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Holiday of a lifetime - Hawaii, but is it worth it !

24 replies

tanstaafl · 23/06/2020 15:48

We’re looking at a 30th wedding anniversary special trip in 2021.
Flying from the U.K.

We’ve been to West coast of the USA a couple of times.
We’d be looking to take 3 weeks off work.

Hawaii, Is it worth the travelling?
For UK travellers is it that better than somewhere in the Caribbean?

Has anyone been and thought absolutely worth the effort or did you think glad I went but won’t be making the trip again?

OP posts:
totallyyesno · 23/06/2020 15:51

I really want to go to Hawaii so I would definitely say it's worth it! I suppose it depends what you want to do.

KatharinaRosalie · 23/06/2020 15:54

Bora Bora was worth it.

tanstaafl · 23/06/2020 15:58

We’re not ‘lie on the beach for a week’ people instead we prefer to
have a hire car so we can mix exploring and relaxing.

Was there enough variety for people who’ve been ( or are planning to go ) ?

OP posts:
TurtleBeach · 23/06/2020 16:00

We spent part of our honeymoon in Hawaii (combined with West Coast USA). It was fantastic and I would definitely recommend it for a special holiday.

We were on Oahu for the whole of our stay. I'd love to go back for an extended time and visit some of the other islands, particularly the big island.

It's American..but not. Quite hard to explain really, it just feels like nowhere else on earth. The landscapes are stunning and we did some amazing day trips - a snorkelling/turtle/dolphin safari on the north coast, Pearl Harbour (very interesting and also emotional), a day hike on Diamond Head... But we also found lots of time for just relaxing and watching the world go by. The people were really friendly and the food (particularly the fresh seafood) was amazing.

I've never been to the Caribbean so I couldn't compare the two but if you do have any other questions, feel free to ask or PM me.

tanstaafl · 23/06/2020 16:00


Bora Bora looks to be somewhere else entirely !

OP posts:
GreyGardens88 · 23/06/2020 16:01

Not sure there's much to see in Hawaii to fill 3 weeks. I always thought of it as the resort, pool and beach type holiday with the odd hike if you're feeling adventurous?

Chanel05 · 23/06/2020 16:01

I went to Hawaii on my honeymoon (O'ahu) and there really were some beautiful parts. However, it kind of reminded me of Spain! I'm not really a laze on the beach person (and personally, an 18 hour flight to laze on the beach seems like a big commitment to sunbathing!) and I found that there wasn't loads to do really apart from go to the beach. I went on a boat trip, drove around the island, went on a couple of hikes, visited the Dole Plantation and that was around 4/7 days filled.

In my opinion, three weeks would be way too long. We got married in the USA and actually wished we had stayed on the mainland. If we'd been in Hawaii longer than a week we'd have just booked a flight back to the mainland and sacked off the rest of the visit to Hawaii.

Hawaii is also hugely expensive - we stayed in an air b'n'b and it cost £900 for the week. It was very small too.

So in all honestly, I wouldn't bother going all that way again! The jet lag was horrific too, it took me 8 days to feel normal again when I got home.

Chasingsquirrels · 23/06/2020 16:02

I stopped off in Hawaii for about 5 days. This was 20 years ago.
We had a good time, but it wasn't somewhere I'd go rushing back to from the UK (we were travelling home to UK from living near Australia).
We went to Pearl Harbour which was a very thoughtful trip, went to some malls (we'd not had much access to shops for 2 years), drove around a bit.
I've also been to a few Caribbean islands and had really relaxing holidays.
What are you looking for out of the holiday?

TurtleBeach · 23/06/2020 16:03

I crossed over with your most recent message. We've never been beachy people which is why we limited our time in Hawaii to 1 week when planning our trip. We could have easily stayed longer though. I fell into the relaxed vibe quite easily and amazed myself by how much I enjoyed sitting on the beach or by the pool. There are loads of trips though to mix things up. I mentioned the ones we did (OH also took a surfing lesson - I went to the spa that day) but there are others - I'd like to go back to visit the Polynesian Cultural Centre and also do some of the filming location tours, especially Jurassic Park!

thatone · 23/06/2020 16:04

We loved Hawaii for our honeymoon. A week in Oahu and a week in Maui was enough though. It was all really beautiful and relaxing.

Ilikewinter · 23/06/2020 16:07

We've been, totally loved it and stayed in the touristy trap of Waikiki beach!. We didnt hire a car but got around perfectly easily using bus and a couple of day tours (which we dont normally do). If I went again id love to spend a fews days in Oahu then the NCL cruise that does a round circle trip to the other islands.
We did a few days in downtown LA, a week in Hawaii and a few days on the LA coast to mix it up a bit. I think its 5 hours from the West coast to Hawaii so remember to allow extra days that you lose to the flights....congratylations on your anniversay!

loofa · 23/06/2020 16:10

I've been twice, would definitely recommend it for a special trip. Have a look at Big Island - that's where you are most likely to see live volcanoes and lava and there's everything from deserts through to jungle to mountains. You could visit more than just one island as they're all different, hiring a car is the best way to get around each. Two downsides: cost of living isn't cheap and the jet lag's a killer!

Themountainsarecalling · 23/06/2020 16:12

I've been to Hawaii, but travelled from the US, not U.K. the people I know who have been from the U.K have broken their trip on the west coast of the US, due to the travelling times.

Hawaii is beautiful and well worth a visit, but I think you need to combine the islands to make it worthwhile (which is easy to do as you have three weeks!). Flying between the islands is like getting on a bus or train in the U.K.

Have been to Oahu, the Big Island and Maui.

