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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: Jeremy E. on July 09, 2015, 02:18:02 PM

Title: Hawaii or Las Vegas?
Post by: Jeremy E. on July 09, 2015, 02:18:02 PM
Planning a vacation in March-April, around 10 days long for me and my girlfriend. So far I have Wyndham rewards with 2-3 free nights in a hotel. Now I'm deciding if I want to go to Hawaii or Las Vegas before I decide which rewards card to work on next. If I go to Hawaii I'd like to visit Volcanoes National Park, as well as learning about some great Hawaiian culture and seeing as much nature as possible, I haven't figured out if I want to go to any islands other than the big island yet, and if I do, then which ones I'd like to go to. If I go to Vegas, I'll pretty much let my girlfriend decide what we'll do as she's been there multiple times. After the Vegas stuff for 3 or 4 days we'd go to Utah and road trip/camp and explore a bunch of National Parks, 1 day each (Bryce, Glen, Arches, Zion, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, bridges, etc.)
I think Vegas would be cheaper because I wouldn't have to pay for any hotels, in Hawaii I think I'd be able to cover around 6 hotel nights with credit card rewards and be on the hook for the rest, maybe I would stay less days if I went to Hawaii so it wouldn't cost as much.
What would the other costs be? I'd have to rent a car in Vegas to go to the National Parks, would I need to rent a car if I went to Hawaii? Should I just go to the big island in Hawaii, or visit another one? How much does it cost to travel between islands? What are some options for activities in Hawaii and how much do they cost? I'd like to learn a lot about the culture of 1-2 of the Islands while I'm there.
The credit cards I'm thinking about getting are
IHG Rewards Club Select   after spending $1000 in 3 months get 60k IHG points, which is about 2-3 nights in hotels
Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Visa after spending $2000 in 3 months get 70k Marriott points + a free night at marriott hotels
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature after spending $1000 in 3 months get $100($25 basically because $25 nonwaived annual fee) also 25k miles signup bonus and $121 coach companion fare
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards after spending $2000 get 50k miles, $69 nonwaived annual fee
Barclaycard Arrival Plus after spending $3000 in 3 months get $400 for travel purchases (I might not be able to hit that spending limit)
United Mileage Plus Explorer after spending $1000 in 3 months get 30k miles, also $50 signup bonus

Are there better options from credit cards? Which ones should I go for?
Title: Re: Hawaii or Las Vegas?
Post by: Insanity on July 09, 2015, 03:54:26 PM
I would vote Hawaii over Vegas.  But that is cause I absolutely loved it an only like Vegas.
Title: Re: Hawaii or Las Vegas?
Post by: Goldielocks on July 09, 2015, 04:01:36 PM
I much prefer Hawaii over Vegas. But Vegas should end up 3x cheaper (or more). Even if accommodation is covered by points for each.

Food is expensive in Hawaii. You will want a rental car for some of the days you are there. Oahu and Maui public transportation only gets you so far. Walking locally is ok on the other islands too, but you may want to check out more sights beyond 2 mile stroll.
Title: Re: Hawaii or Las Vegas?
Post by: abiteveryday on July 09, 2015, 04:20:24 PM
Another Hawaii vote.     Vegas is just a depressing 24/7 embodiment of the bad parts of humanity.    Makes a great place to fly into, if you want to visit the parks in Utah though.
Title: Re: Hawaii or Las Vegas?
Post by: seattlecyclone on July 09, 2015, 04:54:05 PM
I have been to Vegas a few times. The first time it was fun to walk through all of the hotels and just marvel at the extravagance of it all. After that, the experience wore thin. Every time you turn around there's someone trying to sell you something, and you see countless people wasting money gambling or buying ridiculous luxury goods. I started to feel sorry for them all! That's no way to spend a vacation. There are some great national parks and other sites within driving distance of Vegas (Hoover Dam, Valley of Fire, Zion National Park, etc.). On my last trips to Vegas I have enjoyed those escapes more than basically anything within the city.

