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First timer....Multiple island or not?

Detroit, Michigan
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First timer....Multiple island or not?

Hi, i'm considering my first trip to Hawaii next year and thinking of setting aside up to 2 weeks for the trip.

Personally I would love to visit 2-3 islands at once but knowing me, based on past experience, I find multiple city trips fatiguing with all the constant traveling and changing hotels.

I'm undecided whether I should stick to one island(Oahu) for the first trip then revisit others in the future or if I should just take advantage of being in that side of the world already to see as much as I can.

I would like to know from others what did you do the first time? Visit one or sample many?

California
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1. Re: First timer....Multiple island or not?

Count your nights. If you have ten or more, you can see two islands comfortably. Oahu is great for first timers, as is Maui. A great pairing and a good balance.

You will need to fly between the islands, and that will take at least 1/2 day. It involves all the regular airport hassle - but one interisland flight wouldn't consume too much of your vacation. (And the view from the plane is wonderful!)

So, no - you don't want to sample. Again, the transport between the islands is time-consuming and expensive. Choose a couple islands, settle in and enjoy.

No need to change accomodations within Oahu, Maui or Kauai unless you really want to. They are small enough. If you visit the Big Island of Hawaii and want to see both sides - you should pick up and move.

And don't take the NCL cruise. You'll be spending way too much regimented time on the mediocre ship and not enough enjoying and familiarizing yourself with Hawaii.

One more thing: You'll need a car (reserved well in advance) on any of the major islands with the exception of the City of Honolulu on the Island of Oahu.

And about flights: see if you can fly in to one island (for example Maui) and directly home from your second island (say Oahu).

BTW - you can visit the Island of Lanai easy enough on a day trip from Maui. You can also day-trip to the Big Island to see Volcanoes National Park if you like.

Please tell us when you plan to travel and the size of your party. Bringing kids?

Edited: 14 October 2012, 17:04
Corona del Mar, CA
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2. Re: First timer....Multiple island or not?

10 nights or more you can do two islands, 15 nights or more you can do three.

The one exception is I would say you need 14 nights minimum if you want to do Oahu and the Big Island because I think to do the Big Island justice you need at least 9 nights and two locations.

If you want to do an Oahu/Kauai trip or Oahu/Maui trip, 10 nights minimum, 14 nights is better.

Washington DC...
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3. Re: First timer....Multiple island or not?

With two weeks (and anywhere from 12- 14 nights), sure I'd visit two islands. I think you can visit 2 islands very comfortably with 2 weeks (particularly the smaller islands of Oahu, Kauai, and Maui). Certainly you can stay put on one island and find enough to keep you occupied for two weeks, but if you are interested in seeing two islands, then that is fine as well.

Read the top question on the top right of the Hawaii forum that gives a summary of the islands. I would also check out gohawaii.com and read about each island to start your research. Also, many people here recommend the guidebook "Hawaii for Dummies" to help you choose your islands to visit.

California
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4. Re: First timer....Multiple island or not?

I agree with what the others have said so far. With two weeks, you could fully enjoy either two islands or one, but not three.

Most people approach this from the opposite position: they want to squeeze in as many islands as possible, thinking, "Heck. It's SUCH a short flight." But the flight's only a small fraction of the hassle, as you already see clearly.

My trips to Hawaii are almost always for six nights and I've never once been to more than one island in a trip. HOWEVER, from my home in Calif it's a pretty short flight. That means I can be back in Hawaii very soon (and often am).

Your post seems to suggest that you'd rather stay put. So I'll tell you that Oahu is an ideal island for doing so. Lots of people really enjoy two-week stays in Oahu without doing any island hopping.

The proposition you're facing is really a "can't lose." So I say just go with your gut. Don't let that "I'm worried I'll be missing something" feeling force you into something you don't want to do. Oahu has it all.

Detroit, Michigan
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5. Re: First timer....Multiple island or not?

Thanks all for your advice. just a little more info I'm flying all the way from either EWR or JFK with 2 others and no children.

Aside from Oahu, I'd love to visit the Big Island and Maui.

I may use AA or United miles, but may consider purchasing the airfare if I see a good price. (Cant turn down earning 10k+ more miles!). On the other hand using miles would keep cost down and give me the flexibility of adding stopovers (well on United at least). This way I can comfortably see 2 islands dedicating a week each without tiring myself and feeling like I got cheated spending too much time in one place and not another.

I always try to do too much on trips and come home exhausted and regretting that I could have planned things differently. I've learned my lesson and am trying to better in my future travels.

Edited: 14 October 2012, 18:57
California
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6. Re: First timer....Multiple island or not?

What is your draw for the Big Island? If it is Volcanoes National Park, consider a day trip from Oahu or Maui. You can take a tour (that includes air) or just take an early flight, rent a car, and visit on your own.

Chicagoland
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7. Re: First timer....Multiple island or not?

Our first trip to Hawaii was pre 9/11. Today I wouldn't try to do more than two islands in two weeks. Each 'hop' will eat at least four hours of your vacation.

We fly 9.5 hours Chicago-Honolulu, then hop to Maui. I look for 767's and other widebody aircraft. We buy coach and use AA miles to upgrade to first. (Thus earning miles while enjoying the multi-adjust seats. It is nice to be able to sleep on the redeye returns.) I avoid 757's and west coast connections. We use Hawaiian Airlines in Hawaii.

Most first-time visitors want to see the historic sights of Honolulu and explore the rest of beautiful Oahu. You don't have to have a car in Honolulu, but need one everywhere else. You could combine Oahu with any of the other three major islands -- shorting Oahu more if you choose the very big Big Island.

Kauai is best visited in summer when the most gorgeous north is not wet and windy. Maui is best for whale viewing Jan. - Mar. The three smaller islands are more 'typically tropical' than (the newest) Big Island.

This site has aerials and reviews of almost every lodging in Hawaii: www.hawaiirevealed.com For stays of a week or more, consider a condo.

Edited: 14 October 2012, 20:51
Detroit, Michigan
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8. Re: First timer....Multiple island or not?

Yes BLBL, the Volcanoes National Park is one of the main big island sites I want to see. If this can be done by day trip that may be a better option for me than packing up and changing hotels. My goals are more beach, sightseeing and relaxing. I don't picture myself doing much hiking.

Chisue thanks for the link!

California
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9. Re: First timer....Multiple island or not?

Give it some thought, Serenity. You won't have time for 3 "full" islands.

washington
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10. Re: First timer....Multiple island or not?

To give a little perspective we are doing 3 islands in 25 days and I'm stressed about the stupid island hopping we have to do...it really is a pain. The things we do for a wedding!

I fully understand the desire to "see" 3 but in 2 weeks you really will not. Stick to 2 , or dare I say, even 1 and really get on island time and enjoy!