Many of you know, I'll be celebrating my 50th birthday in the 50th state in just a few months. The trip is coming together bit by bit.
I held off booking the SAN-LIH leg until I achieved MVP Gold status with AS. Unfortunately, by the time I booked, I could not get a guaranteed FC upgrade. I settled for the Premium class upgrade which ended up saving me a few hundred dollars over the FC upgradable fare, though I'm bummed I won't be in FC for the flight to Hawaii. At least I will be for the overnight flight home.
I still need to book the flight between LIH and HNL as well as any activities. I plan on reserving a helicopter tour of Kauai (Na Pali coast, Waimea Canyon, waterfalls ... need I say more?) Also planning a day trip, fly-in/fly-out to Kalaupapa on Molokai from HNL (since Kalawao county is technically a separate entity from Maui county).
Given that I'll be there in March, there's a good chance I might see some whales (though I know Maui is the best island for whale watching). It's been almost 13 years since I was last on Kauai. I visited Oahu a little over a year ago, though I'm not familiar with the area around Ko Olina, having never visited that side of the island.
Any suggestions for other things I should do on Kauai or Oahu?
I've been to Pearl Harbor and climbed Diamond Head, though I won't object to doing either again.
Anything major I'm forgetting?
Congrats on reaching the half century. i found 40 to be the tough one psychologically. I thought about it with the big 5 - 0 but breezed by 60 without a thought.
Your plans sound amazing. I can tell you are not sit on the beach people. I am looking forward to your report and pictures.
50... and think, you look darn good for 50! not a day over 40 looking! I think the same about pluto77, looking SO MUCH younger.
This trip sounds amazing! I know you are going to have a blast! 10 days! woot! So... do they have counties to collect there too?
Aww shucks, thanks SeaTexan.
Hawaii does have counties, 5 of them but only 4 county seats (Kalawao county, which used to be a leper colony, doesn't have a county seat, but I plan to go there anyway). I visited three last time, so I'll wrap up the state this trip.
Here's some additional info on the counties https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_counties_in_Hawaii
NO WAY half a century....wow. Not start acting like it!! Yeah. I'm one to talk huh?
Helicopter tour, far too many moving parts for me to want to entertain that idea. However; we did a fixed wing tour of Kauai years ago and it was fabulous. Simply amazing how many waterfalls there are to see so I'm sure you'll have a grand time hovering near them, something one should not try in a fixed wing craft.
Kauai is a beautiful island which you will really enjoy. I highly recommend the luau at Smith's Family Luau near the mouth of the Wailea River. Great food and plenty of it and the show afterwards is memorable. When we saw it the rain poured down on the dancers, who never missed a beat and were seemingly oblivious to the downpour - while we (and the band) watched under cover. The helicopter tour is also wonderful, and a trip up the river to the Fern Grotto is worth taking.
Fun stuff on Oahu:
Hike Koko Head - no cost associated, and you get a great view of the windward side and Hanauma Bay
Hike up to Manoa Falls - $5 to park, I think
Hike the various trails in the trail system on/near Tantanlus Drive and visit lookout at Tantalus Drive
Nu;uanu Pali State Park - Pali Overlook - $3 parking fee, I think
Punchbowl National Cemetery
Japanese Gardens - I think the one I saw was East/West Center
Secret Beach/Kalama Beach Park/Kailua Beach Park in Kailua (on the windward side; really nice and not crowded)
Good list clebert. I made it to Kailua Beach Park last year on the County Collecting Hawaiian Style - Part 1, Oahu trip. Having traversed that side of the island pretty well, I'm not sure if we'll head over there this time or not. I'm looking forward to checking out the leeward side (I've barely been west of the airport, so there's lots to explore).
bejacob, when on Oahu:
That's all I can think of now, but if I remember more, I'll be sure to post them.
Good stuff kharada46. I'll look into a couple of these.
With only a couple months before the trip I'm trying to tie up many of my loose ends. I just booked my LIH-HNL flight, so now all that's left are the excursions (helicopter on Kauai, whale watching/snorkeling/sunset cruise(s), the day trip to Kalaupapa, and anything else I think I need to book before leaving home).
Things are coming together nicely. I was even able to switch from a "mountain view" to an "ocean view" at Ko Olina for the same number of points.
Awesome on the room. Upgrades are always great! For some of your activities, I've got some recommendations for you:
Paradise Helicopters is great too, but they only operate on Oahu and the Big Island. FYI Star of Honolulu does offer vegan menu options on some of their dinner packages.
Thanks ssindc. Reaching the half-century mark just means I've outlived many of my bad habits.
Happy 50th! What a milestone! This just sounds like the BEST trip! What a way to celebrate 50 awesome years on this planet! I would go snorkling...I'm sure you thought of this already but I really enjoyed going to Hanauma Bay to do this. I saw fish, turtles and lots of water...imagine that I, also, burned my butt! So if you do take my suggestion wear long shorts and then lots of sun lotion on the back of your legs
We vacationed in Oahu and Maui to celebrate our 60th birthdays in November. This was our 3rd trip to the Ko Olina, so we obviously love it. It's the type of resort that lends itself to total relaxation. However, we never tire of a drive to the North Shore with a stop at a shrimp truck and beautiful views of the ocean and surfers. Another favorite day trip is to Pearl Harbor and the Swap Meet at the Aloha Bowl (Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday only). We're also fans of a day in Waikiki for the beach, surfers, shopping, and great restaurants.
Our last trip to Hawaii was in March of 2015 and the highlight was definitely whale watching! Wishing you a great trip, lots of whales, and Happy 50th!
I saw the promotional trips to earn x2 points and 20% off one was hawaii package but had no knowledge where to go so your 5-0 bday trip really helps with ideas especially the whale watching my bday was Jan 2 so I wanted to go on vacation since I reached my 1/2 century age too! I like your 5-0 idea ha ha thank yo
I did now that you mention it.
Turns out it won't work out for me. I was able to grab a 1-BR villa the other day for a modest expenditure of points (5k per night). I can move up to a 2-BR, but it will cost an extra 45k points (no 5th night free for some reason). For now, I think I'll stick with what I have.
I have noticed the room inventory has been changing every few days for the past week or so. I'll have to keep an eye on it.
I've been regularly checking back on my reservation at Ko Olina. Finally secured the room I wanted at the beginning - 2 bedroom, ocean view villa for 5 days on points. Normally I don't need the extra bedroom, but there will be three of us on this trip.
When I first looked, no availablity on points. Later I found a regular guest room, mountain view. Then a guest room, ocean view. Early January, I upgraded to a 1 bedroom villa, mountain view Finally, a 2 bedroom villa, ocean view came available on points. Naturally, I grabbed it.
It cost a bit more, 210,000 points for 5 nights instead of the 160,000 for the regular room, but given that the nightly member rate is $817/night, I don't mind redeeming the extra points for what would set me back over $4600 (with taxes/fees) for a 5 night stay. Seems like a ~2.2 cents/point redemption might even impress brightlybob. At that value, I won't mind paying the $37.70/day parking fee.
Only about six weeks to go now. Almost everything is now set.
I think all of us here are pretty obsessive check & recheckers, but that's where we get 2.2UScents/pt redemptions.
EXcellent going bejacob. Enjoy your big 5-0. I've just had mine for a weekend in the Peak District, fourposter, snow, roaring fires, excellent food in a 15th century pub... Happy memories of turning 50 just 4 days ago!