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Old 08-05-2007, 01:17 AM   #21
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DH and I were in Kauai in March (also stayed in Poipu). It was our first time there and I couldn't believe how beautiful it was...we definitely plan on going back there.
In July 1991 I had just returned from a six-month deployment and spouse booked us into a Poipu hotel for a few days to get away from the sub. Everything was gorgeous and we hardly left the hotel. We were even able to watch a solar eclipse from the balcony.

14 months later the place was flattened by Hurricane Iniki, but they've probably rebuilt by now.

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For those of you that vacationed in Maui was a rental car neccessary? We're staying a week and are not sure if a car is needed or not. We'll be doing mostly water activities there.
First, most of the Hawaii travel packages include a rental car with the hotel or the plane fare. So you may not be able to split out the rental car as a separate item.

Second, rental cars here are relatively cheap if you're not looking for large or exotic transport. Renting Mainland cars last month made it clear that I've been spoiled on the local $25/day package specials on the Big Island. I'm not sure what Maui rental cars cost now because we've always had a fly/drive package.

Third, if you're traveling with a young kid, you're gonna get real tired of pushing a stroller. You're also going to be waiting for the shuttle/bus/taxi and either paying with time (that could have been spent on the beach) or money (and a rental car would probably have been cheaper).

Fourth, Murphy's Law of Vacations guarantees that the things you want to do will always be a half-mile farther than you really want to walk...
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Old 08-05-2007, 01:30 PM   #22
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My first trip to the Islands in the 70's covered the four major islands in 14 days. We started with 3 days in Waikiki, 1 in Hilo then a drive to the volcano on our way to 2 nites in Kona. Three nites in Kauai, three more on Maui and back to Waikiki for the last two nites. All accommodations were beach front resorts. We packed our bags the morning we were to change islands and left them in our rooms. After each flight we would board a bus and take some kind of short island tour or planned picnic on our way to the hotel. When we arrived our bags would be in our new room. Our guide that traveled with us would plan optional group events or suggest things to do if you wanted to be on your own. This was the most hassle free way to see the Islands in a short period.

You should realize that the best rentals are claimed far in advance. Most monthly rentals are to the same people for the same month each year.

My suggestion based on what you've said so far would be to do a monthly rental in Waikiki, Diamond Head or the Gold Coast (quieter 15 minute walk from Waikiki but generally more expensive). I would not rent in any of the neighborhoods because you'll end up with 4 bored kids ("There's nothing to do!") or spend most of your time in traffic driving back and forth to the beach.

When I spend a month in Honolulu I usually rent a car the first week and make my Costco run for supplies. This would save you a bundle feeding your tribe. During that week it would be best to limit your sun time so I'd do the Arizona Memorial, Chinatown, Downtown, Iolani Palace, Punch Bowl and a circle island trip to scout out where I'd like to spend more time later in the month. Weeks two and three I'd spend relaxing in Waikiki. You can be on a crowded beach with lots of sights and action or walk 15 minutes towards Diamond Head and enjoy some solitude. Between the beach and Waikiki action nobody will get bored. If you must go to a neighbor island you could do a day trip. Out by 6am and back by 11pm. Imagine lugging around 30 day supplies for six between islands.

The last week you could rent a car again and now that you have a better idea of the island you can tour the things that have peaked your interest. There is plenty to do on Oahu and unless this is a once in a lifetime trip I would not worry about missing anything on a neighbor island.
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One month = 3 (or 4) islands
Old 08-05-2007, 03:54 PM   #23
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One month = 3 (or 4) islands

For one month: I'd chose 3 islands, although you could do 4. As opposed to the previous poster, I think a week in a condo in Waikiki would be wrong for a family with kids that want to see things.

Oahu - for the memorials/museums/north shore
Maui or Kauai- for the best beaches and tropical island feel
The Big Island- for the snorkeling and the Volcano Park.

TBI is so much different than the others and has the Volcanoes National Park, with is a must-see.

You really need to rent a car on Maui, Kauai, or TBI. Public transportation is available and more reasonable on Oahu.

Can't comment about those long flights, but you should look into Expedia and Kayak.com for condo/rental packages. Also ..VRBO® is Vacation Rentals by Owner® Vacation Homes Rentals by Owner for rentals.
You should also visit Fodors talk boards Fodor's Travel Guides | Plan Your Trip Online , where Hawaii is a favorite topic, and Konaweb KONAWEB - Online Resource for the Big Island & Kona, Hawaii. Also look at www.alternative-hawii.com for some lower cost activities. There are Costco's on Maui, Oahu, and TBI, also Walmarts, etc. so you can do some cost-effective grocery shopping.

