Summer stories is 9Honey’s latest series where Nine reporters reflect on their favourite holiday memories over the years.
9News Brisbane Reporter Alison Ariotti’s advice for new parents travelling with children is simple: “You have to halve the expectations and double the amount of time it takes to do anything.”
The mum of three learnt the lesson the long way during her first overseas trip to Hawaii.
During a summer holiday in January last year, Ariotti gave her kids the dream holiday of their young lifetime — a stay at the Disney report, filled with entertainment activities, water slides and visits from their favourite cartoon characters.
“It was everything you needed for a family and they had the most beautiful time,” Ariotti tells 9Honey.
“But of course, it wasn’t without it’s disaster moments.”
Ariotti, husband Gerry, and their three children aged five, three and six months during the trip, decided to embark on a half-day long catamaran trip around the coast of Hawaii.
“It was my husband and middle child’s birthday and it sounded so good in theory — turns out, it wasn’t the smartest of ideas.”
Within moments of setting foot onto the vessel, Arriotti discovered her eldest child suffers from severe seasickness, forcing her to remain stationary and curled up below deck during the entire ride.
Between managing one sick child, a baby in a carrier and another child, Ariotti and her husband were surrounded by a crowd that consisted of backpackers and people in bikinis knocking back champagne.
“It probably wasn’t the best moment or idea, but we got some hilarious photos of it.”
When the shores settled and the family were back on land, Ariotti was determined to make sure her husband’s birthday wish of surfing on Waikiki’s spectacular beaches came true.
“We had one night in Waikiki and after all the things we had to deal with, I wanted to make sure he got in at least one surf,” Ariotti explains.
“And right as he was about to head out, one of our kids was ready to vomit in the pool.”
The couple spent the rest of the afternoon on their final night on the tropical island looking after their daughtering and “attempting”, as Ariotti puts it, “to keep the kids entertained.”
“It was a mission to say the least,” she laughs.
While the sun set and Ariotti’s husband wasn’t able to get his single surf in on the trip, the family look back on their first overseas summer together as the “memory of a lifetime.”
“Even though it was a challenge with three children under the age of five, stuck on a plane, sick, and whatever else we dealt with, you do get a sense of real achievement when you manage to have a fun time!” Ariotti shares.
“We’re so glad we made those memories, and the kids have not stopped talking about it since.”