It’s summer which means the Pizza family is in travel mode. First up on our schedule this summer is a family trip to Hawaii. None of us have ever been (this will mark my 48th state visited) and we’re all looking forward to it. I’m hoping to write about this trip in a timely manner along the way.
I write this blog for many reasons, some of which got waylaid during the pandemic and resulting disruptions. One of the primary reasons I write is so that my children can look back on their travel journey. Whether it’s enjoying a memory from a trip or planning for their own family trips, I consider this their version of the 8MM home movies I watched as a kid. That’s probably why you’ll see me writing some stories about our Iceland trip last summer.
With the help of a bunch of friends (including some new ones I’ve made in my Slack community) I was able to put together an itinerary that’s a bit less action-packed at the request of my family. We usually pack our schedule pretty tightly with activities but the family wanted a bit of a slower pace. That means we have some completely open days on our schedule and may have some twists and turns as we plan some activities on the fly. I wanted to publish a quick list of what we have planned so folks know what stories to expect and can ask questions ahead of time before I publish the entire trip. Here’s what that list looks like:
- Hawaiian Airlines First Class JFK-HNL on the A330
- Disney’s Aulani Resort
- Pearl Harbor Memorial
- Volcano National Park
- Cow Cuddling?!?!?!?!
- Jurassic Park ATV Tour
- Grand Hyatt Kauai
- The Lodge at Kukui’ula (a Destination Hotel/Hyatt property on Kauai)
- Kauai Helicopter Tour
- Monkeypod Kitchen (Ko Olina)
- Makahiki at Aulani (breakfast)
- Olelo Room at Aulani (sushi)
- Tidepools at Grand Hyatt Kauai
- Luau at Grand Hyatt Kauai
Why We Held Off On Hawaii
Many people are genuinely surprised to learn I’ve never been to Hawaii. I haven’t purposely avoided it. Our travel plans have mostly subscribed to the mantra “chase the fare/deal, not the destination”. We don’t really set out each year saying “we need to go to X or Y destination”. Rather, I hunt for award deals using miles and points to build interesting trips. That’s why you’ll see trips like “Sicily and Salzburg” or “Athens and Amsterdam“. And, it’s exactly how we ended up with a trip to Hawaii.
Bilt Rewards (a program I’m a big fan of) ran a 100% transfer bonus earlier this year when transferring to Hawaiian Airlines. They’ve run some other fantastic bonuses as well, but this was one that I backed the truck up for. Part of what kept us from a Hawaii trip was just how long the flights are from the DC area. There are few options that involve a lie-flat business class seat and those few options are very pricey. This Bilt/Hawaiian transfer bonus was just the trick we needed to setup an incredible Hawaiian vacation.
Instead of a connecting flight in coach or domestic first class we ended up paying far less (in miles) for lie-flat seats to Hawaii. That’s why Hawaii rose to the top of the list for this summer.
The Final Two Pennies
We’re already in Hawaii and enjoying ourselves. There’s plenty to cover and I’ll do my best to keep everyone updated. I’m live posting our trip in my Slack community if you want to follow along and get the full scoop. You can find links to that here and here. We have a lot of fun in the community with (mostly) weekly happy hours and giveaways as well as plenty of folks to answer questions.
Stay tuned for more updates!
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