Author Topic: Need HI help--wedding in July 2018-Maui  (Read 3551 times)

frugalmom

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Need HI help--wedding in July 2018-Maui
« on: August 21, 2017, 04:47:38 PM »
Tell me anything you think would be helpful.  We are 3 people attending, one will be 7 years old, one will be 72 years old.

Wedding is at Olowalu Plantation House.  I have never been to Hawaii.  Chicago is the nearest big city to me. 

Best ideas for flights.  Hotels?  Cars?  What should we plan to do?  How long should we stay? Any side trips we should plan--this is likely our only trip to HI ever. 

Any credit cards to get now to try and maximize points etc.

I am willing to accept all advise. 

Trifele

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Re: Need HI help--wedding in July 2018-Maui
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2017, 05:39:31 PM »
I'm nowhere near an expert, but I'll chime in.  We just were in this area earlier this year.  We snorkeled at Olawalu.  It is gorgeous. 

Are you brand new to credit card/travel hacking?  You should check out the threads that are specifically about that.  You'll learn a ton.   There's one main airport on Maui, so flights and rental cars kind of work themselves out.  They are what they are. 

As for where to stay -- If it were me and I had an event I needed to attend in Olawalu, I would probably look for an AirBnB right in Lahaina.  Close to your event, and way less expensive than a hotel or resort.   (For our big Hawaii trip this year we did mostly AirBnB and one condo rental, and we averaged ~$150 per night, instead of ~$300 for a hotel. With AirBnB you also save on food, since you can cook meals at your rental and don't have to hit restaurants so often, so your vacation budget goes further.)

Things to do in the western part of Maui -- beach, snorkeling, scuba diving.  If you want to venture east, you can drive the road to Hana, or go see the sunrise on Haleakala.  A friend of mine did a sunrise bike ride down the mountain, and she said it was amazing.   

If you have time for a side trip (not sure what your time or budget constraints are) I would recommend you go to the Big Island.  It is less touristy and less expensive than Maui, but still drop dead gorgeous. Flights between the islands are less than $100 a person on Hawaiian Air.  Keep in mind you can fly into one airport (like Maui) and OUT of another airport (like Kona, or Hilo, or whatever) for usually no more than it costs to fly round trip.  Then you do the connecting flights between the islands on Hawaiian Air. 
 
Seriously -- if this is your one trip to Hawaii, try not to miss the Big Island.  The west shore is beautiful, the Kona cloud forest is magical, and Volcanoes National Park is a once-in-a-lifetime spectacular trip.  Our kids loved it!

Edited to add:  Duh, I see now that you did put the date of the wedding in, so I deleted my question.  July will be too late for the whales, I think, unfortunately. 
« Last Edit: August 24, 2017, 03:57:58 AM by Trifele »

Blazin

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Re: Need HI help--wedding in July 2018-Maui
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2017, 08:44:05 PM »
We were there about a year ago.  Most rentals have a kitchen, even if you stay at a resort.  We bought most of our food at Costco near the airport.  Any type of rental car will do, no need to have 4 wheel drive.   Enjoyed spending time on the road to Hana, and Haleakala national park. My kids enjoyed becoming junior rangers and we all learned more about the park.  There is enjoyable snorkeling many places and it isn't necessary to go on an excursion.   We bought from Amazon for my kids and it worked out cheaper and cleaner than renting for us.

frugalmom

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Re: Need HI help--wedding in July 2018-Maui
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2017, 12:11:55 AM »
Thanks to the both of you!

The wedding is July 10, 2018, so I have nearly a year to plan.  I have not drawn up a budget yet, I need to see what is realistic.  That said, we don't need to stay in a fancy hotel just to spend $$.  I have much more experience planning travel to National Parks or Europe.  I am pretty good at traveling on "random deals" to various spots, but obviously I can't tell someone when to have their wedding. 

Keep the tips coming.

Trifele

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Re: Need HI help--wedding in July 2018-Maui
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2017, 04:00:30 AM »
Hi again
Just modified my first comment to add in some eastern attractions on Maui -- Haleakala National Park and Hana.
Have fun!

merlin7676

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Re: Need HI help--wedding in July 2018-Maui
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2017, 09:23:04 AM »
We went 2 years ago and are going back inl November.
Lahaina is expensive, better off staying in Kihei for example but then you'll have a bit of a drive.

Do not under any circumstances stay in a resort or hotel. Super expensive. We usually rent a condo or as is the case for our upcoming trip, rented a house (will be 6 of us). Much cheaper.

Like the previous person said, stop at the costco near the airport and load up on food so you can cook most meals "at home".  Saves a ton of money as opposed to eating out.

Road to Hana is fun. We did it backwards and started on the south end and drove around the entire Haleakala National Park. Be advised some rental places don't allow you to take cars on it (we did anyway). Lots of switchbacks and blind curves but lots of places to stop and get out of the car to see, walk, climb, ect. 
The bamboo forest is a nice hike with a beautiful waterfall at the end.

