Saturday, April 27, 2019

Top 10 Tips For Your Hawaii Vacation


We had the best vacation in Oahu, Hawaii this past April. The kids loved Oahu and all of the beautiful beaches. I'm going to share with you my top 10 tips for planning your own Hawaiian Vacation.

  1. Plan, plan plan! Save websites to your "favorites" tab on your computer. Start researching using www.TripAdvisor.com and www.gohawaii.com 
  2. Make a list of all of the activities and attractions you would like to do. 
  3. Create a daily plans document for each day of your vacation. We had 10 days on Oahu so I had a detailed plan for each of those 10 days. The travel days simply included things like get a cab, get groceries, go to dinner, etc. Take the list of things you would like to do and add it into your daily plans. 
  4. Don't try to do to much each day. Be sure to allow time each day to relax, enjoy the pool, beach, etc.
  5. Before you book your flights shop around! Compare prices. We booked our flights directly by calling United Airlines. I wanted to be 100% sure that my 3 kids would be seated beside myself and my husband. 
  6. Book your hotel or condo before you book your flight. This is the most important aspect of your vacation. 
  7. Book dinner reservations online ahead of time
  8. If this will be your kids first time to fly show them a YouTube video of the inside of an airplane to prepare them for what it will be like. 

  9. Check websites like www.groupon.com for deals on attractions
  10. Remember to have fun and be flexible! Don't worry if something on your list doesn't happen on the exact day you had planned. One of the days we were in Oahu it rained and we switched our plans. We also had made a 'backup plan' for rainy days. Our rainy day plans included going to an aquarium or seeing a movie. 
Coming up next on the blog, my kids favorite attractions in Oahu!




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Monday, April 15, 2019

All About Our Hawaii Vacation Part 1: The Planning

We had been planning on taking our children to Oahu in the summer of 2019. I started pricing out airline tickets in February 2019. I quickly realized that July and August cost a lot more for plane tickets than March and April. So I changed our plans a little bit and booked our flights for March 2019. That gave me less than two full months to plan our vacation!! When you are booking 5 plane tickets every little bit of savings can add up. I compared airport pricing and searched all airports within 2 hours of our house. I am lucky because I live just less than 2 hours from Dulles airport and exactly 2 hours from Raleigh, NC airport. Both of which have excellent airfare rates to Honolulu. We decided to book with United Airlines out of Raleigh. Our airfare was around $900 per person and this was for economy. We were able to bring one personal item (bookbag for each of us) and one carry on luggage. We ended up checking 2 pieces of luggage for $30/bag. We had a total of 7 bags + a bookbag for each person.



More on the flight experience later. After booking the airline tickets I booked our hotel for the night before our early 6:30 am flight. We absolutely loved the Holiday Inn Express in Raleigh, NC. They provide a park n ride option where you can leave your vehicle for up to two weeks at the hotel to avoid paying for parking at the airport. They will take you and pick you up at the airport with their shuttle. It was SO convenient. We loved the hotel and the breakfast was delicious. Due to our early morning flight we did not have much time to enjoy the breakfast, but we did grab coffee to go and nice to go bags. The to go bags were filled with: banana, granola bar, cereal bar and a delicious fresh baked muffin. I can't say enough great things about this hotel! We will definitely return.

Luckily I had been pre-planning and doing research on must see attractions in Oahu for many months! I had saved many websites to a folder on my "Favorites" lists on my computer. I've always wanted to take the kids to Hawaii but I wanted to wait until my youngest was at least 7+ or older to fly. It is a long flight and I knew it was going to be too stressful to fly with 3 kids when they were really young.

I knew that we would have only 10 days to see many many places, beaches, attractions, restaurants, etc. So I had to make the most of our time and our days. I used my favorite Lilly Pulitzer notebook to make our itinerary. I booked dinner reservations at the following restaurants:

https://www.tanakaoftokyo.com/
https://www.dukeswaikiki.com/
https://www.haleiwabeachhouse.com/

After booking dinner reservations I started booking reservations for attractions. I booked our rental vehicle. This is another topic that I debated on. Should we have a rental car for the whole 10 days or just part of the vacation? Parking in Waikiki is very expensive so that was another added factor. In the end I decided to book the rental car for 4 days. We were able to ride http://thebus.org/ to most of our destinations, such as Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head, Ala Moana Center (mall), Waikiki Aquarium, Honolulu Zoo, etc.

Up next, part 2 Packing & The 9 Hour Flight Experience



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