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Need Advice-Family trip to Hawaii

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Aug 18th, 2012, 04:51 PM
  #1
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Need Advice-Family trip to Hawaii

We have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be in Hawaii for four weeks next summer. We have four (pretty adventurous) daughters ages 12, 13, 14, 17. We've never been and don't know how best to divide our time.

We would love to spend at least one week in a rental home with great views, relaxing and staying put; I have found some great ones online. The other weeks we'd be like to have a combination of history and all the different kinds of nature Hawaii has to offer. What islands would you suggest? We will need to be smart with our money (another reason we like to rent homes; they often are more affordable for a family our size).

Any specific recommendations of activities and specific island would be wonderful! Thanks!
HoosierCindy is offline  
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Aug 18th, 2012, 06:44 PM
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Homes/houses are great - but you could also get by with a 3BR or even a 2BR condo if need be. Worst case scenario - in a 2 BR condo - two girls could sleep on the fold out couch in the living room - as most 2BR condos say they can sleep 6. Actually - if someone wants to sleep on the lanai/deck - that's fun too sometimes.

All the 4 main islands offer a great time, and a lot of history - and if you have a month - I would consider say 3 days in Oahu (Honolulu/Waikiki) for your intro - and then maybe 4 nights at one of the other main islands, say Maui? - then on to Big Island for a week (you can take the 3 other main isles and fit them into BI with room left over) which has the most things to do - and then maybe wind up in a great beach house up along the north shore/coast of the Garden Isle - Kauai - between Hanalei and the end of the road at our favorite beach - Ke'e beach.

And I assume you have been googling away - as well as using the VRBO and other sites?

Also - there are a ton of other informative posts in here under Hawaii.
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Aug 18th, 2012, 07:19 PM
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welcome to the forums Hoosier

might I recommend surfing lessons. Nothing says cooler to a young woman then having a hot surfer boy at her beck in call
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Aug 18th, 2012, 07:31 PM
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Oops. You have four weeks? Spend a week at each of the main 4 islands. As for what the girls want to do - ask them. Assume they want to snorkel, hike, swim, take hula lessons, check out some malls, whatnot - and my niece loved taking surfing lessons here in SD.
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Aug 18th, 2012, 09:12 PM
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As far as renting a house, i would lock in something as soon as you comfortably can, especially if you want beachfront. Many houses are reserved a year in advance, as you have probably noticed in your searches.

I don't think you can really see all the kinds of nature on just one island. For example, the only active volcano is on the Big Island of Hawai'i. Because it is the newest island, it also has proportionally fewer beaches. For history, in Honolulu you will find Bishop Museum, I'olani Palace, the Mission Houses, walking tours of Chinatown. The character of each island is different, and you could spend a week on each of the four major islnds. There are many things to recommend on each island. But the cost of flying between islands does add up, so you may choose to stay put on one island but move to a couple of different spots.

I would recommend at least four days to a week in Waikiki, where you can enjoy the gorgeous beach and moderate surf, many lodging choices, restaurants, and live music venues. From there it is easy to visit Bishop, I'olani, etc.
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Aug 18th, 2012, 09:34 PM
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I also think you would enjoy spending a week in a house on the North Shore of O'ahu. This is where the big surf meets are held, but in summer the surf is generally small. the N. shore includes the town of Hale'iwa and the whole area has a surfer vibe.

While O'ahu has the biggest population, it is definitely possible to get out into the areas that are not developed for hikes etc. and see the natural landscape. And not all beaches are crowded.

If you have an overall budget in mind, i would first get an idea of the cost to fly to Honolulu from your home airport, though of course this will fluctuate as time passes. Then add the average cost of a week at the houses you like so far, and see where that leaves you. Check on interisland airfares, and decide how many islands you can afford to fly to.

Then I would invest in a guidebook that gives an overview of all the islands, like Fodors or Frommers, and read up on the general descriptions of each island. There used to be a book in the For Dummies series that had good info on choosing which islands to visit, but I think it is out of print.
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Aug 19th, 2012, 06:23 AM
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When I want to learn more about a new travel destination - I like to first browse at the local bookstore - and if I still am not certain about what will be my favorite guidebook or two - go to the Library and even find some older ones - that still have good info.

Then google away like crazy.

And while I like Oahu and it has a lot of things to do - it is by far the busiest island and that's why I would start there and gradually work your way toward your final/quiet week - say in a beach house - in the Hanalei area of Kauai.

Also check out Anini Beach as it's beautiful and just under the Cliffs at nearby Princeville. Here is one webpage with rentals and there are others. http://www.homeaway.com/vacation-ren...ni-beach/r5034
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Aug 19th, 2012, 08:33 AM
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I agree about a couple guidebooks, with lots of photos. Check them out from the library, ones that cover all the islands. See what interests you, get the kids involved in the planning.

A month is a wonderful amount of time, you could spend it all on just 1 island, you could do 1 week each of the 4 major islands, or something in between. Lucky you!
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Aug 19th, 2012, 09:09 AM
  #9
 
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If you are wanting to be budget conscience, flying six travellers from island to island can add up. Sign up to receive notices of airfare sales.

Spending a month on any of the Hawaiian islands would be heaven for me. No matter what island/islands you choose, you will be happy. If I had that much time, I would probably choose 2 islands and one would be Kauai.
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Aug 19th, 2012, 10:11 AM
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LindainO makes an excellent point. Moving the family from island to island will cost about $600 when all is said and done.

