May 6, 2016
So you’ve booked your airplane tickets to Hawaii, found a great hotel, rented a car, and bought your swimsuit. Now it’s time to figure out what to do between meals, beach time, and inter-island flights.
Some of us like to plan while others feel the need to just, “Let Hawaii Happen.”
There are lots of activities to choose from in Hawaii. Some of the most popular are snorkeling and scuba diving, zip-lining, hiking and sightseeing trips, luaus, horseback riding, ATVs, and helicopter tours to name a few.
Before you make those plans, take our advice on how to find the best tour operators and tours.
1. Make a list – Prioritize what activities are a “MUST DO” while on vacation. For some, it could be that Trip of a Lifetime, like helicopter tours or seeing a volcano. For others, it could be swimming with manta rays or feeding sharks in a cage off the North Shore on Oahu. Whatever is the most important should be the most important. You’ve come all this way, why not take the plunge?
2. Make a budget – Yes, Hawaii is expensive. Hopefully you have been saving and working hard to make your vacation the best that it can be. Having a budget will help you to enjoy your vacation without worrying if you have to sell your motorcycle to cover your credit card bill. I’ve seen people with a half-smile in their vacation photos. It’s because they can’t relax because they are trying to budget their entire vacation in their head on the go.
3. Spread out your vacation – If you don’t have time, don’t cram. Some guests like to always be on the go while in Hawaii and that’s okay. But if you truly came here to relax, schedule some time in between bucket-list items. If you’re trying to parachute quickly so that you can get to the luau, you’re not really doing what you came to Hawaii to do – which is enjoy.
4. Research – Call the concierge at your hotel for their recommendations. They may tell you that your favorite tour books quickly and it’s better to book ahead of time. You don’t want try to make plans at the last minute for those “MUST DO” tours. They can also give you advice on potential upgrades, hotel promotions, or first-hand local knowledge. Ask the concierge, “If your family was coming to town and wanted to do (blank), what would you say?”
TripAdvisor.com has an incredible database of information for the island, hotels, activities, and tours. YELP can help you out with meal planning as well. The power of the review has influenced everyone to be on their A-GAME.
5. Call Ahead – Call the vendor of the tour company to get the best possible price. Sometimes tour companies run specials or promotions that may save you hundreds of dollars. They may be able to provide you with other options and tour times that you didn’t know about. With a list of prioritized activities, you’ll be sure to get tickets to your favorite events and tours.
Well, there you have it! Prioritize, research, and set a budget. Get multiple opinions and make sure to ask questions.