I have been talking to a lot of people about travel the last 6 months or so.
And from my perch in the North-west (Victoria, B.C. Canada), I hear the following a lot…
“Going to Hawaii” “Going to Maui” “Going to Kauai” “Going to Waikiki”
Oh yea – and a few cheapskates going to Mexico… no bias or anything here. None at all.
Picture at right: The Bamboo Restaurant in Hawi, North Kohala district on the Big Island of Hawaii – is a culinary gem!
Folks looking for a warm getaway in 2011 look towards Hawaii and the Islands for a bunch of great reasons.
It’s warm. Yes, it is warm year around.
It’s safe. Hawaii has a really, really low crime rate. Pay no attention to Dog the Bounty Hunter or Hawaii Five O because it is, firstly a reality show and secondly fiction.
The place we stay, a condo 10 minutes walk from the heart of Kona, Hawaii, has not had a car break-in in over 4 years. Many reasons: Laws are tough and it is an easy going place. Drug addiction (despite what you see on Dog) is not rampant and everyone appears to be living well.
It’s part of America, a pretty civil and law abiding place.
Currently Mexico (not all of it of course) is ravaged by poverty and regional drug wars – sure, you are not likely to get caught in the middle of a fire-fight, but why run the risk of being kidnapped, murdered… or worse.
Sure, you can save a lot of money traveling in Mexico – but if you want worry free travel, I think Hawaii is a great choice – which explains why everyone is talking about it – and actually going there.
So anyway – warm, safe, stable (and if you are a Canadian with Canadian dollars) it is as affordable as it’s going to be for a while – our dollar being at par or better!
Getting there – The clear majority of folks that visit Hawaii fly there – considering the alternative (taking a boat), it is the only way to go. But pick your carrier carefully. Andrea and I have been flying Alaska Airlines for some time now – and they never let us down. I made a vow a couple of years ago to:
a.) Avoid YVR (Vancouver International) and
b.) Air Canada (The Canadian equivalent to Aeroflot)
If at all humanly possible.
Seattle (SEA) Tacoma is, by far a vastly superior airport for getting into the Pacific.
Seattle International has a better vibe, it is better organized, and there are no twitchy Canadian RCMP officers with tasers waiting to send you to your maker (OK, more bias, long story…)
So, for us, SEA is the way to go – and Alaska Airlines as a carrier. They are the American version of Canada’s West Jet (whom I would happily fly with if the scheduling was right…) West Jet flies to Hawaii but I have yet to exercise that option.
And for our readers around North America – you really do need to do your homework. While we were in Hawaii we talked to a lot of people about how they got there – and there were horror stories aplenty about those old familiar airlines ; United and American. Look, if you can avoid them, do it. Scan trip adviser online for feedback and testimony on who served travelers right. Ironically, in North America, Hawaiian Airlines is one of the most popular airlines going – sadly, they do not fly everywhere. Check their site for cities served. Hawaiian flies direct to Honolulu from a handful of large Western U.S. cities like Portland, Seattle and Los Angeles. Check them out.
In our next chapter, we will talk about the planning that goes into a trip to the Hawaiian Islands.