It's really up to you but they do take up a lot of room in your luggage. During our last three trips to Hawaii, we've brought our own (fins, too) but it took up so much space in our luggage. Also, 2nd trip to Hawaii, his snorkel started to malfunction in middle of nowhere. So we ended up having to rent a gear for the remaining of the trip. I also tried out one of those all face snorkel masks for our last trip to Hawaii. But realized it just didn't work well for us, so that just ended up being a big waste of money and space in our luggage. (and had to rent again in the middle of our trip)
If you snorkel often, then I think it's worth buying your own, but know that most of those will probably only last a couple of years. We snorkel basically only when we go on vacation to Hawaii so it just isn't worth buying again and lugging around in our suitcase.
The problem with buying from Costco, or any other big box store, is the packaging. You can't try on the mask, without destroying the package! And the fit for the mask is so important, for the kids to have any success at all.
I would rather rent a good pair from Snorkel Bob's, or another rental place, and make sure the masks are fitted properly.
Also, have your kids ever snorkelled before? And are they good swimmers?
I completely agree with J0an above.
And we brought fins ... once. Learned our lesson. Too big, too bulky. Not worth it.
And you can rent masks with corrections ... so you can actually see what you are looking at.
I travel light (just carry on) and still usually find room to pack my own. Costco in Kailua does have them or you can rent. It's not a big deal either way really.
Another vote for renting, for all the reasons mentioned by others. Snorkel Bobs, or similar chain, is easy peasy, good customer service, adjustments, exchanges, environmentally responsible I think, multiple locations, after hours return, repeat visit on any island and you’re in their system already. Totally worth it.
We had our own snorkel gear but did not take due to the space they take up like others have said. Yes Costco is selling them here. We are staying in vista Waikoloa and ended up buying them at the marketplace in queeens shops for $20 each, didn’t buy the fins though.
Thanks everyone for your replies. My kids have never snorkeled...they are 6 and 8. I may be reconsidering. From a $$ perspective I felt it’s less expensive to bring my own as I checked the rates and children are $25/week and we are staying two weeks between islands. But now I’m wondering if it’s worth the space and I also believe that on the Fair Lady (which we would like to do) trip they provide the gear and at the Fairmont they may also provide the gear as well. Thanks everyone...not sure it’s worth me bringing for just Maui. Excuse my *thinking out loud*
One thing to be aware of with Snorkel Bob's.... if you find a good fit for the kids, you can take the pair with you to the next island. Return policy is any location, even on a different island.
With beginner kids i would be most concerned with fit (bringing your own or renting) i fly Alaska so get 2 free bags so I bring my own that I bought at costco.(experienced snorkel family with teens) Like most stuff at costco prices are 10% higher. So 44.99 instead of 39.99 for snorkel gear. Also keep in mind those full face snorkel masks that are all the rage right now are for surface beginners. You can't clear your ears