I have also been to Hawaii a few times. I like it much better. Lots of nature to see. There are plenty of anti-Mustachian tourist activities there as well, but they seem easier to avoid if you're not seeking them out. Skip the hotels and look on VRBO or AirBnB for places to stay. Tons of local residents have rooms to rent out for much less money than the tourist hotels, and these spaces often have cooking facilities so you're not stuck eating at restaurants for all of your meals if you don't want to.
Title: Re: Hawaii or Las Vegas?
Post by: Bob W on July 09, 2015, 05:23:10 PM
Hawaii.   Honolulu is a big nasty city.  I suggest flying into lihue on kauii.   You can camp there on secluded sites.   There are plenty of biking opportunities.   And the scenery is awesome..     Then do a 3 day trip to Vegas on reward points and southwest.   Why settle for just one.   Check out richmondsavers.com for some tips on doing Hawaii free.
Title: Re: Hawaii or Las Vegas?
Post by: sisto on July 09, 2015, 05:27:06 PM
I am getting ready to both myself as well as visit Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. If I had to choose between Vegas and Hawaii, I'd pick Hawaii, but I've also never been there, but I have been to Vegas a few times.
Title: Re: Hawaii or Las Vegas?
Post by: Jeremy E. on July 09, 2015, 06:19:42 PM
Yellowstone is AMAZING! I'm only about an 8 hr drive away so I've been there. It's my 2nd favorite National Park after Glacier National Park. Someday I hope to visit all the National Parks including Volcanoes in Hawaii and like 10 in Utah, so I'm leaning toward flying to Vegas, spending 2-3 nights there to satisfy my girlfriend, and then camping in the Utah National Parks for about a week. One thing I'm not too sure of is getting my camping equipment to Vegas, my tent is HUGE as I usually drive my car to camping sites, my Cooler is big, my sleeping bag and mattress pad are heavy, I don't think they allow propane or propane accessories on the plane(sorry Hank Hill), so my barbecue is out. I wonder if there is a place to rent camping supplies around Vegas or Utah for a reasonable price?

