7 Weeks In Hawaii: Vacation Like A Local, Not A Tourist.

You really can’t go wrong with Hawaii!  I have visited Maui, Oahu, Kauai, and “The Big Island” of Hawaii, and each island is amazing in it’s own special way.  Each island has a different “vibe” unique to itself.  I was extremely lucky as a child as I had family that lived in Hawaii, and I was able to spend extended periods of time there each year.  Staying with family, I got to feel as though I was living there while on these trips.  I did keiki deep sea fishing tournaments and spent so much time trolling in the ocean on my family’s boat in hunt of the big kahuna marlin.  This is most definitely where my passion for deep sea fishing began!

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Little Jessica in the keiki (child) deep sea fishing tournament.  Kona, Hawaii

Since my childhood, I have been visiting Hawaii in a much more touristy fashion.  Staying in hotels and doing as much touristy stuff as I could fit into my vacation has been the norm over the years.  Although each and every trip has been absolutely amazing, I wanted to plan a trip that reminded me of the time I spent in Hawaii as a child.  I wanted to experience feeling like I was living there as a local.  To achieve this feeling, it had to be as long of a trip as I could make it.  I decided on 7 weeks in summer while the kiddos were out of school.  Now which island to choose?  I am most partial to Kauai (North Shore) for how lush the landscape is.  But for this long of a trip, I chose the island Maui.  Maui has beautiful landscape, but it also has a bit of a livelier vibe compared to Kauai.  I thought it would be a good mix of beauty and things to do.  Let the planning begin!!

I get a lot of questions about how I’m able to take extended trips like this.  My husband and I work from home and can really work from anywhere in the world.  These extended trips are obviously working vacations which add to the the feeling of actually living there instead of vacationing.

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Daddy up working in the early am.  No one wanted to wake up except our 3 month old.  Teach them young!

 

Accommodations

To stay 7 weeks, I wasn’t trying to stay at the super high end places in town.  I needed something reasonable, but also large enough to accommodate my family of six and a home office set up.  I landed at the Sands of Kahana.  What a perfect choice!  We had a huge three bedroom condo on the beach with a pool, kids pool, mini golf, gym, community beach bbq’s,  and a restaurant on the property in case we were feeling too lazy to cook. We also had so many walk-able dining options in the village of Kahana.

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Our view for the next 7 weeks.  Sands of Kahana was reasonable and a perfect fit!

This little village of Kahana sits right in between Kaanapali and Kapalua.  It is so much more reasonably priced than its neighbors, but still right in the heart of all the action.  I highly recommend this area if you are on a budget.  For the nights when you would like to put a huge dent in your bank account, you can just hop on over to your neighboring towns to get some fine dining or an expensive round of golf.  You are also just a short drive to Lahaina, where most of the island nightlife resides.

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Downtown Lahaina for 4th of July celebrations

 

Rental Car

Next, I needed to get a rental car.  Getting a rental car for seven weeks isn’t cheap.  I found Kimo’s Rent A Car online.  They have vehicles of all price points but the one I rented was basically less than a basic vehicle.  They gave a great rate on monthly rentals and I spent around $1,000 for the entire 7 weeks.  It really was exactly what we needed and the price was right.  I have spent $700 on a car for one week in Hawaii, so I was pretty excited about this deal.

Ok, so now what did we really do on this trip to make us feel less like tourists and more like locals?  First off, I hit Costco and stocked up.  We bbq’d and ate dinner on the beach about 70% of the time.  There was no rush to do anything and we snorkeled until the sunlight was gone while bbqing on the beach…..that was our evening schedule.  I found a bunch of beach equipment on Craigslist for us.  I bought boogie boards, ice chest, chairs, an umbrella, beach toys, and I paid $35 for everything.  This is a great tip to check there for your stuff because buying these items brand new will be hundreds.  When we didn’t feel like bbqing, we would get seafood off the food trucks.   We would take our food and paper plate it to watch the sun go down, hike, or chill at a park.

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Costco run for the essentials.  LOL!  For the record, this was not completely all for us.  Ha ha
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Nightly bbq on the beach
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Nightly swimming while daddy bbq’s
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Too lazy to cook so snagged some food off the food truck and watched the sun go down at the beach.

