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Potential Hawaii trip planning/dealing with sticker shock

Potential Hawaii trip planning/dealing with sticker shock

Old Jan 13th, 2022, 08:22 AM
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Potential Hawaii trip planning/dealing with sticker shock

sorry if this is a repeat a but i didn't tag my original post and i can't edit it or delete it.

I am recently retired and Hawaii is a bucket list item but i am suffering a bit from sticker shock - i was working with a travel planner and told her we wanted nice beachfront hotels 5 nights on Oahu, 5 nights on Maui - came back with $10,500.(plane, hotels, cars) not including $100/night taxes and fees, no food or excursions - i don't see how i could go and pay $17,000/$18,000 for 10 nights. Is it me or is this place crazy with prices now? I went to Asia pre covid for 8 nights - 2 people for about $8500. and have been to other European countries and always got fair value/near top tier hotels.

this could be the planner just not being budget wary but i have double checked and even with Hertz nr 1 club all cars are at least $100 day.
my counter idea is to reduce the quality of the hotel and shorten the stay and wanted some opinions.
i was thinking 3 or 4 nights in Oahu maybe North Shore area for under $400 night and 3 or 4 nights in Maui - i would cut it to 3 and 3 if prices are too high.
i am coming from east coast so i was thinking 2 nights in Vegas on the way out and 2 or 3 nights in san Diego on the way back.

this may sound like too much airport time but i don't like to overpay and this way i can see Hawaii if only for a short time? anyone else getting sticker shock? plus with covid it could be better to postpone and see how late summer/early fall look but i wanted some opinions if possible.....thx
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Old Jan 13th, 2022, 10:21 AM
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I think it depends on what you want, right?

We've been to Kauai and Maui once each and the BI four times. Until Covid, we rented a car through Costco, and then a couple days before our trip, we would rebook through Hotwire for an even lower price. Last year, we kept our Costco reservation as there weren't any deals available last minute. We typically use miles and companion tickets to fly to Hawaii. We always stay in a condo, usually on a golf course and not beach front. We typically pay right around $200/night for a two bed/two bath condo. I've found our trips to be fairly economical. I can't afford to go to Hawaii and pay beachfront hotel prices.

When we stay on the BI, we can walk to A-Bay or drive a few miles to three other large beaches. I don't mind doing that. I'd rather stay in a condo as I don't like eating three meals out a day. But I know other people do not want to do that. When we went to Maui, we stayed on the golf course above the Sheraton in Kaanapali. I had a conference at the Hyatt, and it was an easy walk to my conference and the beach each day.

We always book everything ourselves, too. I don't think you really need a travel agent.
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Old Jan 13th, 2022, 10:40 AM
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Echoing what kureiff said - I would do my own research into air/hotel packages. Hawaii ain't cheap but you can do significantly better than $10,000 for two people for 10 days. Things to look out for - prices for rooms at beachfront hotels in Waikiki (not sure if that's where you want to go on Oahu) increase exponentially if you want an ocean view. So if that's not important to you, then look for garden or city view. Also, if you can be flexible with your dates, that helps. Prices - both air and hotel can fluctuate fairly significantly week to week or month to month. I usually plug-in several different weeks over the course of a couple of months to see if there are any price differences. Also, do you plan on renting a car the entire time? You might want to consider renting for just part of the time. That being said, if you plan on exploring every single day, that's not a good option for you. Another option you may want to consider when searching - you might want to search air and hotel packages from LA, San Diego, Vegas, Phoenix, etc. to Hawaii. Sometimes there are specials from the western part of the US that aren't available from the east coast. You could always book a round trip ticket to Vegas and then a package from there. But I am curious how you are putting together this trip because you indicated you might do a couple of days in Vegas on the way out and a few days in San Diego on the way back. If you are booking everything separately, rather than an air/hotel package, that could explain the $10,000 number your travel agent quoted you.
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Old Jan 13th, 2022, 11:18 AM
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First of all, stop comparing costs for this trip to previous trips to other places. Covid has affected everything and even changed what is "high season" in many places. Look at costs for everything in your preferred timeframe but also look at what they would be at another time of year. Or even next year.

How did the quoted $10,500 (for 2 people?) become $17,000-$18,000?

I'd search air fares without the stops in LV and/or SD. Just look for the most direct, cheapest round-trip Boston-Honolulu-Kahului-Boston. Spend your money in Hawaii, not LV or SD.

Search car rental companies other than Hertz which I wouldn't use now anyway because of persistent customer service problems and reports of fee gouging. If this trip is in the next couple of months, rental costs will probably remain high across the board because the companies haven't fully recovered from the lockdown.

Once you know what your transportation costs will be, then you can decide how much you want to spend on lodging. "Nice beachfront hotels" will be the most expensive option. Look instead at less popular tourist destinations and/or properties that are not right on the beach. Unless you need the amenities of a hotel or resort, look at condos and apartments.