The aquarium was very nice and interesting too.

Big beach is fun if you like big waves and beaches.

Save your money on snorkel excursions and just rent a set from Snorkel Bob's I think it was called. We got snorkel, fins, goggles, and a bag for a week around $35 I think?

Beaches are free. Take snacks and a lunch with you. We were at the beach/in the water every day after breakfast and in the evenings before and after dinner.  Sunsets are amazing. At sunset people just stop and watch it...both tourists and locals alike. People even pull over their cars and get out to watch it.  It's a thing there although nobody could exactly explain why to me.

Stargazing.  If you can get away from the lights, the stars are amazing.  Being in the middle of the ocean the skies are very clear. We'd go out in the evenings and sit for a few hours. Have a drink or two and watch the stars. Saw lots of meteors and satellites.




englishteacheralex

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Re: Need HI help--wedding in July 2018-Maui
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2017, 09:39:15 AM »
Hmm. I've lived on Oahu for almost 15 years and been to Maui countless times. We always AirBnB/VRBO. Our favorite place to stay is Kihei. Also love Wailea, but it's too expensive to stay on the beach; we usually stay in Kihei and then go to Wailea all the time (they are right next to each other; Wailea has a beautiful walking path that I run on every day. Also love the snorkeling there). Kihei is just an awesome little community. It's tourist-y but has other things going on besides tourism. Lots of great restaurants. Fairly centrally located. Definitely our favorite.

I'm finding it hard to give advice because I live here so I have a different perspective. For example--outer island trips are actually expensive; each way is usually around $60-$100. So we actually avoid too much island hopping because any of the islands have so much going on you could easily spend months and not get to it all. One vacation=one island, that's our way.

It is true that the Big Island is amazing, but it's also huge.

Eh, if it's your only chance, though, I guess I'd work a little island hopping in.

Hawaiian airlines was running a fantastic 50,000 bonus miles deal a while back. We jumped on that and got a free ticket + a 1/2 off buddy fare + free checked bag. Tickets for three to CA cost us $750. It was great.

July is an awful time to go as far as pricing. Start booking stuff now. It's the most expensive time.

Cars are hard to come by during high season. Spendy. We usually do some version of the rent-a-wreck thing; it saves us a little money. Also try Costco car rentals.

Costco is very, very important in Hawaii. We usually go there right after landing at the airport, stock up, and then bring it all to the VRBO.

If you have little kids, we know a lot about how to have fun with that (we have a 3 year old and a baby).

krisvolley27

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Re: Need HI help--wedding in July 2018-Maui
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2017, 10:25:33 AM »
A Hawaii wedding is awesome!!!!  I got married in Maui as well back in 2009.  We are planning to renew our vows on our 10 year anniversary. 

Everything I will suggest is my opinion so take what you will.  It's just my husband and I, no kids or family came.  We used a wedding planner that I found online and did everything over email.  It was NO stress and turned out well.  I recommended the planner to a friend who's daughter got married in Maui and they also had a good experience.  We've been back to Maui probably 8 times and are going again the end of September.  We always stay for seven days and that's enough for us but a lot of people go fro 10-14.  I just googeled wedding planners and can't for the life of me remember who I used.

We always stay on the Lahaina or Kaanapali side of the island.  We aren't fans of Kihei but a lot of people are.  Kihei seemed to have more locals who weren't welcoming to tourists.

We rented a car the first several times but now we just take a taxi to the hotel/condo we stay at, Lahaina Shores is what its called, so we can walk to everything.  Rentals are expensive so while its worth it to get around for your first time on the island it will cost you.

We took a helicopter ride to Haleakala and drove up the mountain which was cool.  We went deep sea fishing a few times which was fun but spendy.  Depending on the time of year whale watching is amazing from December to April.  Cool Cats café in Lanaina is our favorite place to eat.  Its laid back, burgers and tacos but the tacos are the best ever!!! 

We pretty much eat, drink and lay by the pool these days because we've done it all so I guess that's all I can provide for now.




boarder42

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Re: Need HI help--wedding in July 2018-Maui
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2017, 10:46:18 AM »
been to Maui a little over 1.5 years ago did it all with points.  how we did it

AA Citi cards for RT flights - free
Amex SPG card for free nights at the sheraton black rock - with 2 people that can get cards (if you stay in the same room) that will get you 10 free nights its 12k points per night and you'll get 50k points each with the cards and the 5th night is free.
Barclay Arrival Plus card for resort fees and rental car - use discount hawaii car rental to get a jeep for 300 for 10 days when we went - 2 barclay cards would get you 1k in travel spending free to write off resort fees and the rental car.

