Friday, August 22, 2014

How I'm Planning a 10 day Trip to Hawaii {with two kids and a husband}

It's been a few weeks since our last vacation, so naturally, I'm already planning another.  I'm a firm believer in working to live, not living to work.  And while Husband is the one with a 5am-6pm {get it? most people work 9-5? but he does almost twice that} I'm also working really hard being a mom to two littles and running 2-3 businesses or projects along with 2 part time jobs.  I feel fair in saying we work hard but play travel harder.  Anyway, our next getaway is scheduled in the fall, ten days in the gorgeous Kauai Island of Hawaii.  We went there a few years ago with family and have been dreaming of getting back, permanently.  Until we can make that move, we've been saving for a return visit.  When my brother and sister-in-laws told me they were booking their room and flights, I knew we needed to go too.  It's so nice traveling with family, even if they're not around the whole time {they'll only be there for part of the time we're there, and of course they want to do their own kid free thing}, it's so convenient to have a support system and date night when possible.  So here's the plan so far...

The Flight:
To start, I'd been researching flights for months now.  I'd check a flight about once a week to compare various dates or airlines, I used Expedia and Hawaiian Airlines.  I ended up booking our tickets with Expedia because they were the cheapest I could find, sadly we do have a few hour layover each way in LA. But I don't really mind layovers, because it gives the kids a chance to run around, eat, stretch and play before the longest stretch of the flight.  I do, however, really like that Hawaiian Airlines website lets you view the rates for the date you entered and the week surrounding it.  That way if you wanted to leave on a Sunday, but you saw you could save $200 by switching to Monday, you have that choice.  While on Expedia you physically have to change your search each time to see which dates have the best rates.  I've often found Thursdays and Tuesdays to be the best rates so I usually start with combinations of those to start and compare rates based on my available "time off."  While Expedia has done away with {sadly} the calendar search tools to find the best rates, they do have the scratchpad feature, so when  you're signed in it saves your most recent searches to your scratchpad so they're easy to re-search and re-find previous inquiries.

The Hotel {or lack there-of}:
For this trip I was planning on using my parent's timeshare swap with Interval International, they have a free hotel anywhere in the world for one week that I have access to, however, it only works if someone in your destination has traded in their share.  Anyway, since that was only going to be a week, I decided to camp on either end of that week and break it up with other hotels on the island.  Unfortunately, there are no exchanges available during our stay, although, I'm calling to be added to the waiting list in case one gets deposited before our trip.  Otherwise, we've decided we like camping and we've been there before, and we wanted to camp a few days anyway, so WE'RE CAMPING EVERYDAY! except for the first and last day to coordinate easier travel.  We get in late and once we're done picking up the rental car we're going to want to sleep in a real bed not set up a tent, so the first night we'll have a hotel room, and then camp until the last nigh, in which we'll also have a room just to properly freshen up before a 6 hour flight.  That, and I wanted to stay in a fancy hotel at least one night, because I love the luxurious experience of a fancy hotel bathtub and beautiful sheets, and I won't lie if there's a robe in the closet, I'm gonna wear it.

I'm finding conflicting information from the Kauai website for camping and the Hawaii State Parks website, once I call I'll know for sure which forms are accurate.  At this time it appears we can only camp for a maximum of 5 days at any site, then we'd have to change to different site, which is fine, since we want to stay at a few different campsites on this trip.

The Rental Car:
I used priceline to compare rates of rental car companies, and even with the AAA discount for Hertz we found the best price to be with Avis via priceline for about $430 for the 10 days.  That includes car seats.  {which I've heard mixed reviews on using a car seat for a rental car, but when were stranded in Houston after our international flight without car seats and we drove back to Phoenix, we used the rental car's child car seats and they were fine.} It makes it so much more convenient to not have to lug a huge seat around through the airport, and when I did bring my own car seat last time on a different flight, they over tightened the straps and lost a semi attached cushion, so that was frustrating.

The Food:
I'm still brainstorming on food over here and would gladly take any suggestions.  We live a pretty organic lifestyle and I know there are daily farmer's markets on the island so I'm planning on eating there.  But last time we had a full kitchen and this time we'll be using a camping stove.  I know my daughter will love that, she gets so excited to eat soup while camping, but I'd like a little diversity.  I know there are a few great restaurants and we'll be eating out but the more suggestions you have the more I can prepare for.

The Advice {that's you!}:
So, not only am I looking for suggestions for food ideas while camping but if you've been to Kauai and know any great spots or activities for a family {and maybe even a date night!} we'd love to hear them.  We'll be there end of November, early December if there are any festivals or events I'd also love to know about them!


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