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Starting to plan the 1st trip to Hawaii

judyjht

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Well, I am starting the process. Hawaii is on my bucket list and we have a 20th anniversary next December so we decided it is now or never. Neither has been there so I have no idea where to go so this is what I am thinking. Not the big island - we are not the nightlife type (mid 60s) so quieter would be nice. Would love to be on the beach with a view of it, if possible. Would rent a car. We want to be close-ish to restaurants, bars, walking areas. We love to fish so beach fishing wold be nice or head boats too.

I was thinking Mid September - end of October - is that a good time to go? Probably 2 weeks. Would like 2 bedrooms but not a requirement - we just like the extra space - not smaller than 1 large bedroom though

I have heard Kauai is quiet but how about other places? How about Maui? I know one person that lives there so I'll check with her too. I know I sound like a novice but that is because I am when it comes to Hawaii.

Any and all suggestions would be great. I have good traders - summer Cape Cod 2 bedrooms. I usually get good trades with them and have a few in the bank. I'll appreciate any help and recommendations you have. TIA :hi::hi:
 

DeniseM

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Not the big island - we are not the nightlife type (mid 60s) so quieter would be nice.

I think you mean, not Oahu - which is the most urban Island. The Island of Hawaii is known as "The Big Island."

Maui and Oahu have the most demand for exchanges, and are the most difficult exchanges to get.

The Big Island of Hawaii has the Dengue Fever outbreak right now, so I'd avoid it until that is resolved.

Kauai is laid back and relaxed, and our favorite island.

Fall is a very good time to go, because demand is down, and so are airfares - one thought: if you wait until November, you may also get to see some whales.

Be aware that much of Hawaii is rural, and in most cases, you need to drive to bars, restaurants, and shopping, unless the resort itself has bars and restaurants. Honolulu on Oahu is the exception - but it is a very urban environment, and that doesn't sound like what you are looking for.

Do you like a big resort with all the bells and whistles, or something quieter - more like a private condo experience?

Once you narrow it down to an Island, I would visit the TUG Review page for that Island, and look at the ratings and reviews, for the resorts that are affiliated with the exchange company that you plan to use.

Island_Chain_Map.gif
 
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artringwald

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Tamaradarann

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Car, Walking, Nightlife, Quite Place

Well, I am starting the process. Hawaii is on my bucket list and we have a 20th anniversary next December so we decided it is now or never. Neither has been there so I have no idea where to go so this is what I am thinking. Not the big island - we are not the nightlife type (mid 60s) so quieter would be nice. Would love to be on the beach with a view of it, if possible. Would rent a car. We want to be close-ish to restaurants, bars, walking areas. We love to fish so beach fishing wold be nice or head boats too.

I was thinking Mid September - end of October - is that a good time to go? Probably 2 weeks. Would like 2 bedrooms but not a requirement - we just like the extra space - not smaller than 1 large bedroom though

I have heard Kauai is quiet but how about other places? How about Maui? I know one person that lives there so I'll check with her too. I know I sound like a novice but that is because I am when it comes to Hawaii.

Any and all suggestions would be great. I have good traders - summer Cape Cod 2 bedrooms. I usually get good trades with them and have a few in the bank. I'll appreciate any help and recommendations you have. TIA :hi::hi:

Denise Already pointed out that the Big Island is relatively quite, and Oahu is where Honolulu is and has some nightlife. However, we are not talking NYC nightlife. It is much tamer and most of it starts around 6 PM. We have been to all six islands that you can go to and they are all great. I agree that you need a car on all islands except Oahu if you stay in Waikiki. We like vacationing without a car so Oahu is our favorite island. We are also in our mid 60's so late nightlife is also in our past. Ten O'clock and we are ready for bed. However, there is so much to do in Honolulu that we sometimes have 2 or 3 things to do in a day that we can't fit them all in. These activities can start as early as 9 AM and ending no later than 10 PM. There are parades, festival, symphonies, museums, film festivals, concerts, dinners etc. all the time. Many are within walking distance or a short bus ride for $1 for seniors with a Medicaid Card.

