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    Default Hawaii what to do and where to go ?

    My daughter wants to go to Hawaii for her 5th birthday. Me or my wife has never been to Hawaii. We are planning to go there in October.
    This is all about my daughter. She wants to see the Volcano in the night, black sand and beaches. She is more in to nature.
    I know bunch of people here goes to Hawaii frequently so I am turning to Beyond to get some advice.
    1) We are planning to go for 7 nights. Is that too little or too much?
    2) What Island to go to ?
    3) Should I make the car reservation through travel agent or should I do it separately ?
    4) We are looking at Fairmont. or should we look at any other hotels?
    5) Should buy all the all the excursion vouchers through travel agent or can i buy them once I land there?

    Anything else I should know?

    Thanks in advance.

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    Default Re: Hawaii what to do and where to go ?

    Originally posted by ganesh
    My daughter wants to go to Hawaii for her 5th birthday. Me or my wife has never been to Hawaii. We are planning to go there in October.
    This is all about my daughter. She wants to see the Volcano in the night, black sand and beaches. She is more in to nature.
    I know bunch of people here goes to Hawaii frequently so I am turning to Beyond to get some advice.
    The big island is what she wants and more specifically, the Hilo side.

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    It's going to come down to budget... but it sounds like Maui would be the ideal island. It's small enough that you could stay anywhere.... but if I was a 5 year old girl it would be the Hyatt Regency all the way. Because penguins!

    7 days is plenty for Maui

    If you're renting a car I don't know if I would bother with many excursions? It's a 1st world island, so safe to wander without a local guide and also $$$ for anything like that. I'd just diy your own adventures

    As for rental, we just added it onto our flight at checkout... no idea if that's the best option or not, but with all the typical agencies on the island I think prices are pretty standard

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    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; 01-09-2017 at 10:44 AM.

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    What Mitsu said pretty much sums it up. I'm currently on Oahu, and find anything less than 2 weeks to be too short.

    As for bookings, I've never stayed at a hotel here, so I can't comment on that. But I've always booked the rental vehicle online, and never as a package deal, or through a travel agent, and it's still worked well.

    The only touristy excursions we've done, were bought as packages at the stadium swap meet here. Unfortunately they might as well have been Mexican sales men selling them (think super greasy used car salesmen).

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    Thanks for all the information so far.
    It gives me a good starting point.
    Thanks for the detail reply mitsu much appreciated.

    I kind of need to use a travel agent Because my sister in law is a travel agent and she is giving us a break on the pricing Having said that I rather not buy the passes through them. I am sure they have their own mark up.

    As for budget we figured it will be around 7K

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    NP. You need to pick an island before you put any effort into anything else.

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    Originally posted by ercchry

    7 days is plenty for Maui
    First trip, and with a child? 10 days would be better. But I suppose it depends how much time you spend snorkeling in the mornings.

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    I found this site to be the best for booking car rentals.

    https://www.discounthawaiicarrental.com/

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    Originally posted by Tik-Tok


    First trip, and with a child? 10 days would be better. But I suppose it depends how much time you spend snorkeling in the mornings.
    Yeah I guess with a kid you'd be spending a lot more time just playing at the beach... for actual sights to see though 7 days is plenty... take a day to explore the lava fields, a day for volcano sight seeing (bring a jacket!), a day driving to Hana, couple travel days and then even a day for ziplining and a beach day... but I guess I get my beach and whale watching in from a surfboard twice a day with the other activities in between sets

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    https://www.costcotravel.ca/ is good, too, for car rentals
    GO FLAMES GO!

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    Originally posted by ercchry


    Yeah I guess with a kid you'd be spending a lot more time just playing at the beach... for actual sights to see though 7 days is plenty... take a day to explore the lava fields, a day for volcano sight seeing (bring a jacket!), a day driving to Hana, couple travel days and then even a day for ziplining and a beach day... but I guess I get my beach and whale watching in from a surfboard twice a day with the other activities in between sets
    There's WAY more to do and see on Hawaii than just that, so it depends what he wants to do. Also remember your first and last days are most likely write-offs with travel. And Hana is on a different island

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    Originally posted by ganesh
    Thanks for all the information so far.
    It gives me a good starting point.
    Thanks for the detail reply mitsu much appreciated.

