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Better for Families: Grand Wailea or Westin Maui?

 

 

One of our main jobs here at Great Hawaii Vacations is to help guide people through the process of booking their perfect Hawaii vacation. While many of our clients have been to Hawaii before, most of them are Hawaii newbies and look to us for guidance and recommendations on where to go, where to stay and what to do.

With that in mind, one of the questions we get asked a ton is "what's a good family hotel on Maui?" While there are quite a few family friendly properties on the island, two really stand out due to their amenities and location: The Grand Wailea and the Westin Maui Resort & Spa. But which is truly the best family hotel on Maui?  Read on to find out!

Location

The Grand Wailea sits down in the southern part of Maui in arguably the nicest resort area on the island. Wailea is home to some seriously posh resorts, like the Four Seasons Maui and the Fairmont Kea Lani (and, of course, the Grand Wailea). This area is a little more lowkey than towns like Lahaina and Kaanapali. There's a boardwalk that connects the hotels, though they're spaced far enough apart that it takes a good 20 minutes to walk from end to end.  The Shops at Wailea, an upscale shopping area with some good restaurants like Cheeseburger Island Style (formerly known as Cheeseburger in Paradise), Ruth's Chris and Longhi's, sits right behind the Grand Wailea making for easy access from the hotel.

The Westin, on the other hand, sits on the Kaanapali boardwalk. Like the boardwalk where the Grand Wailea is situated this paved walkway connects the Westin with the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa, the Sheraton Maui, some condo properties and Whalers Shopping Village. Unlike the Grand Wailea's boardwalk, however, the hotels are closer together and it takes less time to walk end-to-end. I actually prefer it this way, as you can stroll along the tiki torch-lit path in the evening serenaded by the Hawaiian music pouring out of the different hotels you pass by. It's just a really fun, festive vibe.

Advantage:  Westin

 The Westin Maui's gorgeous lobby

Pools

This one's not even close. It's not because the pools at the Westin aren't any good (they have some of the best pools in Hawaii), it's just that they're not on the level of the Grand Wailea. However, to be fair, no hotel's pools in all of Hawaii are on the same level as those at the Grand Wailea.  Their Wailea Canyon Activity Pool is 25,700 square feet of awesome made up of nine pools on six different levels. The pools are connected by a river that in spots is lazy and in other spots not-so-lazy with some whitewater rapids. The Wailea Canyon Activity Pool includes four jungle pools, four slides, whitewater rapids slide, Tarzan pool with rope swing, six waterfalls, caves and the world's first water elevator. I mean, c'mon... they have a rope swing into the pool. How freaking cool is that??

The Westin's pools are certainly nothing to scoff at, though. They boast an 87,000 square-foot pool area made up of five separate pools, two water slides, swim-through grotto with twin waterfalls and a hidden whirlpool.  But even with all of that goodness it's still only 1/3 of the size of the Grand Wailea's pools.

Advantage:  Grand Wailea

Grand Wailea's Hibiscus Pool

 

Beach

Both hotels sit on pretty beaches, but we have to give the nod here to the Grand Wailea's beach. Consistently calm with plenty of sand Wailea beach gives hotel occupants a salty alternative to the freshwater craziness happening behind them at the hotel. The sand in front of the Westin can disappear a bit throughout the year and they don't have quite as many beach chairs/umbrellas on the sand as you'll find at the Grand Wailea.

Advantage:  Grand Wailea

 Aerial view of the Grand Wailea and it's pristine beach

Price

The Westin wins this round. Their rooms generally start at a lower price point than those at the Grand Wailea, and the Grand Wailea's lead-in category of Terraceview sometimes gets you a view of the parking lot (not all parking lot, but you can definitely see some cars off in the distance). The Westin also typically runs better promotions than the Grand Wailea, such as free nights (sometimes even the 3rd night is free) and breakfast for two daily.  The Grand Wailea will run a free night deal every now and then, though when they do it's usually the 7th night free and it's not offered on as many days of the year as the Westin's deals are. Once in a blue moon they'll even do a daily breakfast deal as well, but that's pretty rare. One other thing to consider when staying at these hotels is the difference in the resort fee/parking charging.  The Grand Wailea charges $25/day for their resort fee and $25/day for parking while the Westin only has one $30/day resort fee (which includes free parking).