When we chose our vacation location we look at car or no car for cost as well as life style (we don't drink and drive, but we do drink.) So our choice of Honolulu is not based on quite or nightlife, but activities that we can enjoy without a car versus needing a car to stay busy and enjoy the vacation.
 

Luanne

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We own on Maui, and our favorite islands are Maui and the Big Island.

I've been to all of the islands. I don't care for Honolulu, it's just too crowded. It's a city, with chain stores, high rises, and too many people. Yes, the weather is nice, everyone should probably go once, at least to see Pearl Harbor. I don't have a lot of experience with other parts of Oahu, but I hear if you get to the other side of the island it's really nice.

Maui is more crowded than the Big Island, but it's more compact.

The Big Island is BIG, and it takes several hours to get from one side to the other. It is the only island with a live volcano however.

For some reason I've never cared all that much for Kauai. When I first went it was too quiet. Another time it was too "buggy".
 

blakebr

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Our preference is 1 week on Kauai and 1 week on Maui. Two different versions of Hawaii. Oahu, Waikiki is like Miami Beach so we skip it. You can fly into one island and out of another no problem. Hawaiian Airlines will be happy to get you from one island to another. Look into a helicopter flight on Kauai. You won't regret it. Coming home and saying "I wish we had." is to be avoided.
 

ekajun1957

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If this is your first time and might be your only time one question you need to ask is how important is it for you to see Pearl Harbor. I personally would not have gone and not gone see Pearl Harbor. Look at all the TOP activities on each island and see if there any any must do things on a certain island. And if I had two weeks it would be two islands. Oahu for first time would be great for sure as its just one of those places that most want to do in their life, Pearl Harbor, Waikiki, the beaches, Dukes, the beaches, then maybe another island.
 

judyjht

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Quote - Do you like a big resort with all the bells and whistles, or something quieter - more like a private condo experience? Quote



We are not really the big resort type. We prefer smaller places hopefully, on the beach. I an guessing that Kauai would be one week and then figure out the second week.
 

VegasBella

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If this is your first time and might be your only time one question you need to ask is how important is it for you to see Pearl Harbor. I personally would not have gone and not gone see Pearl Harbor. Look at all the TOP activities on each island and see if there any any must do things on a certain island. And if I had two weeks it would be two islands. Oahu for first time would be great for sure as its just one of those places that most want to do in their life, Pearl Harbor, Waikiki, the beaches, Dukes, the beaches, then maybe another island.


Personally, thinking of a trip as "it may be the only time I'll go there" creates too much anxiety for me and can wind up ruining a good vacation. I'll get caught up in planning itineraries that are too busy and not fun. For me - and my family - I've learned that it's better to think of vacations more from the perspective of "what do we need/want to have a good time?" and "what activities will be most fondly remembered?"

Also, if I had two weeks it would be all on one island or it would be Oahu and another island because Oahu is where you fly into and out of anyway so adding other islands just adds more flight costs and takes more time and hassle.

When we go for our first trip, we are going to Maui.
 

DeniseM

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Also, if I had two weeks it would be all on one island or it would be Oahu and another island because Oahu is where you fly into and out of anyway so adding other islands just adds more flight costs and takes more time and hassle.

There are also direct flights to the other islands - you don't have to fly to Oahu.
 

Passepartout

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Quote - Do you like a big resort with all the bells and whistles, or something quieter - more like a private condo experience?

We are not really the big resort type. We prefer smaller places hopefully, on the beach. I an guessing that Kauai would be one week and then figure out the second week.

