First and foremost we want you to snag the very best Hawaii travel deals. In that regard, today is the last day to book many of the incredible Cyber Week Hawaii Travel Deals we’ve been writing about.
Once you’ve booked your ticket on Hawaiian Airlines, Alaska Airlines or your favorite carrier from the mainland, here are some tips to help keep things on track. Please add your ideas too in the comments below.
Top 10 Hawaii Travel Planning Mistakes
1. Island hopping on a short or value vacation.
Consider that you will lose 4 to 8 hours from your itinerary, not to mention hundreds of dollars per person, to change islands. If you are new to Hawaii and/or want to see most of the islands, a one-week NCL Hawaii cruise might be a far better fit. Another compromise is to stay on Maui and visit two islands with a quick and fun ferry to Lanai.
2. Packing a guidebook.
Take your Tablet or use your smart phone instead. Check your local library too for a free Hawaii travel guide download. Our personal favorite Hawaii guidebook series, Hawaii Revealed, is available as an app or eBook.
3. One stop shopping and inflexible dates.
A winter, or after spring break getaway can save significant money compared with mid-summer. Hawaii hotels are looking to put visitors heads in beds again then too.
Don’t be impulsive and buy on the first bite. Look around. This is a shell game, deals are rarely found in the same place twice, and there could be a better deal waiting for you to discover. We’re tracking and sharing all Hawaii travel deals as we have done for the past 10 years.
4. Over-packing and forgetting important items.
Make sure your phone has enough memory for all of those great Hawaii beach photos and videos. Bring the electronics you need for your laptop, cell phone and camera.
Pack light and read our 11 baggage tips. It’s Hawaii and we’re casual here. Many of our hotels and most vacation rentals have on-site laundry facilities. Shop stores in Hawaii for reef walkers, sunscreen, snorkel gear and more.
5. Placing undue trust in travel reviews.
What a difficult subject. We can’t live without them and yet we simply can’t have confidence in them the way we once naively did. We continue to believe that with so much to gain or lose based on these reviews, perhaps 1/3 of all travel reviews are financially motivated.
At Beat of Hawaii we are using every source we can find to triangulate reviews (Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google and more), and always keep in mind that a significant percentage of the reviews are fake. Having said that we try to sift through the rubbish to find the gems. There is simply too much at stake for hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions for us to think that they are leaving the reviews to chance.
6. Staying at budget hotels.
Before traveling “budget style” check for hotel deals. Sometimes the better hotels are only a few dollars a night higher than 2-star clunkers. We always try to book directly with hotels and skip the middle men. Another highly recommended value option is Hawaii vacation rentals from professional companies like The Parrish Collection Kauai and Maui Kai.
7. Forgetting to recheck prices on cars, air and hotel.
Check to be sure prices haven’t changed from the time of booking to the time of travel. As a result, it may be possible to get airline credit, or otherwise improve rates. It takes a little time, but can be well worth it. We just saved 50% by rebooking our car rental the day before travel. Have you read our guide to discount Hawaii car rentals?
8. Reserving hotels more than 90 days in advance.
Best deals on hotels are almost always within the three months prior to departure. The exception is peak season rates during holidays and summer. Deals can get even better in the final 30 days. At 90 days, hotels review their pricing model in relation to the number of firm bookings. At that point they’re likely to make modifications, or use distribution tools (online travel agencies) to help dispose of inventory.
9. Not checking terms and conditions, ancillary fees and evaluating your rental car for damage.
When you enter into a contract for airline tickets, car rentals, hotels or any travel component, you need to read and understand the terms before paying. That includes cancellation policies as those have been changing a lot recently.
To avoid sticker shock on your trip, make sure you’ve factored in checked baggage charges, resort fees, parking, etc..
Before driving your rental car off the lot, check it thoroughly and note any damage you see. Even if you’re tired from your flight, don’t forget to do this. Have everyone help.
10. Forgetting the best tools to monitor deals.
Sign up for alerts from all your favorite hotels, airlines, etc. Get them via email, Facebook or Twitter in order to get first notification. Sign up for our free Hawaii deal notifications at Beat of Hawaii.