Author Topic: Hawaii worth it?  (Read 29249 times)

fkampere

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Hawaii worth it?
« on: March 15, 2015, 12:07:06 PM »
Alright I'm 26 will be 27 in June I have been getting the itch to want to go to Hawaii and other then being afraid of heights and flying (never flew before)  just wanted to get opinions on the cost never really traveled before.

I'd like to think I could afford it I still live at home while saving for a house I make $42000 in ohio

My accounts look like this

401k - $55000
Roth - $25000
Savings - $25000 (house down payment)
Checking - $1000

Also I have no debt at all so if I do do it I'd like it to be before I buy a house.

thef0x

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2015, 12:29:06 PM »
It depends on why you are going BUT if you want to 1) fly and 2) hit a sunny beach destination...

To save tons of money on #1, use travel hacking techniques:
-- sign up for airline credit cards and complete their spending requirements (have your parents/friends/etc use your card)
-- use the airline miles to get a cheap flight
-- just pay taxes

Using this technique, you can actually get to somewhere like Mexico or Colombia for <$100.  I was just living in Colombia for 6 weeks (saving money) and I got there for $80.42 + 40,000 miles (and I flew business class!). 

#2:

If you can hack it, I think a more-awesome beach location would be Tulum, Mexico

I've been twice for a week each time and have had a blast.  You can stay in the town area for cheap (super cheap at a hostel) and rent a bike and bike to the beach.  It's incredible, the best beach I've been to in the America's -- only the Greek Islands can compare.

Around Tulum are "Cenotes" (google image search them now!) -- this huge network of under-ground caves that are filled with water, some of which you can swim in and explore.. and you can bike to a few!   

Incredible "Al Pastore" pork tacos with queso and a small slice of pineapple.

And you can learn some Spanish!

Logistics:
1) Fly to Cancun
2) Take Taxi to Aldo Bus Station in Cancun
3) Take Aldo Bus to Tulum
4) Walk to Hostel
5) Bike everywhere
6) Walk to Bus Terminal in Tulum
7) Take Aldo Bus to Cancun
8) Take Bus or Taxi to Airport
9) Fly home

Price/night for a bed: $25 max
Price/day for food: <$15
Price/day for bike + misc: $<10
Price for flight: $80
Price for transportation (taxi + bus from Cancun): $100

7 Night + 8 day total:  $545

This requires you do the credit card hacking, otherwise your total cost will easily double. 

I should write a guide about this for the MMM community!  No one here talks about travel hacking as a way to live suuuuper inexpensively. 

Anyway, hope this helps!




PS.  Hawaii is over-rated.  You will have a less-touristy cultural experience in Tulum and save a boatload. 

fkampere

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2015, 12:46:44 PM »
Wow only $500-$600 I'll definitely have to look more into it I'd have to get a passport to I think but still nothing compared to what I would spend going to Hawaii so still not bad also I love mexican food.

Also the credit cards could work depending on how much I have to spend my credit is excellent.

I always hear Mexico as dangerous I'm guessing the tourist destinations aren't bad?

GizmoTX

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2015, 12:48:12 PM »
Four decades ago, DH & I took our first real vacation after 4 years of marriage; our honeymoon was a very simple week at a TX beach. We went to Hawaii -- neither of us had been there -- and had an epiphany. Our parents' generation would save all their lives for a "big" vacation, & often this was Hawaii. We booked a trip that would take us to each island for a few days & we saw countless visitors physically unable to see the sights. We swore then & there that we would NOT be making that same mistake. At first, we planned frugal trips around holidays to extend our available time. DH started traveling for his job & I arranged my work schedule to go along when possible -- this is how we first went to Europe & Hong Kong while still in our 20s.

We try to travel every year, & we've been to every continent except Antartica. We've probably visited Hawaii more than any other distant place. We enjoy the outer islands much more than Oahu, & Honolulu much less, but it's all worth seeing at least once. After DS was born, it was a great place for our whole family to enjoy nature. He eventually did his SCUBA certification dives there.

It doesn't have to be expensive. Don't go to the tourist traps or big resorts. Check out the Hidden Hawaii & Hawaii Off the Beaten Path books. For a particular island, I like the [island name] Revealed books. We usually fly for free using flight & CC miles.

