A dream. Having your 92-year old Mee Maw enJOY all things Maui WITH the entire family!
Are you planning a family trip to Hawaii, but worried about accommodating everyone's needs? No sweat, multi-generational travel is POSSIBLE! With a little planning and preparation, you can create unforgettable memories with your loved ones across generations. Don't let any road block rob you from experiencing the beauty and culture of Hawaii with your ENTIRE family.
Let me help you break down the barriers and start planning your mission, particularly Maui.
Traveling with children, especially a toddler and infant on a 10+ hour flight, can be daunting and exhausting. However, for the sake of this article, we will focus on an amazing rental in Paia (Pie-ee-uh), Maui. Paia is a true local, cultural town. It’s not a “touristy” area so don’t let the drive down the alley past an old graveyard put you in reverse. I like to call this house, a hidden gem!
Vacation Home: Ocean front, walking distance to Paia town VRBO #3161601
Location: Paia, Maui
Price: This north side of the island is more reasonable than the other side of the island such as Wailea and Kaanapali, so you will get more bang for your buck here.
Tip: Eliminate as much stress and as much luggage as possible especially when traveling long distances with multiple people. Consider renting your bulkier equipment such as cribs, highchairs, shower chairs, beach equipment, etc. When traveling with larger groups or even kids, you’ll need at least 7 nights in Maui. Factor in 2 days of traveling (flying) and think about all the things you want to check off while in Maui or any Hawaiian island. You may want more than 7 nights. If traveling as a couple, one week is typically sufficient. Remember to make phone calls and ask details and very specific accessibility questions for your party’s special needs.
Equipment Rentals: Maui Vacation Equipment and Gammie Homecare (for all your medical needs). Gammie even allows island hopping with their equipment! Alaska Airlines left my MeeMaw’s rollator in Seattle, however they reimbursed her for a new one that we purchased at Gammie. We are grateful we knew about them! Gammie also shares amazing tips for accessible traveling to Hawaii and the islands on their blog!
Check it out!
Haleakala National Park for hikes and to witness the sunrise OR sunset (for sunrise, you need reservations in advance)
Mama’s Fish House for incredible food and experience. Must book 4-6 months in advanced (we booked 3 months out and only 2 time slots were available the entire week we were scheduled there). As stated by my MeeMaw, “the best food I’ve had in 92 years!”
Luau Feast at Mokapu (at Andaz, Maui Wailea Resort) is one of the best luaus on the island. They are known for their performance and food. However, these book out as well so it’s important to book your luau early! Golf cart transport is offered to the dinner site for those with mobility challenges. My MeeMaw (and even our infant) got the VIP service.
Pearl Harbor is a MUST! Book an inter island flight via Hawaiian Airlines to travel to any of the islands for a day. Middle of the week is the least expensive time to fly. There are so many sites that pop up when doing a Google search. Note, there are lots of third party sites but the .gov site is the official website to Pearl Harbor. We saved quite a bit of money purchasing our tickets through AAA (about $15 off per person). IMPORTANT to NOTE: I’ll save you days of multiple phone calls to find out about wheelchair rentals. Pearl Harbor does NOT offer wheelchair rentals. It’s a little bit of a hassle, but rent wheelchairs through Gammie Homecare. You can even rent a lightweight wheelchair. Most of Pearl Harbor is wheelchair accessible but some of the ramps and thresholds are a little challenging. However, the shuttle is not wheelchair accessible but they can transport your equipment if you can do stairs to get onto the bus. Expect a full day tour. Bags and purses are NOT allowed. You have to rent a locker. Save yourself time and purchase a bag for $5 in the gift shop and put your valuables and necessities in it so you’re not trying to carry everything by hand or in your pockets. Entrance to Pearl Harbor is free, but there is a cost to some of the exhibits. We purchased the Passport ticket that allowed us to do everything. The excursion to the Arizona Memorial is best to be reserved ahead for the $1 ticket, but while we were there, standby people without tickets could easily join in.
