Author Topic: Packing for Oahu in a backpack?  (Read 7586 times)

Simple Abundant Living

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Packing for Oahu in a backpack?
« on: January 28, 2014, 11:34:24 AM »
In March, we are taking the whole Green'stache family to Oahu for 9 days.  We are staying in a VRBO condo that has a full kitchen and laundry.  We are flying on Allegiant Air, which charges you for any bag over 7x15x16, or what can fit under your seat.  We may pay for one suitcase so we can take a couple snorkel sets we have and to bring back minimal souvenirs.  If I pre-pay for this bag it will be $35 per flight, so $70 RT.  I have the idea that we can fit everything we need in a small-ish backpack.  So on the plane we would wear exercise/yoga pants, t-shirt, light jacket, running shoes.

-Two swimsuits/one rashguard
-One flip-flops
-One jammies
-Three undies
-Three shorts/T-shirts
-book/kindle

Is that doable?  We will have to buy sunblock, laundry detergent, shampoo, etc. when we get there, but we would anyway with security regulations.   The kids range in age from 20 to 6.  Are there any things I'm forgetting?

Also, we have the free use of one car from my BIL.  We will mostly be staying around the condo (Ko Olina), but want to go to Diamonhead, PCC, North Shore, and Pearl Harbor.   We could rent another small car, but then we would be separated for the touring days.  Or we could take The Bus.  Is that a reasonable idea?  My DH wants to rent a large SUV for a couple days so we can do that, but I would prefer to save that money. 

Any other tips or advice?  DH used to live in Hawaii (25years ago), so he is familiar with the island, but I'm open to ideas of favorite places to eat or things to do.  We will mostly eat at the condo, but would like to go out to fun places as a treat as well. 

Thanks for any advice!!

athomeintheworld

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Re: Packing for Oahu in a backpack?
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2014, 11:41:32 AM »
Make bfast and snacks at home (condo).  I know it's not super Mustachian, but I would recommend a couple of dinners out!!  So delicious. 

Also if you are handy in the kitchen - buy some good fish at the market and cook at home!!

yyc-phil

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Re: Packing for Oahu in a backpack?
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2014, 11:59:43 AM »
I traveled almost a year in south east Asia with a shoulder bag that contained a week's worth of underwear, my electric razor, toothbrush and toothpaste, a pair of board shorts, sandals, a couple of quality polo shirts and a stylish Prada velvet jacket. My daily wear when I travel are my 7-year new Born pull-on leather boots (rugged enough for light trekking, stylish enough for parties even after 7 years of abuse) and one pair of Naked and Famous dark raw denim (never wash those...) that I can wear just about anywhere, from city markets to clubbing and trekking, including those special occasions at parties within the expat community. So many ways to get invited to embassy and consulate parties if you know how to bullshit your way with the right people :D

tat96

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Re: Packing for Oahu in a backpack?
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2014, 12:29:32 PM »
I currently live on Oahu and your clothing selection should be fine.  I routinely only wear 1-2 shirts and a pair of board shorts per week. 

As for renting a large SUV I would be very careful.  Rental cars here are very expensive!!! Plus, all the parking spaces are tiny.

As for eating out: Waikiki has some great restaurants but be prepared to fight for parking and deal with crowds.  Most restaurants will validate parking but be sure to know which lot to park in (ask the restaurant ahead of time).  I would say hit up the hotel brunches on Sunday for savings.  Pricier than the mainland but more food and all you can eat.  Duke's or the Disneyland Resort on the west side of the island have great buffets. 

Diamondhead is nice but there are lots of Japanese tourists.  KCC across the street from the Diamondhead entrance has a farmers market on Sunday which is cool.  North Shore is nice but bring snacks.  Not a lot of restaurants or places besides an occasional gas station up there.  If on the North Shore stop by Haleiwa and the Dole Pineapple Plantation.  Both very cool and the pineapple ice cream is awesome. 