GizmoTX

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2015, 12:58:08 PM »
Safety really depends on where you go in Mexico & it's getting more dangerous -- Americans are targeted, especially solo. You're safer in the big resort areas, but that kind of vacation has never appealed much to us.

You can just get a passport card for Mexico & Canada, but I'd get the full passport since it is good for 10 years. You won't need a passport for Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands, & these are nice alternatives.

iluvzbeach

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2015, 01:08:07 PM »
After I went to Hawaii the first time, I swore I'd never go to a third world country again for a vacation. Stay away from Mexico, go to Hawaii. Beautiful place and you can spend a lot less by travel hacking like the other posters mentioned. Mexico is seriously not safe, not even in tourist areas. Google to learn more about murders in Acapulco to see more about it.

octavius

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2015, 01:16:42 PM »
What is it about Hawaii that appeals to you? The warm sunny beaches? It does have that, but so do the Florida Keys, which might be closer for you?  As somebody else mentioned, parts of Mexico are also awesome.

If it is the Luaus and pretty Polynesian women draping you with leis that you are hoping to experience -- well I'd say that is mostly hype marketing put out there by the hotels, airlines, and tourist board. 

Surfing?  You can do that in California. 

Not trying to be a downer, Hawaii does have some cool stuff, but it is not like the advertising that most of us see. I've been there 6 times, but I live in Seattle so it is much closer, and it is a nice place to go when I want to get away from our grey skies.



fkampere

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2015, 01:27:38 PM »
The sunny beaches and I guess the scenery as in this

I actually thought about Puerto Rico and Florida and it would be closer but would it be the same experience?

Calvawt

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2015, 01:34:02 PM »
I just got back from my third trip to Hawaii.  It is beautiful, but terribly expensive.  Even with travel hacking, your meals will be triple what you are used to paying.  I would recommend the Caribbean as a cheaper alternative.  More flight options and some all inclusive places that can be a good deal (especially if you do travel hacking to get paid back or use miles).  I recommend the Barclays World Arrival Plus card and an airline card.  They would cover the flight and much of the hotel if you plan ahead.

chasesfish

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2015, 02:24:18 PM »

After I went to Hawaii the first time, I swore I'd never go to a third world country again for a vacation. Stay away from Mexico, go to Hawaii. Beautiful place and you can spend a lot less by travel hacking like the other posters mentioned. Mexico is seriously not safe, not even in tourist areas. Google to learn more about murders in Acapulco to see more about it.

This was me as well....land in a far away place and realize you're still in the US

chasesfish

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2015, 02:26:18 PM »

I just got back from my third trip to Hawaii.  It is beautiful, but terribly expensive.  Even with travel hacking, your meals will be triple what you are used to paying.  I would recommend the Caribbean as a cheaper alternative.  More flight options and some all inclusive places that can be a good deal (especially if you do travel hacking to get paid back or use miles).  I recommend the Barclays World Arrival Plus card and an airline card.  They would cover the flight and much of the hotel if you plan ahead.

Rent a condo and cook for yourself.  We got back from a november vacation and it was surprisingly affordable.  When we wanted to eat out, the Costco food court is still the same price!

octavius

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2015, 02:27:17 PM »
No two places are identical, which is why I asked what it was about Hawaii that you thought you'd like. That scenery in your photo is beautiful, and doubt you'd see anything like that in Florida, but you'd see other things.  Mexico has some amazing Mayan ruins (as does Belize and one or two other countries in the area). 

For tropical beauty, my favorite places (that I've been to) are Bali and Thailand, both are cheaper than Hawaii, but in my opinion, far more beautiful -- but much longer flights.

Anyway, it is your money and life. If you want the experience, then only you can decide if it is worth it. Just realize the experience might not be what you expect -- if your expectations are driven by advertisements. 

IllusionNW

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2015, 03:19:53 PM »
I find that because of the cost, Hawaii works best when you can leverage the economies of scale.  Go with a group of friends and rent a condo for a week so you can split the price.  You can shop at Costco and cook all your meals in-house.  Public transportation isn't great so if you rent a car, you can split the cost between more people.

I love Hawaii and we end up going every other year or so (mostly family trips, weddings, etc.).  It definitely has its own distinctive culture.  If that's something you want, then there's no other place you can get it.  But if you just want a beach and warm weather, there are probably cheaper and closer options out there.

