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Possible family trip to Hawaii (Honolulu and Hilo), advice sought!

Possible family trip to Hawaii (Honolulu and Hilo), advice sought!

Old Jan 12, 16, 1:04 pm
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Possible family trip to Hawaii (Honolulu and Hilo), advice sought!

Looking at 5-6 (my wife and I + 3 or 4 kids) of us going to Hawaii around end of May. Have a friend that lives in Hilo that has offered us the lower level of his house (3br+bath+dining/living area on both levels).

Anyway, I'm thinking we land @ HNL on Monday around noonish, get a hotel, try and check out some of Oahu that afternoon/evening, get up and see Pearl Harbor the next day than fly to ITO (Hilo) Tuesday evening; then spend Wed-Sat checking out the big island. My friends house isn't on the beach (just a few miles inland), the kids are 20/16/14/11, so I'm hoping we can keep them entertained for about 3.5 days, lol. We would like to do the volcano thing, and probably a beach here or there (I hate the beach, but the wife loves it).

Does this agenda seem ok?
Anything that is must see on either island?
Is traffic & rental car theft as bad as my buddy says it is (especially on Oahu)?

Last edited by chevy454; Jan 12, 16 at 1:32 pm
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Old Jan 12, 16, 2:08 pm
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Re Rental Car breakins: Just don't be leaving stuff in plain view in the car interior. And, if you are going to be storing stuff in the trunk, put it in there BEFORE you get to your next destination, not right in front of the creeps who are scouting whose trunks to break into.

I would consider spending at least two full days on Oahu. Lots to see.

There are not a ton of flights to Hilo, so I would book them earlier, rather than later.
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Old Jan 12, 16, 3:28 pm
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My friend said absolutely *not* to drive on Oahu, because of car thefts but mainly because of the horrid traffic: any truth to that? Prior to him saying that I had in my mind to rent a minivan so we could get around on our own, but he was pretty adamant against that idea.

As for flights, I'm thinking fly into HNL, stay 1/2 days, then fly HNL-->ITO...then home from ITO (Hilo)?
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Old Jan 12, 16, 3:59 pm
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Originally Posted by chevy454 View Post
My friend said absolutely *not* to drive on Oahu, because of car thefts but mainly because of the horrid traffic: any truth to that? Prior to him saying that I had in my mind to rent a minivan so we could get around on our own, but he was pretty adamant against that idea.

As for flights, I'm thinking fly into HNL, stay 1/2 days, then fly HNL-->ITO...then home from ITO (Hilo)?
Sure there is traffic, but unless you are from the countryside, there is traffic everywhere.

If you are not normally traffic-phobic, rent a minivan and enjoy yourself...
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Old Jan 12, 16, 4:10 pm
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your agenda is fine

Your agenda sounds fine. To reduce kiddie boredom, plan to do twos trip to Pearl Harbour Visitor Center. The first is as soon as it opens in the am - to get the free tix.! All your party need to be there so don't make the mistake I did and leave the kids at the hotel. The 2nd is 15 minutes before the time on your ticket.

Pay careful attention to the checked baggage situation for your flight to Hilo. HA requires you to check bags and pay their fee. The only workaround is to plan your rtn. direct from Hilo to the mainland.

I laughed at your buddy's car rental advice. Traffic & car thefts?? Has he ever been outside Hawaii?? Seriously, I rented cars on 3 of the islands. The worst traffic was in downtown Honolulu and it was NOTHING compared to ATL!
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Old Jan 13, 16, 10:52 am
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There is a lot to do on both islands. Since you have a short amount of time I'd recommend staying on Waikiki while on Oahu so you can enjoy the beach there. You won't need a car as there are lots of restaurants in the area. I'd probably just check into a cab to get back and forth from Pearl Harbor.

For the Big Island the volcano is a must. I'd recommend staying for the evening so you can see it lit up. There are black sand beaches to the south of Hilo and to the North there are some great hikes with waterfalls.
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Old Jan 13, 16, 11:04 am
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Originally Posted by chevy454 View Post
My friend said absolutely *not* to drive on Oahu, because of car thefts but mainly because of the horrid traffic: any truth to that? Prior to him saying that I had in my mind to rent a minivan so we could get around on our own, but he was pretty adamant against that idea.

