Before I begin, let me just acknowledge the fact that vacation recap posts of other people’s vacations aren’t really fun to read. I know this. The only time I like reading about other people’s trips is when their post can help me plan my own trip in some way. So I’m going to try to do that in my post (or posts) and hope that maybe you might find something helpful for your own future vacation.
So now I’ll begin…
Planning: We booked our trip in January. Personally, I feel there are a lot of good deals to be had by booking spring trips around that time. Usually we take a May vacation to celebrate my birthday and our anniversary, but due to some conflicting work schedules, late March/early April was our only option until some time this fall.
Because I’m a bit of a travel junkie, I get email alerts from many of the online travel sites and dealers – TravelZoo has a great weekly deals email. I’m a frequent customer of Expedia so I get a lot of emails from them too. I set up alerts on Kayak.com to receive any special airline deals I might be interested in. Kayak also has a really cool airfare cost comparison that shows you what the prices have been for a particular flight in the past so you know right away whether or not you’re getting a good deal. I highly recommend you do things like this, especially if your dates are flexible, so you can get the best deals out there.
At the time we were planning our trip, we were looking at various locales: Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, US Virgin Islands, and of course, Hawaii – specifically Maui or Kauai.
I looked at the cost of flights of all of those places. I set up alerts for some of them through Kayak. And one day, United Airlines had a super sale with big discounts on flights to Kauai, so I jumped on it.
Hotel: Usually, it’s a good idea to book your hotel and flight through the same OTA (online travel agent) if you can. You can get bigger discounts on sites like Expedia and Orbitz that way. But since I had to book my stellar airline flight through United directly, I had book my hotel separately. And I didn’t have a clue where to stay!
It’s no secret that I spend a lot of time on Twitter and blogs (for work purposes folks, I swear) and one of the travel experts I follow on Twitter – @JohnnyJet – had just returned from Kauai and blogged about his stay at the fabulous Kauai Marriott. I did a little research on Trip Advisor and read the comments left on Orbitz and Expedia before I made the decision to book it. We knew there were some major renovations and construction happening (about $50 million worth), which may have been the reason the rooms were discounted, but I had read that the majority of the renovations had been completed already so we decided to stay anyway.
Social Media Tip: If you’re an active blogger and/or active on Twitter, be sure to contact the brand and let them know you’re staying. I contacted Johnny Jet on Twitter to let him know that his blog post was the reason I had booked a 7-night stay at the resort. I also tweeted about my upcoming trip, using the Hawaii Marriott’s Twitter handle (@HawaiiMarriott) in my messages. It was both of those actions that I believe led to me being upgraded to a higher, newly-renovated room, above the construction zone and of course, with a gorgeous view:
And the pool….oh my goodness the pool…
And that’s only half of it. The best part, which you can’t see because it’s below me, are the FIVE hot tubs. I spent a good part of our vacation there, especially at night or on days when it was overcast.
Another great thing about this hotel was the location. The famous Duke’s restaurant is practically on the hotel property, as are a few other fine restaurants. The beach, Kalapaki Bay, is one of the best on the island. And, it’s less than 10 minutes from the airport.
And seeing as how this much of a post took me nearly a week to write, I’ll stop now and just say “to be continued…”