I received many excellent Hawaii vacation questions during the Budget Travel trip coach session yesterday. If you weren’t able to join us, you can access the transcript. Here are a couple of samples of questions and answers.
St. Simons Island, Ga.: Does Hawaii have a more-affordable off-season? If so, when is it, and why is it the off-season?
Sheila Beal: Yes, Hawaii does have more affordable off-seasons. You can generally find the best rates at around these times:
– September (after Labor Day)
– November (except for around Thanksgiving)
– December 1st though about the 20th.
These are the least crowded times, mainly because children are in school and it’s not bitterly cold on the US Mainland. The optimal times for visiting Hawaii for best prices, least crowds, and the least amount of rain are late April, May, September, and October.
Santa Monica, Calif.: My wife and I will be cruising in Hawaii beginning on December 1st, with stops in Hilo and Kona (big island), Kahului (Maui) and Nawiliwili (Kauai). Can I do better by passing on the cruise line tours and pick up tours as we disembark? What about car rentals?
Sheila Beal: Good question. The tour companies offer quite a bit of convenience and they operate their schedules to coincide with the cruise ships’ schedules. The advantage of taking packaged tours is that it will save you the time of determining where you are going to go and how you will navigate there and still meet the cruise schedule. The downside of taking the packaged tours is that you’re sharing your experience with a bus load of people.
You can definitely save money by renting a car and touring on your own. Depending on the island and rental car company you select, they may pick you up from the harbor. Dollar has a presence on all the islands and in most cases will provide a shuttle from the cruise harbor to the car rental location. (I know this is the case on Kauai.) Thrifty is another company to check. So, I recommend that you call around and check the procedure and rates