Will

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2015, 03:45:35 PM »
After I went to Hawaii the first time, I swore I'd never go to a third world country again for a vacation. Stay away from Mexico, go to Hawaii. Beautiful place and you can spend a lot less by travel hacking like the other posters mentioned. Mexico is seriously not safe, not even in tourist areas. Google to learn more about murders in Acapulco to see more about it.

Drew just addressed the "fear/not safe" thing in this post:  http://travelisfree.com/2015/03/11/the-fear-of-traveling-is-not-logical/

aj_yooper

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2015, 04:07:45 PM »
We love HI and have been there a dozen times.  Kauai is our favorite spot-gorgeous beaches, good food, and country feeling mostly.  But the flight to the islands is a killer and expensive and rental cars are costly. 

I would also consider CA for a more accessible trip.

Abe

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #15 on: March 15, 2015, 04:11:24 PM »
I've lived in Hawaii and recommend going to Kau'ai since it is less developed than Oahu and Maui if you are looking for scenery in the photo above. They are all quite expensive unless you find someone to stay with! Your checking account of $1000 will not cut it for expenses otherwise.

May I suggest Costa Rica? Just came back and I found it equally excellent but cheaper. The water is safe to drink, never felt unsafe otherwise, and everyone we met was very nice. Do note that the roads to the northwest volcano areas can be rough, if you aren't used to mountain driving may want to take a bus rather than rent a jeep. Going to the southwest coast was like driving in US. Prices below are per person for my wife and I, we went with 3 other friends for 1 week and shared lodging, rental car costs:

Flight: $450 (direct flights to San Juan)
Lodging: $50-60 / day for ridiculously nice house on lake and then condo on beach (nicer than my house!) - can find cheaper places if going by yourself.
Food: $20-30 / day for lunch & dinner (house & condo offered chef service for lunch & dinner, we cooked breakfast).
Activities: pretty much everything is less than $30/person unless an all-day tour or such, which were $90-100

acrosstherainbow

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #16 on: March 15, 2015, 07:14:52 PM »
Spent a few years of my childhood growing up in Hawaii. It's an amazing and beautiful place to visit and the water is so beautiful and warm. I definitely recommend if you can swing it.

Ricky

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #17 on: March 15, 2015, 08:06:34 PM »
Disclosure: I've never been to Hawaii.

If you're really serious about a house I would definitely not do it. I'm not saying you won't get your money's worth in some form, but experiences are just another currency, except you can't do anything with them after you've bought them.

I'd imagine you're pretty close to a down payment on your home so I would keep trucking in that direction personally, then maybe rent a room or two out to help you cover mortgage costs so that you can take this trip if you really want to after the house purchase.

kpd905

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #18 on: March 15, 2015, 08:26:26 PM »
This would be my advice:  Get the US Airways credit card right now.  After April 12th it will no longer be offered, because they are combining with American Airlines.

1. Get US Airways card, make one purchase and pay a $89 annual fee, get 50,000 US Airways miles that become American Airline miles.
http://www.worldgotbigger.com/us-airways-credit-card/?campaignId=2062&cellNumber=8&referrerid=PTRBA89FEE

2. Get a Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard.  Get 50,000 American Airlines miles after spending $3000 in 3 months.
https://www.citi.com/credit-cards/credit-card-details/detail.do?ID=citi-aadvantage-platinum-select-credit-card&category=travel-reward-credit-cards&afc=150

With your 100,000 American Airlines miles, you should be able to get a roundtrip flight to Hawaii in First Class or at least Business class.

As far as hotels, a really good value is to get the Chase Hyatt card.  You get 2 nights at any Hyatt hotel after spending $1000 in the first 3 months.  The Andaz Maui hotel is normally $400-700 per night, so you can get 2 nights there for free.

Otherwise the Barclays Arrival gives you $440 to use toward any travel expense (flights, hotels, car rentals) after spending $3000 in 3 months.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2015, 08:29:57 PM by kpd905 »

ltt

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #19 on: March 15, 2015, 08:30:36 PM »
I can't understand why people are trying to talk you out of going to Hawaii.  It's expensive, yes, but absolutely gorgeous.  You can do it on the cheap.  If you fly to Maui (Kahului), there's a Costco right outside the airport.  Everyone is shopping there, and you can also eat in Costco for the same price you would find at one of the Costco's here in the mainland.  But if you do your own cooking when possible, you can save quite a bit.  I would also suggest, if you want to do it comparatively cheaply, to rent a condo.  I think you can get on vrbo.com to see what you can find.  Flights aren't cheap this time of year and, more than likely, you will need a rental car. 