As for Pearl Harbor it is a great experience.  The Naval Exchange across the street (ask one of the tour guides) is a good place to check out if you have a military ID.  If you do not you can still go inside and up the escalator and eat at the food court if you need to.  Just can't go into the stores and buy anything. 

Good luck!!

 

orcas50

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Re: Packing for Oahu in a backpack?
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2014, 12:34:14 PM »
Aloha! We have gone to Maui for the past 3 years, stayed in VRBO condos, and only ever bring carry-on luggage. You really don't need much in Hawaii :) Your list looks good but I might add a couple things: a light long sleeve t-shirt or button-down shirt that can double as a cover up for the sun (could wear this as an extra layer on the plane), sunglasses and/or a ball cap or wide brimmed hat  (my DH and I bring both, but kids really only need a hat) and a sundress for women/girls (which you could also buy there). Also, stock up on groceries at Costco when you arrive, prices are comparable to the mainland and much less expensive than local grocery stores.

Johnny Aloha

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Re: Packing for Oahu in a backpack?
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2014, 12:55:08 PM »
+1 for orcas' recommendation on hats/sunglasses/long t.

As someone who lives here and spends a lot of time in the water, I'd recommend a second rash guard unless you wash often.  Mine get funky after 2-3 uses unless they are washed (even though I give them an immediate freshwater wash and air dry).

Your activity list looks pretty good.  Ko Olina (and west side in general) has good snorkeling.  Don't be afraid to check out westside beaches - our favorite is Kaena Point (just drive until the road stops).  If you want to hike, try Manoa falls (20-30 minutes to a waterfall) or Maunawili Falls in Kailua (45-60 minutes to a waterfall, my favorite hike).

Simple Abundant Living

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Re: Packing for Oahu in a backpack?
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2014, 01:34:03 PM »
Lots of good ideas here!  Keep 'em coming!  You're absolutely right about hats/longsleeve shirt/extra rashguards.  I'm going to have to try and find a deal for that last one because most of us have only one rashguard and they are not cheap! 

I was also thinking about wearing layers of clothing (within reason) on the plane.  That might be the rule for the kids, if it doesn't fit, you must wear it!  ;)  So if you see a puffy family of eight getting off the plane in Oahu, you'll know what's going on!

Thanks also for the tips on restaurants and buffets.  We will be eating out occasionally, and I would like to spend that money on yummy things!  Also, good point about the large SUV and parking.  Any thoughts about the viability of taking The Bus?


orcas50

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Re: Packing for Oahu in a backpack?
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2014, 03:42:25 PM »
I have found discounted rash guards at http://www.swimoutlet.com.

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Re: Packing for Oahu in a backpack?
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2014, 07:02:42 PM »
I've used a backpack for extended travel on several occasions. As a bonus, it often fits in the overhead bin so you don't have to pay to check bags. I use a soft-sided hiking backpack with an internal spine. Be sure to remove any extra straps, zips, etc. I always take the top flap off of mine. I've fit up to two weeks worth of clothes in it.

Cheers and happy vacay! 

CU Tiger

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Re: Packing for Oahu in a backpack?
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2014, 08:08:10 PM »
Why not leave the pajamas at home and sleep in t-shirts?

Nords

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Re: Packing for Oahu in a backpack?
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2014, 09:59:54 PM »
Also, we have the free use of one car from my BIL.  We will mostly be staying around the condo (Ko Olina), but want to go to Diamonhead, PCC, North Shore, and Pearl Harbor.   We could rent another small car, but then we would be separated for the touring days.  Or we could take The Bus.  Is that a reasonable idea?  My DH wants to rent a large SUV for a couple days so we can do that, but I would prefer to save that money. 
Any other tips or advice?  DH used to live in Hawaii (25years ago), so he is familiar with the island, but I'm open to ideas of favorite places to eat or things to do.  We will mostly eat at the condo, but would like to go out to fun places as a treat as well. 
Thanks for any advice!!
25 years ago?  Your spouse will not recognize anything between Waipahu and... Makaha.  He won't recognize much between Pearl City and Wahiawa, either.  He might recognize some of Waikiki.  H-3... he's in for a pleasant surprise.

