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Hawaii Trip Planning

riverdees05

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What would you suggest for a first time Hawaii Vacation?

My wife and I are going with three of her sisters. We are in our late 50's - mid 60's. Most of us have not been to Hawaii. We can go anytime of the year retired and live in the Mid West and South.

We were looking to spend between 14-18 days. Would prefer to stay in Timeshares, but realize availability might be not be there. If necessary we are OK with only staying 5 of the 7 day in a timeshare. We would need a two bedroom unit that has four beds or two one bedroom units. I have membership with RCI (only so so traders), II (good traders), SFX and TPI. Would it be worth joining HTSE?

We will be going in 2010, was thinking of Jan-Feb, but some input said other times like Oct-Nov might be better for exchanging. So we are open.

I have ordered the "Revealed" books for Oahu, Hawaii The Big Island,
Maui and Kauai.
 

hibbeln

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First things first, read through the Revealed books and see which islands appeal to you all the most.
Also, will this be your "only" trip to Hawaii? Is this a once in a lifetime trip?

You will probably want to spend at least a day or two on Oahu so you can see Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head, Waikiki, etc. Often Oahu is good as a "first stop" on your trip because it tends to be a busier place. Go to a more relaxed island second and you can then chill out and enjoy.

If you have avid shoppers and those who like urban areas, they will love Waikiki on Oahu.

Those who like resorts, shopping, dining out (expensive), and beautiful beaches will go for Maui.

The Big Island is great, but it is very large. Pretty much you either end up plopping yourself down near where you are staying and not doing too much travelling around, or else you end up travelling A LOT in the car. REalize that almost all the timeshares are far away from Volcanoes National Park if that is a draw for you.

Kauai is for those who have no need for nightlife, don't require "the best" restaurants every night, prefer beaches more rugged and remote (a lot of them you have to "work" to get to, hiking in at least a ways), like more of a homey rural atmosphere to the island and enjoy hiking and natural wonders.

Maui and the Big Island have the best snorkelling.

Maui, Oahu & Kauai are the prettiest.

The Big Island has the volcano.

Whales are at all at the right time of year.

This is just a super quick take on it. Really, you need to browse through the books and see which islands appeal to YOUR group. Everyone is different. What is heaven to one family is hell on earth to another.
 

pcgirl54

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I also liked "Hawaii for Dummies" It has good info and check off lists that narrow down what island is best for you.

We went to Maui this year. 1st Hawaii trip ans spent a week on 1 island. Breathtaking...
 

Kauai Kid

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Be sure you check out the web sites like www.gohawaii.com

I too would recommend a few days on Oahu. Be sure and rent the video Tora, Tora, Tora. We took an all day Roberts of Hawaii bus tour of Oahu and totally enjoyed it. Saw much more than we ever would have on our own and left the driving to them.

Arizona Memorial is a must see.

2-3 nights on Oahu would probably be about right.
Watch some of the old Magnum PI series. Lots of filming on Oahu

Then the rest of your vacation I'd recommend spending on either Maui or Kauai. Flying interisland really takes up a whole day by the time you consider packing, checking out, driving to the air port, dumping the rental car, getting checked in, going through TSA., ETC,ETC, ETC

If you can schedule your trip during whale watching season that is an essential for many of us. Incredible to see a humpback, the size of a semi, 40-50 feet leap out of the water.

With tourist traffic down so much because of high airfares and the low economy you probably wouldn't have any problems finding a timeshare on any of the islands.

One and only visit? I doubt it. You'll be back. Many of us TUGGERS said the same thing on our first visit. Remember you will owe me an umbrella drink on your second visit.

Hawaii is as close to paradise and you'll find down here.:cheer:

Sterling
 
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cgeidl

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Hawaii cancellations

We are going next August and have received three weeks- from TPI. In fact we go every year for the last 10 or so and probably TP has provided us with about half our weeks. We own two weeks at the Waikiki Banyan and they are well managed ,clean, comfortable and not fancy .Too small for your party.
We have gone many times and still need a week or two and we book after arrival.
For your sized party The Big Island probably would have the most TS to meet your needs;
We have gotten a few trades from II to HAwaii but not many.We have found TP the best. Ther are probably 2-5% cancellations at the last minute to Hawaii so I think they can always find you places after you arrive.In fact I think you could stay for months at a time with last minute cancellations
We lived in Hawaii for a couple years in the 60's and love all the Islands. Oahu is the best for us. We like the shows,restaurants,military- inexpensive golf courses.
If we can help you with specific questions Email us with your tel number and I will call.
 

Jestjoan

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Kauai

Kauai has some great restaurants.

We never hiked but did walk around a lot.

It is truly paradise......I'm so happy we went there.

We had planned to go to Maui until I heard of Dengue Fever.
 

