk and went swimming (after checking out of his hotel but before his flight). So it does happen.
Btw, I really recommend getting a copy of Maui Revealed by Andrew Doughty.
posted by gt2 at 12:24 PM on November 25, 2006

Have you checked that there aren't any grandparents just longing to have their little darling to themselves for a few days? Your kid isn't old enough to get much from the trip, but caring for them will significantly affect what the adults get out of their "first vacation in years".

Really your kid will benefit more with the grandparents (if they has the time and energy). Lots of attention and child-centred activities. If your kid has never been left for a few days before, now may be the time to start -- no family emergency can't be made worse if it involves a child's first stay away from their parents, so get some "insurance" in now in peaceful circumstances.
posted by Idcoytco at 4:05 PM on November 25, 2006

For all of our vacations with our daughter that involved flying with our daughter, we used a sit and stroll. It's very quick to install as a car seat in a taxi - which is how we used it in Key West. Key West was the only vacation we've taken in recent memory in which is was truly practical to have no rental car for the whole time. That was very liberating.

In a trip through Switzerland, we either used the sit-and-stroll or a backpack for her. The backpack was great once it was adjusted correctly.

The sit and stroll is a decent enough car seat and a fair to middling stroller.

As far as rental cars on Hawaii, I don't know Maui, but we did a trip (pre-kid) to Kauai and the car really was instrumental for us to see what we wanted to see, we also quickly found out that if we bought groceries for our lunches and some of our dinners, we could cut the overall cost of the trip by a huge amount. That would've been a lot harder to do without the rental car.
posted by plinth at 4:42 PM on November 25, 2006

We've both rented a car on our travels, and installed a carseat (britax marathon) in taxis. Using taxis, you need to be going to a destination where you can leave the carseat somewhere, but it's doable. I prefer renting a car, though.
posted by Badmichelle at 5:33 AM on November 26, 2006

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