Here’s the rundown:
Before we booked our round trip flights, I began tracking fares on Hopper. Hopper is a service that “predicts prices, saving you up to 40 percent”. I loved the layout of Hopper because you could compare what dates were better to fly. The green dates were the lowest prices, the yellow dates were the mid-range prices, and the red dates were the highest prices. We ended up booking through Hawaiian Airlines.
After evaluating our options, I settled on the Go Waikiki Shuttle. It picked us up from the HNL airport and took us to our hotel then picked us up from our hotel and took us to the HNL airport for $18/person roundtrip and lei’d us for $7/person. This was by far one of the more affordable options, since most Ubers from the airport cost $40 or more for one way.
Since it was my second time to Hawaii and his first time to Hawaii, we knew that we would rather spend our time exploring the island instead of relaxing at the hotel. Because of this, we opted for a more affordable hotel (sorry, no ocean views). We ended up booking through Booking.com.
Comparatively, the rental car was our biggest single expense. However, for about $100 we were able to have the rental car for a full 24 hours (7am to 7am) and explore the island on our own time. Since Enterprise offers “unlimited mileage”, all we had to worry about was the gas. However, they offered different return options, ranging from returning it with the same gas as we got it to returning it and having them fill it back up.
Due to our vacation also being an early birthday celebration for my boyfriend, I made a dinner reservation through Open Table. Through Open Table, which hosts over 40,000 different restaurants, I was able to pick the date and time I wanted. This eliminated the stress of a long wait time or not being able to eat at the place we wanted.
Now to the fun stuff…
My type-A tendencies result in me making a list for everything…including what I packed on the trip. From t-shirts to electronics, I made a Google Doc with everything I planned to bring.
After making a list for what I planned to bring, I gathered the materials necessary to pack everything in a clean, organized way.
Something that has revolutionized traveling for me was packing cubes. I use ones similar to these from Amazon. Packing cubes allow you to easily store things in your suitcase. These give you more room in your suitcase and makes your items more accessible.
From where we live, Southern California, to Hawaii, it was a 6 hour flight there and a 5 and a half hour flight home (thanks tailwinds). Because of that, it was important to be prepared. Thus, I packed these in my backpack:
- Phone charger
- Portable phone charger
- Earphones (with a jack because that is the compatibility for most airplanes)
- Book (reading can help pass the time)
- Notebook (for writing, journaling, etc.)
- Neck pillow (for comfort)
- Fuzzy socks (feet can get cold)
- Reusable water bottle (fill it up in the airport before takeoff and save $ from avoiding the expensive convince stores)
- Snacks (airplane food is often sugary or salty, which can lead to dehydration and headaches, so I opted for protein bars, pretzels, and dried fruit)
- Medicine (not everyone needs this but I brought Advil for potential headaches, Dramamine for potential motion sickness, and Melatonin to fall asleep)
- Gum (this helps with that uncomfortable “ear popping”)
- Face wipes and face mask (to do before landing to help clean and moisturize my face due to the yucky airplane air)
- Hand sanitizer (airplanes are not the cleanest things)
Having cleaned out my closet and donated most of my clothes, I knew I wanted to pack neutral, minimalist pieces that can be dressed up or down.
For the flight, I paired a black cropped hoodie from Forever 21 similar to this with some black joggers from J Crew similar to these. Since Hawaiian Airlines allows one personal item (purse, briefcase, laptop bag, backpack, etc.) in addition to the 22″ x 14″ x 9″ carry-on, I brought my JanSport backpack. I recommend a backpack because they are big enough to hold a laptop, chargers, snacks, a reusable water bottle, and other in-flight necessities.
For the dinner reservations, I wanted a light sundress that I could dress up (with a leather or denim jacket and heels) or dress down (with sandals). I found this one from Forever 21. I loved the halter top, backless back, and color scheme.
Beach & Exploring Necessities
We spent most of Saturday at the beach (besides completing the Diamondhead Crate Hike) and spent Sunday exploring the island of Oahu. For both, these were our necessities:
- A beach bag (I used a black crocheted bag)
- Reusable water bottles (staying hydrated in the Hawaiian climate is key)
- Snacks (we opted for protein bars, pretzels, and fresh fruit)
- A light jacket (because of the offshore breezes and waterfall hikes)
- Waterproof phone bag (definitely recommend these, as you can toss your phone, cards, room key, actual keys, etc. in and take them in the water)
- Cash (some places in Hawaii are cash only)
The highlights of what we did each day…
- Had the shuttle to ourselves
- Explored downtown Waikiki
- Watched the sunset on the beach
- Completed the Diamond Head Crater Hike
- Went to a farmer’s market
- Laid out on the beach
- Rode Bikis to Leonard’s to get malasadas
- Tried Marukame Udon
- Went to our dinner reservation on the beach
- Rented a Jeep
- Hiked Manoa Falls
- Snorkeled at Hanauma Bay
- Tried Hawaiian bbq
- Relaxed at Lanikai Beach
- Drove to the North Shore, visited Waimea Bay
- Ate at Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck
- Had our last macadamia nut latte
- Went paddleboarding
Thanks for reading! What are some of your favorite places to travel?