If you use a travel planner, don't just give the person dates and destinations with no budget parameters. Tell them exactly what you want to spend and what your priorities are.. Tell them to look for best fares. If you can, provide them some links to the type of lodging that appeals to you. IIthink you'd be able to develop a cheaper, better trip on your own.
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Old Jan 13th, 2022, 11:23 AM
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On Maui check out the Papakea Resort. Stayed there last time I was there. Good location for walking, there is a grocery store close by plus and an ABC store which is kind of like a 711- fast food, towels, lotion, souvenirs, groceries etc.
There is not a big beach to walk on- just lawn and a sea wall but it is on the ocean. There are a couple of pools. I enjoyed staying there.
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Old Jan 13th, 2022, 02:42 PM
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The $10,500 became $17,000/$18,000 because it was only air, cars, hotels and did not include $100 per day resort fees/taxes - we probably will spend another $500 a day for food, drinks, gas, excursions/trips/etc. plus who knows how much a helicopter ride costs now...

ok I will roll up my sleeves and do my own research and then see if the travel agent can beat anything i find ....we did pay her a nominal fee but it may not be worth the back and forth - only advantage if is we run into issues while there i have someone to call plus perhaps trip insurance could be easier to coordinate..
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Old Jan 13th, 2022, 03:00 PM
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Is part of your issue timing, and part what the definition of "beachfront" is?

I had a pretty nice view from a hotel room called "partial oceanview" at the Aston Waikiki Circle for under $200/night all in (resort fee, taxes, etc). Admittedly a fairly compact room, and no pool, but right across from the Waikiki swimming beach.

I believe if you don't go in high season, this rate is readily available.

Cars and parking are another story. Even with a better rental rate, nearly all hotels in Waikiki are going to charge $30/night for parking, so yes, average $100 a day.The islands are small, so gas isn't really that much of an issue.

You haven't said where you are flying from. And if you will only fly First Class.

Since Southwest Airlines started flying from Long Beach, nonstops from LGB to HNL can be had for as little as $100 one way. Hawaiian Airlines also flies that route, as well as a daily nonstop to OGG. Interisland flights are inexpensive most days.

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Old Jan 15th, 2022, 01:45 PM
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I have spent some time on the Costco travel website (we are members and used them before), they aren't always lower in price but i found pretty good April Hawaii packages even with upgrading the hotels - 4 nights Waikiki, 4 nights Maui, cars for all days, all flights - $5500 (roughly)

that is right at or even below our pricing expectations - i would figure we will spend $4000-$5000 at most on food, drink, excursions, etc.over 8 or 9 days.

We are flying out of PHL so its 5pm Hawaii time when we will be landing.(flight selection is limited and i don't trust less than 1 hour for layovers)
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Old Jan 15th, 2022, 08:15 PM
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I guess PHL is problematic. Going through Las Vegas and catching one of the nonstop Hawaiian Airlines flights, isn't a bad idea.

Is there a reason for April?
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Old Jan 16th, 2022, 05:21 AM
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no reason for Apr other than it gives us time to plan a bit and we want to travel before we open our pool mid May so we would want to travel Mar-Apr-early May. Do you suggest another timeframe?
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Old Jan 17th, 2022, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by mlgb View Post
I guess PHL is problematic. Going through Las Vegas and catching one of the nonstop Hawaiian Airlines flights, isn't a bad idea.

Is there a reason for April?
For our November trip to HNL we flew on Southwest from Las Vegas. The plane was full of vaccinated passengers. We saved a bunch by staying with our daughter and SIL in Ewa Beach. We saved on the rental car by using the Amtrak Guest Rewards website.
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Old Jan 17th, 2022, 11:03 AM
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Helicopter rides are expensive. If you do a boat tour and a luau those will also be pricey. But there shouldn't be any other activities that would bring your daily cost for food/gas/activities anywhere near $500/day unless you order expensive wines and spend $250/night on dinners. For me, the best things in Hawaii are free or very inexpensive -- the beaches, the scenery, hikes, visiting historical sites and museums, watching the sunset, picking up a picnic lunch and eating at a beach or a scenic overlook.

Before I moved to Kauai I rented condos for my frequent trips. That cut down on the cost of food, as I could eat breakfast on the lanai most days (like I'm doing right now!). Fine dining is of no interest to me. Nor do I need a helicopter ride. But different people enjoy different things.

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Old Jan 17th, 2022, 05:26 PM
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I plan my own trips and I'm only flying from Seattle. I only go to Oahu, do not rent a car, do not stay beachfront, at a Waikiki hotel in the $200/night range all in. I don't do things like take a helicopter ride. Plenty of things to see and do for free or low cost. I certainly don't spent $500/day!

Adding Maui just ups the overall expense of the trip.
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Old Jan 18th, 2022, 06:58 AM
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We booked a Costco package for April so hopefully no snags - i have seen negative reviews but we used Costco before for Jamaica and it all worked out..
4 nights each in Oahu and Maui - paid for upgraded hotels and got rental cars at each location. also found flights with approx. 2 hour layovers which is ideal for us
overall total $5600 which also included $250 in Costco card givebacks so I am ok with that price.
I am estimating food & trip expenses on the high side just because we splurge sometimes so another $4000 is not out of the question.
thanks for all comments & help and i will post a trip report when we return.
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Old Jan 18th, 2022, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by jp4120 View Post
We booked a Costco package for April so hopefully no snags - i have seen negative reviews but we used Costco before for Jamaica and it all worked out..
4 nights each in Oahu and Maui - paid for upgraded hotels and got rental cars at each location. also found flights with approx. 2 hour layovers which is ideal for us
overall total $5600 which also included $250 in Costco card givebacks so I am ok with that price.
I am estimating food & trip expenses on the high side just because we splurge sometimes so another $4000 is not out of the question.
thanks for all comments & help and i will post a trip report when we return.
FYI: The gas pumps at the Costco near the Kahului airport are the cheapest gas prices on the island (Maui). You have to use your Costco card before you use your credit card in the pump. sometimes a wait-but worth it.
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Old Jan 18th, 2022, 11:29 AM
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Thank for letting us know what you decided. Always nice when people take time to do that. Have a wonderful trip. And let us know how things turn out!!
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