Previous trip reports with pictures:
-Hawaii Trip Notes: Oahu (2009)
–Hawaii Trip Notes: Kauai (2009)
–Traveling To Hawaii…With A 5 Month Old (2011)
–The Hawaiian Islands (2011)
And one of these days I really ought to write up a trip report on Maui and The Big Island.
The 2nd most popular destination that people booked with the Delta glitch was Hawaii. There’s more detail that can be found via the trip reports above, but this will give a quick overview of the options.
If you’re flying to Hawaii in coach on Delta glitch with your family you should look into the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express which gets a free checked bag (a $50 round-trip value per person per trip) for up to 9 people on an itinerary with the primary cardholder!
There are 4 major Hawaiian islands. I’ll cover them each separately. Hawaii is paradise defined and one of my favorite places in the world.
It’s not just the pretty beaches and incredible snorkeling, it’s the refreshingly pure air, hiking, waterfalls, volcanoes…ahh. Just be sure to also leave some time to relax!
Best of all, as a US state, you have all of the conveniences of being back home, though it can take a long time to fly there from the east coast. Your phone works without any roaming fees.
I’ve been lucky enough to make it to Hawaii 5 times:
-In March 2006 I flew to Oahu for 2 days as part of a glitch that included flights and hotels for $87.
-In January 2008 I got $150 United tickets for the family to Hawaii. We spent a week on Maui and a week in Kauai. My parents rented condos in both places for the family.
-In December 2008 Mimi and I spent nearly a month in Hawaii with a week on each island before topping it off with a Shabbos in LA on the way home. We nabbed the Sheraton Waikiki for dirt cheap on Priceline, stayed at the Hyatt Regency Maui and Grand Hyatt Kauai on faster free nights, and had a treehouse on the Big Island via VRBO.
-In December 2009 we went back for 2 nights at the Westin Moana Surfrider Waikiki, a week at the Hyatt Regency Maui, and a week at the Grand Hyatt Kauai on faster free nights once again. This time Hyatt was actually paying me thousands of miles for every free stay.
-In December 2011 we flew with 5 month old Rafi and stayed for a week at the S. Regis Princeville thanks to Starwood free resort nights and a week at the Fairmont Kea Lani Maui thanks to lifetime Platinum free suites.
For the last 3 trips we flew Continental BusinessFirst using miles.
Fair warning: The Huffington Post (Disclaimer: This article has non-tznius pictures) says that Hawaii will ruin your life . They’re not far off, it’s kind of like how flying internationally in business or first will class will do the same to you!
The revealed series of books are absolutely required reading if you are going to Hawaii. They read like a novel and are unlike any other guidebook you’ve seen before. It’ll be the best money you spend on your entire trip:
–Big Island of Hawaii Revealed
You can use miles to island-hop. United charges 5,000 for a one-way flight on Hawaiian or IslandAir. They even allow a free stopover on a round-trip so you can fly Oahu-Kauai-Maui-Oahu for just 10,000 miles.
Be sure to allow plenty of time to change terminals in Honolulu and beware that you may have to recheck your luggage in Honolulu. Though, always ask your originating airline to check your bags through to your final destination. Bring a copy of your interisland itinerary to allow them to attempt to do so.
How long should you spend on a single island? The bare minimum is 4 days on the ground. A week is ideal.
Bringing kosher food:
Food that is in a deep-freeze will remain frozen upon arrival in Hawaii. Mimi cooked a month’s worth of food in about 2 days for our honeymoon and we brought it all frozen. We had each hotel freeze the food for the next islands. Or save the time and buy ready made double sealed travel meals from places like Pomegranate.
You can even bring a double sealed meal onto the plane and have a flight attendant heat it up for you.
Call your hotel beforehand to arrange for an extra fridge and to place extra food in their freezers.
Hotels can heat up double-wrapped food for varying fees. Or bring along your own burner or buy a cheap toaster oven or grill on the island to do it yourself.
Shelf stable La Briute meals may not be great but they’re nice to have a pinch on a long outing like on the Road to Hana on Maui or during an all-day hike.
WalMart sells inexpensive Tabi shoes which are shoes that have a grippy bottom that are great for hiking in stream and waterfalls. They also sell snorkeling gear if the idea of renting old gear grosses you out.
You will sunburn much faster in Hawaii due to its southern location than back home, buy and apply plenty of sunscreen.
If you have a mustache then you’ll want vaseline to stop your snorkel mask from leaking.
You’ll definitely want a car on any island to explore its beauty. There’s no need for a 4WD on Oahu and Maui, the ideal car there is a convertible.
On the Big Island you’ll definitely want something with 4WD, more on that in the next installment.
Most of Kauai can be explored in a regular car though a 4WD may be helpful, more on that later as well.
Chabad of Hawaii has passed on a corporate rate for rentals at Enterprise or National in Hawaii that provides better rates, waives underage fees, and waives different location drop-off fees.
The company name is Hawaii Kosher Weddings. The contract number is XZ36016 and the pin is HAW
Buy gas at Costco where’s it’s cheaper than at most stations on the islands.
Some Rabbinical authorities hold that you must keep 2 days of Shabbos in Hawaii as the exact location of the halachic international dateline is a matter of debate. Be sure to discuss this with your Rabbi before traveling to Hawaii. If you will keep 2 days remember to discuss all potential ramifications regarding candlelighting, warming up food, etc.
The local communities on each island only keep shabbos on Saturday. Consider yourself lucky if you are able to hear the pilpul from Rabbi Aharon Dovid Gancz on the subject, a truly fascinating topic.