We are not big resort types either. In Hawaii, we like both Kauai for the more 'Old time Hawaii' feel of the place, with no high-rises. Beautiful, tropical jungle and canyons. It can be a bit too laid back though. So we like the shopping, restaurants, and general amenities on West Maui. Near, but not at Kaanapali. There are quite a few smaller resorts you can exchange for with beach access, and lots of availability of private condos (check www.vrbo.com/ too)

I agree that thinking of this as a 'once in a lifetime', gotta do/see everything, will just add to the stress and make the planning harder. I know it's a long trip from the E. Coast, but honestly not any more difficult than for those of us who live in the West visiting Europe, and we do 'once in a lifetime' trips there a couple of times a year. Go to Hawaii for two weeks, settle on one island and come to grips with Hawaii is just too beautiful for just one trip there.

Jim

Jim
 

silentg

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We are all set with plans to visit Maui thanks to a TuG exchange with an owner, they are going to our resort while we go to theirs, just a week apart. also going to Honalulu for a few days first, renting from another Tugger. Will let you know how it goes, in process of booking flights. So exciting!! Going in June!
Silentg
 

MuranoJo

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Wow, you pulled that together fast! Congrats. I'm sure you'll really enjoy it.

DH took me to HI for the first time shortly after we were married in the late '70's. First stop for a few days was Oahu to see where he had been stationed with the Army, then on to Kauai. We've been to all the major islands multiple times, but Kauai is still my favorite.

Honestly, though, I don't think of it as a sleepy island--heck the traffic there near Kapaa at times is what I'd call congested.
 

Timeshare Von

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Our preference is the Big Island for all that there is to see and do there. That said, we own on Waikiki and enjoy that (but honestly, mostly trade it for other travel deals, not just timesharing). We've been to Maui once and will be taking in Kauai for the first time in January 2016.

You really can't go wrong anywhere in the islands . . . after all . . . it IS Hawaii!
 

VacationForever

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My favorite islands are Kauai and Oahu. I don't care for Princeville (north of Kauai) as it is too rural, wet and up on a cliff so you don't get the beauty of a nearby beach. I like the resorts on the east and south side of Kauai. You get the natural beauty of what Hawaii stands for.

We just got back from Oahu and stayed at Ko Olina area - Kapolei. We love it there, and the entire area - man made lagoons, beach, the general open space and without congestion. Most people think of Oahu as Honolulu and Wakiki and I did not even visit those 2 areas - I am not interested in crowd and the city. We did visit Pearl Harbor memorial and it is definitely worth a visit, makes you reflect on life and brutality of war.

I don't care for the Big Island, black volcanic rocks look spooky and uncomfortable. My least favorite island / area is Maui / Kaanapali because it is crowded with tourists. I prefer to be home than to visit Maui or the Big Island.
 

Luanne

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I prefer to be home than to visit Maui or the Big Island.

Interesting as those are our two favorite islands. :D It's good we all have differing opinions.
 

bnoble

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if I had two weeks it would be two islands. Oahu for first time would be great for sure as its just one of those places that most want to do in their life, Pearl Harbor, Waikiki, the beaches, Dukes, the beaches, then maybe another island.
This is what we are doing for our first trip this summer. Our first week is a 3BR penthouse in Lagoon tower at HHV, and will be "touristy." The second will be a 2BR at Kings Land at HWV and will be more focused on seeing the natural beauty of the island.
 

JeffW

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Although you CAN fly directly to all the islands, there tends to be a premium (in either $$ or FF miles) to not go through Honolulu.

Like others, I'm not a big fan of it (the city). However, as pointed out, part of seeing "Hawaii" is seeing Oahu (Arizona Memorial maybe #1 attraction).

I went to Hawaii with two different traveling parties the past two years, neither of which had ever been to Hawaii before. In both cases, I had Fr-Fr timeshare exchanges. What we did was take an ~8am flight from the islands to HNL, get our rental car, and immediately got to the Arizona (you can reserve boat times the day before).

We then basically had 36 hours to see Oahu, which was actually doable. When finished, we took red-eye flights, getting back home Sunday afternoon. It worked out great both years.

