Planning a trip to Hawaii is exciting, but it can also be pretty overwhelming! The biggest mistake most travelers make is not planning far enough in advance. This timeline will help you ensure the best options are still available to you for the best prices.
When you give yourself at least a year in advance, you have enough time to research and choose the best island (or two) to visit. Each island is unique and will appeal to travelers for different reasons. There is no "best" island- only the one that is right for you. Although any time is a good time to go to Hawaii, you will have decide the best time for your circumstances. Some months are better than others depending on what's important to you.
Accommodations should always be the first thing you book. If you are traveling during peak times, many places will be filled a year in advance. Of course, you'll usually be able to find some place to stay, but your options will be much more limited and costly.
Where you stay on the island will have the biggest impact on your vacation. Do you want a luxury beach resort? a condo? a vacation rental away from the beach? Your budget and the type of accommodations that you're looking for may lead you toward a particular part of the island. Whatever you decide, I do not recommend staying at a fabulous beach resort and never leaving that area. Hawaii is too amazing to see only a beach! Of course, the beaches are a great experience, but if you don't go on some type of adventure, you are really missing out.
This is the ideal time to book airfare, but start monitoring it about 6 months out so you'll know when you've found a good deal. This might possibly be the longest flight you've ever taken and the most expensive, so you want to determine what's best for you. Do you want the cheapest price or the most convenient flight schedule? If you live in an area with several airport options, check them all. Although it's a hassle, flights with long layovers are the cheapest.
Reserve your rental car. I highly recommend renting a car in Hawaii. No matter which island you choose, there are places that you will want to explore. Renting a car in Hawaii is surprisingly affordable, but you must book in advance to find the deals.
Start planning your daily itinerary and booking activities. Don't wait until you arrive on the islands because luaus and popular activities will be sold out. You don't want to pay a higher price for a second choice activity. I recommend planning one major activity a day and use the rest for exploring, hiking, visiting the beach, etc.
There are MANY more things I'd like to share with you about planning your Hawaii trip. I can make it easy and give you specific recommendations. Give me a call anytime- discussing this fabulous destination is one of my favorite things to do!
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Ann Jones, CTC, MCC