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Hawaii trip..flight/airport tips, sunset tips..any tips

Six Lakes, Michigan
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Hawaii trip..flight/airport tips, sunset tips..any tips

My husband and I will be visiting 3 island for 10 days in early April.

We will be in Honolulu with a mid afternoon arrival. We will depart for the Big Island 2 days later. Pearl Harbor is our only reserved activity.

We will arrive to the Big Island early afternoon for 3 nights with out only planned (at this time) activity being the active volcano tour.

We then depart for Kauai with a planned mid afternoon landing. We have a 4 night stay before departing Lihue for the mainland of the US.

Any tips on smooth airport transfers, car pick etc.

Any tips on viewing sunsets from Oahu, Kailua-Kona, Koloa areas of those Island? Maybe someplace within a 30 min. drive of the 2nd and 3rd locations.

Any tips are greatly appreciated. Food, driving, easy hikes, zip line, beginner snorkeling, dinner cruise, luau, etc.

Healy, Alaska
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1. Re: Hawaii trip..flight/airport tips, sunset tips..any tips

Do you already have your flights and lodging booked? I would choose to see only 2 islands max.

Dallas
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2. Re: Hawaii trip..flight/airport tips, sunset tips..any tips

I agree with coalminer. My first tip is to cut out one of the islands.

Then go back and ask your specific questions on the forum for each of those islands and not the generic Hawaii (state) forums.

Washington DC...
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3. Re: Hawaii trip..flight/airport tips, sunset tips..any tips

Hi Dolphin, have you read through the top questions on each of the individual islands forum? Those have tons of info. and suggestions on things to do. Also, I would recommend getting a guidebook for each individual island, which will give you an overview of things to do and then you can pick and choose what sounds most appealing to you.

Are your flights/ hotels already booked to each island? Most people would only recommend going to 2 islands max in 10 days, so your trip will be a bit of a whirlwind, but if it's already booked, not much you can do about it now. Do book your cars now if you haven't already.

Where are you staying on each island? I would suggest spending a little more time researching through the top questions on the individual island forums (most of your questions are already covered in the top questions), reading through guidebooks, and searching through the forums (you can type in best sunsets near Waikiki in April on the Oahu forum for example in the search box and come up with tons of threads or type in "luau" in the Kauai forum and you will see tons of responses on luau options).

Once you have your focus a little more narrowed down, if you have more specific questions, or want suggestions on your more detailed itinerary than you may want to post in the individual island forums for help.

I would spend one of your days on Oahu doing a self-drive circle island tour up the Windward side and North Shore of the island (see the top questions for more info.).

I'd probably do your luau on Kauai since you have more nights there. Definitely see Waimea Canyon one day and a boat trip or helicopter tour of the Napali Coast one day and drive to the North Shore (stopping in Hanalei) one day on Kauai.

Probably do your snorkeling on Big Island because it has the best snorkeling of all the islands (where depends on where you are staying...again check the top questions on that forum for more info on snorkeling spots, etc.).

Big Island, Hawaii
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4. Re: Hawaii trip..flight/airport tips, sunset tips..any tips

I would also strongly recommend only two islands in nine nights but if you're going to go to the Big Island just for Volcanoes National Park you should fly into and out of Hilo, not KOA. Three nights is simply not enough time to try do snorkeling on the west side and then VNP on the east side. The island is 4000 square miles and driving distances very long. It can take you 5-6 hours just in driving time to transit between the two sides. Driving at night cross island is absolutely not recommended.

Moreover, make sure you manage your expectations re: the "active volcano". Right now there is no accessible surface lava flow. The only "active lava" action you can currently see is the glow from the lava lake inside Halema'uma'u and for that you'll want to spend the night there. Alternatively if you're set on staying on the west side and can't change, then you can take a full day "Twilight" small van tour with Hawaii Forest and Trail that stays so you can see the glow. But no lava flows, no spouting lava. It's been that way for months and even when there was accessible surface lava last year it required a long and fairly difficult guided hike. April can still be very wet in Volcano and cold at night so bring appropriate clothes. You don't want to be "that guy" shivering and drenched in his tshirt and slippers when it's 40 degrees in driving rain and gusty wind.

Truthfully I'm afraid you're going to have a lot of memories of rental car lines and airports, especially coming from Michigan, the 2/3/4 night split between three islands is really contraindicated. It's also odd to allocate the most time to the smallest island. As a comparison, the Big island is 4000 square miles. Kauai is less than 600. I would stick with Oahu and Kauai and do a 4/5 or 5/4 split or if you do Oahu and the BI do 2/7 or even just stay out on Oahu. Plenty to do!. April is still far enough away that hopefully you can adjust some of this.

