Packing for Hawaii

For most, packing for a trip isn’t easy. You’re always looking for items you think you might need and then discovering you don’t have enough space to pack everything. Compounding this stress even further is the ever-reducing amount of luggage you can take on a plane that doesn’t cost you money – simply for checking the bag or going overweight. So I figured I would give you some tips on what you can do to help make things work.

Luggage and Lei

Luggage and Lei – courtesy of Rice and D

Step One

When it comes to packing a suitcase, always put the things that take up the most space in first (usually shoes). But before doing so, use the space inside the shoe to stuff some rolled up socks or underwear in. And as Hawaii is about adventure, remember to bring something that you’ll be comfortable walking in as well as something light you can drag out to the beach.

Step Two

Next you’ll want to pack most of your lightweight clothing – shirts, shorts, etc. What you need to do differently at this step is more rolling, less folding (cotton t-shirts and other materials that don’t wrinkle easy). You’ll find there will be more clothing fitting into less space this way. Once this is done, you can then place collared shirts and pants half in and out of the suitcase layer over layer and when finished, fold the portion outside the suitcase in layer over layer. Remember to pack your beachwear too!

If you plan on staying at the beach, you’ll probably be okay skipping anything heavier than a cotton or linen shirt. If you plan on travelling beyond the sand, you’ll encounter rain and if you go high enough, single digit temperatures (even frost and ice on Haleakala).

Step Three

Now that all your clothes are packed in nice and neat, it’s now time for you to pack your odds and ends, toiletries (remember your sunscreen) and what-not. And while I would recommend packing electronics and valuables in your carry-on, it is “possible” to put these items in your checked baggage if you must. You’re just playing the odds that those items will be there on the other side of the trip.

Step Four – the carryon

So you’re skipping the checked bag? Good on ya! To help you out, here some further tips:

  • Packing liquids? Remember the 3-1-1 rule when travelling to the US. Simply put, you can have liquids in 3.4oz (100ml) bottles, in one 1qt sized plastic bag (go ziplock), at one bag per person. Make sure you have this item ready when you go through security – not hidden in your bag!
  • Leave your snorkel gear at home and rent some when you arrive. Rentals are quiet inexpensive and the gear is just space and weight you could otherwise re-purpose.
  • Before you pack your clothes, lay it all out and eliminate a third. You’ll never need as much as you think and if you do, clothing can be easily found in Hawaii! Or if you’d rather not buy more clothing, just find a laundromat if you’re not lucky enough to have a washing machine in your unit.
  • Wear your heavy and bulky stuff on to the plane. I’m going to assume you’re probably coming from somewhere colder than Hawaii and you can always change either on the plane or when you land.

There you have it. I’d be curious if any of you found any of the above tips handy and even better yet, would love to hear if you have any further suggestions we could add to the list.

Making the Trip to Maui – Flight Discount

WestJet 737

WestJet 737 – courtesy of Greg Hounslow

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that we would be looking into obtaining a flight discount for all our guests who choose to fly WestJet, and well, the discount code has arrived – W1368.

To book reservations using our wedding discount code, you have to call the WestJet Groups department at 1-888-493-7853 as wedding discount codes don’t work online yet. A few other things that are important to note:

  • The wedding code W1368 must be quoted at the time of booking!
  • Our wedding discount code gets you a 10% discount off the best available fare at the time of booking, excluding Econo fares (i.e. seat sales and web fares).
  • The discount is valid for WestJet flights into and out of Maui and Honolulu, Hawaii.
  • The discounted rates are applicable for travel up to seven days prior to (March 7, 2014) and seven days after (March 21, 2014) our wedding date (March 14, 2014). While the discount doesn’t apply beyond that timeframe, please still quote the code as it counts towards our 15 traveller minimum.

Having quickly taken a peak at what the savings would be for someone flying out of Vancouver based on current fares, our discount code gets you a better deal off the Flex fare level than the Econo does straight up – not to mention slightly cheaper fees for those who need to change details after the flight is booked.

