I recently went on a family holiday to Hawaii. Now some might see all the lavish things I buy and think I spend too much but deep down I’m frugal. I spend on some things and am totally tight on others. So here is my blow by blow of our trip from start to finish. If you choose not to shop you could totally say this trip was on a budget.
Do your research. I am a little old fashioned and like to book through a travel agent because it is always nice to have a number and a face you can call up in the case of an emergency but we all know travel agents rip you a new one if you haven’t done your research, so make sure you hunt online and find the cheapest ticket possible and then ring around to find an agent that will match it. I chose directly from the Jetstar website and the connected with a sweetheart, Claire Woods, up at Student Flights Ballarat all via email, and she matched the price I had found online. She also requested a bassinet seat although this means nothing as most airlines are first in best dressed so ensure you get there as early as possible if you want a bassinet seat. Our tickets were approximately $500 return and that was without any upgrades. We only bought one checked bag and one movie package ($10). Prams and capsules do not count towards any luggage allowance but we were very unlucky on the way out of Melbourne and presumed that carry on was only your carry on luggage, not your handbag and food etc, but the check in attendant weighed EVERYTHING and stung us with $185 where it would have only cost me $65 if I had pre-booked it. I was outraged. No one else got their handbags weighed. She even included my 2lt bottle of water that I was made to throw out before customs too. Im shaking my head just remembering it and still upset over such a waste of money. We took our own throws because last time we flew the plane was freezing but we totally didn’t need them, the newer planes are much better (more wasted weight).
Travelling with a 2 year old and a 7 month old I was nervous and made sure I bought a Trunki and filled it with lots of activities and individually wrapped toys and paint with water books etc. Total waste of my time and money. If it wasn’t for the iPad we would never had made it through that trip, so try to limit your childs’ screen time in the lead up to your trip so that they see it as a treat, and have new apps downloaded to occupy their time. The only other thing my son chose to play with was some mini Thomas trains. Oh and snacks, lots of snacks.
We chose to go directly to Maui this time rather than spend a few days in Waikiki and then go to Maui and then back to Waikiki like we did last time. It saved a few airport transfers and a lot of packing and unpacking. Be sure to allow plenty of time to get onto your Hawaiian airlines flight because they aren’t connected with Jetstar and you may miss the flight if your original flight is delayed. We allowed 3 hours in-between which was perfect as by the time you get your luggage and clear customs, then check in to your new flight and clear customs again, you can sit and have a meal at the airport food court and stretch your legs before getting on the next flight. Typically Jetstar flies in at 6am so chances are you have plenty of time before your hotel check in anyway.
From Waikiki airport a family of four will cost the same as a cab so just get a cab but in Maui the airport is a lot further out so you need to get a shuttle. This will cost approximately $80 (plus tip) for a family of four. We ended up booking with Hawaii Executive Transportation DO NOT BOOK with these guys. They were terrible!! They charged me for a baby even though I had to hold her in my lap. The driver was super cranky and swearing when he couldn’t find one of the people he had to pick up and then he kept letting go of the steering wheel to make notes in his book causing us to swerve off the road a few times. I had stupidly booked it as a return trip too and when I rang to cancel it the day before we had to leave they refused to cancel it saying that I would forfeit the whole amount and they would take it from my credit card security I used for the original booking whether I liked it or not! I was outraged. Especially as we had met a lovely cab driver that day who said he would run us to the airport for $70 (he gave me his card but i lost it. Surely just ask a local driver).
Seeing as we were travelling with 2 children, my prerequisites where that the accommodation had a kitchen/ette and a separate room so that we could put the kids to sleep and not have to go to sleep ourselves at the same time. This meant we were looking at condos. I found some great websites where people rent out their condos, some were totally horrible and not updated with the right dates which wasted my time as Id email them to get confirmations and the response I would get was that the room was actually available for those dates. You are all very lucky as I have done all the research for you.
For Maui we used VRBO and it was Mahina Surf property #220. This room was a two storey, completely refurbished apartment, with 2 bathrooms, a full kitchen and a sofa bed is need be. It sleeps 6 people and had everything you would need in a kitchen as well as everything you would need for the beach, including boogie boards, chairs and snorkelling gear. There is a pool and it overlooks the beach where you can spot turtles and whales. There is a mini mart within walking distance and there is a bus that takes you into town almost right outside. The bus is $2 each (my kids were free) or $4 gets you a daily pass. If you are planning to go to the main strip where all the restaurants are and outlets for shopping then you will need to change buses so you are better off getting a daily pass. If you are going for dinner or a late night show or luau then I suggest you take the bus in but get a cab back. A cab back will set you back about $15-$20.
Maui is great, I’m a huge fan. Black Rock beach is gorgeous and that’s where I went cliff diving and my son and husband swam with the turtles (so take snorkels). The island is so quiet to the hustle and bustle of Waikiki and that what I love about it. There are outlets in Maui too and even though they are smaller, in my opinion the sales were better so don’t hold back.
Enjoy the relaxation in Maui.
We then headed to Waikiki flying Hawwaian ailrines, if you sign up to their rewards program luggage is only $15 per bag (flights were app. $200 return) and stayed in Hotel Ilikai. The website i used was Waikiki Beach Rentals which worked well as they are condos. The condo was #627 and I am mentioning this because we had friends book in the same hotel but ended up in hospital with bed bugs. Each condo is owned by a different owner so we got extremely lucky. The room was nice and had a partition which meant we could shut it when the kids went down and we could watch tv in the lounge area without bothering them.
This hotel was right next door to Hawaii Hilton and we may have waited for the pool gate to open and just walked in and used their pool a few times…..
I took Ari on the double decker bus one night for fun and he still remembers it, so i highly recommend it. We just got off off where we wanted and grabbed a Shave Ice, then got back on.
My husbands favourite thing about Hawaii is definitely the shopping, so many designer brands and you have to check out Ross’. We bought 2 suitcases from there to fill with all the shopping we did. My favourite thing is definitely the people. Their smiles are so warm and friendly and they are always happy to help (this might also have something to do with tipping). Tipping and taxes (well having to add them my self) was my least favourite thing about Hawaii. I’m all for tipping and completely understand taxes but I hate having to work it out myself, just add it to the price bruh!!
Halekulani Hotel for brunch will have you saliavting, so much variety and the view is amazing. Do a Pearl Harbour tour, Dole, some surf lessons and a Luau as must do’s but there are so many other things to do too.
Enjoy your trip, I hope I helped. I wrote this almost 3 years ago but never got around to finishing it but have been asked for it a million time. Better late than never. xx