We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Help with trip planning

B R
Cincinnati, Ohio
2 posts
Save Topic
Help with trip planning

My wife and I are planning an aniversary vacation to Hawaii for September 2014. We have never visited the islands.

We plan on 11 or 12 full days in the islands, not counting the day flying in or out.

We want to do 3 islands if possible - Oahu, Kauai, and Maui.

On Oahu, we plan to see Pearl Harbor, go to a Luau, hike Diamond Head Crater, visit Hanauma Bay for beach time/snokeling, and go to Waikiki Beach.

On Maui, we want to hike Haleakala National Park, and go snuba or snorkeling at Molokini.

On Kauai, we want to kayak (Wailua River), hike Kalalau Trail, take a helicopter tour of the island, and spend some beach time/snorkeling at Ke'e Beach.

With all the activities above, are there any "must-see" places or things we are leaving out?

All things being equal, we would probably lean toward vacation rentals/condos over a hotel. Up to about $300/night on average would be fine with us. We prefer ocean and beachfront, and quiet.

How do we plan our vacation from here? Buy flights then lodging? The other way around?

La Mirada...
Destination Expert
for Kauai
Level Contributor
15,206 posts
134 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Help with trip planning

You don't have enough time for 3 islands. You'll lose close to half a day flying from one island to another. Consider 3 nights on O‘ahu and the rest on Maui or Kaua‘i. You will save time if you can fly into HNL and out from LIH or OGG...or the other way around.

Hike ALL the Kalalau Trail? That is not a one day trip...11 miles in and 11 miles out. You need camping gear and permits.

3Chihuahuas

California
Destination Expert
for Oahu
Level Contributor
42,318 posts
19 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Help with trip planning

Welcome to TripAdvisor, BR!

Count your nights, not your days. You'll have 10? 11? That's enough for two Islands, but not three. Choosing Islands is tough, I know. But understand that you will easily lose 1/2 day or more with each Island transition ... and you could spend your entire trip on any of these three Islands and not run out of things to do and see.

For snorkeling, you want Maui. I'd recommend that you do your luau on Maui as well.

I don't recommend Molokini. I know it's hyped alot ... but tends to be crowded with boats and b*tts. There are plenty of great places to snorkel on Maui. For a catamaran sail snorkel cruise, I recommend West Maui.

<<"must-see" places or things we are leaving out?>> Sure, tons of them. Another reason to stick to two Islands. You simply do not have time.

You'll find plenty of condos ...

Pin down your dates.

Pin down your Islands.

Then your flights.

Then your accomodations.

Reserve your cars in advance as well.

Big Island, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Island of Hawaii
Level Contributor
24,439 posts
75 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Help with trip planning

I basically agree with the advice from the two wise posters above. Two islands max. I would add not to bother with a cheesy commercial luau or snorkeling in Hanauma Bay, save your snorkeling time for Maui if you choose it as one of your two islands (but not Molokini). I would visit PCC and the Bishop Museum on Oahu.

My only divergence from the previous advice is I would divide the time roughly evenly between Oahu and a second island instead of only three nights Oahu, unless your second island is the Big Island. You didn't mention it as an option, but I wouldn't count out the Big Island as a possible second island, especially because it has the best snorkeling of all the islands, particularly in summer, and snorkeling seems like a priority to you. Something like 4 nights Oahu, flying in Hilo and staying two nights Volcano, and then 5 nights on the Kohala Coast flying out of Kona would be a great trip. Hiking in VNP is some of the best in all Hawaii and a lot better than hiking at Haleakala.

Otherwise with 11-12 nights, I'd split 5/6 or 6/6 between Oahu and either Maui or Kauai. If you choose Oahu and Maui you'll be choosing the two busiest islands but Oahu and Kauai have the poorest snorkeling so there are pros and cons of each combo.

B R
Cincinnati, Ohio
2 posts
Save Reply
4. Re: Help with trip planning

Thanks for the replies.

12 nights total.

We thought Kalalau trail was 11 miles round trip. We would probably hike halfway then back (we could do 12 miles total).

If two islands would be better than 3, it seems that Maui and Oahu would be the best choice over Oahu and Kauai.

Minnesota
Level Contributor
442 posts
100 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Help with trip planning

3 islands for that amount of time is alot. You will need to fly to each island and even with the short flights you should plan at least a half day for each of the travel days to be spent at the airport and getting to and from your hotel. I'd either figure out how to spend a few more days or cut out one island. Do some checking on flights to get an idea of when they arrive from your destination and times for inter-island flights as well.

La Mirada...
Destination Expert
for Kauai
Level Contributor
15,206 posts
134 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Help with trip planning

For only 6 miles in, no permit is needed.

hawaiistateparks.org/hiking/kauai/kalalau.cfm

Once you have your islands narrowed down...post on those island forums for more specifics.

3Chihuahuas

California
Destination Expert
for Oahu
Level Contributor
42,318 posts
19 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Help with trip planning

Maui and Oahu are often the pairing for first-timers ... although I gotta say that Kauai in September sounds pretty wonderful.

pzp
Kauai, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Kauai, Kapaa
Level Contributor
23,084 posts
57 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Help with trip planning

Less than about 15 days = two islands. The Kalalau is 11 miles one way. I think most people hike to Hanakapi`ai Beach, and then up to the falls if they want to go further. I believe that's 8 miles round trip. No need for a permit for this part. Be aware that it's a fairly strenuous hike.

Kaua`i will be lovely in September. Still warm, warm water, and lower crowds after the kids go back to school. It's an ideal time to stay on the gorgeous north shore.

I would do flights first; you'll have more choices if you haven't pinned down your dates. Remember that Labor Day is Monday, 9/1. That weekend, and possibly the whole week, is a high season.

9. Re: Help with trip planning

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 09 January 2015, 05:20