I've been to Oahu and Maui.  Kauai would be nice also.  You are not going to find that scenery in Florida.  Don't know about Costa Rica.

Bob W

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #20 on: March 15, 2015, 09:26:49 PM »
It is worth it.  You can travel hack it for maybe $1,200 out of pocket for 2 weeks.  Young and single?   Probably would pick Cancun instead.   

frugaldrummer

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #21 on: March 15, 2015, 09:50:30 PM »
I vote for Hawaii. If you've never travelled, this is a great place to start, exotic but still familiar.

Save money by traveling in the off season, look for condo rentals or maybe AirBnB?  Or wait...didn't MMM travel to Hawaii last year and help build a guesthouse?  Maybe you could rent that and get a MMM discount?

fkampere

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #22 on: March 16, 2015, 06:44:18 AM »
Thanks to everyone who has replied.  Nothing is set in stone and I don't really have a date I just want to try traveling somewhere nice and exotic for a first and seeing if I like it. My vacations in the past have just been me taking a day off of work and staying home lol.

To the people who recommended the credit cards I don't think those will work with me at least not those ones. I don't spend nearly $1000 a month but once in a blue moon.

My budget pretty much is

$300 food/beer/eating out
$100 gas/insurance
$100 help parents with rent
$150 everything else

Also I'm pretty much done saving for a house down payment but have been going back in forth on buying one. Guess I should make a separate thread for that. I just don't want to buy one then later regret it so trying to find one that I really like for around $100,000.

Other than that I'll probably be traveling alone. Most of my friends I brought it up to said they would like to but can't afford it or want to go somewhere else.

boarder42

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #23 on: March 16, 2015, 07:05:07 AM »
hawaii is totally worth it.

Get the USAir card TODAY!! its not gonna be around much longer and will get you a roundtrip flight to hawaii from anywhere in the US for the 89 CC fee plus you have to just make one purchase on it.  boom flight taken care of

get the chase sapphire preferred card. and you can get your rental car for free. 

My current trip break down

Wife and I 10 days in Maui Feb 27 - March 8

2 Flights on AA RT from KC - 70K aa points FREE
2 Nights in a Hyatt Grand Regency - FREE (chase Hyatt Card)
5 Nights in Waldorf Astoria Wailea - FREE (Citi HHonors card & Work Travel points)
2 nights at Waldorf Astoria Wailea - FREE (Cite HHonors Reserve 2 free weekend nights)
Valet parking at Waldorf - FREE - (Barclay's arrival mastercard)
Resort Fees if not waived - FREE - (capital one venture rewards)
10 days in a jeep wrangler - FREE - (Chase ink business card)

Hoping to keep it all under 1k for 10 days for 2 in hawaii including excursions and we plan to dive with whales and do some splurgy dinner cruises etc.


RunHappy

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #24 on: March 16, 2015, 07:15:40 AM »
Hawaii was totally worth it.

My SO and I went in November and had a blast.  We used airline miles, hotel and car rental points for the majority of the trip.  We did have a couple of nights out of pocket and of course food.  We went to The Big Island (AMAZING) and Oahu (Meh, extremely crowded).  We splurged on a nice restaurant on each island and kept the food costs to a minimum for the rest.

We are planning to go back again, no date set, but we are going to hit different islands.

lizzzi

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #25 on: March 16, 2015, 07:17:54 AM »
I vote for Hawaii. As others have said: exotic but familiar. It's a state in the U.S., so you're "home" so to speak. Don't need a passport or to speak another language--same laws, same money, etc.  I was there once, coming back from two and a half years on Guam as an Air Force wife. We were able to take advantage of military facilities, which of course you won't…but Hawaii was great. Such beauty. I would definitely plan your trip carefully to include the experiences you want, check out some of the tourist guides others have recommended upthread, and just do it.