If you haven't already considered it then you need an airport transportation plan, and your best bet may be a passenger van to Ko'olina.  I'm not sure that the bus is going to get you from the airport to where you want to be, let alone in any reasonable amount of time.  Even by car it's 30-45 minutes.

The bus (known as "Da Bus") is possible but frustrating.  With a party of eight... better have plenty of slack in the schedule and an alternate transportation plan.  (Enterprise Car Rental probably has an office near your VRBO rental, and they deliver.)  You can check routes & times here:  http://www.thebus.org/ and if you carry a smartphone then download the real-time bus locator app:  http://hea.thebus.org/

I see you're adding hats to the packing list-- good call.  Socks for the running shoes if you're doing any serious walking (like Diamond Head).  Sunglasses?  Batteries, chargers, USB cords, and earbuds for all the electronics?  Inflatable neck pillows for the plane?  Earplugs & eyeshades for the plane and the rental?  Airplane snacks?  Lip balm?  Does the VRBO rental have a DVD player? 

While you're picking up sunscreen and other toiletries, consider a small bottle of aloe.  Someone (or something) always gets sunburned.

You could ask the VRBO owner whether they have spare rashguards, other beach gear, and styrofoam coolers.  That stuff accumulates in closets & corners from departing renters.  You can also ask them about the nearest grocery store in case you want to sign up for their loyalty/rewards discount card now.  The Wal-Mart in Kapolei may also be competitive for food prices.  Another option is the Costco in Waipio, but that's a 20-minute drive from Kapolei.  Many of the VRBO rentals have community (or lanai) BBQ grills but you'll want to ask about supplies and grilling tools.  The younger kids may want reef socks for the beach & tidepools, and if those aren't in the condo then Wal-Mart has them.

Check the PCC website (http://www.polynesia.com/) for their scheduled events.  If you can plan ahead then you can save a little.  If you carry a smartphone then you can download the HulaCopter app for last-minute discounts.  PCC has a good luau but it makes for a long day, especially the young 'uns.  Germaine's and Paradise Cove are closer luau to you but the prices add up quickly. 

You can also virtually fly around PCC (and many other Oahu areas) in 3D:  http://the-military-guide.com/3d-hawaii-hale-koa-hotel-in-waikiki/

You know that you're staying right next to Disney's Aulani resort, right?  (http://resorts.disney.go.com/aulani-hawaii-resort/)  At the very least you'll need a contingency plan for when the kids find out.  They will find out.

The USS ARIZONA Memorial, the USS MISSOURI Memorial, the USS BOWFIN Submarine Museum, and the Pacific Aviation Museum could each be a full day.  If you want to lock in a small boat date/time for the USS ARIZONA then reserve it online now:  http://www.nps.gov/valr/planyourvisit/feesandreservations.htm  While you're in the vicinity (or on a separate day) you can do your souvenir shopping at the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet (Wednesday, Saturday, & Sunday mornings).  It's best to shop there before buying elsewhere.  This area is probably your best bet for riding the bus from Ko'olina.

You can do quite a bit of local dining in Kapolei and Waipahu, but watch the time of day.  Fort Weaver Road, H-1, Kam Hwy, and parts of Farrington Hwy are parking lots during weekday rush hours:  5:30-7 AM and 4-6 PM.  North-South Road is now known as Kualakai Road, and that may be an alternate route to Fort Weaver. 

Local dining spots that I enjoy around Kapolei & Ewa Beach include Loco Moco, Sushi Bay, L&L BBQ, and Zippy's.  You may also want to try Thai Kitchen in Waipahu, but call ahead to let them know you're a party of eight:  http://www.thaikitchenhawaii.com/

If you're spending the day at Ko'olina's lagoons then check for surfing or stand-up paddling lessons.  If that's crowded then you can drive a few miles to White Plains Beach on Kalaeloa:  http://the-military-guide.com/3d-hawaii-white-plains-beach-at-kalaeloa-by-kapolei/ 

Let me know if any of you have a military (or DoD civilian ID) and I can suggest other options near Ko'olina. 