Advantage:  Westin

 

And the winner is...

So which of these fabulous Maui resorts is the best for your family? That's truly something only you can decide. In all honesty both are great for families and you would be hard pressed not to have a great time at either one.  Hopefully the information we've provided in this article can help you understand the differences between them a little better and help give you the knowledge needed to make the best decision for your family. And if you need more help, or have more questions, by all means give us a call or shoot us an email.  We are, after all, Hawaii experts and we'd love to help make your next Hawaii vacation great!

 

Stayed at either of these two hotels before?  We'd love to hear what you think about them in the comments below. Also, if there's a comparison article you would like to see us do let us know in the comments as well. We'd love write about it!


For more information about your perfect Hawaii vacation, use the menu links at the top of this page or call our specialists at:

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Hotel and Condo Renovation Round Up in Hawaii

 

We like to try to update our customers on the various renovation projects that are happening in Hawaii. Why? Because we want to make sure that all of our customers don't end up going to a hotel or condo that may be having major renovations that can have negative impact on your trip. Bottom line is we want you to have a hassle free, good time. That's what you are there for. 

Without further ado, here's a brief summary:

1) Maui Kamaole will be undergoing painting renovation to limited buildings of the property and also to the upper pool deck. An estimated start and completion date, in addition to the work being done is listed below:

Painting of building D and E from 10-21-13 to 12-2-13:
All exterior walls of buildings, the walls of all front lanais, all exterior wood surfaces, the interior of all lanais, metal handrails, courtyard walls, garbage enclosures, foot wash stations and retaining walls around the buildings.
Painting of the upper pool deck from 1-6-14 to 1-13-14:
The entire upper pool will be closed during this time.
The lower pool will be open for guest to use.
Painting of building H and I from 1-6-14 to 2-6-14:
Work will include the painting of all wood surfaces only.

2) Aston Kaanapali Shores will begin a lanai/patio edge maintenance project.The project will be completed on December 15, 2013. There should be no disruption to guests staying outsideof the affected areas.
Work will take place Monday – Saturday from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Noise generating work will take place between the hours of 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Work areas will be masked and buffered to minimize noise and visibility.
Notices and construction schedules will be posted throughout the property.
All amenities and facilities will remain open and available for guest use.

3) Aston Waikiki Beach Tower  is just about done with their Exterior Enhancement Project which includes concrete restoration and exterior painting. Garage Exterior Enhancement Project is underway with an anticipated completion date in October 2013 (weather and unforeseen circumstances may prolong the project).
On August 22, 2013, concrete repair work and painting began on the 4th Floor of the garage. At this time, the pool will be closed until the “04” series units are completed. The pool will open at the completion of the project.

Exterior Tower Enhancement Project started on September 9, 2013 with an anticipated completion date in early December 2013 (weather and unforeseen circumstances may prolong the project).

Work will be done on Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. with louder work scheduled between 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

The exterior concrete repair will be isolated by columns, starting from the top of the “04” column and working their way to the bottom. The lanai will be closed to guests while the affected column is under repair.

Repair work will also be done on the Ewa (west) side of the building simultaneously. An external window covering will be used on the master bedroom and master bath to provide privacy.

An external window covering will be placed on the kitchen, master bedroom, and master bathroom windows when repair work is being done on the “04” and “01” columns.
As concrete repair works toward the Mauka (mountain) side of the building, and external window covering will be placed over the “04” and “01” master and guest bedroom windows.

Noise will travel throughout the building. All other work will create minimal noise and inconvenience.

The pool will be closed during certain portions of the Exterior Tower Enhancement Project to ensure the safety of our guests.

The 4th Floor Recreation deck will be closed while exterior repair is being done on columns “01”, “02”, and “03”. The restrooms and saunas will remain open.

Lanai access will be restricted (only to the designated column under repair) during the Exterior Tower Enhancement Project.

