Normally, during January, I try to write a blog post talking about where I plan to travel in the coming year. A “sneak peek,” if you will. This post. . .isn’t that.
Truth is, I still haven’t quite nailed down my 2014 trip plans. I will go to Europe this year, though I haven’t narrowed down the exact destination yet. Naturally, since I have a Las Vegas blog, I will be going to Vegas at some point. But at least I can say with certainty what my first trip of the year is: Honolulu, Hawaii!
I took my first trip to Hawaii (also Honolulu) two years ago. While I immediately fell in love with the beauty and warmth of the island and its people, I didn’t expect to be returning so soon. But late last year, when I heard that United would be increasing the number of air miles required for award flights to longhaul destinations (like Hawaii and Europe), I knew it was time to start redeeming my 120,000 miles.
Every winter, I like to take a trip somewhere warm to get out of the six-month deep freeze of Vermont. This winter has brought Vermont both an ice storm and the coldest temperatures we’ve had in ten years, so I’m even more eager to get away for awhile. I can’t wait to shake off my winter coat and boots and throw on some shorts and sandals for a week. If I did nothing at all on this trip but spend time outside in the warm sunshine, it would still be a fantastic vacation.
But come on, that wouldn’t be me, would it?
On my agenda are an eco-adventure tour around the island, a whale-watching cruise, a day at the Bishop Museum and Planetarium, the National Cemetery of the Pacific (aka the Punchbowl) and possibly an outrigger canoe ride. I’d like to dig deeper into the culture, arts and foods of Hawaii on this trip than I was able to last time. But I did learn my lesson last year about making time to do absolutely nothing on vacation, so I’ve scheduled in some actual “downtime,” too.
One thing I won’t be doing is island-hopping. I had seriously considered taking a day tour to the Big Island for a circle island/volcano tour, but I finally decided against it. It cost $400 and meant I’d have to get up at 3:30am (for the second time in a week—ugh) to go back to the airport, and I wouldn’t get back until around 9pm. As cool as it would be to see the volcano, I finally had to admit the day sounded exhausting rather than fun. The volcano will have to wait for a multi-day trip to the Big Island at some future date.
I’m not going to tell you where I’m staying until I return, but I snagged a great Black Friday deal at a hotel that’s just a stone’s throw from Waikiki Beach, with spectacular views of Diamond Head. Am I looking forward to this? Oh yes, I am.
What I’m not looking forward to is the 11-hour flight from Newark to Hawaii. This will be the longest flight I’ve ever been on, and a real challenge for me. If you’ve got some good strategies for handling longhaul flights (sleep, sadly, is not an option), please share them in the comments below! Help a sister traveler out!
I’ll be leaving in a few days, so be sure to follow along on Facebook and Twitter for pretty photos of beaches and tropical drinks. And if you happen to be in Honolulu next week and want to meet up for a drink or a bite to eat, let me know!