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Help needed for complicated trip to Hawaii

California
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Help needed for complicated trip to Hawaii

My sister, my daughter, granddaughter (4) and I are planning a first time,18 day lowish budget trip in early November to the Big Island (because we have a house trade in Kona) and perhaps Kauai. Sis and I like nature, birding, kayaking, marine mammals, rusticity, but daughter is dreaming of a resorty scene with multiple pools, cultural experiences, beach, etc., 4 year old is happy with whatever. The tentative plan is the first 4 days at a beach resort, just hanging around there, then go to the house trade for a week, it is an ordinary house 1 mile from the beach, and take day trips from there, older generation to natural areas, younger to the beaches or towns. Then daughter and little one fly home and sis and I maybe fly (?) to Kauai and stay in rustic accommodations (?) near a natural area for another week or stay on the big island in a simpler, more natural setting. We need help choosing a resort (something under $200 a day, I hope), inter island transportation (would love to take a boat or ferry to another island), day trips from the house trade, and quiet, natural places to stay and or visit in Kauai or the rest of the big island. Is it too much to try to do 2 islands, should we just choose 2 different places on the big island? I love the look of the old Kona Coast Resort but I guess that is closed and even if it wasn’t would probably be out of budget for us. Thanks so much for any help, I feel overwhelmed as there is so much information on-line and I’m not very good at sorting it all out.

pzp
Kauai, Hawaii
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for Kauai, Kapaa
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1. Re: Help needed for complicated trip to Hawaii

You have time to do 2 islands, including splitting your BI stay east and west. The only way to get island to island is to fly, except between Maui and Lana`i, and Maui and Moloka`i.

I don't know that you're going to find any fancy resort for under $200/night.

In early November you could stay pretty much anywhere on Kaua`i. You might like the Waimea Plantation Cottages on the west side.

Healy, Alaska
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for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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2. Re: Help needed for complicated trip to Hawaii

Doesn't seem too complicated. You could spend something like 12 days on the Big Island and then 6 on Kauai . . . would be a lovely contrast. You might also consider staying at least overnight in the Volcano area to explore there, though there are some areas near/in VNP where the air isn't safe for kiddos - maybe after grandkiddo flies home and prior to Kauai? Hmm . . . I do think with 18 days I would do a split.

The only ferry runs from Maui to Lanai & Molokai . . . you would have to fly to get to Kauai - I would recommend Hawaiian airlines for that.

I would recommend posting on both the Island of Hawaii forum and the Kauai forum for specific help with lodging, etc. Happy planning! :)

Big Island, Hawaii
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for Island of Hawaii
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3. Re: Help needed for complicated trip to Hawaii

So a few things. There aren't any beaches of note in Kailua Kona so even though the house you're staying in says it's a mile from a beach - that's probably an exaggeration of what one typically thinks of as a beach. I would suggest you spend your resort time in the beach district of South Kohala which also has much better weather. That's also where the better snorkeling and swimming is. There are no true resorts in Kailua Kona despite the word being attached to some properties. $200/nt is on the low end for a beach resort but the Hapuna Prince often has rates in that range. And the rooms are huge. It's on a nice beach. You could also consider a condo with four people but many of them have minimum stay rates.

There are no boats or ferries from the Big Island or Kauai, you have to fly. With 18 days you could definitely do both islands. The BI is about nine times the size of Kauai so I'd allocate more time for the BI.

California
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4. Re: Help needed for complicated trip to Hawaii

Wow, thanks so much for the prompt replies, you all are amazing!

Island of Hawaii...
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for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
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5. Re: Help needed for complicated trip to Hawaii

Well, I think you could save a good amount of money by doing a split stay on the Big Island. You will save roughly $200 apiece on airfare alone (if you flew to Kaua'i and then to Oahu), actually more because it is two air segments to Kaua'i and there are no direct flights from the Big Island (only from Maui and Oahu). The car rental costs may also increase, and lodgings costs, depending on a lot of factors you can only discover by starting to price things out.

However, there aren't any fancy hotels on the east side, not are you likely to find a nice pool, so it would be more nature and culture and parks and gardens. Also the 4 year old is too young to be safely subjected to volcanic fumes, so you might need to split for a day while you guys go do VNP.

It would help if you could say where (what actual community) the house trade is located. Kona is two huge districts. The town is Kailua, often called Kailua-Kona to show it is in Kona. Many visitors and hosts incorrectly call the town Kona. Because you mention nature, I'm wondering though if you are going to be staying in rural Kona, not in town, perhaps even in South Kona district. Thus need to know where.