I am in the same situation as you in terms of not spending enough money to qualify for all that cheap or free travel on rewards credit cards. I just do the best I can with travel costs. Being Mustachian, I can afford it out of my stash once in a while.

boarder42

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #26 on: March 16, 2015, 08:54:47 AM »
I vote for Hawaii. As others have said: exotic but familiar. It's a state in the U.S., so you're "home" so to speak. Don't need a passport or to speak another language--same laws, same money, etc.  I was there once, coming back from two and a half years on Guam as an Air Force wife. We were able to take advantage of military facilities, which of course you won't…but Hawaii was great. Such beauty. I would definitely plan your trip carefully to include the experiences you want, check out some of the tourist guides others have recommended upthread, and just do it.

I am in the same situation as you in terms of not spending enough money to qualify for all that cheap or free travel on rewards credit cards. I just do the best I can with travel costs. Being Mustachian, I can afford it out of my stash once in a while.

There are many ways to spend money with out actually spending it RichmondSavers has a travel hacking course going on that you can signup for to learn all about Fake Spending.

marketnonsenses

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #27 on: March 16, 2015, 09:06:17 AM »
Hawaii is a neat place. If you like mountains, waterfalls, and beaches. I lived in California when I went there and thought it was cool but liked California more. Other Californians said the same thing.

If you dont live on the west coast be prepared for some long travel to get there.

hdatontodo

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #28 on: March 16, 2015, 09:08:47 AM »
Love snorkelying at Black Rock in Ka'anapali Maui or at the local park on the other side. Save money by staying in Honokawai and buying food from the grocery store. There was a Costco near the airport. Rent snorkeling gear from Maui dive shop for a week. Take the road to Hana and stop at each waterfall. See the Banyan tree. See the blowhole. Take Pony Express trail ride into the crater.

The only thing I don't like is traveling from the east coast. 5 hours from MD->TX. Then 5 more to Maui.

fkampere

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #29 on: March 16, 2015, 09:14:27 AM »
Hawaii is a neat place. If you like mountains, waterfalls, and beaches. I lived in California when I went there and thought it was cool but liked California more. Other Californians said the same thing.

If you dont live on the west coast be prepared for some long travel to get there.

Yeah I live in Ohio so I think it would be around 8-10 hours? Which would be a long time for being my first on a airplane. I heard the worst part was taking off/landing.

What is the average cost for hotel/rental most of what I see are around $150 per night
« Last Edit: March 16, 2015, 09:16:52 AM by fkampere »

TrulyStashin

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #30 on: March 16, 2015, 09:26:00 AM »
I traveled to Oahu in May, 2013 for my son's graduation from HPU.  It was one of the best vacations I've ever taken and worth every dime.  My dad is Navy reserve and we stayed at Bellows AFB which is absolutely stunning in its natural beauty.  Adjacent to the AFB is a public campground and I'd camp there in a heartbeat if I went back without Dad.

There are several threads on this forum about Hawaii.  I got some great advice before I traveled on free/ cheap things to do so do a search on the forum.

Also check out  https://camping.honolulu.gov/parks.   

coachese

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #31 on: March 16, 2015, 11:23:35 AM »
For me, if the trade-off for being able to afford a trip to Hawaii (for the beaches) is shopping at costco, making all meals in the condo and hacking freebie recreational activities, I'd just as soon go to Florida, Outer Banks, San Diego, etc.

If you want other forms of natural beauty (i.e., lush greenery, amazing canopies of ridiculous forests, miles of variable terrain hiking, etc.) there are 1000s of places in the continental US to fit the bill for much less than the price of Hawaii.

Spanish is by FAR the easiest foreign language to learn and by putting in an hour a night or so (now that you've cancelled the cable bill, don't go to movies at night, etc.) in a year or so you'll be able to travel with relative surety in every town from Ensenada to Patagonia for much less than a comparable trip to Hawaii. The beaches and Cenotes of the Mayan Riviera ARE the MMM version of Hawaii.

lizzzi

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #32 on: March 16, 2015, 11:34:11 AM »
The OP has not even been on a plane before. Plus she just wants to go to Hawaii. Give her a break, people. I think it is a good first trip, for reasons I already stated above. If I wanted to go to London, England, I would not go to Bulgaria just because it is a lot cheaper. And telling her to learn Spanish so she can go to a lot of places she isn't interested in--just because it's cheaper--may not be the most practical of suggestions.

(Full disclosure: I can navigate in Spanish, and am currently working on my French because of places I want to go. But that type of thing wasn't what the OP was asking about.)

lizzzi

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #33 on: March 16, 2015, 11:37:28 AM »
I hope this isn't hijacking the thread, but thanks to those who recommended the USAirways credit card. I just got it, and will pay the fee and make the one purchase to get the 50,000 air miles. My first venture in rewards travel.

