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Hawaii planning stage one

Old Feb 9th, 2002, 05:46 PM
  #1  
Maggi
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Hawaii planning stage one

After nearly 10 years of saving up we are finally able to go to Hawaii on frequent flyer miles in September. Where to begin?...Since we will land in Honolulu, what island should we visit first? We plan to see Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island, ending up visiting Pearl Harbor on Oahu before we fly home. What is the cheapest way to fly between these islands? Also, since I imagine we need a rental car on each of these, can we book with one agency for each individual island? Sorry if I sound ignorant, just don't have a clue where to begin. Thanks in advance for any expertise.
 
Old Feb 9th, 2002, 07:41 PM
  #2  
Maggi
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Hi Maggi- There is only one way to fly between the islands---either Hawaiian or Aloha ( or their sub Island Air), and they are planning a merger. They often sell coupon books with five or six coupons for $300 or so. You might check the Honolulu Advertiser web site to see the sunday ads. Be careful as they sometime have short expiration periods. The flights work almost like shuttles...many of them all day long and you can just show up for many of the flights.
For your cars, we have the same companies as elsewhere...Avis, Alamo, Budget, etc. You can reserve on their web sites or by phone. I find my Costco card usually gets the biggest discount. You will need a car most everywhere. The good news is that cars tend to be very reasonable in Hawaii.
 
Old Feb 9th, 2002, 07:47 PM
  #3  
dcp
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Not sure how long you're planning on staying but I would suggest you consider less islands. Spend one or two nights on Oahu and then go to your other island (maybe see 2 depending on length of trip). FYI- You will lose about 1/2 a day everytime you move islands (rental cars drop-offs, hotel check ins, getting to airport early, luggage pickup, etc). Based on your schedule listed, you'd lose approximately 2 days of sightseeing.
 
Old Feb 9th, 2002, 11:19 PM
  #4  
Deb
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Are you sure that it wouldn't be a waste of your miles?

Packages to Hawaii are CHEAP right now. My husband and I just went to Oahu for a week. Airfare from Los Angeles and hotel for 7 nights was $1200 TOTAL.

You might want to check into the prices and packages available before you waste your miles.

Just a suggestion.
 
Old Feb 10th, 2002, 01:38 PM
  #5  
Maggi
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Thanks all for your suggestions! Deb, we will be there 2-1/2 weeks and from Detroit the airfare more than from LA. We're pretty independent travelers so we dont like "packages" or resorts, rather like to book our own accomodations at small unusual and unique places. Those are not usually the type of things included in packages. We also want to visit several islands, thus my question about flights.
 
Old Feb 11th, 2002, 01:31 PM
  #6  
Lenore
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We just got done finalizing plans for our first trip to Hawaii, but for only 10 nights. Since you have more time, you can easily do 3 and possible 4 islands. My husband and I are very comfortable using the internet to research and book travel related stuff. However, this trip was a little more complicated because we wanted to start on one island and leave from another. We obsessed for a month and knew what we wanted....we just couldn't put it together for a decent price. We actually ended up booking with a travel agent (something we haven't done in about 4-5 years!). She found us a good package deal with flights (including inter-island) oceanview hotel rooms of our choosing, rental car, transfers to/from the airport, and a few little extras. The price included taxes and almost everything except food and our own touring expenses. The overall price per person was considerably lower than we could find on the internet, but we didn't sacrifice anything or settle for stuff we didn't want! I'm sure somebody will say I'm is just a travel agent trying to save my job....but look at the Hawaii posts for the past month. You'll find many with my name!!
 
Old Feb 11th, 2002, 06:18 PM
  #7  
RMC
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Maggi,

Are you talking about using miles for inter-island flights too? If so, I didn't find that was a very good deal. If your program works anything like ours, it costs 5000 miles for each inter-island flight with AAdvantage. Since it costs $27.50 to buy 1000 miles (I know this because I needed to buy miles once), that means those flights cost $137.50. You can buy an inter-island ticket for $60.00 on Orbitz or any of the travel websites.