    I kind of need to use a travel agent Because my sister in law is a travel agent and she is giving us a break on the pricing Having said that I rather not buy the passes through them. I am sure they have their own mark up.

    As for budget we figured it will be around 7K
    if you can get discount from a Travel Agent, go for it, especially for flight and accommodation.
    But maybe compare the price by booking directly on online.

    If seeing an active volcano is a top for your daughter, then Big Island is the island you want to go.
    Maui if you want a more resort/tourist location, although the east side can be also great for nature lovers.
    Kauai if you want to be out in the nature, also my favourite island.

    Duration of your vacation will depends on you. We've done Hawaii numerous time for a week only and while yes it feels short, we've been able to do most of what we wanted.
    Usually what we do is 2-3 nights in Oahu and another 3-5 nights on another island.
    But with kids, it's definitely best to be on one location instead of moving around.

    For car rental, I've always gone through Expedia with no issue

    Originally posted by Mitsu3000gt


    There's WAY more to do and see on Hawaii than just that, so it depends what he wants to do. Also remember your first and last days are most likely write-offs with travel. And Hana is on a different island
    first day is definitely a write off as you'll arrive in the evening.
    Last day though usually the flight back is in the evening, so you could still drive around/hang by the beach on your last day.
    Just make sure you have access to a shower/changing room if you want.
    Last edited by taemo; 01-09-2017 at 12:18 PM.

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    Originally posted by Mitsu3000gt


    There's WAY more to do and see on Hawaii than just that, so it depends what he wants to do. Also remember your first and last days are most likely write-offs with travel. And Hana is on a different island
    Our discussion was purely Maui based

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    Originally posted by ercchry


    Our discussion was purely Maui based
    You mentioned the volcano so either way you're talking about two different islands. His daughter wants to see the active volcano at night and the only place to do that is Hawaii.

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    Not one mention of an active volcano.... but Maui does have a volcano

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    Sorry I should have mentioned. Yes what she wants to see is an active volcano. She wants to see the lava.
    In her words ' Dad do you know some Volcano's makes fireworks ?'

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    Originally posted by ercchry
    Not one mention of an active volcano.... but Maui does have a volcano
    If she wants to go there at night, it's a safe assumption they're looking for an active one. No one wants to see an empty rock crater in the dark

    Keep in mind, without quite a long hike you can't actually get close to the active volcano on Hawaii. It's easily viewable at night, but you're probably nearly 1km away IIRC. Been a couple years since I was at the volcano last.

    Also, Hilo side is closer to that stuff, but it rains super often there. If you want beach time, it's safer to go to the southwest side of the island - kona side - and take a day/overnight trip to hilo and hit the volcano on the way.

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    Originally posted by ganesh
    Sorry I should have mentioned. Yes what she wants to see is an active volcano. She wants to see the lava.
    In her words ' Dad do you know some Volcano's makes fireworks ?'
    If she wants to see Lava (I.e. flowing on the ground) it's a total crap shoot where the flows are, and whether or not you're allowed to see them, and whether or not they are right by the road or require a 4hr hike in the dark. Don't plan on seeing lava flow or you will probably be disappointed - the most you will likely see is the red "glow" like in the photo I posted previously.

    In the daytime the volcano everyone goes to see looks like this, which is pretty uninteresting:



    There's more you can see from a plane/helicopter as well if you're so inclined.

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    Whenever I go back to The Big Island (Hawaii), I'll be keeping an eye on the lava info and booking a boat tour. When I went a few years ago, I did a heli tour and it was...ok...because the lava wasn't really flowing, but the boat at night is honestly where it's at. You might be able to hire local guides to take you out into the lava fields because it can be really sketchy but a really cool experience too. With a 5 year old...your call.

    One cool thing to do is astro stuff on Mauna Kea - it's a very unique spot and really wish I did this.

    There's a fun horseback trip up by Waimea through the forest reserve. It's a cool place, I liked it.
    Last edited by msommers; 01-09-2017 at 02:03 PM.
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