Jeff
 

Ron & Pat

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Hawaii

Hi. We have made 5 trips to Hawaii and been there over 100 days total! Most of the time was in time share exchanges. We have been to all 4 of the major islands and each is different. The Big Island has the highest mountains (snow capped in the tropics) and active volcanoes. Maui has high mountains on one end and lower ones on the other with a wide valley between. It is an easy drive all the way to the top of Haleakala (10,000 ft.) Kauai is the most laid back--almost rural-but it does have the grand canyon of the Pacific and little known Kokee State Park with nice, but primitive cabins that are heated with a wood stove which is usually needed at night due to the 4000 ft. elevation.

Our favorite is Oahu and Waikiki Beach. True parts are urban, but there is nothing like Diamond Head (you can climb all the way to the top), the only palace in the USA, historic missionary church, the Bishop Museum and the very primitive Manoa Falls. There is also the Arizona Memorial and the Cemetery of the Pacific, Buddhist Temples, Pioneer Villages and the wonderful Polynesian Cultural Center.

They also have "The Bus". It is very reasonable especially for seniors and you do not need a car at all. It includes "The Boat" that makes a high speed run from Honolulu to the western side of the island in about one hour. You will see porpoises there and sometimes whales.
 

David M

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I thought TheBoat went the way of the dodo, back in 2009 :confused:
 

Larry M

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Not just Pearl Harbor

If this is your first time and might be your only time one question you need to ask is how important is it for you to see Pearl Harbor. I personally would not have gone and not gone see Pearl Harbor. Look at all the TOP activities on each island and see if there any any must do things on a certain island. And if I had two weeks it would be two islands. Oahu for first time would be great for sure as its just one of those places that most want to do in their life, Pearl Harbor, Waikiki, the beaches, Dukes, the beaches, then maybe another island.

Not just Pearl Harbor (strictly speaking, it's the USS Arizona Memorial). In the immediate vicinity is the USS Missouri--you can take a guided tour or just walk through the ship yourself. There are plenty of placards telling you about each area.

And there's the Air Museum of the Pacific, also in the vicinity. Lots of planes in realistic environments.

It may have changed, but in 2010 you had to get to the Arizona ticket booth at 8:30 am to get a ticket for 4:00 pm (because the grubby tour operators scarfed up all the tickets). So get there early and get the Arizona tickets and enjoy the Missouri and Air Museum while waiting your entrance time. If I recall correctly, entrance to both those exhibits is free with your Arizona pass.
 

DavidnRobin

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People not enjoying Maui or Kauai??? that is so sad...
North Kauai is simply beautiful and majestic in the summertime (no place on earth like it...) - seriously... it is bucket-list worthy. There is reason why so many movies use north Kauai as a setting
 

HamletRL

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Go to both Zaki

Our preference is 1 week on Kauai and 1 week on Maui. Two different versions of Hawaii. Oahu, Waikiki is like Miami Beach so we skip it. You can fly into one island and out of another no problem. Hawaiian Airlines will be happy to get you from one island to another. Look into a helicopter flight on Kauai. You won't regret it. Coming home and saying "I wish we had." is to be avoided.

Ditto blakebr...
Did Maui and Kauai in 2014 and will be doing the same in Feb. 2016. Make sure you take a helicopter ride in Kauai (assuming you have the funds, about $300/person). Great experience.
 

Rjbeach2003

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Research

Picking an island based on our comments is helpful, but not nearly enough info.

Make a list of what is most important.
For example for American history Oahu
For Hawaiiana. Big Island
Volcano. Big Island
Lush tropical. Kauai
Beachfront condos. Maui
Most old Hawaii. Molokai

You won't go wrong with any. I get loads of info on Trip Advisor. Go to site, register if you want ask questions, go to forums, then Hawaii forum. Each island has it's own page.

It's the best place for info, as tug is the best place for timeshare info.

It's goo you are planning early. Have fun
 
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