Aloha!
 
Old Feb 12th, 2002, 05:25 AM
  #8  
Mel
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Maggi, if you're flying out of Detroit, that probably means Northwest. Have you reserved your flights already? If not, you better check into them QUICK. Frequent flier seats go FAST. They only allow a small amount on each flight. I read somewhere that most airlines are lifting the blackout dates for frequent fliers, but they are also cutting back on the number of seats. And supposedly after June, it will cost 25,000 miles instead of 20,000 for a free flight. It might be more to Hawaii. Some popular flights (like Hawaii) may require nine months to a year to get a frequent flier seat. Do your homework!
 
Old Feb 12th, 2002, 07:02 AM
  #9  
jc
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Don't let anyone get you down about using your miles. You earned them!! But the free seats do go fast. If you can afford to purchase tickets, then use your miles to upgrade to first class. That's what we did, and it was definitely worth it!! You get more for your miles (those seats are outrageous in price), and the extra room is a godsend on such a long flight. You'll arrive in Hawaii feeling much better!!
 
Old Feb 12th, 2002, 07:16 AM
  #10  
goodjob
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Call a travel agent, what's with the bashing?

They have specials as of yesterday,
gett this - companion flys free with Delta Vacations. I saved $900.
can't beat that!
 
Old Feb 13th, 2002, 03:43 AM
  #11  
Maggi
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As soon as I realized I had enough miles to book I went to the Northwest website. I must say I had no trouble booking the free seats for Sept 15 to Oct 1. The whole process only took me about 20 minutes, with a little trial and error with the dates. It was 33,500 miles per person from Detroit to Honolulu. We will be purchasing our inter-island tickets separately. That's why I asked the question. I don't want to retrace our steps. Thanks everybody for your responses.
 
Old Feb 19th, 2002, 12:29 AM
  #12  
suzanne
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Both Hawaiian and Aloha sell their coupon books by calling the airlines directly...You used to only be able to buy these books in Hawaii, but now you can do it directly. Also, there are some web sites that sell them...go to http://www.hawaii-nei.com/coupons.html and you can also buy them. I just bought coupons from them and was very happy.
 
Old Feb 19th, 2002, 01:36 AM
  #13  
Linda
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The best thing I did when planning our first trip to Hawaii last year was buy "Frommers Hawaii 2001" (sorry, Fodors.....). It gives a good overview of all of the individual islands, to help you decide which to visit, along w/answers to broad questions such as yours. I purchased other guidebooks I liked better for planning specifics, but the Frommers was invaluable in the planning stage. It was available on Amazon.
 
Old Feb 19th, 2002, 03:04 AM
  #14  
Maggi
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Thanks, Linda, I will pick up the book. That said, we have had a lot of good suggestions and have come to the conclusion that we like to limit our trip to Kauai, Maui and perhaps the B.I. It seems logical to me to fly from Honolulu first to Kauai, from Kauai to Maui, Maui to B.I. and then back to Honolulu. From other threads, I have gleaned it's best to end up a trip on Maui, but I can't figure how to do this, unless we don't go to B.I. at all this trip. What draws me at this point to see that island is the volcano.
 
Old Feb 19th, 2002, 04:27 AM
  #15  
Lynn
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Maggi, are you aware that you don't HAVE to fly into Honolulu? I've gotten the impression that you think it has to be that way, and it doesn't. Since you've apparently deleted Oahu from your plans, why stop there first? You can fly directly into Kahului on Maui from many west-coast cities; check it out!
 
Old Feb 19th, 2002, 06:14 AM
  #16  
sss
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Aloha Maggi, here to add my two cents. Everyone has different ways that they travel and I am just offering you what my experience has been not wishing to undercut other opinions.

If you have 2 1/2 weeks but you are the type of person that just likes to see as much as possible cutting out lounging and perhaps lingering in beautiful spots that you find, exploring hiking trails and participating in outdoor activities like; boating, swimming, snorkeling, horseback riding, helicopter tours ....you might find yourself in some trouble sticking to a three island schedule in that time frame. It is very easy to find yourself touring by car. Is that what you want, a breathtaking view of the islands from your car?

