Sunday, November 18, 2007

Hawaii (Maui) Trip - Preparations

This is my first trip to Hawaii. I knew that there are many islands in Hawaii. But I didn't know about their specifics. A few of my friends had been to Oahu. They said "Oahu is very commercialized and so don't go there !".

I started to Google to find out some website describing the Hawaiian Islands. After some research, I decided to go to Maui. I compared the deals from Orbitz, Expedia and Travelocity. I accidentally ran into this website called United Vacations from United Airlines. It had a cheaper deal. I booked for my stay, flight and car through this website. The whole package was for about $1600. At last, I finalized the travel dates. The stay was in Resortquest Kaanapali Villas.

A visit to Hawaii wouldn't be complete without doing any activities. So, I booked for para sailing, snorkeling, submarine tour through Maui's Best Activities. The price was very competitive. The customer service was excellent from these folks. A representative named Fernanda was helping me and I was amazed by the suggestions and alternatives proposed by her. My trip to Maui wouldn't have been smooth without Fernanda taking care of all the arrangements for activities. All the activities for me and my wife came to about $360. Maui's Best signed me up for a 2 hours seminar from Wyndham Resorts. In return, I got a concession of 50% for all the activities. So, I paid just $180 for all the activities.

I booked for Luau through Hawaii Web. This site is a little expensive for other activities. However, they were the only one offering Luau for just $37 per person. I booked for Royal Lahaina Luau through this website.

Trip Advisor gave me useful hints and suggestions to plan for the trip. In fact, all the places that I visited in Maui were based on the input that I got from this website. I contrived the activities for each day of my 5 days trip. I took print outs of all the maps and directions from Google Maps. I also took driving directions to the nearest Safeway, Walgreens - just in case I need them.

My flights were from SFO airport - which is 45 minutes drive from my home. Normally, I take Supershuttle for my trips to SFO. They charge ~$50 for two people. This time, I decided to leave my car in the long term parking. I got parking discount coupons from Long Term Parking. They carry coupons for many long term parking lots. I decided to leave my car in Burlingame Airport Parking. I paid just $36 to leave the car in the long term parking for 5 days.

My wife took care of all the packing for the trip. I helped her in buying a few items from Walmart and the local grocery store. I bought a couple of swim shorts for me. We went to at least 3 different shops to get swim suite for my little one. I was surprised to know that it is a seasonal commodity and may not be available during winter. Kaanapali Villas Resorts had a kitchen. So, we took some groceries and utensils with us. We didn't know that the kitchen is fully furnished (I didn't call to check with them in advance). Otherwise, we wouldn't have carried all the dishes.

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