So, I promised some vacation posts! And here they are…
Towards the end of 2017, a few of our friends were talking about going to Hawaii for vacation. Matt and I had been wanting to go back, since that’s where we went for our honeymoon, so we decided to join. In the end, it was myself and Matt, as well as two other couples who wound up going. After doing some research, we found the easiest way for us to stay was to rent a house instead of staying at a hotel. Which lead to lots and lots of Airbnb and VBRO listings being shared through our group messages. We originally booked a four bedroom house with a pool, that was closer to Waikiki, but after one couple decided to not go (in the beginning there were eight of us), we were able to get our deposit back and we found a nice three bedroom/three bathroom house right off the beach closer to the North Shore. All we had to do was walk out the back door and down the little stretch of yard and we were on the sand.
But let’s back up a little bit and talk about getting to Oahu! We flew on American Airlines, and since Matt and I had made that trek before, we saved up and sprung for first class seats. It was something we always said we would do, since the flight times can be up to 8+ hours when you’re traveling from the Midwest. However, once we landed in Dallas for our connecting flight, we found out that I had been bumped from my first class seat, and was now going to be sitting in premium economy. So while we were both a little angry, and I was sad that I didn’t get to have the first class experience on the longest flight on the way there, we did get the ticket difference made up (after an email to AA customer service). If you want to vacation in Hawaii, I would at the very least spring for the premium economy seats as they are much more roomy and comfortable than flying in regular economy. I know that may make me sound like a bit of a snob, but with premium economy, you have a little bigger seat, more elbow room, and I was able to completely stretch my legs out without banging my knees on the seat back in front of me. I did get to fly first class on the way back, so that was nice. Also, once the flight attendants on board found out what had happened, they were very attentive and did quite a bit to make up for the inconvenience of the downgrade.
Upon landing in Oahu, I had wanted to do something special for our friends since this was their first time visiting Hawaii. I found a service online that had someone greet you at your gate with a fresh flower lei and answer any questions that you might have. Since we weren’t traveling with a vacation package or staying at a hotel, we opted to have this done. The service I used was LeiGreeting.com and the service was fantastic. You give them your flight number, the day and time you are expected to arrive and choose which types of lei’s you want. I had a couple of changes and it was so easy and quick to relay those via email with their customer service. Definitely something to look into if you are traveling on your own and want the complete Hawaii experience! Our friends loved it and the lei’s stayed fresh for our entire trip. Before I left I hung both mine and Matt’s outside our rental in a tree. I read that it’s part of the tradition to let the flowers go back to nature, and it is a practice of good Aloha.
Another thing we did while there was rent a car through Enterprise. Since there were six of us and we each had a suitcase, we opted for a large SUV. We drove a little over 500 miles over the course of our vacation, only put in one tank of gas at the end of the trip and the rental of a brand new Suburban was only around $400 for the whole week we were there. Just a side note about Hawaii traffic-rush hour is real there, and even though something is only 20 miles away, it can take every bit of an hour to get there, so always take that into account when planning things. For the most part, we stuck together, but Matt and I did utilize Uber while we were there and two out of our three trips were in electric cars. Lyft and Uber were both very accessible on the island, and Oahu does have a great bus system that goes all around the island, and bus passes are super cheap, too. They also had bike share options in more populated, touristy areas.
Now on to the important part of this post-lodging!
Like I said, we decided to rent a house through Airbnb, which tallied out to around $1000 a couple, which was much cheaper than hotel rooms for each of us. Plus we had access to a full size fridge and kitchen set up, plus our own little stretch of beach. Technically all beaches in Hawaii are considered public places, but since where we were was more residential than commercial, there wasn’t ever very many people on our beach. Our house was owned by a super nice couple, and they actually have several properties available for rent. The name of the properties is Tiki Moon Villas, which I linked to the exact house you see below!
The house was great! Very clean, plenty of space, a full kitchen, everyone had their own bathroom, and it had a washer and dryer. They also provided wifi, small amenities like beach towels, dishes, etc, as well as beach toys. We had a private drive to park in so we didn’t have to worry about parking on the street. There were a couple of grocery shops within a few miles of the house and we were literally right across the street from the Polynesian Cultural Center, so we walked over there a few times for dinner and some shopping. Now for some notes- this house did not have air conditioning, but with the ceiling fans and the windows open, I never felt the need for it. We went during the beginning of March, which is just towards the end of big wave season, and while we were there, there were wind advisories in place. So it was pretty windy on the North side of the island. Also the water is a bit rougher here than on the Waikiki side of the island, but we still got out and swam a bit and it wasn’t too bad. We even got to see a few turtles swimming by! Laie is home to Brigham Young’s Hawaii campus, and is actually a dry town, so there isn’t any alcohol sold at the local grocery store (but there was a Long’s Drugs just a few miles up the road in the next town) and there also aren’t any coffee shops in the immediate area. None of these things really had any effect on our trip, other than the fact that the grocery store and several other places weren’t open on Sunday. Also, like I mentioned earlier, even though Waikiki was “only” about 30 miles away, it took 45-60 minutes to get there with traffic and speed limits.
All in all, it was a great place to stay, especially with a group of friends. I think that anything that could be considered a potential issue, really isn’t that hard to overcome with proper planning and a little research. Since this post is already getting a little on the lengthy side, I’ll post about the fun stuff we did and all the things we saw in another post.
*Please note that any links within this post are NOT affiliate links. I received no compensation or discounts for any of the places I’ve linked to or talked about in this blog post. Links are merely for your own information and convenience!