Mazzinator

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Re: Packing for Oahu in a backpack?
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2014, 11:34:21 PM »
Everyone else covered it, so i'll just focus on ko olina..because that's exactly where i live! You are probably in walking distance to all these.

Check out "secret beach" it's in the paradise cove parking lot. Ask anyone walking that way for directions. there are always turtles swimming in that lagoon. They will swim up right next to you, but please don't touch. Warning, this is the only lagoon without showers, toilets or drinking water.

Monkeypod has a decent happy hour. $9 or $10 pizza (can't remember) 1/2 price appitizers and lower pricing on fancy drinks and beer. I think it's 3-5pm ish...live music during happy hour too.

Also, there's an ABC store with a small amount of groceries, booze and take out food. All hawaiian prices (aka expensive) but cheaper than restaurants and you can walk there.

We walk around Aulani (disney resort) all the time. Have our pics taken with goofy, look at the fish in the man made reef and great views up top (all for free) just don't try to hop into the lazy river or pool ;)

Free viewing of stingrays, sharks and fish also next door at Ihilani (jw marriot hotel)

And most importantly, the sunsets...need i say more!!!

Lagoon 1 is between these two hotels...many tourists, kids and always a few weddings.
Lagoon 2 has shade huts and mainly locals.
Lagoon 3 is on the marriot timeshare. I've met some crazy fun people vacationing there though.
Lagoon 4 is meh.

TrulyStashin

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Re: Packing for Oahu in a backpack?
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2014, 11:47:11 AM »
Search this forum for other posts on Hawaii.  I traveled there last May for 14 days and later posted here about things to do/ see that are free/ fun/ different.

I'd add a pair of lightweight sneakers or walking shoes.  Flip flops are great but not very helpful if you're going to see Diamondhead or the Waimea Valley or Pearl Harbor where there is a fair amount of walking.

Simple Abundant Living

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Re: Packing for Oahu in a backpack?
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2014, 12:35:49 PM »
Thanks Nords and Mazzinator, it's so helpful to get the local's view of things!  Just to clarify, we have been as a couple to Oahu since DH lived there.  This is the first time taking the family. 

Definitely we will add the hats, socks, earbuds, sunglasses, and chargers to the list.  Yeah, we will need the aloe too.  A lot of pale skin here, and teenagers have to learn things the hard way! :)

Thanks for the tips on Ko Olina, too.  I'm getting so excited for this trip!!

Simple Abundant Living

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Re: Packing for Oahu in a backpack?
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2014, 12:36:57 PM »
Search this forum for other posts on Hawaii.  I traveled there last May for 14 days and later posted here about things to do/ see that are free/ fun/ different.

I'd add a pair of lightweight sneakers or walking shoes.  Flip flops are great but not very helpful if you're going to see Diamondhead or the Waimea Valley or Pearl Harbor where there is a fair amount of walking.

The plan is to wear the sneakers and pack the flip flops.  Thanks, I'll look for that thread and read up on your trip!

Simple Abundant Living

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Re: Packing for Oahu in a backpack?
« Reply #15 on: March 05, 2014, 02:54:00 PM »
We are leaving in a few days, any other last-minute advice?
:)

Nords

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Re: Packing for Oahu in a backpack?
« Reply #16 on: March 05, 2014, 03:30:13 PM »
We are leaving in a few days, any other last-minute advice?
:)
My college daughter is home on spring break with four of her friends.  They've been planning this fantasy vacation for three years.  The house has been non-stop hustle, bustle, & noise since Saturday night-- as only five 21-year-olds can sustain.