Oahu: Home to Hawaii’s only major city, Honolulu.
Oahu gets a bad rep from people who stay in concrete Honolulu the whole time. The key is leaving the city behind!
Kosher traveler info:
-Chabad of Honolulu is located at 410 Atkinson Drive, adjacent to the Ala Moana Hotel. It has the only daily minyan in all of the Hawaiian islands. There is daily shacharis at 8:30 and mincha/maariv can be arranged for someone who needs to say kaddish. There is a minyan every shabbos and you can join communal meals on Friday night and Shabbos day. The cost for both meals is $70 for adults and $45 for kids and reservations should be made beforehand.
-Yudi Weinbaum lives on Oahu and runs Oahu Kosher, a delivery food service. Orders for Oahu deliveries must be made the day before and orders for other island must be made 48 hours in advance.
Deliveries to Waikiki are $10. Deliveries to Honolulu airport are $30. Shipments via refrigerated cargo for pickup at other Hawaiian airports is about $75 for a box of 10 meals.
-Grocery stores carry the same kosher items you find back home. In Honoulu there is Safeway, Whole Foods, Costco, WalMart, and Sam’s Club. Costco in Hawaii Kai has kosher cold cuts, frozen salmon, empire chicken, etc. Costco prices are very close to prices back home though prices at other stores can be double what it is on the mainland.
-Chabad of Honolulu sells Hawaiian kipot for $8, a neat gift. If you wear it in Hawaii everyone will want to know where you got it from.
You can also request the Chabad rate when calling the Hawaii Prince or at the Modern Honolulu. Both are located within half a mile of Chabad.
-The Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort costs about 50K Hilton points per night (20K Starpoints transfers into 25K Virgin Atlantic which transfers into 50K Hilton points. 25K AMEX points with the current Hilton transfer bonus or 25K Chase or AMEX points transfers into 25K Virgin Atlantic which transfers into 50K Hilton points) Chabad is 0.7 miles away.
-The Sheraton Waikiki is an SPG category 5 property (12K-16K Starpoints per night or 9.6K-12.8K per night on a 5 night reservation). Chabad is 1.2 miles away. Beware for shabbos that most stairwells here had motion activated lights, though when we stayed here 5 years ago there was one service stairwell that didn’t.
-The Royal Hawaiian is neighbors with the Sheraton and is part of the SPG luxury collection and is a category 6 property (20-25K Starpoints per night or 16K-20K points per night on a 5 night redemption). It’s a highly regarded hotel also known as the pink palace of the Pacific. Chabad is 1.2 miles away. People who have stayed here did not have shabbos issues.
-The Westin Moana Surfrider is an SPG category 6 property (20-25K Starpoints per night or 16K-20K points per night on a 5 night redemption). Chabad is 1.4 miles away. Beware for shabbos that stairwells here have motion activated lights. There are a few rooms that can be accessed from interior stairwells, so make those arrangements in advance if needed. This hotel did give us an absolutely incredible suite upgrade when we stayed here several years ago.
-The Hyatt Place Waikiki is a category 3 hotel (12K Hyatt or Chase points or 6K points+$75 per night). Chabad is 1.8 miles away.
-The Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort is a category 5 hotel (18K Hyatt or Chase points per night if you lock it in by 01/06, otherwise 20K points/night or 10K points+$125 per night). Chabad is 1.5 miles away.
-Turtle Bay Resort is a North Shore hotel far away from the city hustle and bustle.
The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express earns 10K bonus Starpoints for spending $1 and 15K bonus Starpoints for $5,000 in 6 months which would give you a total of 30,000 Starpoints.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred earns 40,000 Ultimate Rewards bonus points for spending $3,000 plus 5,000 points for adding a free additional user. It offers 2.14 points per dollar on all travel and dining expenses and has no foreign exchange fees. The Chase Ink Plus and Ink Bold each earn 50,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 in 3 months, offer up to 5 points per dollar spent, have no foreign exchange fees, and come with free lounge passes. Chase points can transfer into Hyatt points instantly at a 1:1 ratio if you or your spouse holds a Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold, or Ink Card card. Chase also has a Hyatt card which gives 2 free nights for spending $1,000 though the bonus categories on the Chase Ultimate Rewards cards like Sapphire, Freedom, and Ink are generally much more lucrative than the Hyatt card. Bear in mind that Ultimate Rewards points don’t expire and are transferable while the Hyatt nights must be completed within 1 year and are officially non-transferrable.
-Venture out of touristy and overcrowded Honolulu, there are plenty of stunning views, private beaches, and fantastic hikes on Oahu but you need to leave the city behind and explore.
–Hike Diamond Head, Manoa Falls, or dozens of other hikes that you can read about in Oahu Revealed.
–Snorkel at crowded but beautiful Hanauma Bay or find your own secluded spot.
-Drive the stunning H3.
-Watch surfers wipeout on the Banzai Pipeline.
–Kayaking to a “sunken island” off the leeward (east) coast is very neat (See Oahu revealed for full info on this and many other activities)
–Jetskiing up north on wild waves is a real treat.
-If you go to Pearl Harbor/USS Arizona Memorial, go early. Tickets are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Be there at 8am and you won’t have to wait around for hours. Also don’t bring any bags with you.
-Kids may enjoy the Dole Plantation.
-Count how many ABC stores are in Waikiki 😀
-Helicopter tours are breathtaking, but they are better taken on other islands if possible.
Have more tips? Hit the comments and share your thoughts!