After dinner I'll check out Richmondsavers.com
Title: Re: Hawaii or Las Vegas?
Post by: acorn on July 09, 2015, 07:36:23 PM
If it's just between Hawaii and Vegas, I'll vote Hawaii. Vegas gets tiring after 2-3 days. But throw in the national parks, and it's a toss-up. The national parks in the grand circle (http://www.grandcircle.org/national-parks) are so amazing....
Title: Re: Hawaii or Las Vegas?
Post by: Lski'stash on July 09, 2015, 07:42:12 PM
Hawaii. Been to both. Vegas is a fun 'live luxuriously on the cheap' town, especially if you don't gamble:) BUT! In Hawaii, you can POKE LAVA! REAL LAVA! Seriously, the most grueling day of my entire life. My husband and I worked our way through 3 miles of jungle mud just to get to the lava fields, and then it was 3 miles back though the jungle mud. But in the middle, there was LAVA. And lava FIELDs. Not the thirty-year-old lame lava fields you find in volcanoes national park. Crunchy, shiny, brand new lava fields. It feels like there's glass breaking on every step. We actually got to get some of the brand new lava out and kept it!!!! There's seriously nothing like it anywhere else on earth.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g3135627-d3680264-Reviews-Poke_A_Stick_Lava_Tours-Kalapana_Island_of_Hawaii_Hawaii.html
Title: Re: Hawaii or Las Vegas?
Post by: Jeremy E. on July 09, 2015, 07:56:01 PM
Hawaii. Been to both. Vegas is a fun 'live luxuriously on the cheap' town, especially if you don't gamble:) BUT! In Hawaii, you can POKE LAVA! REAL LAVA! Seriously, the most grueling day of my entire life. My husband and I worked our way through 3 miles of jungle mud just to get to the lava fields, and then it was 3 miles back though the jungle mud. But in the middle, there was LAVA. And lava FIELDs. Not the thirty-year-old lame lava fields you find in volcanoes national park. Crunchy, shiny, brand new lava fields. It feels like there's glass breaking on every step. We actually got to get some of the brand new lava out and kept it!!!! There's seriously nothing like it anywhere else on earth.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g3135627-d3680264-Reviews-Poke_A_Stick_Lava_Tours-Kalapana_Island_of_Hawaii_Hawaii.html
This sounds damn fun... how much does it cost to poke lava? I attempted to find out and it looks like tours are $100 per person?
Title: Re: Hawaii or Las Vegas?
Post by: chasesfish on July 09, 2015, 08:59:06 PM
Hawaii, anywhere but Honolulu. 
Title: Re: Hawaii or Las Vegas?
Post by: Lski'stash on July 09, 2015, 09:17:54 PM
The tour range $100-$150 depending on how hard it is to get to the lava. When we went it has just went inward and started traveling to pohoa, so it was really hard to get to. I think it was $150 a person, and went literally all day from 9:30 am to 9:30 at night. We spent about an hour with the lava, and the rest was spent in the jungle mud. Seriously, this is not for the faint of heart. But if you enjoy a challenge, and are looking for an experience your not going to forget anytime soon, this is it.
Title: Re: Hawaii or Las Vegas?
Post by: MsPeacock on July 09, 2015, 09:32:50 PM
Hawaii, hands down. I hate Vegas. Lived in Hawaii for 4 years - it is pretty darn close to perfect. Big Island isn't my favorite - but has tons to offer.
Title: Re: Hawaii or Las Vegas?
Post by: Left Bank on July 10, 2015, 12:07:18 AM
Haven't been to HI but if Las Vegas is the other option I would chose HI.  I am with MsPeacock on this - Vegas is just a horrible place to have to spend time in my opinion.
Title: Re: Hawaii or Las Vegas?
Post by: Jeremy E. on July 10, 2015, 02:21:22 PM
Despite so many votes for Hawaii... I've decided on Vegas! Flying there in April, spending 2 nights in Vegas doing whatever my girlfriend pleases and probably wasting far too much, then renting a car and camping equipment and going to and spending 1 day at each,
Zion National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Glen Canyon National Park
Natural Bridges National Monument
Canyonlands National Park
Arches National Park
Capitol Reef National Park
Then returning to Vegas and then flying home.
Title: Re: Hawaii or Las Vegas?
Post by: JoJo on July 10, 2015, 02:42:44 PM
Despite so many votes for Hawaii... I've decided on Vegas! Flying there in April, spending 2 nights in Vegas doing whatever my girlfriend pleases and probably wasting far too much, then renting a car and camping equipment and going to and spending 1 day at each,
Zion National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Glen Canyon National Park
Natural Bridges National Monument
Canyonlands National Park
Arches National Park
Capitol Reef National Park
Then returning to Vegas and then flying home.

I HATE Vegas but also think something like this is a good alternative to Hawaii.  I did Vegas + the southern loop...

Went down to Laughlin and had cheap casino buffet lunch on the river
Oatman, AZ with it's wild burros
Route 66
Grand Canyon
Flagstaff
Drive up through Navajo lands and had indian (native american) food at the roadside
Horseshoe bend     http://horseshoebend.com/
Bryce
Zion
There's some slot canyons on AZ/UT border too but didn't have time
Hoover Dam
Title: Re: Hawaii or Las Vegas?
Post by: zoltani on July 10, 2015, 05:34:51 PM
For me Vegas. I'm a rock climber and Vegas has WAY more climbing, so it is an easy choice. I get pretty bored with beaches.

When I go to Vegas I don't even go to the strip, hate it.