 

Road to Hana

What did we do with our time outside of being beach bum bqqers?  My favorite adventure as a temporary local was going camping for the weekend in Hana.  The Road to Hana is so beautiful!!  It has waterfalls around every twist and turn, and is the epitome of the “it isn’t about the destination, it’s the journey” quote.  I have driven the Road to Hana many times and have even driven around the entire island in one day.  I LOVE IT….but it’s not for everyone.  You are truly in the car all day and the road is very windy.  People with weak stomachs may call it the Road to Hell.  I have definitely learned over the years (having a large family of six) that not everyone likes what I like.  And although, I can explore and drive from sun up to sun down, my family would be miserable.  However, there was no way I was going to Maui for 7 weeks and not driving the Road to Hana.  So I checked into camping.  What an amazing experience!  I rented all of our gear from Camp Maui which we picked up on the way out of town to Hana.  Camp Maui stocked us.  We had everything….tent, pads, pillows, sleeping bags (which weren’t necessary), stove, flashlights, propane, etc.  It was so reasonable and I didn’t need to pack anything from home other than clothes.  We camped at Waianapanapa State Park with hiking, black sand beaches, and water caves.  You need to get a permit in advance to camp here so plan ahead.  This place gets crazy busy in the day with tourists coming in by the bus loads.  We were able to go explore the ins and outs of this park early in the morning and late at night, completely skipping all the crowds.

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Camp is all set up at Waianapanapa State Park
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Getting up at 5:00AM to feed my baby has its perks.  Good morning Hana!
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Exploring the black sand beach that was right below our camp.  Just walked down a little path and here we were.

The best part about this camping trip?  We got to explore Seven Sacred Pools for the entire day.  This place is gorgeous and could be my favorite place on all of Maui.  It is so far to get here if you are driving in for the day, so most tourists only get a short visit as they have to get back on the road for the very long drive home.  Not us!  We stayed all day swimming and rock jumping and then drove 15 mins back to our camp for a bbq.  This mini vacay was beyond amazing and pretty eye opening for me.   I was so happy that my family didn’t want to drive to Hana for the day because it forced me to find a way to achieve exploring this side of the island along with keeping everyone happy.  There is more than one way to skin a cat!  Ps- I really hate that saying…who came up with that anyway??  Skinning a cat is just wrong.  Plus, I love cats.

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Beautiful Seven Sacred Pools.  Absolute paradise!

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Our oldest being brave and rock jumping.  I love the boy all prepared to jump from the shorter rock looking up at her.  Girl power!

 

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When you are 3 months old and in paradise, swimsuits are optional.

 

Making Friends

Back at home in our little village of Kahana we began to make friends with a lot of locals who lived there.  I think it’s popular with the locals because its cheaper but still so central.  When you eat and drink at the same places quite often you begin to run into the same people.  We met a local who took us all surfing for a private lesson for next to nothing.  No waivers or contracts…just a local teaching us how to ride the waves.  This local became our friend and he spent an entire second day with us taking us to a private property to go fishing.

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Surfs up!  Private lesson from our local friend.
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My hubs really makes friends everywhere we vacation, but this guy in particular really showed us a great time on the island.
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Fishing on private property.  No one around but us.

 

Best Date Nights/Days

Before arriving on this trip, I found a babysitter to come on a schedule to give my husband and I some adult time.  With the grandmas back on the main land, this was an absolute must.  I hired a nursing student who was training in Labor and Delivery at the Maui General Hospital.  Can you get a better resume for a sitter?  She also had nursing student friends to replace her when she was busy.

For most of our dates, we would pack an ice chest and hang out at the beach all night.  But my favorite date night was attending a Reggae Concert at the Maui Tropical Plantation.  Maxi Priest and Big Mountain were the big headliners and it was probably one of the best concerts I have ever seen.  Super fun and definitely something I wouldn’t have squeezed in on a one week vacation.  We also spent several nights partying in downtown Lahaina.  Fleetwoods was my favorite place to get a drink and listen to live music.

 

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Date Night = $6 raft, a homemade margarita, and watching the sun go down in the ocean with my sweetheart
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Reggae concert with Big Mountain and Maxi Priest at the plantation.  SO MUCH FUN!
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Date night at Fleetwoods in Downtown Lahaina

My favorite Day Date was snorkeling at Honolua Bay.  It is untapped serenity…so beautiful and so peaceful.  We loved it so much that we planned a second day here to bring back the kids to enjoy with them.

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Day Date snorkeling at Honolua Bay

 

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Had to bring the kids back to Honolua Bay to snorkel with them.  Too beautiful not to share.