DeniseM

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We were looking to spend between 14-18 days.

I wouldn't try to see more than 2 islands in that time - you waste a lot of time and money moving between islands. For a first trip, I would probably do a week on Oahu - for all the historical stuff, and then a week on Maui or Kauai. The nice thing about Maui is that you can make day trips by boat to Lanai and Molokai. You can't do that from any other island.

Would prefer to stay in Timeshares, but realize availability might be not be there. If necessary we are OK with only staying 5 of the 7 day in a timeshare. We would need a two bedroom unit that has four beds or two one bedroom units. I have membership with RCI (only so so traders), II (good traders), SFX and TPI. Would it be worth joining HTSE?

Actually, with the economy and the cost of airfare, there is lots of availability. However, for the best prices/availability avoid the holidays and summer. Sept. - Nov. is the lowest season. Be sure you look at airfare before you commit - it will probably be in the range of $1,000 per person!

You can see what HTSE has available by going to www.htse.net and logging in as a guest -
top box - 9999
bottom box - htse

For lots of info., use the search function and search for each island by name.
 

alanraycole

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The best island for you depends on the tastes of your group.

From a child, I had dreams of visiting Hawaii. When I finally decided to make it happen, one goal was central to my planning. I had to see as much of the islands as possible in my ten day trip. It was a whirlwind trip, but I don't regret it for a second. I visited Oahu, Maui, the Big Island, and Kauai. They are all very different and each would make a great trip.

Since my first visit, I have returned many times to Hawaii, including to each of the four islands visited during my first trip as well as Molokai. Remarkably, my island preferences from my first impressions on that first trip have held constant. My favorite, by far, is Kauai, followed, in order, by the Big Island, Maui, Oahu and Molokai. A trend has developed of visiting Kauai at least two weeks a year with a one week side trip to at least one other island.

I say all that to say that Kauai is the best! Not everyone agrees it is the best, but if the main goal of your trip is to enjoy Hawaii's natural beauty, you are likely to agree with me. Kauai's beauty is stunning and I consider it a shame for travelers to go so far as Hawaii and not include Kauai in their visit.
 

Laurie

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My favorites for variety and beauty: Big Island and Maui are probably tied, and then Kauai. Part of that's because I love the contrasts in colors, with the black sand beaches (red sand too on Maui) - and I love volcanoes. As an older island, Kauai's colors are more like other areas in the continental US, though of course not as tropical. We overnighted in Hololulu, that's it, so I can't speak about Oahu.

You'll find so many differing opinions about this - why not spend some hours googling images for all the islands and see what looks most appealing to you - and also weigh the activities, and read the books as you are planning to do.
 

alwysonvac

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You can't go wrong with any of the islands.

Take a look at the links below to see which island is more of your style. I'm not saying to follow Frommer's suggested itinerary (it's a bit aggressive) but it might help you decide on how you want to spend your time in Hawaii. Oahu is my favorite because of all of the available activities listed in the link below plus more.

Frommers Suggested Itineraries
A Week on Kauai
A Week on Lanai
A Week on the Big Island
A Week on Molokai
A Week on Oahu
A Week on Maui

Also check-out Frommers When to Go
 
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LisaRex

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Personally, I'd spend no more than 4 days on Oahu and then fly to either Maui or Big Island. Kauai is probably the most beautiful of the islands, but not sure I'd take 4 adult sisters there for 10 days unless they were big into nature (e.g. hiking, snorkeling) and content with a lot of downtime.

Big Island has lots to do, including an active volcano (woohoo!), but you'll be doing a lot of driving. Maui is my personal favorite island because it has a nice combination of touristy activities (e.g. horseback riding, sunset cocktail cruises) and nature activities (snorkeling, hiking), etc.
 

CATBinCO

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Like alanraycole above, we also did 3 islands in 15 days and I would not have changed anything. First island was Oahu - 3 nights in Waikiki, 3 on the North Shore. Second island was the Big Island, to do only the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park for 3 nights. Finished the trip on Maui for 5 nights and that was probably my favorite because there's a huge variety of activities to do and the various landscapes (everything from beach to rainforest). I knew it was going to be several years, possibly 10 or more, before we got back to Hawaii. Now we know what we are done with (Waikiki!) and what we want to see more of (the Big Island, Kauai and of course, Maui). Airfare CAN be had at a reasonable rate if you put a FareWatcher request on Travelocity and are able to book tickets as soon as Travelocity emails you (sometimes on a Sunday morning!). Our tickets from Denver to Honolulu RT were only $342 per person on American Airlines. From soup to nuts, our 16 day itinerary with all meals, activities, souvenirs, airfare, interisland airfare, all lodging, etc was $5000 for the 3 of us. And we did it with only CARRY ON luggage and I was 6 weeks pregnant during the trip! I loved every minute of it!
 
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