I am also very dubious about how useful or cost-effective the ferry will be, especially with a family.

If at all possible, try to spend a couple of nights somewhere on the windward (eastern) side of one of the islands. Tends to be wetter, but much more tropical jungle type of atmosphere.
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Old 08-05-2007, 04:37 PM   #24
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As sit in my beachside condo, I thought I would add my 2 cents and 3 trips to Hawaii to this thread.

We have been to Maui twice with direct flights from Houston and DFW. Get a rental car. There is plenty to do in 2 weeks IF you like snorkeling, diving, fishing, hiking, etc. The book "Maui Revealed" has so much stuff in it, but you will see lots of people with the same book in all the so-called remote 'to-do' places described in the book. We always rented a condo in Wailea as our home base. Note that you need to book reservations for some restaurants before you leave the mainland or you won't eat in them. We had 2 kids under 12 who loved the snorkeling and beach, aquarium, Haleakala, eating out, but did get worn out by the hiking.

I did go to Oahu for a week and stayed in Waikiki. I would avoid it at all costs from now on. Way overrated, touristy, pricey and trampled. For folks who raved about Waikiki, what were you thinking It's just sand and ocean and lots of tourists ... all of which Hawaii has in spades.

I have not been yet, but my next trip will include the big island.
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Old 08-05-2007, 06:28 PM   #25
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For one month: I'd chose 3 islands, although you could do 4. As opposed to the previous poster, I think a week in a condo in Waikiki would be wrong for a family with kids that want to see things.
My suggestion was based on the logistics of a 6 member family (4 children between 6 & 13) on their first trip to Hawaii. I couldn't imagine trying to plan air travel and accommodations for 6 to 3 islands and probable return to the original island of entry for return to the mainland.

Then 3 rental car experiences. "Sorry, we only have a Yaris available. We do have 2 so your wife could take one and the other 2 kids." Then the VRBO meet times three. You had to leave the previous one by eleven and the next one isn't available till 3 but the owner works so he can't meet you till after 5. Schlep luggage for 6 up three flights then down three flights and down the road then in the car then out of the car then through the airport. Then you're going to have to stock three kitchens! Costco won't work so well for 7-8 days so you go to the local market. Milk at $6 bucks a gallon. Most vacation rentals expect you to leave the unit clean. So you have to do laundry/run the dishwasher and did we leave anything behind. Oh! All the bathing suits were out on the lanai rail and left. Clean out the fridge. Last nite meal, tuna cheerio surprise! Three times figuring out how to turn the shower on and the TV and where is a wine opener?

And someone is going to be sick. So when you're out in the 'burbs everyones sitting around the house. Don't want to drive with the well people and leave the sick one home and nothing to do sitting here.

Waikiki is very busy and crowded but you're a 20 minute walk to quiet neighborhood beaches. You're a ten minute bus ride plus 20 minute hike INTO a volcano. There are tropical rain forests, water falls, gardens, farmers markets close by. There are parades and festivals and movies on the beach in Waikiki. I think these are the things that your children will remember over a burial mound or lava tube.

If you can do a high end hotel vacation I agree that you have time in 30 days to see all the islands but if you're planning a family style vacation then I would suggest getting the most out of Oahu.
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Not the whole month on Oahu
Old 08-05-2007, 06:55 PM   #26
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Not the whole month on Oahu

I saw Honobob's comments and I certainly understand the problems he is relating about getting the whole crew up and down and around.

Nevertheless, Hawaii is so much more than Oahu, and with the luxury of an entire month, you could do two islands and still be relaxed. It sounds like your kids are fairly well-traveled. I have always found kids liked the least predictable and often, simplest, things. I still think The Big Island has so much to offer. Where else will they get to visit an active volcano? And history at The Place of Refuge is very impressive, and the snorkeling there is great.