Notices and construction schedules will be posted throughout the property.

4) Aston at Papakea Resort has started the next phase of their Exterior Renovation Project. The project will include installing new railings and painting of building exteriors. The project is expected to continue through December 13, 2013.

Work will be done Mondays through Fridays from 8:30am -5:00pm. Work on Saturdays is possible, but will be avoided unless absolutely necessary. In addition, no guests will
be placed in the building that is being worked on and, for guests comfort and safety, scaffolding will be taken down each evening and stored.

For a complete list of renovations, just visit our website Great Hawaii Vacations and look for the hardhat icon to identify which hotels or condo may be undergoing renovations, minor or major. 

For more information about your perfect Hawaii vacation, use the menu links at the top of this page or call our specialists at:

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$250 Discount on Airfare to Hawaii!

 

We know airfare isn't cheap these days. That's why we've partnered with one of our wholesalers to bring you an amazing deal on flights. During the entire month of May you'll get a $250 air discount when booking flights from San Diego, San Jose or Oakland to Kauai or The Big Island for travel between 5/1/13-6/25/13. All you need to do is package the flights with a three-night or longer hotel stay at one of the many properties our wholesaler offers and the discount is yours! 

Hawaii

Hawaii Island isn’t just big, it’s still growing. The Island of Hawaii is the youngest island in the Hawaiian chain and is also by far the biggest, providing a vast canvas of environments to discover a variety of unrivaled natural wonders. This is the home of one of the world’s most active volcanoes (Kilauea), located in the largest park in the state (Hawaii Volcanoes National Park). All but two of the world’s climate zones generate everything from lush rain forests to volcanic deserts, snow-capped mountaintops to beautiful black sand beaches.

Kauai

From the soaring cliffs of the Napali Coast to the vast chasms of Waimea Canyon, Kauai embraces the senses like no other destination. Explore the island via land, sea or air to experience settings you’ve only dreamed about. Discover 50-miles of heavenly beaches from Poipu Beach to Hanalei Bay. Explore charming and historic small towns like Hanapepe and Koloa where no building is taller than a coconut tree. With so much to experience, “Hawaii's Island of Discovery,” is begging to be explored.

For more information about your perfect Hawaii vacation, use the menu links at the top of this page or call our specialists at:

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New Rooms at the Turtle Bay Resort

 

The Turtle Bay Resort, located on Oahu's famed North Shore, is in the midst of a multi-million dollar renovation.  Not only are they opening two new restaurants (North Shore Kula Grille and 21 Degrees North), a new retail experience called North Shore Water Shed and doubling the size of their spa, but every single room and suite in the hotel is being completely renovated as well.

The room renovation project is being done wing by wing with the first newly renovated rooms scheduled to be open on June 2nd (the entire project is set to finish in October of this year). With new rooms comes new categories and new descriptions. We thought it would be a good idea to educate our clients on the new categories to minimize confusion when the new rooms are available. Here's a rundown of the new room types:

  • -Epic Rooms are the new hotel rooms on the 3rd-5th floors. They will only have stand-up glass showers (no tubs).
  • -Epic Oceanfront Rooms are what were the Oceanfront and Deluxe (or Premium) Oceanfront rooms, which means guests will need to request a large lanai if so desired (the rooms are no longer split into separate categories for small and large lanais).
  • -Epic Oceanview and Epic Partial Oceanview Rooms have been split from the previous Oceanview category. Neither category offers a lanai.
  • -Moana Suites and Noana Two-Bedroom Suites are the newly renovated Pikake Suites. They will offer walk-in natural stone showers and a deep-soaker bathtub that is open to the room.
  • -Ali'i Rooms and Suites are all located on the 6th floor, and (once renovated) will be considered premium rooms. They will also offer walk-in natural stone showers and a deep-soaker bathtub that is open to the room.

Hopefully this breakdown of the new rooms helps. Epic rooms are available for booking now with travel starting June 2nd. If you have any questions or if you want to know more about the work being done to transform the Turtle Bay Resort give us a call and one of our friendly Hawaii experts will be happy to assist you.