Be sure to visit Arizona Hot Springs near the Hoover Dam, though it may already be too hot to go there by April.
Title: Re: Hawaii or Las Vegas?
Post by: Left Bank on July 11, 2015, 09:27:13 AM
Despite so many votes for Hawaii... I've decided on Vegas! Flying there in April, spending 2 nights in Vegas doing whatever my girlfriend pleases and probably wasting far too much, then renting a car and camping equipment and going to and spending 1 day at each,
Zion National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Glen Canyon National Park
Natural Bridges National Monument
Canyonlands National Park
Arches National Park
Capitol Reef National Park
Then returning to Vegas and then flying home.

That sounds great - I thought you said you were going to Las Vegas
Title: Re: Hawaii or Las Vegas?
Post by: TheThirstyStag on July 11, 2015, 09:48:50 AM
Having just visited Volcanoes national park, another vote for Hawaii here.  The big island is great for nature lovers and you can typically snag a good AirBnB rate. 

Getting to Hawaii is expensive, but once you're there, you can do lots of great stuff on the cheap.
Title: Re: Hawaii or Las Vegas?
Post by: Dicey on July 11, 2015, 11:10:32 AM
Vegas has a fake volcano. Hawaii is a volcano. Plus, there are always cheap flight/hotel deals to Vegas because they want your sukka gambling money. Go for a long weekand, if you must, but Hawaii is a real vacation.

P.S. Oahu has a lot more to offer than Waikiki, so don't sell it short. It's pretty easy to avoid the touristy parts of the island.

P.P.S. Duh, I didn't read far enough. Enjoy Vegas, sigh. At least you're not planning on gambling. Oh well, there's always next year for Hawaii.
Title: Re: Hawaii or Las Vegas?
Post by: Jeremy E. on July 11, 2015, 02:40:04 PM
Vegas has a fake volcano. Hawaii is a volcano. Plus, there are always cheap flight/hotel deals to Vegas because they want your sukka gambling money. Go for a long weekand, if you must, but Hawaii is a real vacation.

P.S. Oahu has a lot more to offer than Waikiki, so don't sell it short. It's pretty easy to avoid the touristy parts of the island.

P.P.S. Duh, I didn't read far enough. Enjoy Vegas, sigh. At least you're not planning on gambling. Oh well, there's always next year for Hawaii.
Probably go there next Fall :) I'll look into Oahu, thanks for the suggestion!
Title: Re: Hawaii or Las Vegas?
Post by: Jeremy E. on July 11, 2015, 02:42:20 PM
Having just visited Volcanoes national park, another vote for Hawaii here.  The big island is great for nature lovers and you can typically snag a good AirBnB rate. 

Getting to Hawaii is expensive, but once you're there, you can do lots of great stuff on the cheap.
How was Volcanoes National Park? What are some of the best cheap activities there? I still plan on going probably about 14 months from today
Title: Re: Hawaii or Las Vegas?
Post by: Mrs.LC on July 11, 2015, 06:15:58 PM
Why not drive to Las Vegas and be able to use your own camping gear? You could break up the trip by going to a couple parks, hang out in Vegas, then go to a few more parks. Sounds like a great trip to me!
Title: Re: Hawaii or Las Vegas?
Post by: forummm on July 11, 2015, 06:26:04 PM
Vegas is kind of a waste. There's nothing to do there expect spend money or watch people spending money. And it's smoky and garish. The opulence is interesting to look at. But not for too long. Spending time in the parks is great. Some of them may warrant more than 1 day however, especially with travel time.

Hawaii is also a bit overrated in my book, but preferable to Vegas. There are a ton of pretty fish visible just with snorkeling. The landscape is pretty. Volcanoes are cool.
Title: Re: Hawaii or Las Vegas?
Post by: kimmarg on July 11, 2015, 08:11:10 PM
Yellowstone is AMAZING! I'm only about an 8 hr drive away so I've been there. It's my 2nd favorite National Park after Glacier National Park. Someday I hope to visit all the National Parks including Volcanoes in Hawaii and like 10 in Utah, so I'm leaning toward flying to Vegas, spending 2-3 nights there to satisfy my girlfriend, and then camping in the Utah National Parks for about a week. One thing I'm not too sure of is getting my camping equipment to Vegas, my tent is HUGE as I usually drive my car to camping sites, my Cooler is big, my sleeping bag and mattress pad are heavy, I don't think they allow propane or propane accessories on the plane(sorry Hank Hill), so my barbecue is out. I wonder if there is a place to rent camping supplies around Vegas or Utah for a reasonable price?

