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Where else can Compete with Hawaii?

Where else can Compete with Hawaii?

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Old Jun 25, 19, 5:31 pm
  #1  
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Where else can Compete with Hawaii?

I love traveling to Hawaii, have been 3 times in the last 4 years: Maui/BigIsland, bigIsland/Kauai, and finally just got back from 9-nights on the big island that left me longing to return.

I should start that I put essentially all my accumulation of rewards into Hhonors and Alaska Airlines, and National Emerald Club. So utilizing those programs to offset costs is absolutely a consideration, but not the only one. I'm based in Southern California. We have kids aged 5 and 8 now.

My wife has said that we need to see the world beyond just repeat trips to Hawaii (I would visit every summer if she'd let me), but I am trying to scour some destinations that can stack up against what I love about Hawaii:
  • Reasonable award redemption on AS.
  • Reasonable reward valuations (I've averaged less than 50,000 hhonors pts/nt for my stays on BI/Kauai)
  • Great assortment of activities: Hiking, snorkeling, Nature, interesting food, sightseeing, etc...
  • Relaxing beaches
  • Simple/domestic travel
  • easy/relaxing self-directed once there
So i am trying to figure out any other places that might scratch the same itches as hawaii, but in a different way. Doesn't have to be beach/tropical, doesn't have to be everything hawaii is, just spitballing for ideas.

Thanks

Last edited by rayfound; Jun 26, 19 at 12:38 pm
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Old Jun 25, 19, 7:07 pm
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I don't think anything can beat the Islands, there's so much to do on the Big Island alone, plus there's still the others to explore. We've been going to Hawaii every year for the past several years (even got married on the Big Island and Honeymooned on Maui) and haven't got tired of it. 2 years ago we didn't go because we decided to go to Disney World, which was a great time. Took time to head to the beach between park days too, which the water is more like that of Hawaii's than SoCal, so you can still enjoy that aspect too
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Old Jun 25, 19, 7:08 pm
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Originally Posted by rayfound View Post
I'm based in Southern California ... but I am trying to scour some destinations that can stack up against what I love about Hawaii:

  • Reasonable reward valuations (I've averaged less than 50,000 hhonors pts/nt for my stays on BI/Kauai)
  • Great assortment of activities: Hiking, snorkeling, Nature, interesting food, sightseeing, etc.
  • Relaxing beaches
  • Simple/domestic travel
  • easy/relaxing self-directed once there
So i am trying to figure out any other places that might scratch the same itches as Hawaii, but in a different way.
Home?

SoCal (the area between the 5/99 split and TJ) has all of that stuff- it's seriously a destination onto itself. We Californians tend to forget how good (relatively speaking) we have it
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Old Jun 25, 19, 9:41 pm
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Originally Posted by kennycrudup View Post
Home?

SoCal (the area between the 5/99 split and TJ) has all of that stuff- it's seriously a destination onto itself. We Californians tend to forget how good (relatively speaking) we have it
Oh, absolutely love home as well, between local mountains, San Diego weekends, hiking in the high sierra, etc... but there's a mindset shift when we travel that I don't get in the local region.
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Old Jun 25, 19, 11:43 pm
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Limiting yourself to AS-flight radius seriously impairs your ability to see the world!

But, some brainstorming is in order (not sure whether AS flies to any of these):

Sedona
Maine-Nova Scotia Coast
Colorado Rockies (more than just a baseball team )
Zuni Indian Reservation
Grand Canyon
Switzerland (my top destination), followed by western Austria.
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Old Jun 25, 19, 11:50 pm
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Didn't mean to suggest I have to stay on native Alaska destinations - milage partners, etc are totally fine too... Just my wife balks at the idea of much longer travel days.
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Old Jun 26, 19, 12:09 am
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Originally Posted by rayfound View Post
milage partners, etc are totally fine too... Just my wife balks at the idea of much longer travel days.
Perhaps Noosa and the Sunshine Coast north of Brisbane, Australia. You could fly into the Sunshine Coast Airport at Maroochydore or come up from Brisbane. Qantas, an Alaska partner, flies into both. You can currently do nonstop LAX-BNE and SFO-BNE comes on line next year.