It's been raining heavily over the last week, so the hiking trails have been muddy.  The Maunawili Falls trail was a mosh pit.  The least-muddy hikes are probably Diamond Head and Makapu'u Point (with perhaps a whale or two still cavorting offshore), but if the weather stays dry (ha!) then all of the trails should dry out over the next 72 hours.  Even if it's overcast & rainy, don't be fooled by the lack of visible sunshine.  Wear sunscreen all day long.

The Aloha Stadium Swap Meet is only open Wednesdays, Saturdays, & Sundays.  On Sunday morning they stopped by the USS ARIZONA Memorial to pick up afternoon boat tickets.  They walked across the street to shop the swap meet and then toured the ARIZONA Visitor Center museums until it was their ticket time.  You could also add in the USS BOWFIN Submarine Museum, which is right next to the Visitor Center.  They were also tempted by the Pacific Aviation Museum but decided that would be another whole day.

If you decide to drive around the North Shore, the Laniakea turtle beach off-road parking has been blocked by concrete barriers.  Now you have to park before or after the barriers... or you could just visit Haleiwa Ali'i Beach Park, Haleiwa Beach Park, or Waimea Bay.  Anyway the turtles have been more active offshore than on the beach.

In about five hours I'll have reports on Hanauma Bay snorkeling. 

Sadly, the women have decided to defer all surfing activity until tomorrow.  We'll probably assault White Plains Beach around 10 AM.

They've downloaded the Hulacopter iPhone app for last-minute deals, but they haven't made the time to try out any of them.

Last month another friend stayed at Disney's Aulani.  She said they had an evening music/dancing event that she described as "luau without the food".  She's not sure whether it was just for Aulani guests or if the general public could buy tickets.  Otherwise your best luau bets are still Polynesian Cultural Center or Paradise Cove.

Mazzinator

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Re: Packing for Oahu in a backpack?
« Reply #17 on: March 05, 2014, 03:47:51 PM »
Last minute tip? Yes! I recently realized there are 2 "Ko olina" bus stops. One is closer to the main entrance near the hotels/paradise cove and the other is up Farrington hwy more east. Although it doesn't seem much of a difference, but it is a much farther walk.

The other stop is at Waiomea on farrington. It is right near the blocked off entrance into ko olina, behind ko olina kai. So if you're staying near ko olina kai, hillside or fairways this stop is closer to you. If you're staying at kai lani or coconut plantation, the first stop mentioned is closer to you. Also note if you're driving the gps may try and take you to the blocked off entrance, roads name is Koio (i think)

Most bus drivers do not consider Waiomea a "ko olina" stop, but used more for locals, and usually requires you to pull the line to get him to stop (or it was in my case)

And don't worry, it is always hot and sunny in ko olina!!! What rain???

If you're not going to take the bus...well, nevermind this post ;-)

Also, if you need anything local, just PM me and i'll be happy to try and help!! Aloha

Simple Abundant Living

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Re: Packing for Oahu in a backpack?
« Reply #18 on: March 10, 2014, 12:36:38 PM »
Nords,
How was hanama bay snorkeling?  We went yesterday in lagoon #1 at Ko Olina, but it was a bit murky. We thought we might try hanama today.

Nords

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Re: Packing for Oahu in a backpack?
« Reply #19 on: March 10, 2014, 03:21:15 PM »
Nords,
How was hanama bay snorkeling?  We went yesterday in lagoon #1 at Ko Olina, but it was a bit murky. We thought we might try hanama today.
They had a great time, and it's worth the effort.

Hanauma Bay is closed on every Tuesday but open the rest of the week.

Simple Abundant Living

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Re: Packing for Oahu in a backpack?
« Reply #20 on: March 10, 2014, 11:02:49 PM »
Nords,
How was hanama bay snorkeling?  We went yesterday in lagoon #1 at Ko Olina, but it was a bit murky. We thought we might try hanama today.
They had a great time, and it's worth the effort.

Hanauma Bay is closed on every Tuesday but open the rest of the week.

The parking lot was full when we went today, so we changed our plans. We will try again later in the week. Thanks!