Kailua Kona is my least favorite part of the island, though you will hear from those who find it charming (I don't). It is very built up and is not a great base for nature interests. You'll need to drive a lot, but a trade is a trade.

Hotels here are not the type with multiple pools (OK the Hilton, but I REALLY do not recommend the Hilton). The better the beach, the more simple the pool. Shea's recommendation of the Prince is very good I think. It has one pool, but it is nice and warm and is small child friendly, and the area around the pool is more pleasant than most, with an ocean view and nice shade, steps down to the sand.

Even the Prince is a hotel and is low key, not what your daughter may imagine as a resort.

Have you considered Oahu for a short resort stop? It sounds like she wants something like Hilton Hawaiian Village. (I wouldn't, but it sounds like what she has in mind.) And does she want authentic culture or is she thinking faux Hawaiian culture as popularized by Hollywood? Something like that Adam Sandler Jennifer Anniston movie? (Just Go With it, filmed at Hilton Hawaiian I think). Real Hawaiian culture is less gaudy and more quiet.

It sounds like either you guys need to compromise big or trade off meeting your needs, as your tastes sound 180 degrees apart.

Edited: 19 August 2014, 23:44
California
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6. Re: Help needed for complicated trip to Hawaii

Yes, I am beginning to think the house trade is only good because it is free lodging, it is in the Kailua-Kona village, sounds like the built up area you describe, alas, I wish it were more rural. I accepted it when I knew nothing about the area (not too bright there) but the other party has made their plans already and I can’t back out and it will allow us a longer trip than we might otherwise be able to afford. I think my daughter would be happy with authentic Hawaiian culture, she really knows nothing about either version (but she probably has seen that movie :). I don’t think a really crowded, faux and noisy place will appeal to any of us. I will check out the Prince, as several of you have suggested. And yes, this is going to be an exercise in compromise, but my daughter has had some really stressful life experiences lately so I am willing. Do you think the air quality at the Volcano is such that we (just sis and me) should only stay there a day or so? There seem to be some lovely, less expensive places to stay in Volcano? Thanks so much for your input.

Island of Hawaii...
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for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
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7. Re: Help needed for complicated trip to Hawaii

Free is wonderful, and Kailua Kona is at its nicest that time of year, so don't fret it indeed. I would suggest your resort be in Kohala, so you can try another spot. It is a short drive south from town to coffee country, which will have that rural feel, and Kailua is not a city. It is subject to annoying traffic on the main drag though. Are you on Ali'i Drive or are you up the hill? (What street are you on?)

The Prince will not be crowded or noisy. It is laid back and has stunning views and large lanais and very large bathrooms with both an open bathtub and walk-in shower and double sinks. Of any of the affordable hotels, it has by far the most room for three adults, and all rooms do face the ocean. It is right on a super beach for walking and sand castles.

The main drawback for a budget is you may need to be creative to eat affordably. It is not one with a walk-to shopping center and off property dining. Kawaihae Village just to the north 5 minutes has affordable options, and there is a snack shop at the hotel with prices comparable to local grocery stores, for drinks and bakery items, sandwiches.

The Prince also offers some cultural craft lessons in the lobby.

There are good archaeological sites in that area, and it is a good base for them and for visiting beautiful windward North Kohala and the Hamakua Coast (much better base for that than Kailua, which is better for the southern sites).

You could actually drive to VNP and back from your trade house, and leave the youngster home.

Edited: 20 August 2014, 01:30
Nanaimo, Canada
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8. Re: Help needed for complicated trip to Hawaii

Right now you are on the forum for all of the Hawaiian Islands. When you have time, hop over to the page specifically for the Island of Hawaii, also known as the Big Island. On the right hand side, you will find a long list of top questions, in blue letters. They are links, and there is a wealth of information there for you.

One specific link I want to find, is the one about staying in Kailua Kona. There are a lot of people that write about what they like about staying there. There is also a thread for the resort area further north in Kohala area, with responses from supporters for that area.

Make sure you have a read through those two threads. And don't fret about your FREE house! Big Island is big, and you have lots of time to see a lot of places. Not everything, but then you could take two or three trips there, and still not see everything! Besides, I am a firm believer in leaving something for the next trip!

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g29217-i268-k61167…

Here is the one for the Kohala area.

Edited: 20 August 2014, 02:19
Nanaimo, Canada
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9. Re: Help needed for complicated trip to Hawaii

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g29217-i268-k61167…

And for Kona!

10. Re: Help needed for complicated trip to Hawaii

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