For more information about your perfect Hawaii vacation, use the menu links at the top of this page or call our specialists at:

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Upcoming Hawaii Events

 

Your flights are booked, your hotel reservations are made and in a few short weeks (or days) you'll be off to paradise in Hawaii.  But what should you do once you get there?  Here are a few of the events happening around the islands over the next few months to help you plan your stay.

Aloha Fridays
The Big Island

Every Friday in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park there's a hands-on demonstration lesson given about a cultural craft. The lesson varies from week to week and the events are free, though donations are welcome. Call 808-967-8222 for more information.

LPGA Lotte Championship Presented by J Golf
Oahu
The Ladies Pro Golf Tournament will be held at the amazing Ko Olina Resort from April 14th-20th. The tournament will feature some of the world's best female golfers, including Hawaii's own Michelle Wie. For more information check out www.lottechampionship.com.

A Culinary Romp Through Paradise - Nani Moon Mead
Kauai
Local food experts guide you "from farm to fork" as you explore authentic tastes of Kauai. The monthly tours are designed to offer a variety of tropical flavors as guests explore an exotic fruit orchard, enjoy a cooking demonstration and four-course gourmet meal, and learn about locally made beverages. The tours are held on the east side of the island and reservations are required. Visit www.tastingkauai.com for more information.

Wailuku First Friday
Maui
Wailuku Town's monthly street party comes complete with live music, sidewalk artisans, crafters and food vendors. The street closes to local traffic for this free community event which runs from 6-9pm. The May event will be held on May 3rd. For more information visit them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wailukufirstfriday

 

These are just some of the events going on in Hawaii in the coming weeks.  Visit Go Hawaii for a full list of all 113 upcoming events.

For more information about your perfect Hawaii vacation, use the menu links at the top of this page or call our specialists at:

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Discover the Big Island of Hawaii

 

Visit one of the most beautiful islands on the planet - the big island of Hawaii.

Call us for some great specials and deals.

big island

For more information about your perfect Hawaii vacation, use the menu links at the top of this page or call our specialists at:

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Hawaii Honeymoon Planning - Saving Money on Accommodations

 

Hawaii hotel room by Great Hawaii VacationsWhen it comes to budgeting for your Hawaii honeymoon, one place you don't want to cut too many corners on is your hotel or condo accommodations. After the whirlwind of activity from your wedding it will be nice to finally get to your honeymoon hotel and just relax for a few days.  Because of this, you'll probably end up spending more time at the hotel on your honeymoon than you would during a normal vacation.  This is why it's so important to stay at the nicest place you can afford. 

All of that said, there are a few ways to cut costs on your hotel stay so that you can maximize your dollars and stay at the absolute nicest place your budget will allow.  Here are a few tips to help you do just that:

Do you need to stay on the beach?

To some people staying on the beach is one of the most important pieces of theHawaii Beach by Great Hawaii Vacations
accommodations puzzle. For others, they're perfectly content staying somewhere across the street or even several blocks from the beach.  An important question to ask yourself when determining how important this is to you would be: how much time do you plan on spening at
the beach in front of your hotel (or condo)? If your idea of a perfect Hawaii honeymoon is heading down to the beach as soon as you wake up and spending most of your days soaking up the rays while getting lost in your favorite novel, then staying on the beach might be really important. But if you plan on being out and about away from your hotel most of the time and checking out a new beach every day, then you might not need your accommodations to be sitting on the sand.

Do you need an oceanview from your room?

This is another important question that ties directly back to your budget.  Some people envision spending their evenings drinking in the sunset with their new spouse while lounging on their balconies overlooking the ocean.  Other people anticipate being away from their hotel most days exploring the island and doing all kinds of activities.  In that case a fantastic (and expensive) view of the ocean may be wasted on them.  For someone like this it may make more sense to have a gardenview room at a 5-star property rather than an oceanview at a 4-star property.

Book early for peak travel.