I go to Hawaii about every year and I lived there for a couple of years. I frequently meet people who's travel eyes were too big for them when they were planning their trip (myself included). Just this past summer I factored in 1 week Kauai and 1 week spread out over Oahu. My guests were disappointed when we starting touring after a leisurely drift on Kauai. These islands have a hypnotic effect on you. You just wind right down UNLESS!!!...you have put something in place that has called you to stay alert. For me directions, inter-island plane schedules, departing and arriving, packing and unpacking, getting your bearings in a new place, finding the restaurants, keep you from calming down the way you are meant to in the islands. Each one of the islands you mentioned has enough diversity to warrant the bulk of your stay, chiefly Kauai and the Big Island. Why not absorb what one island has to offer and tour at another destination. Something to think about. Of the islands you chose I would pick either Big Island or Kauai.
 
Old Feb 19th, 2002, 12:02 PM
  #17  
Maggi
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To answer the two most recent posters:
Lynn, we have to fly Detroit to Honolulu, because that's the only way Northwest will let me do it with FF miles. And to SS: Thanks for your knowledgeable advice. I kind of like to do both: see as much as possible and give myself time to relax and unwind in one spot. There is so much I want to see in the world, I probably won't have the luxury of returning again and again like so many other Fodors regulars. I noticed a previous thread which gave me an idea: a day trip to the volcano on B.I. We also will probably try to take the ferry to Lanai for a day trip. So, that said, we will mainly stay in two places, Maui and Kauai. I'm curious though, everyone I know seems to say Maui is the place to go. You didn't suggest it, over some other places. Why?
 
Old Feb 19th, 2002, 02:18 PM
  #18  
sss
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Again I am only offering you my opinion and it is only one person's call. I was never as impressed with Maui as I was with Kauai and the Big Island. Maui is beautiful but I am very taken with the North Shore of Kauai, Waimea Canyon, Napali Coast line, Kalalau (sp) trails. I feel that for a short time period like 2 1/2 weeks you can explore Kauai fully maybe save the three days for Oahu. There are so many more historical references on Oahu than Pearl Harbor. You have Iolani Palace, Missionary Settlement, Queen Emmas summer residents, Bishop Museum, Honolulu Academy of the Arts, University of Hawaii (Kabuki), Byodo Temple, Japanese Cultural Center, China Town. All of these sites give you a strong flavor of the culture of the islands. You get a sense of something more than the pristine beaches here.

I like hiking and snorkeling, boat rides along the napali coast. On my first trip into Kauai I would stay for long weekends. I made several of these trips but only started to discover Kauai with stays of a week concentrated in one area. Ultimate guide to Kauai helped with this. I like how small but diverse Kauai is most.

On the Big Island just make sure you have a night view of the volcano. I also love some of the very dramatic coastline on hilo side. Big Island is so much driving if you want to do both Hilo and Kona side. If you were going to do it at all I would say explore Hilo and Waipio Valley. Have always wanted to go to Waipio Valley but just explored the beaten paths of Kona and Hilo areas. Here is what you do Maggie. Go on line and find as many photos as you can of each island and see what pulls you in. This is what I do if I don't have a lot of time for research. Yes you should be reading instead but this is a quick surefire way to find the island most suited for your visual interests.

A lot of people want to go to Maui because they hear others talk about it. Molokai has the highest sea cliffs in the world, there are gorgeous spots on that island but you would be hard pressed to find feed back on that island or Lanai here. BTW I have not been to Molokai just have seen many dramatic photos and locals on Oahu have told me about it. Molokai-ranch.com has great photos if you are interested.

Finally I have been on this forum for about a year and I usually hear people suggesting Kauai, Big Island over Maui. I always thought Maui just had name recognition in past days with people and some want the strip of night life Lahaina offers. I could be wrong as I would most likely skip a Maui post.
 
Old Feb 20th, 2002, 04:29 AM
  #19  
ttt
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ttt
 

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