SF Semi-Mustache

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #34 on: March 16, 2015, 11:49:51 AM »
Safety really depends on where you go in Mexico & it's getting more dangerous -- Americans are targeted, especially solo. You're safer in the big resort areas, but that kind of vacation has never appealed much to us.

You can just get a passport card for Mexico & Canada, but I'd get the full passport since it is good for 10 years. You won't need a passport for Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands, & these are nice alternatives.

The passport card is only good for land or sea travel, not air travel.  Get the full passport book. 

Puerto Rico is nice, fun, inexpensive, and has the protections of being an American territory.  Though it definitely feels almost as foreign as Mexico, and there are safety issues in San Juan.  It's like a 3.5 hour flight from the NYC area, so it's going to be closer than Hawaii. 

I've been to Mexico between 10-15 times, both to border areas (Matamoros, Reynosa, Juarez, Tijuana), tourist areas (Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Nayarit), big cities (DF, Monterrey), and non-tourist rural areas (San Luis Potosi state, etc.).  If you have a reasonable head on your shoulders, Mexico is no more dangerous than visiting New York, Washington, or Philadelphia.  Especially if you're looking at Tulum, Playa del Carmen, etc.  Don't vacation in Michoacán or Guerrero.  Stick to the well-trod tourist paths as a travel newbie.  Learn a few Spanish phrases.  You'll be fine and will have a lot of fun.  Mexico is dirt cheap right now with the strong dollar. 

Also, Hawaii is great, but super expensive.  Others have spoken about that already.   


Cromacster

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #35 on: March 16, 2015, 12:07:42 PM »
Safety really depends on where you go in Mexico & it's getting more dangerous -- Americans are targeted, especially solo. You're safer in the big resort areas, but that kind of vacation has never appealed much to us.

You can just get a passport card for Mexico & Canada, but I'd get the full passport since it is good for 10 years. You won't need a passport for Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands, & these are nice alternatives.

I don't know about PR, but in the Virgin Islands it is still a good idea to have your passport with you.  You do go through customs flying out of STT.  You can get through it without a passport, it is just more of a hassle.  Also, the BVI's are a short boat ride a away.  I wouldn't pass up going there for a day trip if you are in the area.

fkampere

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #36 on: March 16, 2015, 12:14:40 PM »
The OP has not even been on a plane before. Plus she just wants to go to Hawaii. Give her a break, people. I think it is a good first trip, for reasons I already stated above. If I wanted to go to London, England, I would not go to Bulgaria just because it is a lot cheaper. And telling her to learn Spanish so she can go to a lot of places she isn't interested in--just because it's cheaper--may not be the most practical of suggestions.

(Full disclosure: I can navigate in Spanish, and am currently working on my French because of places I want to go. But that type of thing wasn't what the OP was asking about.)

haha sorry but I'm a guy but thanks for backing me up lol

I'm a red panda

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #37 on: March 16, 2015, 12:24:31 PM »

Yeah I live in Ohio so I think it would be around 8-10 hours? Which would be a long time for being my first on a airplane. I heard the worst part was taking off/landing.

The worst part is just when the air is bumpy. Could be mid-flight, could be take-off or landing.   Or it could be that the ride is totally smooth and you barely even think about that you are flying.


I have never been to Hawaii because of the expense. We keep planning it and then find two other trips that we can do both of for half the cost. 

I've been on a trans-atlantic flight before, and long flights really suck.  I personally wouldn't want one as my first ever flight, due to my anxiety.  But you might be different. And if you've always wanted to go to Hawaii, the payoff is probably worth it.

I will tell you to be careful not to build it up too much.   We went to a once in a lifetime destination this year. We saved for 3 years to afford it, and while it was great, we kept thinking "we could have gone diving in Cozumel 4 times for the price of this trip". We built it up too much in our heads, nowhere could live up to that.

TrulyStashin

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #38 on: March 16, 2015, 12:25:31 PM »
I have traveled all over the world, especially all over the U.S.  There is absolutely nothing like Hawaii anywhere in the Continental U.S. 