Summer is peak wedding season, but it also happens to be one of the peak travel times for Hawaii, too. It's not uncommon for us to be contacted by a bride or groom-to-be only a few weeks prior to their honeymoon. This is understandable knowing the amount of time, energy and effort that goes into planning a wedding. Don't let your honeymoon be an afterthought, though. Try to book your trip no later than three months prior to your departure date to give you the best chance of there being availability at the hotel of your dreams. You also tend to get better rates when you book your trip far in advance, so booking your Hawaii honeymoon four months prior to your trip rather than four weeks could save you quite a bit of money.

Ask your Great Hawaii Vacations travel consultant for a recommendation.

Not all 5-star hotels are priced the same.  A place like the Four Seasons Maui is usually going to be priced higher than a hotel of similar quality, like the Fairmont Kea LaniOur travel consultants have in-depth knowledge of every hotel and condo in Hawaii, so we can usually recommend the best honeymoon hotels offering the greatest bang for your buck.  We're also aware of promotions that hotels offer, like free nights, free breakfast and resort credits which can help mitigate the cost of a higher nightly rate on a hotel room.

Great Hawaii Vacations agentFollow these honeymoon planning tips and you'll be able to stretch your budget as far as possible!  

Call for even more free advice and suggestions. 

For more information about your perfect Hawaii vacation, use the menu links at the top of this page or call our specialists at:

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Visiting Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii?

 

Great Hawaii Vacations thanks Dan B for his guest blog post about visiting Waimea Canyon on Kauai.

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Would I recommend visiting Waimea Canyon?

For Great Hawaii Vacation clients visiting Kauai for the first time, I am sure this is a frequently-asked question.  Many wonder if it is just a repeat of their childhood trips to the Grand Canyon, and will they be doomed to be bored by countless hours of driving and tourist traps.

Sheraton Kauai by Great Hawaii VacationsWe stayed at the Sheraton Kauai in a beautiful ocean view room.  Every morning we awoke to the sound of the crashing waves breaking on the shore and Kauai roosters calling to their flocks of chickens.  One morning we drove West along the South coast toward Waimea Canyon and we were somewhat apprehensive about being dissapointed. 

Waimea Canyon, also known as “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific”, and as it turned out, is a beautiful sight to behold.  The canyon was formed by the extreme rainfall from MountWaimea Canyon By Great Hawaii Vacations Wai’ale’ale, known as the Wettest Spot on Earth, which streams down to the Waimea River and finds its way to the Pacific Ocean.  Unlike the mainland Grand Canyon, the deep hues of red are met by waterfalls and the lush greens you see everywhere on the Garden Isle. 

The canyon has a unique geologic history—it was formed not only by the steady process of erosion, but also by a catastrophic collapse of the volcano that created Kauaʻi. As is explained in the Waimea Canyon State Farm Literature, "Like the other Hawaiian islands, Kauaʻi is the top of an enormous volcano rising from the ocean floor. With lava flows dated to about 5 million years ago, Kauaʻi is the oldest of the large Hawaiian islands. Roughly 4 million years ago, while Kauaʻi was still erupting almost continuously, a portion of the island collapsed. This collapse formed a depression, which then filled with lava flows."  and Waimea Canyon was born. It is very beautful to behold. Waimea Canyon Panorama by Great Hawaii Vacations resized 600

Waimea Canyon State Park encompasses 1,866 acres (7.5 km²) and is a popular tourist 

Waimea View resized 600

 attraction on the island. It provides a wilderness area with numerous hiking trails. It can be accessed from Waimea on Hawaiʻi state road 550, which is 18 miles long and leads up to Koke'e State Park.  

We took a long walk along a few of these trails and were left breathless by the views.  At the top of the park there is a lookout that has one of the world's most panoramic views.  It is of the North West Coast of Kauai.  This is a spot that you will not want to miss on your tour of Waimea Canyon.


From Waimea Canyon, you can also look out to the Pacific Ocean and see the Forbidden Isle of Ni’ihau in the distance.  As Wikipedia describes it, "The people of Niʻihau are known for their gemlike lei pūpū (shell lei) craftsmanship, and speak Hawaiʻian as a primary language. The island is generally off-limits to all but relatives of the island's owners, U.S. Navy personnel, government officials and invited guests, giving it the nickname "The Forbidden Isle".  They also go on to mention that, "During World War II, the island was the site of the Niʻihau Incident: A Japanese navy fighter pilot crashed on the island and terrorized its residents for a week after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

In Waimea Town itself, down on the coast, you have a small, very friendly kama’aina (Hawaiian local) community.  You can find economically-priced dining, tasty treats like shave ice, and great local artistry.