Edited: 05 February 2014, 23:19
Boston, MA
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5. Re: Hawaii trip..flight/airport tips, sunset tips..any tips

Airport tips:

If you are renting a car, have one person go to the car rental counter, while the other gathers/watches luggage. No need to fight your way on and off of a shuttle with all those bags. The one exception may be big island. I know the car rental lots are about 10 minutes away, and depending on where you are staying, that may be in the wrong direction.

If you have a late return flight, you can either book an extra day, to have the hotel room to freshen up in, before the long flight home.

If you do not have the hotel room for an extra day, check with your airline to see how early you can check in. you may want to check in, drop off your bags, get boarding passes, then enjoy the last day without a car full of luggage.

Sunset tips:

Sunsets happen fast, and go nearly straight down, not at the angle we're used to up north. Plan ahead, get yourself situated (preferably with a mai tai in hand) and watch nature's magic.

As the sun disappears below the horizon, the last wisp of it turns green for a very split second. This has to do with refraction and is easiest seen if you're a little above sea level (20-50 ft) and the sun is setting at the waterline. This is the "green flash" that people speak of. If you see it, yell "Did you see the green flash? It was awesome!" to wow your travel companions. If you did not see it, yell ""Did you see the green flash? It was awesome!" to wow your travel companions, anyway. No one will second guess you.

The best colors of sunset are usually a few minutes after the sun sets, as the clouds overhead get lit up. Just sit back, relax and enjoy. Ordering a second mai tai will help you time your enjoyment.

The last hour, before sunset is called "golden hour". The low angle of the sun will light everything up with a golden hue. Don't forget to look away from the sunset to see boats, mountains, or buildings lit up in golden hour. Some of my favorite pictures are a sunset sky, with a boat lit up all golden, in the foreground.

If you're taking pictures, while the sun is setting, use an object in the foreground to block the sun. This will help with balancing the light level, and will also give you a cool silhouette effect. I usually use a palm tree.

Don't sweat it if you can't find a spot where the sun will set directly over the water. While you will miss the green flash (unless, you want to wow your friends anyway), sunsets can be wonderful, just about anywhere. On Oahu, anywhere beach/water front, in Waikiki/Honolulu will give you a good sunset, even if it's not directly over water. On Big Island, just about anywhere on the water in Kailua-Kona or Kohala will have sunsets over water.

Florida
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6. Re: Hawaii trip..flight/airport tips, sunset tips..any tips

Choose 2 islands. I agree with the others.

California
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for Oahu
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7. Re: Hawaii trip..flight/airport tips, sunset tips..any tips

Actually - if you only 9 nine nights ... I'd stick with ONE Island. Two is a little stretch. THREE ... no way! You'll lose at least a 1/2 day with each transition.

Is all of this set in stone? Do you have your interisland flights? You will lose SO much time sitting in airports and standing in rental car lines.

You're staying in the Kona area ... Kona-side ... of the Island ...but Volcanoes National Park is way the heck on the other side of the Island. If that is your priority, you would want to fly into the Hilo airport and stay on the east side of the Island.

Do you have a good map of these Islands?

Six Lakes, Michigan
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8. Re: Hawaii trip..flight/airport tips, sunset tips..any tips

Thank you all for the tips and suggestions.

Yes, it is set in stone, but I think the stuff could maybe be tweaked a bit on the big island.

We have an ocean front view on the south side, which I hate to lose, but the trek back in the dark from the Volcano site seeing does not sound appealing.

My husband really wants to see the volcano. We do know we won't actually see the lava flow, I just couldn't think of the name of it as I typed my questions. :-/ lol

I will also look at other, more precise, forums for more info.

We do not have book or paper maps. I do have great mapping on my iPhone.

Any suggestions for mapping/books are appreciated.

California
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9. Re: Hawaii trip..flight/airport tips, sunset tips..any tips

Go to AAA and get maps of each Island. Or go up on Amazon.com ... or try a Barnes & Noble. Get a good travel guide book for each Island as well. They are well worth the cost.

My iphone has great mapping as well, but there is no substitution for laying a map on the table and studying it. Get a feel for the distances and the topography.

I wish you well.

Saint Cloud...
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for Oahu
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10. Re: Hawaii trip..flight/airport tips, sunset tips..any tips

Order the free travel planners for Hawaii and each of the islands. They have good maps. You can also read them online:

http://www.gohawaii.com/visitor-guide

or

1-800-GOHAWAII

This site has good maps and driving tours. The magazines should be available with your car rental on each island. You can read each island's magazine online. Try printing some of the maps:

http://www.hawaiidriveguides.com/

Other maps:

Kauai:

This link has a map section. Some of the links are probably no good any more.

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g29218-s2/Kauai:Hawai…

Oahu:

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g29222-c120226/Oahu:H…

Big Island:

This link has a map section:

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g29217-s2/Island-Of-H…