 

Favorite Touristy Things to do

We didn’t book many tours on this trip, but one that we did do was a snorkeling cruise to Molokini Crater.  The snorkeling there is awesome!  We saw dolphins along the way and snorkeled with a ton of beautiful fish.  The kids loved this cruise!  One of them actually started crying when we had to leave the crater.  LOL.

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Snorkeling at Molokini Crater

One of the seven weeks we had Grandma and Grandpa visit and we did Zip Lining and Parasailing.  I mean you have to get high at least once in Hawaii, right?  The kids absolutely loved both these days.  This was definitely the one week where we packed in a lot of touristy adventures.  After parasailing off of Kaanapali Beach, we ended our day at my favorite Happy Hour spot on the beach….Hula Grill.  You can sip Mai Tais with your feet in the sand while listening to live music.  Heaven!

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How many Grandmas are up for this stuff?  Grandma and Makena Ziplining.
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Crazy Grandma having fun parasailing with her grandkids.
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Just finished parasailing and having Happy Hour at Hula Grill with Grandma and Grandpa.

To finish up our one “touristy” packed week we ended it with a traditional Luau.  There are so many great Luau’s on Maui.   They are no doubt pricey!  I chose Royal Lahaina Luau for the simple reason that for every paying adult, you get one child for free.  I worked out pretty well with four adults and four kids.  This was a perfect way to end our week spent with my parents!

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Royal Lahaina Luau.  Great way to end our action packed week with my parents

 

Best Beaches

You can stay anywhere on Maui and be happy with your choice but the majority of people choose the west or south shore.  I’m more partial to the west shore since it is so close to Lahaina and is a bit more lush.  But the south side is beautiful too.  So beautiful that I named my daughter after my favorite beach…..Makena Beach.  Makena Beach is split into Big Beach and Little Beach with Little Beach being bathing suit optional.  From our village in Kahana, it was about a 45 minute drive to get there but so worth it.  Stay the entire day!

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Sharing beautiful Makena Beach with my beautiful daughter Makena.

My favorite beaches on our side of the island were Napili Bay Beach and Kaanapali Beach.  Napili Bay Beach is literally the most fun beach I have ever been to with kids.  The rolling waves are like an ongoing roller coaster and you can hear the screams of excitement and laughter from the road as you park your car.  Boogie boards and floaties make this day an absolute blast.  Be careful of the waves wiping out your entire beach set up.  It happened to us!  Try to sit as far back as possible on the beach away from the water.

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Napili Bay Beach.  Home to the never ending roller coaster waves.

Kannapali Beach is home to the famous Black Rock.  It is a very popular beach.  The snorkeling is awesome and you can jump of the rocks at Black Rock.  Super fun!

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Black Rock at Kaanapali Beach.  My face is so swollen from my snorkel mask!  Ha ha

 

Favorite Land Activity

You really can’t go to Maui without being blasted with marketing materials everywhere in your face about bike riding down the Haleakala Crater.  I have done this ride several times but unfortunately it wasn’t in the cards for us on this trip as our littlest kids weren’t big enough for a ride like this.  I have to include a little write up though because it is truly such an experience.  You need to get up early for this at 3:00AM and take the two hour drive up the crater.  It’s cold when you get up there so bundle up!  You watch what is hopefully the most beautiful sunrise you have ever seen in your life.  Once the sun is up, you begin the bike ride down the crater.  There are a million tours going down where you all follow each other in one line all the way down the crater.  Not for me!!  I’m not big on group activities with strangers.  I have always found a company who drove me to the top of the crater, handed me  my bike to ride down alone and at my own pace, and then met me at the end of the day to pick me up.  Most tours end at the bottom of the crater but I like to continue the bike ride to the Maui Pineapple Winery.  The extra ride is rolling hills closer and closer to the coast.  It is a beautiful ride!  The bonus is you get to end the 18 mile ride with some wine tasting and a picnic.

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The sunrise at Haleakala Crater is truly the most beautiful I have ever seen.
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A few trips back on the top of the crater freezing my buns off.  Hence the bright red nose.  How cool is the moon behind me and I’m watching the sunrise in front of me??
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Biking all the way to the Pineapple Winery.  I have no idea what year this was but by looks of the photo quality, it was a while ago.

 

What To Do When It Rains

Maui isn’t as beautiful as it is without getting rain.  My favorite “ohana”  day spent during the rain was the aquarium.  The Maui Ocean Center is one of the coolest aquariums that I have ever been to.  We learned so much and got to see so many fish that are in the Hawaiian ocean waters.