Again, I would go for 3 islands, but 2 would be better than an entire month on Oahu. You will not be able to use Superferry for daytrips to other islands. The schedule and pricing just doesn't work that way.
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Old 08-05-2007, 08:03 PM   #27
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Also, if you stay any length of time on Oahu and want to explore other areas besides Waikiki, then be careful what time of day you get on the freeways. Traffic on Oahu is a nightmare.
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Old 08-09-2007, 12:01 PM   #28
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From research for my own tickets, check on ATA airlines. They service Hilo (Big Island) Hawaii through Oakland nonstop, but the flights seem to be on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. As a retiree, I like seeing that type of cost cutting. For late October, $231 per person, each way from Phoenix (using Southwest Airlines to Oakland) to Hilo Hawaii looks good to me. They have a pre-pay, discount plan ($3000 minimum) for frequent travellers. Farmer, the OP, could look into that for his six roundtrip tickets from an east coast airport. ATA does service Chicago-Midway that someone warned against.
A big thank you to A854321 for the links. I spent the whole day visiting Big Island internet sites, but that is what my retirement is for, having time to do what i want. Off topic: I passed on the opportunities to buy land that was covered by lava in 1990. No electric, water hauled or by catchment only, no way to install a septic tank, and the surveyed lot markers are under the lava somewhere, but the prices were cheap. One place even had a lava wave on it. Depending on the orientation, that wave may be the only shade for several miles. Another seller cautioned about lava tubes under his property. Thinking about the problems of trying to build a house on Big Island lava was entertaining to me.
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Always new property
Old 08-11-2007, 09:17 PM   #29
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Always new property

If you are very farsighted.....there is new land being developed in Hawaii as we speak. So it's under the water, about 4,000 feet, and it won't be ready for utilities for about 20,000 years. But man, what an estate you could leave!
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Old 08-11-2007, 10:38 PM   #30
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If you are very farsighted.....there is new land being developed in Hawaii as we speak. So it's under the water, about 4,000 feet, and it won't be ready for utilities for about 20,000 years. But man, what an estate you could leave!
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Old 08-12-2007, 07:42 AM   #31
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A bit late to the party, but here are my two cents:

First, don't worry too much about the length of the flight, even for your 6-year-old. It will be easier to take it in one shot than dragging it out with extra stops along the way. And 10.5 hours is not really that long -- especially if it is a Continental 777, with individual video terminals at each seat.

The Big Island is a must-see, as others have mentioned. With all that time you can drive all over it, maybe even camp out near the volcanoes at some point. I would tend to prefer the wetter, rainforested Hilo side to the Kona coast. If your kids are at all into hiking, you can spend time going around the volcanoes, checking out petroglyphs, etc. You can also hike into the back of Waipi`o valley (King Kamehameha's home), I believe, which I have never done but would like to some time.

Kaua`i would ordinarily be my next choice, if your family is seriously into outdoor stuff -- hiking Waimea Canyon, Na Pali Coast, etc. But unless your family is also into just hanging out, they'll run out of stuff to keep them occupied quickly.

Honolulu is a great place to live, not sure I'd recommend it as the first place to visit on vacation, EXCEPT that the kids might find it more fun than hiking around scenic areas on other islands. You'll have to be the judge of that. Certainly lots more easy kid-oriented stuff to find on O`ahu -- easy snorkeling at Hanauma Bay, Diamond Head at sunrise, museums (the Bowfin submarine at Pearl Harbor is way cool), shows, etc. Actually, the more I think about it, the better a Big Island/Honolulu combination sounds.

Encourage your family to read up on the history of the islands before you go and while you are there, to really get into it. It will also help you appreciate things like the significance of the Pali on O`ahu, etc. There is history all over the islands.
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Old 08-12-2007, 09:02 AM   #32
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After much consideration, we have decided that the single long flight is in fact a better option for us than having two full days of travel in each direction...better to take the pain all at once and get it over with. And you are right, with enough snacks and individual TV's, we can probably get thru it even with the smallest of them.

Looking more and more likely that we will actually do this, but still have lots and lots of planning to do - actually the planning and anticipation of a vacation is almost as fun as the vacation itself.

Thanks again for all the great info - lots to digest.
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Old 08-12-2007, 12:20 PM   #33
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It will also help you appreciate things like the significance of the Pali on O`ahu, etc. There is history all over the islands.
In the early 1900s, roadworkers were still finding piles of 18th-century bones from the "Battle of the Pali"...
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Old 08-12-2007, 11:56 PM   #34
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Looking more and more likely that we will actually do this, but still have lots and lots of planning to do - actually the planning and anticipation of a vacation is almost as fun as the vacation itself.

Thanks again for all the great info - lots to digest.
Absolutely, we start planning a year in advance, it's so much fun!
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