Whether you are an avid photographer, thrill-seeking hiker, or trying to keep your family entertained on Kauai, Waimea Canyon is a cut above those childhood trips, wouldn’t you agree?

For more information about your perfect Hawaii vacation, use the menu links at the top of this page or call our specialists at:

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Hawaiian Hospitality For A Great Holiday (Guest Blog)

 

Sophie Mitchell, who lives in Australia, is an eminent travel writer and we are happy to post an article she wrote for us about her perspective on a Great Hawaii vacation.

Thank you Sophie.

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The moment someone says Hawaii, a very typical image conjures in your mind – lots ofBeautiful Hawaii by Great Hawaii Vacations
sunshine, stretch of white sandy beaches, lapis lazuli waters, pina coladas, exotic hula dancers and more. You have got it right for the most part – only it is more beautiful up close. The warm tropical climate and the natural scenery makes Hawaii one of the most sought after and preferred holiday destination for tourists from all over the world, - we Aussies being no exception.

You want to get married or spend a honeymoon week, or an outdoor shoot for some ad campaign, or simply visiting – whatever your reason is – you can never go wrong with Hawaii. And now, especially with flightsaustralia.com.au you can get cheap flights to USA from Australia.  

This Polynesian archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean is wonder in itself. The fresh floral air energizes you and the warm tranquil water refreshes you.  The six unique islands with their distinct flavor and experience fascinates any traveler be it the very first time or his fifth visit! The dramatic coast, the vibrant shores, the miles of white sands, dolphin friendly waters, the volcanoes, springs and more will capture you attention. Napali Coast, Waikiki Beach, Hulopoe Bay, Haleakala, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is just to name a few.

A visit to the historic landmarks of Hawaii will let you learn a thing or two about the rich and vibrant of the land.  Wear your best bikini, get a tan on the beach; learn how to surf, go snorkeling and kayaking, watch whales in their habitat, attend a traditional luau – find out all there is about the hula. Romantic escapes, family vacations, walking on a volcano, see Hawaii on a bike, trek, and swim with a manta ray, sample the cuisine, go fishing, and indulge in a sensual spa massage – all the ingredients of a perfect holiday in one place!

Wonderful condos by Great Hawaii VacationsFrom five star resorts to vacation rentals, and beautiful condos - accommodation is a not a problem in Hawaii and Great Hawaii Vactions knows it all.  Hawaii is a place for everyone. There is something for everybody. Plan a Hawaiian wedding or a bachelor party or your annual family reunion, whatever is the event – Hawaii will rise to the occasion. Meet the lovely people; get aquatinted with the flora and fauna of this paradise island, give your taste buds a little treat with the delectable and refreshing flavors of the Hawaiian cuisine. Sip a cocktail sunbathing at the beach, get a massage, and get pampered. Go shopping- collect unique memorabilia and cute souvenirs from the shops.

Sophie Mitchell is an eminent travel writer. Her articles are mostly based on various tourist destinations and how to reach the spot. Readers get a good idea of how to have a vacation on a moderate budget. In the above article, 

For more information about your perfect Hawaii vacation, use the menu links at the top of this page or call our specialists at:

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Hawaii Honeymoon Planning - Setting Your Budget

 

One of the most important things to consider when planning your perfect Hawaii honeymoon is your budget. Do you cut back on the accommodations so you can do more activites?  Or docost you splurge for that fabulous oceanview knowing that you'll have to do one or two less excursions?  Maybe you need help in creating a realistic overall budget.  This article will definitely help with that.