As for flights, I'm thinking fly into HNL, stay 1/2 days, then fly HNL-->ITO...then home from ITO (Hilo)?
I drive regularly in NYC & NJ, to say what Hawaii has is traffic is almost laughable. It all depends upon where you're coming from.

I agree that it can be heavy, particularly between Waikiki and the city/airport during rush hours, it's not enough to keep me from driving.

But again, it depends upon what you're used to.
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Old Jan 13, 16, 11:17 am
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We were there in August. Such a great trip!

We also started in HNL and then moved to the Big Island (stayed in Kona and Naalehu...visited Hilo one day).

What time zone are you flying from? We came from ET, and that totally wiped us out the first few days. Everyone was asleep by 6pm so that's something to keep in mind if you are only planning a short stay in Oahu.

I second staying in Waikiki. We did that and didn't rent a car there. Walked to the beach and our hotel arranged a (probably overpriced) shuttle to Pearl Harbor for us. There's also a bus system. The traffic didn't seem horrible compared to our city traffic here, but I didn't want to bother paying to park in Honolulu.

On the Big Island, I rented a van and had zero trouble with it. However, be aware that once you get off the main roads, some of the rural roads are basically one lane and with lava rocks on either side of some, there is no place to turn off for opposing traffic. Easy solution is to stay on the main roads rather than looking for "short cuts" (my mistake).

We went to Rainbow Falls in Hilo (it's a quick visit) and also visited the volcano, black sand beach and if you're up for an adventure, hitch a ride with a local to the green sand beach by South Point. We never made it up to the visitor center of the Mauna Loa Observatory, and that's one thing I regret missing.

Hope this helps!
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Old Jan 13, 16, 9:49 pm
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I dislike Oahu mostly because of the traffic. (the fact the ex lives there has nothing to do with it) Get a good GPS with a navigator passenger, you will be too busy driving. Took 3 hours to get from HNL to Sunset on a Friday last fall. Guess I'm too used to Big Island traffic.
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Old Jan 13, 16, 10:46 pm
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Originally Posted by hawkxp View Post
Took 3 hours to get from HNL to Sunset on a Friday last fall.
That is not typical. I guess you were either delayed because of an accident, a big wave event, or you stopped to take pictures. Should have taken 45 min max from HNL, and 1.25 hr from Waikiki.
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Old Jan 14, 16, 6:30 am
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Originally Posted by hawkxp View Post
I dislike Oahu mostly because of the traffic. (the fact the ex lives there has nothing to do with it) Get a good GPS with a navigator passenger, you will be too busy driving. Took 3 hours to get from HNL to Sunset on a Friday last fall. Guess I'm too used to Big Island traffic.
That is very odd. I've done that trip in about 40 minutes or less. Something may have been up.

I supposed you'd rip your hair out driving in Manhattan
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Old Jan 14, 16, 8:04 am
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Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is wonderful. Lava flows come and go; before you plan on an evening trying to see the lava glow check the USGS status page. I recommend hiking the Kilauea Iki trail, which takes you through a forest down to an old lava lake with steam still seeping from vents here and there. It's a bit like taking a day trip to Mordor and it's an unforgettable experience.
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Old Jan 14, 16, 8:39 am
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Black, Green and White sand beaches on Big Island:

http://www.lovebigisland.com/best-beaches-hawaii/

Best snorkeling spots on the Big Island:

http://www.lovebigisland.com/great-s...-spots-hawaii/

lovebigisland.com generally has some pretty good information on it, in a lot of categories. (I have no connection to it.)
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Old Jan 14, 16, 8:30 pm
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Originally Posted by 747FC View Post
That is not typical. I guess you were either delayed because of an accident, a big wave event, or you stopped to take pictures. Should have taken 45 min max from HNL, and 1.25 hr from Waikiki.
They were taking people off H2 and routing through Wahiawa. Been here since 82, don't need any pictures
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Old Jan 14, 16, 9:56 pm
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Originally Posted by hawkxp View Post
They were taking people off H2 and routing through Wahiawa. Been here since 82, don't need any pictures
Obviously an accident, and the cause of the atypical travel time you experienced. No need to scare the tourists....
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