Making the Trip to Maui

One of the reasons Marnie and I sent out Save the Dates for our wedding was to allow our guests to sort out accommodation, flights, and everything else between in time for the trip. Now sure, you’d think a year is a lot of time but as our wedding is happening during Spring Break AND happens to be at a popular destination, time is of the essence.

How to Get to Maui

You’ve got two choices – boat or plane. Making that assumption that most of you will be flying in to Maui, there are a couple of things to consider.

First of all – Maui doesn’t have a US Customs facility to process inbound international passengers. What this means is you either need to come direct from a US port of call or through Vancouver (YVR), Calgary (YYC) or Edmonton (YEG) airports as they have US pre-clearance available.

Secondly, as most of our guests will be coming from Canada, Marnie and I will be securing a 10% discount code through WestJet shortly for our wedding guests. Having checked out the options through Air Canada, as well as Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines, we think WestJet provides us the best means to get to where we want to go for good value. So wherever you may be joining us from, we recommend checking out the different fare options available to you as nearly every major airport on the along the west coast can get you to Maui direct or through Honolulu.

Kahului Airport in Maui

Kahului Airport – courtesy of Kris Nelson

Where to Stay

For each of our trips, Marnie and I have booked a condo at the Kamaole Sands Condominium Resort (as seen below) in Kihei – and a location close to our wedding venue – through Vacation Rentals By Owner (VRBO). This particular resort has beautiful lawns and gardens, a great pool and hot tub area, tennis courts and several BBQ areas, so for someone thinking of making it a vacation you’d probably find this place perfect.

Regardless of your choice for location, we do encourage you to use VRBO to search for a place to stay. While the island has many great hotels, our wedding is during the high season and the best rate we could get at a reasonable location was $266/night – and that was the wedding rate!

Kamaole Sands Condominium Resort

Kamaole Sands Condominium Resort – courtesy of Mark Beeson

How to Get Around

Rental cars shouldn’t be an issue for most, though we do recommend looking into booking yours sooner rather than later.

We’ve gone with a mainstream company in the past, this time around we’ve decided to go with Kihei Rent A Car. While their cars are not the latest and greatest, the company is a local, family run business that has excellent reviews – they also provide free airport transfers as well. Making the choice even easier is that we all get a 10% discount off their regular prices (which are already significantly lower than the mainstream companies) should 5 or more of us commit. To get yourself included with that discount, you just have to mention that you are with Marnie Greenfield and they will do the rest once we get enough bookings.

The other option for you is to rely on taxi and/or transit. While Maui Bus is affordable and will get you between most destinations you’ll need to visit, you’re obviously tied to set schedules. And sure taxi can get you wherever you want to go (for the most part), the island of Maui is not the tiniest of places so you’ll find that taxi fares will add up over time – and probably be more expensive than the same cost to rent a car.

Red Rental Car

Red Rental Car – courtesy of torbakhopper

So there you have it. The nitty gritty on what you need to start thinking about if you’re looking to join us. If you still need any help, please reach out to us via the normal channels or the “Contact Us” page above.

Lei’d on a Plane

Like my misleading title? Shame on you for thinking it was dirty. Still, funny isn’t it? Haha! I wonder if Marnie will let me remain in charge of arranging travel?

Alaska Airlines Hawaiian Livery

Alaska Airlines Hawaiian Livery

In all seriousness though, when it comes to coordinating the different aspects of our wedding, travel is probably going to be one of the tougher tasks. While the most exotic place that my family will be coming from is Australia (Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton – not so exotic), Marnie will see much of her family travel from the Midwest US and United Kingdom.

And we’ve known all along that flying as a group was likely not possible due to all this different embarkation points, let alone the different combination of travel dates, but we did want to see if there was a way to help make things easier for our guests regardless.

This is where it’s difficult – there are too many options and all require some level of commitment. Some airlines have a loose understanding of what constitutes a group, while others provide a discount based on a certain number of people flying regardless of when and what flights people choose. It’s like a coordination nightmare.

So what do we do? I’m more apt to simply let people do their own thing – anyone have experience with travel to a destination wedding? Or maybe you’re a airline insider? Help.