Budgeting for Flights

Thankfully, the price of flights have been on the way down for a few months now.  Earlier in the year we were seeing flight prices to Maui between $600-$700/ticket, and that was from major West Coast cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco.  Now the air has come down so significantly that it's not unheard of to find roundtrip airfare from those cities for less than $400.  While airfare in the $300 isn't quite the norm yet, a good goal to aim for if traveling from the West coast is sub $500.  Good airfare from the Midwest and East Coast will be a bit more, usually around $100-$200 more per person. 

How do you find those great fares?  Here are a few tips:

  • If possible, avoid departing/returning on weekends. It's usually cheaper to fly Monday-Thursday.

  • Be flexible on your dates. Sometimes being able to leave even one day later or earlier can save you hundreds of dollars.

  • Take the redeye. We know it's not the most desirable schedule for most people, but flying home overnight can usually save you a decent chunk of change.

  • Avoid "super peak" travel times. Hawaii's typical peak periods are the summer and winter months.  By "super peak" we mean when Hawaii is most busy, such as between Christmas and New Years, Spring Break and the middle of February.  Airfare usually skyrockets during these times of the year.

Budgeting for Accommodations

Now that you know whether you'll be honeymooing in a hotel or condo (previous post) it's time to set your accommodations budget. Accommodations in Hawaii can range widely in price, but a good general rule of thumb is as follows:

  • 2-star accommodations: $125-$175/night

  • 3-star accommodations: $175-$250/night

  • 4-star accommodations: $250-$325/night

  • 5-star accommodations: $325/night+

You'll probably notice we didn't give a range for 1-star accommodations. This is because with as special of a trip as this is we really don't recommend spending your honeymoon in anything less than three-stars, and definitely recommend avoiding one-star accommodations. Of course, these are just general ranges and options such as a better view can vary the cost even greater.

Budgeting for Ground Transportation

We get asked this question all the time:  "Do I need a car rental in Hawaii?"  The short answer - If you're staying anywhere other than Waikiki, absolutely.  The long answer is that public transportation isn't really great on most of the islands (outside of Waikiki, which is part of a big city) and a lot of times you'll end up spending as much, if not more, on roundtrip airport transfers just to get you to/from your hotel.  While you do have to look out for separate parking charges at some hotels, the reality is that most hotels that charge a daily resort fee (like the Sheraton Maui, for example) include self-parking in the resort fee. So, you're basically paying for parking whether or not you even have a car, so it won't cost extra to have one.

Also, if you plan on doing activities like luaus, horseback riding, etc, most tour companies charge extra to pick you up at your hotel. So between the extra cost charged by the activities companies, the price of airport transfers and the price of cabs to get you around the island it usually becomes more cost effective (and convenient) to rent your own car.  Driving around the islands is super easy, so don't be intimidated by the thought of driving around a strange island you've never been to.

So how much should you budget for ground transportation?  You typically get a better rate for having a car for a week, and a weekly rate on a mid-size car right now is running around $27/day (tax included).  Of course, it can be really fund to have a fancy car like a convertible or a Jeep Wrangler while you're exploring the islands.  Though they cost more (usually around $50/day) there really isn't anything quite like going on a scenic drive like the Road to Hana on Maui or Waimea Canyon on Kauai with the top down and the warm Hawaii air blowing in your face.

Budgeting for Food and Activities

So know you know how much to spend to get where you're going, to stay in the hotel of your dreams and to be able to get around the island.  But how much money should you plan on spending every day for food and activities?  We usually tell people to plan for about $100/person per day, but on a honeymoon where you're more likely to do more activities and have a few meals at some fancy restaurants you may want to plan on $150/person per day or even more.  The average cost of an activity in Hawaii is $80/person, so if you had one really cool activity planned each day that alone would eat up most of your $100/day budget.  Also, a dinner at one of the nice restaurants at the 5-star hotels can easily cost $150-$200, while a treatment at their spa (like a massage) can be anywhere from $100-$300. 

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Like any major purchase, planning ahead for the costs associated with your honeymoon and knowing the prices ahead of time (especially for things like activities) will mitigate sticker shock and can help adjust your financial expectations.  This way while you're lounging at the pool you'll be more concerned with how quickly you can get your next Mai Tai rather than how much it costs.

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