Noosa:



Mooloolaba:

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Old Jun 26, 19, 5:09 pm
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Originally Posted by rayfound View Post
My wife has said that we need to see the world beyond just repeat trips to Hawaii (I would visit every summer if she'd let me), but I am trying to scour some destinations that can stack up against what I love about Hawaii:
  • Reasonable award redemption on AS.
  • Reasonable reward valuations (I've averaged less than 50,000 hhonors pts/nt for my stays on BI/Kauai)
  • Great assortment of activities: Hiking, snorkeling, Nature, interesting food, sightseeing, etc...
  • Relaxing beaches
  • Simple/domestic travel
  • easy/relaxing self-directed once there
Have you considered Costa Rica? You can get there on AS metal out of LAX, and it is a beautiful country that offers an assortment of activities. Comparable flight time to Hawaii as well, so it won't feel like you're traveling terribly far. Just took a quick glance, and it looks like they have a handful of Hilton properties as well.
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Old Jun 28, 19, 4:44 pm
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Thanks for the ideas. Costa Rica definitely is on the radar, as is NZ/Australia. I've also looked a bit at Fiji but opinions seem very mixed about it.
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Old Jun 29, 19, 8:50 am
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Bali. So long as the volcano is behaving itself.
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Old Jun 29, 19, 10:24 pm
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I'm generally a fan of Hawaii and did a series of rediscovery trips as 3 or 4-day stopovers on Asian trips (when those were easier to book) in the 1994-2006 timeframe. I tried to do a lot of the "hidden" kind of stuff.

Hawaii is a tremendous marketing success story and has been for a long time, and therefore gets SO many visitors it's easy to diss as overtouristed and inauthentic.

If the marketing themes were a big draw, then checking out the alternatives with strong points along those lines would be good.

POLYNESIAN-NESS: I think the slogan for Tahiti used to be that Hawaii gets more people in a week than Tahiti gets in a year (it might be more like a month now on the Hawaii side), but Tahiti can get a little more intense and less crowded. OTOH, costs can make even Japan look cheap, which is why I'd favor the Cook Islands. Great "Island Nights", half the cost of Tahiti and Aitutaki is wonderful on the beaches.

BEACHES: Western Samoa has some great ones without much development. Though it's hard to look at beaches the same after going to the Seychelles.

AUTHENTICITY: Some of the United Micronesia destinations, like Kosrae, Pohnpei, and Yap get so few visitors you can recognize every one of them from people you saw on the plane. It's like the opposite problem with Hawaii. Not many beaches, though.

DIVING/SNORKELING/etc.: It's hard to beat Palau.

I like Costa Rica and Bali a lot as well, though I'd classify them as their own "thing." So much of the real attraction with Bali is cultural, even though it's a beautiful island as well.
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Old Jun 30, 19, 7:48 pm
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I think I have had the opposite problem - I feel like there is so much of the world to see, and I write off Hawaii as a domestic, beach-forward vacation spot. After coming back for the first time in almost 5 years last month, I sorely wish that I had visited the islands more frequently than I have.
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Old Jul 2, 19, 12:10 pm
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Originally Posted by PsiFighter37 View Post
I think I have had the opposite problem - I feel like there is so much of the world to see, and I write off Hawaii as a domestic, beach-forward vacation spot. After coming back for the first time in almost 5 years last month, I sorely wish that I had visited the islands more frequently than I have.
This is exactly how I felt after we returned to the Islands after a near 10-year stretch between our honeymoon and our first of 3 recent trips. This is NOT me looking for alternatives, this is me trying to find something else that has a similar cost:benefits ratio (cost in all senses: hassle, stress, $$, awards points, travel time...) to satisfy my wife's desire for something "different".
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Old Jul 2, 19, 6:09 pm
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I love maui so much that I would prefer to only go there for flying vacations. I live in a city and Maui will never be as dense or crowded like my hometown. I prefer to spend my money for Hawaii. I’ve lost interest in seeing other places.
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Old Jul 3, 19, 1:22 pm
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Originally Posted by kale73 View Post
Bali. So long as the volcano is behaving itself.
TBH, I went to Bali last year, and while I enjoyed my time there, I did not feel the benefit of a different culture, as well as cheaper (on balance) spending outweighs the cost (mostly time, but financially as well) of traveling to probably the absolute furthest place possible to get to from the NYC area. I'm sure I will go back at some point, but as an East Coast American, it's so far away...
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