The sand really is pink and the water is such a clear, transparent turquoise that you can't believe those pictures aren't doctored until you actually get there and witness it for yourself.  The tiny pineapples that you can buy from roadside stands have a flavor so intense it will curl your toes.   Top that off with a fresh, cold coconut -- the vendor will lop off part of the husk and give you a straw.   Lie on the pink sand with your toes in the turquoise water and the warm sun on your body and drink up!

You're financially sound and have no debt. It's entirely possible to go to Hawaii at a reasonable cost -- especially in the off-season (May, for example).   Plan a great trip and enjoy!! 

RunHappy

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #39 on: March 16, 2015, 12:35:11 PM »
The OP has not even been on a plane before. Plus she just wants to go to Hawaii. Give her a break, people. I think it is a good first trip, for reasons I already stated above. If I wanted to go to London, England, I would not go to Bulgaria just because it is a lot cheaper. And telling her to learn Spanish so she can go to a lot of places she isn't interested in--just because it's cheaper--may not be the most practical of suggestions.

(Full disclosure: I can navigate in Spanish, and am currently working on my French because of places I want to go. But that type of thing wasn't what the OP was asking about.)

I missed that part about not being on a plane before.  Maybe something with a shorter flight might be a better first trip? Flying for the first time is nervous enough, add in flying 8-10 just to get somewhere might be too much. Florida Keys, South Carolina, and California are all beautiful with great beaches and lots to do, plus if you get there and decide "nope not flying ever again" you can rent a car and drive back.

TrulyStashin

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #40 on: March 16, 2015, 12:43:05 PM »
The OP has not even been on a plane before. Plus she just wants to go to Hawaii. Give her a break, people. I think it is a good first trip, for reasons I already stated above. If I wanted to go to London, England, I would not go to Bulgaria just because it is a lot cheaper. And telling her to learn Spanish so she can go to a lot of places she isn't interested in--just because it's cheaper--may not be the most practical of suggestions.

(Full disclosure: I can navigate in Spanish, and am currently working on my French because of places I want to go. But that type of thing wasn't what the OP was asking about.)

I missed that part about not being on a plane before.  Maybe something with a shorter flight might be a better first trip? Flying for the first time is nervous enough, add in flying 8-10 just to get somewhere might be too much. Florida Keys, South Carolina, and California are all beautiful with great beaches and lots to do, plus if you get there and decide "nope not flying ever again" you can rent a car and drive back.

Meh.  Just my 2 cents, but unless you tend toward being nervous or anxious, flying is no big deal.  If your personality rolls with life pretty easily, you'll be fine.

fkampere

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #41 on: March 16, 2015, 01:04:45 PM »
I have traveled all over the world, especially all over the U.S.  There is absolutely nothing like Hawaii anywhere in the Continental U.S. 

The sand really is pink and the water is such a clear, transparent turquoise that you can't believe those pictures aren't doctored until you actually get there and witness it for yourself.  The tiny pineapples that you can buy from roadside stands have a flavor so intense it will curl your toes.   Top that off with a fresh, cold coconut -- the vendor will lop off part of the husk and give you a straw.   Lie on the pink sand with your toes in the turquoise water and the warm sun on your body and drink up!

You're financially sound and have no debt. It's entirely possible to go to Hawaii at a reasonable cost -- especially in the off-season (May, for example).   Plan a great trip and enjoy!!

This is what I wanted to see if I go I'd probably go around my birthday June 5 for a week since that's all my job would aloud and see if I like it then next time go for 2 weeks, Been looking at more pictures/videos ha

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6_n1pmsDGI

Scandium

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #42 on: March 16, 2015, 01:30:01 PM »
If OP want to see poverty and drug war there's plenty of that in the US, no need to travel to Mexico.. Personally I'd love to go to Hawaii, but have zero interest in Mexico. If you want to see Hawaii, and can afford it; go to Hawaii. Just realize it's a really long flight, and will cost you quite a bit no matter what.

jeromedawg

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #43 on: March 16, 2015, 01:39:05 PM »
Hawaii is definitely more expensive because...well... it's Hawaii. I've also been to Mahahual (not far from Tulum) Mexico and it's very nice there. And I'd argue much cheaper. Granted, we were only there for a little more than half-a-day as we were cruising but it was nice and I'd definitely want to go back if I wanted beach and also to fly-fish :)

Towns along the coast of Baja (Sea of Cortez and Pacific) are nice and generally too but you have to do a lot of driving, and it probably won't be as "tropical" as Hawaii is.


garion

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #44 on: March 16, 2015, 01:44:30 PM »

I don't know about PR, but in the Virgin Islands it is still a good idea to have your passport with you.  You do go through customs flying out of STT.  You can get through it without a passport, it is just more of a hassle.  Also, the BVI's are a short boat ride a away.  I wouldn't pass up going there for a day trip if you are in the area.