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Maui Ocean Center

 

Favorite Family Friendly Hike

As I said, this was a working vacation.  I had to keep the kids busy on many days when my husband was holed up in the condo working.  My favorite day I spent with them was a very moderate but beautiful hike to the Iao Needle.  It was really pretty and we learned so much history on the battles fought in this area back in the old days.

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Mama bear and her cubs hiking to the Iao Needle while daddy is home working

 

Favorite Restaurant

Well it wouldn’t be a good blog if I didn’t write a bit about food.  There are endless amazing dining options on Maui.  My all time favorite is Mama’s Fish House.  Bring your camera because the location is right on the beach and is quite the photo op.  This is definitely an expensive dinner but worth the splurge!  And you simply can not visit the island of Maui without going to the famous Cheeseburgers In Paradise.  The cheeseburgers are delicious, the cocktails are tasty, the view of the ocean is to die for, the live music is a blast, and the location in downtown Lahaina makes it easy to bar hop around after dinner.  Lastly my favorite “cheap eat” on Maui is Ohana Tacos.  Seriously…if I didn’t watch my weight, I would live a fulfilled life having Ohana Tacos for every meal!  It is the bomb.com!  It’s pretty much fast food so perfect to take on the go while adventuring.

Island Fever?

So after spending six weeks on Maui we started to get panicky that we only had one week left.  We had zero island fever.  We really didn’t want to go home.  Our time here really allowed us to enjoy everything at our own pace and we truly felt like we were living there.  Mission accomplished!!

In our last week we had two back-to-back hurricanes hit.  If this had been our only week of vacation, it would have been a huge disappointment!  But we felt really lucky to experience it.  It was very cool to watch Mother Nature do her thing and once they passed we were left with the calmest ocean and most beautiful sunset of the entire trip.  It was quite a farewell.

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This child was born to live on the beach.
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After 7 weeks in Maui, it’s time to go back to the main land.  We didn’t want to leave!

 

How to vacation more like a local and not like a tourist in a short vacation

My all time favorite read prior to visiting Hawaii is the Maui Revealed book.  The authors have a book for every island and I have purchased the newest edition for every single trip I have taken to the Hawaiian Islands.  It gives you hidden secrets that you would never find without it.  I’m talking directions like “Hit the 42 mile marker, hike a quarter mile to the left, enter the broken chain link fence, go through the bamboo forest, hike a quarter more mile through the dirt steps and you will find a huge lagoon with a rope swing to spend the day at”.  Ha ha.  I have led the way with directions from this book on so many adventures with people I am on vacation with.  Believe me I have gotten the stink eye from people traveling with me as they follow me to these secret places.  But once there, everyone has always thanked me for such a special experience.  Buy the book before going!  It is truly the best vacation guide I have ever read!!

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Italy For A Month: How To Plan From Scratch.

So, let’s start from the very beginning…straight-up from scratch.  Probably the most common question that I am asked is how I plan my trips on my own.  Where do I start? Well it usually involves me staring at the computer scratching my head with a glass (ok a bottle) of vino in hand.  And little by little my trips take form.  I will write multiple blogs from this 30 day trip to Italy but for this blog, I’m going start with how to plan it.  I did all of this planning on my own and felt so overwhelmed when I started.  This is a blog on how my Italy trip came to life.

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I rarely take big trips in the summer.  I always get my big break right after Christmas.  I’m running out of new places on my Bucket List to explore in a bikini at Christmas, so this year I opted for a summer vacation.  I chose Italy.   I didn’t know where the heck to start as I really had never vacationed there.  I went about 20 years ago but I just drove across the boarder and ate lunch.  Doesn’t count.  As always, I was on a budget for this trip and I knew one month in Italy isn’t cheap.  Hotels were out!  I went VRBO and Airbnb all the way through and kept my budget at $200 per night.  If you haven’t traveled through these two sites, you are missing out.  Click on this link to join for free and get a credit for your first reservation:  Airbnb They are awesome!

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I was traveling with my husband and two children (ages 8 and 3).  I knew it would be nice (and less expensive) for us to have a kitchen and cook at our rental vs. being in a hotel and having to order room service for every meal. When I’m vacationing, I’m usually planning my next trip so the more I save from one trip is more I bank for the next.  Also, hotels in Italy don’t work like they do in the USA.  In the states you can get a “double” room and have two double/queen beds.  It is easy to stay with two small children in one room with that bed setup.  In Italy, a “double” room means two twin beds.  If you have four people, you need to upgrade to a suite and I quickly found that my budget of $200 per night in the areas I wanted was simply not going to fly.  VRBO and Airbnb was the answer for me!