We went to the Big Island specifically for the Volcano, there's a National Park there. In fact, the Hawaiian islands have a number of national parks, so if that's something you're interested in, you should investigate the cost of an annual pass v day entry to every park.

Volcano National Park is on the opposite side of the Island to the main resort area, and it takes a while to drive between the two, so something to be considered although the capital, Hilo is very close and you could stay there for a day or two.

When we went to Oahu, we stayed up on the North Shore rather than down in the Honolulu/Waikiki area as it's really busy down there. We explored a lot all over the island, there's plenty to do, lots of hiking, the Polynesian Cultural Center, shopping in Honolulu, visiting pineapple plantations!

Maui was just a single trip, we looked at combining it with Kauai but in the end couldn't be bothered flying around.

Maui is much quieter than Oahu, there's a beautiful National Park where you can watch the sunrise over the mountains (although that is extremely popular and to get in you have to get up stupendously early). Some nice quiet towns and lovely drives.

I would say that you could do a once and done holiday of a lifetime to the Islands in three weeks and have a really good time, but if you just went to one, you'd be bored in that amount of time.

Food is really expensive there, something to factor in if you were planning to self-cater. There are Costco stores in places, so if you have a card you could use it to stock up on some stuff (like the legendary rotisserie chicken or pizza slices!)

Oh, and don't forget how close to the equator it is, so daylight is pretty much 6am to 6pm, it gets dark really early and it's useful to have a torch or headlamps for if you're out after dark.

DulciUke · 23/06/2020 16:18

For a three week trip, it would be possible to spread your trip out amongst several of the Hawaiian islands. They are all different. The Big Island has the volcano park and observatory (bring a jacket), Oahu has Pearl Harbor, etc, Maui has great national parks, etc. There are Hawaiian/Polynesian historic sites around. But if you are looking for a holiday where you are doing something exciting every day for three weeks, Hawaii probably isn't for you. But if you want a mix of kicking back and activities it would be worth it. It also gives you a few down days to recover from jet lag.

Lilybet1980 · 23/06/2020 16:29

I’ve been twice but both times when I was living on the west coast so only a 5 hour flight. Loved it but wouldn’t go to the effort to get there from the UK. I only did beach and water sports so can’t comment on what else there is to do.

I absolutely would go back go Fiji which is even more of a trek, but is even more beach focused so probably not for you by itself. But if I had three weeks for a child free holiday I would do a combined Australia or NZ and Fiji trip. Get your activities in Aus or NZ and then relax in Fiji (although I would do a lot of diving).

Three weeks would be quite a long Caribbean trip but you could take in a couple of different islands, there is a lot of variety. You could visit one of the more lush/mountainous islands such as St Lucia where you can do a lot of hiking, Barbados because it’s quite big and lots to do and then do somewhere like Cayman Islands or Turks and Caicos for more beach/relaxed focus.

God I miss holidays!

pallisers · 23/06/2020 16:32

We went to Maui and The big island when our kids were younger It was one of the best holidays we have had. Maui was so beautiful - the mountains, the sea, We loved swimming/snorkling, took surf lessons, did the road to Hana which was stunning. The big island was also beautiful and the national park and the volcano was fantastic. we drove to where Captain Cook came ashore etc. The history of the islands is also really interesting, It is only a laze on the beach/could be any beach holiday if you want it to be.

Supermarkets very expensive though.

tanstaafl · 23/06/2020 19:00

Hmm, if I’m honest I’m thinking it’s too far a trek right now.

We love to travel but not sit on a plane if that makes sense.

The expense which pp have mentioned is to be expected for somewhere in the middle of the ocean but the costs will mount up no doubt.

I suppose it’s what value you want for the spend.

I see Costa Rica getting a few mentions on posts these days but will it be clear of C19 next year.

Many thanks for all the replies folks.

OP posts:
Ellmau · 24/06/2020 01:07

What about the Azores for volcanic scenery a bit closer to home?

Swiftier · 25/06/2020 08:42

The Azores are amazing islands. Direct flights from London (not sure about the rest of the UK) and lots to do - hot springs, amazing hikes, dolphin and whale watching, scuba diving.

puppymouse · 25/06/2020 09:27

We did San Fran to Maui to Vegas and home for our honeymoon. It was fab!

NotPennysBoat · 25/06/2020 19:50

DH & I went to Hawaii 10 years ago and from the moment we left we've been dreaming of going back! Don't just stick to Oahu though - we did Big Island, Oahu, Kauai and Maui over three weeks. Each island is very different and has lots to offer.
We are not 'lying on a beach' people either, we rented a car on each island and explored, went snorkelling, found little beach bars, went horse riding, swam in rivers etc etc.
It was the most incredible holiday and we will definitely go back when the DC are old enough.

I've also been to Jamaica, St Lucia and Antigua in the Caribbean and they really are not even a patch on Hawaii.

fitzbilly · 26/06/2020 12:36

This is interesting to read as we have three weeks planned on Hawaii for early 2022, but we're flying from Japan so it's not as far.

Tinkletwat · 26/06/2020 12:46

I went there 10 years ago and would love to go back. Would really recommend getting away from Oahu and Maui and going to Kauai and Big Island as they have a much less American feeling. Hiring a car is essential and it's worth pointing out we found you have to pay to keep yourself entertained. Others who are more familiar with Hawaii might be able to give you more tips but if you want to do anything you have to pay an admission, as opposed to other places where you can just go for a walk for free - you'd have to pay to access land etc.

But it is stunning, breathtaking. The people are really friendly too.

AriettyHomily · 26/06/2020 12:53

Loved it - we did two weeks in Maui, diving, snorkelling, kayaking, hiking, helicopter trip, volcano crater sunrise...

I would love to go back but do not underestimate what a bloody long way it is from the UK!

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