Maui Ocean Center for another way to to see ocean life with kids or by wheelchair. My husband took the boys here while I spent the day on another island with my family. They enjoyed every bit of it!
The best part of being in this location is you’re on the world-famous route, the ‘Road to Hana.’ In addition, you’re 15 minutes from the airport, 25-30 minutes from the beautiful beaches of South Maui (Wailea and Kihei) and 45 minutes -1 hour from the more touristy resort areas of West Maui (Kaanapali and Lahaina), and about 90 minutes to absorb the stunning sunrises and sunsets at Haleakala National Park. As noted, you’re in a prime, central location. We’ve been to all the islands, and Maui wins for the many beaches to explore and play (in our opinion).
When you pull up to the home or see it in photos, your first thought might be, “two levels, nope.” Hang in there! While most renters will not list all the accessible features of their property because they may not be aware of those benefits, I am here to give a shout out and show them off.
For starters, you can roll right into this home from the front door with NO steps to enter! Just a small threshold that may require a little boost to roll over the 1/4” rise (even for a stroller). From the inside, that threshold is about 1” with an easy, inexpensive solution a rubber threshold ramp off Amazon. The back porch with DREAMY views, has no interior threshold but no more than a 2” rise to enter from the outside. Again, a simple, inexpensive solution would be a rubber threshold ramp. There is one small step to enter from the garage and a simple solution there would be a vertical grab bar to step into the home.
Wide doorways (at least 35” with the front door greater than that!) and wide hallways (although, there is basically no hallways except a teeny one from the entrance into the main area). All doors have lever style handles making it super easy to open the doors and are actually lower than the average door handle. In fact, we couldn’t find our infant for a hot minute one day and realized he can reach the door handles! The sliding doors are much harder to open due to the force and size of the handle to open.
The flooring was the same throughout with NO transitions from room to room with the exception that the upstairs and stairway appeared to be engineered wood and the remainder of the home in LARGE textured, highly slip resistant tiles. It is honestly the best tile I have ever stepped foot on and not a temperature shock on bare feet.
Easy access to main floor living essentials including a primary bedroom and bathroom on the main floor with a bonus, a shower that is curbless (zero barrier!). The floating vanities in each bathroom have a motion sensor light that comes on under them making it even safer to get to the restroom in the middle of the night.
While this house may not have hit ALL the universal design features, the ones it did have were above and beyond what you typically see in most universal designed homes, such as ample space between the island and surround countertops (at least 4 feet) and lowered light switches at 42” from the finished floor! All the bedrooms had great seating especially to sit while dressing or to take breaks when getting ready.
Simple and inexpensive solutions to make homes like this even more universally accessible:
Contrast or lighting on the stairs (even for us young folks and kids, it is dangerous when it is hard to identify the next step, I had to take extra time to look before even stepping especially while holding an infant). If an outlet is around wall lights are also a good option or LED strip lighting on each stair tread.
Removable shower head on a slide bar in primary bathroom. A removable shower head makes showering much easier when one doesn’t need to wash their hair daily or if the shower head is too high.
Some sort of shower seating for those who need to shave their legs and a place to sit for little breaks (even pregnant mamas). Portable shower chairs such as teak seats or light weight chairs are good options as they can be used outside the shower as well as to sit down while dressing.
Grab bars. Grab bars are so much better these days and so easy to make it look intentional with so many options in brands and finishes. It’s not just for older folks, it’s great to hold onto for stability for anyone at any age.
Rubber threshold ramps to minimize tripping or make rolling through a little easier and safer.
Vertical grab bar for any step overs such as step in shower, a step up into the home from the garage.
A vacation home like this will not only accommodate more people but will also rent in high demand!
Need help consulting on projects…contact us through Custom Joy where we offer end-to-end solutions to elevate your spaces with optimal function and JOY!
Be sure to visit our partner and friends at Becoming RentABLE to search for accessible vacation rentals across the country and even Puerto Rico!