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Island hopping

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Island hopping

Next year we are planning a vacation to hawaii and thinking of flying over and either doing a cruise around the island or island hopping via plane 3 days per island and three islands..Has anyone done either..?? Help

Chicagoland
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1. Re: Island hopping

One week = One island. If you must see more in a week, take the cruise. Every 'hop' will eat at least four hours of your time, and you will only glimpse any island in just three nights. (You can 'glimpse' with less effort and less time in airports by taking the cruise.) You can take ship's tours or rent a car at some ports to DIY tour.

Many people take the cruise, then stay Oahu for several nights.

ON, Canada
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2. Re: Island hopping

Here's a link to reviews on TA's sister site, Cruise Critic, for Pride of America which does a 7 day cruise, return from Honolulu, with visits to Kauai, Maui and the Island of Hawaii. cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/…

We haven't cruised in Hawaii - have enjoyed them elsewhere, but we would much rather do land vacations to Hawaii.

For 9 days, I would choose one island or maybe two at the most, e.g. a couple of days on Oahu and the rest on one other island. It takes half a day to move from one island to another (short flight ... but lots of time involved in checking in/out of hotels, driving to airports, waiting at the airport, dealing with rental cars).

There's enough to do enjoy on each island for 9 days (or longer) ... 3 days on each would make for a hectic schedule and wouldn't allow you time to see the highlights on each island unless you rushed from one to another. If you really want to see numerous island in a short time, the 7 day cruise is probably the best way to do it.

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3. Re: Island hopping

thank you for your help..Im thinking the cruise this time just to get a glimpse of what the islands are all about..Then in the following years stay at one island at a time..I love travel so Im sure I wont have a problem getting back to the islands..

Burr Ridge, Illinois
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4. Re: Island hopping

I suggest 3 islands and flying island to island. If you want to see the islands this way it is easy to fly.

People love the cruise. People like island hopping via flying. Either way can be fun. I suggest flying as it gives you more control of your vacation.

Island of Hawaii...
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5. Re: Island hopping

I think it is a mistake to feel you need a glimpse of all the islands, although many feel they must. I did it one island every year or two and for 10-15 days each time.

On each of those trips, I had a chance to really get the feel of the island and see both the main sights and have some moments of off the path. I wouldn't ever trade that experience for hopping around doing the greatest hits.

I guarantee you you'll understand less of what the islands are about by cramming them all in than having one focus. With Hawaii, cover less ground and experience more deeply if you want to get it.

I'm very tourist friendly, but the most annoying tourists to talk to are the ones who are cruising and have no sense of where they are really, don't know the place names, don't know a thing about what people do in the place they are visiting.

Honestly, I wouldn't be able to stand being on a boat with 90% of the folks I see coming off the cruises. Not savvy travelers so if you are one you might feel surrounded by tourons.

California
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6. Re: Island hopping

1) your are on the forum for the Big Island of Hawaii. You should repost on the State of Hawaii Forum.

2) I would not take the cruise. You will be spending way too much time on a mediocre boat instead of actually enjoying and exploring the Hawaiian Islands. Your schedule will not be your own and you will constantly be finding yourself in queues. The hit-and run approach is not a good fit for Hawaii.

3) each time you island-hop, you will lose at least a half-day or more. You will be consuming your vacation in airports.

4) for the most part, we recommend at least 5 nights per major island ... but we don't really know anything about you. Would you rent a car? Where are you from?

Island of Hawaii...
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7. Re: Island hopping

Great questions, please help us out here. Another question (BLBL classic :) ), is you say you have 3 x 3 days, but how many nights in Hawai'i? Are you counting arrival and departure days in the 9, or do you have 9 solid days? About what time of day do you come in and leave?

How many hours will you have flown when you arrive, and from what time zone?

Does your home base give you the option of easily flying directly into a neighbor island (if so, which ones), or will HNL be your gateway airport? Can you fly in one airport and out another?

If your replies serve to make that nine days more like 10, maybe two islands, but if the 9 days is really 8 and a fraction and you'll be travel weary, then I would lean towards a week on one island and a going or coming short stop on Oahu, or whichever is your gateway island.

Your breaks on car rental costs will come at 5 days and on weekends, and your lodging for a vacation rental will often require 5 days if not a week minimum. Hotels sometimes do the stay 3, 4th free discount. At 3 days per island you will be paying top dollar for car and lodgings.

I like the book "No Worries Hawai'i" as a planner for which islands offer which types of experiences and why. Although Hawai'i for Dummies is a good first time planner, I like No Worries format and its abundance of color photos. You probably want to start with an all island guide book and then buy the individual island books when you narrow it down.

I find books to be very grounding, while forums are great for those personalized questions, but not so much to get you going with that foundation you need for planning.

Re inter-island flights, Hawaiian Air is the carrier most would recommend, so go to their site and take a look at pricing and schedules. It is easy to talk about hopping, but a little glance at the site may be the reality check you need. You will need to allow 90 minutes pre-flight in airport PLUS rental return time plus rental pick-up time.

Then don't forget the joys of packing and unpacking and structuring your vacation around checkout times and 3 pm check-ins, and the drive to and from the airport to your lodgings. On most islands, the airport is not located in an area where you will actually stay. The Big Island is somewhat an exception, but most will still have drive time to and from.

The 45 min flight is the least of the process.

I know this is a lot of questions, but it's better to get it right from the start than to do bookings and then belatedly try to fix a plan that doesn't work well, which is something we see a lot of here.

Edited: 29 July 2012, 23:18
Omaha, NE
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8. Re: Island hopping

To expand on that "lose a half-day" every time you "island hop", changing islands does take a lot longer than just the half-hour flight. Check out of your accommodations, drive to airport. Need to be there 90 minutes or so before your flight for all of the TSA screenings. Check in rental car. So now, you've killed 2-3 hours of a day, and you haven't even left the ground yet.

Most interisland flights require a stop in Honolulu (unless that's where you are coming or going from), so count on flights taking you 1-2 hours. Then collect bags, rent another car, and drive to new accommodations.

In an ideal world and going to/from Honolulu, you've probably only used 4-5 hours of a day. In most other cases, it's 6+ hours.

And probably about $100 a person each time you do that.

On a longer trip, the cost and time investment in changing islands can be worthwhile....but for a 9 day trip, I'd think twice. Do you really want to spend 4 days at airports?

9. Re: Island hopping

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