I've been to every island between 2 and 4 times.
If the volcano is a must, the only island that has one is Hawaii (the Big Island). It's on the Southern portion of the island, but the highways there are good and nothing is too far away. At night it looks like this:
In the day it looks like nothing haha.
If the volcano isn't a must, and she likes nature, Kauai would be the best choice IMHO. Kauai is my favorite island.
1) 7 Nights is a bit light in my opinion, especially since you've never been, and your first/last days are almost always write-offs, and 5 days is not enough. Most flights to the islands get in late in the day. 9-14 days is much better IMHO. Depends what you want to do though. If you just like to sit in your hotel all day, then it doesn't matter how long. If you want to hit most of the highlights, IMO you need more than 7 nights.
2) You have to go to Hawaii if you want the volcano, otherwise Kauai is what I'd recommend especially if she's a nature lover ('The Garden Isle'). Maui is more crowded and by far the most expensive island to go to. Maui is by far the best island for whales though (Dec-Mar roughly). Oahu is the most 'industrialized' island and also my least favorite. Hawaii is my second favorite island, and it's cheap and not crowded.
3) Do not use a travel agent. Hawaii is probably the easiest place there is to book everything yourself. Look for bundle deals on Expedia or similar with a car. Excluding Maui, I've got rental cars for $13/day before.
4) IMHO Hawaii is best done with a rental property from VRBO or similar. You have Costco/Walmart on every island, so it's nice to be able to stock your kitchen and have breakfast/lunch at home without having to buy it every day. There are lots of rental villas and similar that cater to families with kids too. Being in a crowded hotel or resort property takes away from the experience IMO.
5) Book the excursions online yourself, either in advance (whales, helicopters, etc.) or when you're there (for lower profile stuff). A lot of stuff is free or very cheap (beaches, hikes, paddle boards, observatories, etc.)
If you've never been before, any of the islands are likely to impress.
October is an awesome time to go, weather is still good and flights are dirt cheap (I've never paid more than $500/person for good October flights). It's also low season for rental properties so you get good rates. Also if you email the owner/property managers you can usually get it cheaper yet.
Last edited by Mitsu3000gt on 01-09-2017 at 05:44 PM
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