Once you decide which islands, it is important to rent your van immediately and then watch rates and change up if they come down. Vehicles that cater to 6 people with luggage are a premium.

I think I would choose a few days on Oahu with public transportation and taking in history. Maybe rent a van for a day or two to explore the island

Then I'd pick two other islands. Kauai and ???

I could easily spend 2 weeks on 2 islands. 2 weeks on Maui including a few nights in Hana, followed by 2 weeks on Kauai.

It's all good!
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Aug 19th, 2012, 10:41 AM
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If I had to choose just two islands, I would also recommend Maui and Kauai...especially with young teens who like getting outdoors. But agree, you can't go wrong with that much time.
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Aug 19th, 2012, 11:03 AM
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Besides the savings on airfares, you will probably get a better rate on a home rental if you take it for a full month, instead of by the week(s).
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Aug 19th, 2012, 11:14 AM
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There is a spammer upthread. Don't open that shopping site. It is pure spam. Reported to the moderators for removal
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Aug 19th, 2012, 11:28 AM
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I also reported the spammer.

While it would be great to see all four islands with that many people interisland flights will get expensive so I also vote for Maui and Kauai.
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Aug 19th, 2012, 11:38 AM
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I think I would recommend a combination of Oahu and either Maui or Kauai for this trip. On Oahu, I'd consider renting either on the north shore or in the Kailua/Lanikai area - the latter has gorgeous beaches plus a larger town (Kailua, more suburban than beach-funky). Oahu has lots of history, museums, Waikiki (only 30 min from Kailua), Diamond Head, Pearl Harbor, Hanauma Bay, spectacular drives (the drive through the center of the island from Kailua TO the north shore is amazing).
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Aug 19th, 2012, 04:08 PM
  #16
 
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Actually, you can hardly go wrong wherever you go in Hawaii. However, IMO a month on Maui or Kauai seem too long to me.

I think for variety the Big Island of Hawaii has it over all the others. So don't leave it out. And oceanfront condos are. great way to stay in Hawaii if you can afford them. But there are other places not on the water that are still excellent. like the condos at Mauna Lani on the Big Island.
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Aug 19th, 2012, 06:08 PM
  #17
 
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Agree w/ charnees. Go for it, and see all 4.

If you tell everyone to pack light (one carry on bag per - as what do you really need for clothes in Hawaii anyway? - plus you can also buy stuff over there which the girls may want to do) - if need be - you could get by with an intermediate/plus size car - as you won't be driving around with your luggage that much.

Also check with the car rental companies about using their company on all the isles you will visit - and they can usually make you a better deal. I always check with www.carrentals.com for my baseline, but there is another site like that for Hawaii.

You can rent snorkel gear over there - and the Snorkel Bob's of this world have outlets on all the isles - so you can check in your equipment on one isle - and pick it up at the next one.

And on Oahu - would consdier spending 3 or 4 days in Waikiki - and the rest of the week over in the Lanikai/Kaiula area - or up at the North Shore - around Waimea. VRBO away.
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Aug 20th, 2012, 09:59 AM
  #18
 
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NICE home rentals are usually VERY expensive for short stays. Where are you looking? We did once have a reasonably priced month-long rental in a modern 3 BR home above Keauhou on Big Island.

Summer is a good time to stay north on any island. Whatever breezes there are will be north, and the oceans will be calmer too. (Don't depend on fans, though. I would not rent anywhere in Hawaii at any season if A/C was not an option. The Trades DO die.)

Does this opportunity involve staying somewhere specific for part of all of your time? Where?

My DH and I have spent two to four weeks on each of the four major islands. The only time I was very ready to 'move on' was on our fourth stay on Kauai. LOL (It's small, and because we visit in winter, we stay south.)

Island 'hops' will be expensive -- in time as well as money. Hawaiian Airlines is the most reliable for interisland flights.

We fly ORD-HNL and hop to Maui. Look for nonstops on widebody aircraft (767's and 330's). I avoid 757's and west coast connections. We have also flown 767's to Maui out of DFW. Consider buying 'coach plus' for the adults. (More 'space'.)
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Aug 25th, 2012, 06:35 PM
  #19
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Thanks, everybody! I'm a little overwhelmed trying to figure it all out.
Somebody asked if we had to be in any certain area at all. No, it is completely open for us- my husband has a six week sabbatical with no requirements, and we'd like to do Hawaii during the summer (I am a teacher, so while I and our girls are out of school).

How do I find out about inter-island flights? I don't know how to begin budget for those. Any advice would be wonderful!

The other thing I would love to know is which parts of the islands you would recommend if we stayed on:
1. Big Island
2. Kauai

Thank you!!
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Aug 25th, 2012, 10:25 PM
  #20
 
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If you are feeling overwhelmed, i think you might want to talk to a travel agent. Several times we have booked at least our flights via a travel agent, who used Blue Sky Tours http://blueskytours.com/ We have booked flights and hotel for part of our trip with them, then a VRBO rental for the rest of the trip. So you have a lot of flexibility. Sometimes they have found better rates than I could get myself. But even if you don't end up booking with them, talking to an agent can be a good way to think through some of the logisitcs and decisions.

The interisland airline is Hawaiian http://www.hawaiianair.com/
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