Step 1:  Plan your route.  When you think of Italy, what do YOU want to see?  Me personally… Venice, Rome, and Positano were at the top of my list.  Then I thought, I’m going to fly all that way and when will I get to Italy again?  Maybe I can do one extra week and see more?   I decided on 30 days to explore but you can do this in three weeks if you are ambitious or just choose a few places and go for two weeks.  There is SO much to see in Italy.  So much history  that you feel guilty sleeping in.  You have to go, go, go, so you don’t miss a thing.  I booked a longer trip to really work in relaxing too.  I wanted one day to explore for every one day of relaxing.

When traveling through Italy it is best to go top to bottom or bottom to top.

map of italy

I decided to go top to bottom because I knew this would be a busy trip and I wanted to finish it off on the beach relaxing on the Amalfi Coast.

Step 2:  Once you have an idea of your route, you have to check flights to make sure they will work with your itinerary.  At the time of my planning, AirBerlin was the cheapest ticket from San Francisco to Italy.  They were actually $500 cheaper per ticket which is a lot when traveling with four people.  I later found we paid the price for that cheap ticket but we will get into that later.  AirBerlin flew into Milan (top of map) and they flew out of Naples (bottom of the map).  The flight out of Naples only went on one day per week so I had to plan for that. Once I figured out what my flights were I broke the trip apart leg by leg.  I decided on this route:

Lake Como: 5 nights/ Venice: 4 nights/ Florence: 5 nights/ Cinque Terre: 6 nights/ Rome: 4 nights/ Amalfi Coast: 6 nights.  One month in Italy!!

Step 3:  Find the VRBO/Airbnb to stay at sticking to my budget of $200 per night.  This was the fun part to me.  How did I choose which places to stay at?  I read review after review on the the VRBO/Airbnb sites….like hundreds of reviews.  I hate the reviews that say “it was a nice place…I highly recommend!”.  Ok well thanks for those riveting details but you didn’t say crap about the property.  I want to know things.  How far to restaurants and bars?  Do you need a car?  How does “this” area compare to “that” area?  I want details people!  If I can’t find exact answers to my questions through the reviews on VRBO/Airbnb, I usually Google the exact question I have with the word “Tripadvisor” after the question.  If I’m between two areas to stay,  I will Google “Positano vs Amalfi, which is better? Tripadvisor”    Most of the answers to my questions come right up on Tripadvisor which is where I read hundreds more reviews.  Tripadvisor, Oh How I love Thee!  None of my trips would come to life with out the reviews on this site.

Step 4:  Plan transportation.  I did not want to rent a car in Italy.  Many people do and give reviews about their days explored with the freedom of their own schedule in their own car.  Not for me.  First off, the roads are pretty wicked in Italy.  I consider myself to be a very bad driver on the safe roads in California.  We are talking about a girl that totaled her car 3 times during her 16th year of life!  Oopsie!  So, driving on these winding roads that seem like they have one lane, honking as you approach a sharp turn to warn oncoming traffic that you can’t see.  Hmmm, yes I don’t think this blog would have ever come to life because I probably would have died attempting to drive these roads. Another reason?  When I travel, I tend to eat and drink my way through for most of my entertainment.  I wanted the freedom to indulge in lots of great food accompanied but lots of great vino.

I chose all accommodations to be in the heart of the action in each destination so that I could walk everywhere or take a cheap cab ride.  To get through the country we rode the Trentitalia train.  One month of traveling through Italy on this train cost me less than the cabs to/from the airport.  The train system is so easy, so affordable, so comfortable, so reliable, and such a nice way to travel!  You get to see the country as you travel through which was just lovely.  Each ride was only about two hours with the exception of one four hour train ride.  Tip:  Get to the station early to buy some snacks and wine.  More important tip: Have all the electronics charged for the littles so that you can enjoy those snacks and wine while riding in style.

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Training to Cinque Terre.  Sipping on Vino while the kiddos play electronics.