After dinner I'll check out Richmondsavers.com

Camping equipment is no prob on southwest. 2 50lb bags free per person plus carry-on. I've brought full camping and climbing gear. Just equalize your bags for weight, not what you'd actually pack together camping.stove is even fine checked but must be empty of fuel and aired out a few days.
Title: Re: Hawaii or Las Vegas?
Post by: fishnfool on July 11, 2015, 11:37:14 PM
Hawaii is a sure bet!

We're on Kauai right now winding down towards the end of a 12 night stay here. Kauai is awesome! If you're dead set on seeing the Big Isle, consider Kauai as another choice. You could do both but I wouldn't unless you could do a week at both islands. A condo is best to keep your food budget in check. We have cooked 95% of our meals here. Bought most of our food at costco. A few things at Safeway and freshape local fruit and vege's at farmers market. Got best deal on rental car through costco the last few trips we've done here. Also recheck car rental price every few weeks up to your trip, the prices drop and you can save $ making new car reservation and cancel previous one. You can't beat the Alaska air CC through B of A. Every year we use the companion fare discount and have used our miles for trips too. VRBO is a great website to book condos for every budget.  Another nice thing about Alaska air is they have the most direct flights to all of the islands.

Aloha
Title: Re: Hawaii or Las Vegas?
Post by: Rylito on July 12, 2015, 05:59:44 PM
Sounds like you'll have a great trip.  Just wanted to throw out some recommendations to visit Red Rock Canyon for an easy day trip while in Vegas, and Death Valley if you'd like to experience something different than canyonland-type scenery.
Title: Re: Hawaii or Las Vegas?
Post by: MUSTACHEFTW on July 12, 2015, 09:36:46 PM
Hawaii is everything you would imagine paradise to be like.

Las Vegas is everything that is wrong with humanity - drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, etc.
Title: Re: Hawaii or Las Vegas?
Post by: zoltani on July 13, 2015, 11:37:22 AM
I too had very negative prejudices about vegas, until I actually explored around the town. There are some amazing locations to visit. Expand your horizons and leave the strip sometimes.

Sunrise on Red Rock Canyon
(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/hwMDNpFGNGxdJ-rgJZs0YtZIdIJU7l6gs_WYlMPJTGw=w960-h540-no)

Climbing in Red Rock - Some of the best in the country
(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/oD6ms9RiuUCCnZM2wpMSzgKFc_Pt_BVsVsMCBR3g6u4=w711-h400-no)

A relaxing soak in Arizona Hot Springs is a must!
(http://www.americansouthwest.net/arizona/photographs700/hot-springs-canyon6.jpg)
Title: Re: Hawaii or Las Vegas?
Post by: bigjames on August 13, 2015, 07:00:55 AM
Well, Vegas is a place you simply have to visit before you die. Yeah, Hawaii has nice beaches but I must say that Las Vegas would be unlike anything you've seen before. Sure, it's not for everyone, I suppose, but if you have an open mind the atmosphere is breathtaking and vibrant. Money, however, is a problem in Vegas even if you have a lot of it in the first place - it can vanish in no time if you are reckless. Hotels are pretty expensive but there are exceptions if invest a bit  of time in comparing prices, I used this site http://www.reservationcounter.com/hotel/las-vegas/downtown/ (http://www.reservationcounter.com/hotel/las-vegas/downtown/). For example, I found this Harrah's place on the Strip with a resort fee of just 18 bucks and it's a 4 star hotel. It's true about the prejudices about Vegas, just go with a clear head and I'm sure you won't regret it.