We actually went to the USVIs a couple of months ago, and not having a passport was no big deal at all. We brought copies of our birth certificates just in case, but didn't even need them. The customs officer just asked us our place of birth and looked at our driver's licenses.

Also, in case anyone is wondering, St. John is wonderful. Similar to Hawaii in that it's a tropical destination that's still part of the US and English-speaking. Much cheaper and shorter flight too. Spirit air is especially cheap. Most of the island is a national park! Beautiful hiking and snorkeling. There is actually a national park campground for the super-hardcore among us, and a lot of people rent on VRBO. Word to the wise though, food is crazy expensive. A bunch of the regulars we met say that they pack all of their food in a disposable cooler and check it.

But if you want to go to Hawaii, you should go!

justjenn

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #45 on: March 16, 2015, 01:45:24 PM »
I'm from Hawaii, so I'm a bit biased, but I think Hawaii is way cooler than Mexico. If you're worried about a long flight, you can always break it up and add another layover.
It is very expensive, but it can be done on a budget. If you're looking for a resort experience with drinks being served to you on the beach then it would be costly. However, you could easily grab some local snacks and a few beers from the grocery store (no one will bother you for drinking on the beach as long as you're not getting smashed), and relax on the beach all day for a few bucks. You can also find cheaper rooms if you stay out of tourist centers.
You can private message me if you want recommendations for food or activities

I'm a red panda

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #46 on: March 16, 2015, 01:51:31 PM »
If you're worried about a long flight, you can always break it up and add another layover.


Are there direct flights to Hawaii from Ohio? The OP is likely going to need a layover no matter what. But even from the west coast, it is still a very long flight (5-6 hours). There aren't any more layovers you can add there.

Roots&Wings

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #47 on: March 16, 2015, 04:30:29 PM »
I have traveled all over the world, especially all over the U.S.  There is absolutely nothing like Hawaii anywhere in the Continental U.S. 

The sand really is pink and the water is such a clear, transparent turquoise that you can't believe those pictures aren't doctored until you actually get there and witness it for yourself.  The tiny pineapples that you can buy from roadside stands have a flavor so intense it will curl your toes.   Top that off with a fresh, cold coconut -- the vendor will lop off part of the husk and give you a straw.   Lie on the pink sand with your toes in the turquoise water and the warm sun on your body and drink up!

You're financially sound and have no debt. It's entirely possible to go to Hawaii at a reasonable cost -- especially in the off-season (May, for example).   Plan a great trip and enjoy!!

+1

Volcanoes National Park is rather amazing, Mauna Kea observatory, black sand and green sand beaches pretty cool too. Napali coast and Waimea Canyon on Kauai were also highlights for me.

The time change going over was easy to adjust to...returning was extremely difficult (Eastern time zone). The flight was beyond exhausting, but if you have the opportunity to go frugally, it can be an amazing trip.

JLee

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #48 on: March 16, 2015, 04:34:33 PM »
Safety really depends on where you go in Mexico & it's getting more dangerous -- Americans are targeted, especially solo. You're safer in the big resort areas, but that kind of vacation has never appealed much to us.

You can just get a passport card for Mexico & Canada, but I'd get the full passport since it is good for 10 years. You won't need a passport for Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands, & these are nice alternatives.
The passport card is good for ten years as well, but not for air travel. You need a passport book to fly into Canada/Mexico.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2015, 04:38:05 PM by JLee »

MoneyCat

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Re: Hawaii worth it?
« Reply #49 on: March 16, 2015, 04:42:07 PM »
We went to Hawaii for our honeymoon and it was worth every penny.  We divided our trip between Oahu and Maui and to be honest I preferred Maui because it's more rural and a lot less crowded.  We stayed near Lahaina and enjoyed some parasailing, snorkeling, and an evening cocktail cruise along with two luaus.  We had a wonderful time and we're planning on returning next year for our five year anniversary.