I sprung for three long and pricey cab rides (transfers).  One from the Milan airport to our  first property in Lake Como.  After flying for 13 hours with two small children, we just wanted to get there.  The train from Milan to Lake Como isn’t as convenient as the other legs as the train we needed only left every three hours.  Just didn’t want to hassle with that after a long flight.  The second transfer was taking us to our last leg of the trip, Naples to Positano.  When heading south to the Amalfi Coast, the train won’t take you any further than Naples which is about an hour from Positano/Amalfi (see map).  We got off the train in Naples and took a private transfer (cab) to Positano.  Not very cheap at $130 Euro but it beat getting off the train and walking to the nearest bus stop which was reported to be incredibly crowded.  You may have to stand the entire hour plus ride on the bus and deal with pick pocketers.  It was so worth the private transfer!  Last high priced ride was Positano to the Naples airport.  This flight left once per week, so we could not have anything go wrong and risk missing the flight.  We also had to leave at 4:30am so the transfer allowed us to sleep the entire ride to the airport.  And that’s a wrap on transportation!  It was right around $700 for four people to travel through Italy for 30 days.  You certainly can’t rent a car for that.

Step 5:  Plan to pack.  Please someone tell me how in the heck I am supposed to pack light traveling to Italy with a toddler and 8 year old for one month?  There are things you need when traveling with kids…car seat, stroller, toys, electronics, etc.  I have to share with you the biggest find for packing light if you have a toddler.  It is Care’s Fly Safe safety restraint system. Cares Kids Fly Safe Airplane Safety Harness.  This gem is FDA approved and buckles your toddler into the airplane seat just like a car seat except it’s a just a belt.  Not only does it keep your little one safe but it also keeps them from running all over the plane all while packing up into a small little carrying bag that fits in your purse.

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Little guy all comfy for his 13 hours of traveling and I didn’t hit 20 people in the head carrying a huge car seat onto the plane.  Winning!

I then purchased an airplane stroller that is specific to traveling and folding up small for planes and trains.  I bought it off my Facebook for $10!  Tip:  I made $2,700 selling things out of my garage on Facebook that went directly to paying for this trip.  I also allowed my kids to pack a scooter each.  With as much walking as we planned to do in each location, I knew they would get so worn out and our days would be shortened to exhausted kids.  Instead of walking everywhere, they scooted the days away and we were able to explore as much as we wanted.

scooters

Lastly, I got three pieces of luggage that were the largest we could go without going overweight and incurring fees on the airline.  There is soooo much debate online about how big of a bag is too big of a bag to travel through Europe with.  It’s really a simple answer…you can pack as large of a bag that YOU can handle.  There is no one to help you up the many many stairs in between changing trains.  There is no one to help you load your bag onto the train.  No one to help you load the bag on ferries or cabs.  And if you plan on walking after getting off the train vs. taking a cab, you will be the one lugging that bag through town.  You get the point.  Luckily, I married a man with big muscles.  My bag was a big one and I got to pack as many bikinis as I wanted.  I don’t recommend this for everyone but it worked ok for us.

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The scooters were so easy to throw on top of our bags.  Piece of cake!

This brings me to my final plug of the trip.  Remember that great deal I got on my airline tickets that was $500 cheaper per ticket than all the other airlines?  Well, you get what you pay for.  The airline ended up loosing our son’s bag on the way there.  Thank goodness it wasn’t mine!  Ha ha.  I can’t tell you how crazy it was to see how long the lost luggage line was at the airport in Milan.  It took us about 30 mins to get through the process of reporting our lost bag and we were 2nd in line.  Can you imagine how long it took the 20th person in line to get through this process?  What a terrible way to kick off your trip!  We were very hopeful that our bag would arrive any day on our trip but in fact…it never came.  My kids went all the way through a 30 day trip in Italy with nothing but the clothes on their back.  This lost bag also had all of our liquids, including all of my beauty products.  Of course we bought things along the way but it was such a pain in the butt!  I later heard that this is actually a common problem when traveling to Europe (explains the super long lost luggage line) and in actuality, your bag is just sitting in the airport waiting to be delivered.  Due to under staffing, there is just no one attending to these lost bags.  In fact, no one even answers the phone in that area of the airport.  Trust me I called a million times.  Horrible!  How will I make sure that this never happens again??  GPS in my luggage…DUH!

LugLoc Luggage Tracker – The Worldwide Smart Lost Baggage GSM Locator – Track The Exact Location Of Your Bag Globally (not just bluetooth like others) – Rechargeable battery that lasts 15 days

OMG, what a genius idea!  You never loose track of your bag and you know where it is at all times, even if the airline claims that it is lost.  I will never travel without one again! My kids bag was found and delivered to us two days after we arrived home in California…32 days after it was lost.

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Loosing the bag was devastating at first but in the end we had so many laughs about my son going all the way through Italy with one pair of underwear and them wearing the same outfits in all our family photos.