Now the fun stuff
If you like Raw Ahi tuna(if you dont you should try it) - go to food land they have a deli counter where its 10bucks a lb alday every day discount if you buy 2lbs its called Poke they make all sorts of different flavors.
The road to hana is fun i'd suggest staying a night over there in a VRBO so you can relax and enjoy the drive there and visit the eastern side of the national park the next day
i'd go to haleakala both early morning for sunrise and sometime during the day - its a national park so your 76 year old should be able to get a life time pass if they dont have one that you can use
we drove every road as far as it would go all around the island its pretty awesome but not easy. 
get out on the water and snorkel or scuba dive

i personally see no reason to go to hawaii with out a rental car to get you to everything and see as much as you can.  If i wanted to go sit on a beach i'd go to the caribbean - cheaper closer.

frugalmom

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Re: Need HI help--wedding in July 2018-Maui
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2017, 05:56:00 PM »
been to Maui a little over 1.5 years ago did it all with points.  how we did it

AA Citi cards for RT flights - free
Amex SPG card for free nights at the sheraton black rock - with 2 people that can get cards (if you stay in the same room) that will get you 10 free nights its 12k points per night and you'll get 50k points each with the cards and the 5th night is free.
Barclay Arrival Plus card for resort fees and rental car - use discount hawaii car rental to get a jeep for 300 for 10 days when we went - 2 barclay cards would get you 1k in travel spending free to write off resort fees and the rental car.

Now the fun stuff
If you like Raw Ahi tuna(if you dont you should try it) - go to food land they have a deli counter where its 10bucks a lb alday every day discount if you buy 2lbs its called Poke they make all sorts of different flavors.
The road to hana is fun i'd suggest staying a night over there in a VRBO so you can relax and enjoy the drive there and visit the eastern side of the national park the next day
i'd go to haleakala both early morning for sunrise and sometime during the day - its a national park so your 76 year old should be able to get a life time pass if they dont have one that you can use
we drove every road as far as it would go all around the island its pretty awesome but not easy. 
get out on the water and snorkel or scuba dive

i personally see no reason to go to hawaii with out a rental car to get you to everything and see as much as you can.  If i wanted to go sit on a beach i'd go to the caribbean - cheaper closer.

Thanks.  Yes 70 year old has the National Parks Pass.

I too have a bunch of Airlines miles from AA but it looks they they have devaluated them since last I looked.  I only have enough miles for maybe 1 ticket now...

Keep the tips coming.....I am going to do some more research guided by your tips on Sunday (my regular day off)

englishteacheralex

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Re: Need HI help--wedding in July 2018-Maui
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2017, 12:26:03 AM »
Pro tip for Haleakala: the sunrise is really, really cold. Also, the traffic jam to see the sunrise has gotten out of control over the past two years. Last I heard, they were considering a permit system for sunrise passes, because there were literally over 1000 cars per day showing up for sunrise. If you really want to see it, you need to wake up at around 1-2 am and then drive the extremely windy, insane road in the dark and then sit in a giant line of traffic. THEN, (if you're lucky and can find parking) you get out of your car and it's below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and you didn't plan for that because Hawaii. So you hop around, trying to keep warm, and watch the sunrise, or you cry uncle and climb back into your car with the heater on. I realize that mainland people don't always think 30-40 degrees is that cold, but I've long since acclimated to Hawaii and brrrr it's horrible.

Personally, I think the Haleakala sunrise experience is overrated. Here's what you do: sunSET at Haleakala. Way fewer people and just as pretty. Also, you can do part of the Sliding Sands trail, which is super cool (you hike into a volcano crater and it's really neat), and then hang around afterward for the sunset. Fun! If you like backpacking, there's an incredible loop trail with two amazing backcountry campsites, but most likely that's not your thing.

Another pro tip: if you want to do the crazy bike tours down Haleakala, it's fun but fairly dangerous. And if you do the sunrise one, they rush you down the mountain (which is part of why it's so dangerous). What you do is go AFTER the sunrise bike ride, which is nice and uncrowded and for some companies cheaper, and they let you take as much time as you want. And there's lots to see while you bike down: Kula, Makawao, the lavender farm/garden. Make a whole day of it. Even in July it's generally pretty mild, or at least not unbearably hot. This is a really nice day excursion.

I hate Hana but that's because I've been there four times and I'm over it. You kind of have to go if it's your only time. I guess. If it's between Haleakala and Hana, do Haleakala. Reasons I hate Hana: Horrible traffic, horrible carsickness, a couple of waterfalls but meh, horrible traffic, meh restaurants in Hana. BUT there are some cool hikes. I second the advice to get a VRBO in Hana, or you can camp at Kipahulu National Park (it's in Hana and also is where Charles Lindburgh is buried), which is buggy but pretty beautiful.

Trifele

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Re: Need HI help--wedding in July 2018-Maui
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2017, 04:46:20 AM »
Pro tip for Haleakala: the sunrise is really, really cold. Also, the traffic jam to see the sunrise has gotten out of control over the past two years. Last I heard, they were considering a permit system for sunrise passes


This is true.  They started the the permit system earlier this year.  You now need one to go up for sunrise -- check the NPS website.