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Our Trip to Hawaii
Aloha! I’m finally sharing the details of our recent trip to the beautiful island of Oahu, Hawaii! It has been 7 years since we last visited and we were so excited to have the opportunity to visit once again as a complete family!
Whenever we travel I always like to think about how we’ll budget and where we’ll splurge so that we can make the most out of our trip. We always fly with Alaska Air and cross the US land border to avoid lengthy wait times at customs and save HUGE on flights within the US. We use our Alaska Air credit card to build miles and managed to pay for our round trip flights this way! (not sponsored, we just love Alaska!)
Last time we visited Oahu, we stayed at a condo which was right off the Kalakaua Ave by the main shopping strip. This time around I didn’t want to cook or launder my own towels (spoiler alert, I wish I did end up having a kitchen to cook in AND I did launder our clothes so we wouldn’t have salty sea smelling clothes packed in our suitcases LOL).
This time we chose to stay closer to Diamond Head so we stayed at the Hyatt Place Hotel which was steps away from the beach and was a comfortable stay for the 5 of us at a reasonable price. They have breakfast included with your stay (suitable for omnivores), complimentary lei making on Fridays and complimentary beach chairs, toys & boogie boards!
There are so many beautiful places to see around the island, namely Diamond Head, Waimea Falls, Hanauma Bay, Ko Olina, Hale’iwa, Lanakai Beach and of course the Pearl Harbor Memorial, Dole Plantation and Kualoa Ranch (better known as the site of Jurassic Park).
Here are my top tips for travelling to Hawaii, especially if you’re vegan. Not surprisingly, Hawaii is not entirely a vegan friendly place. Understandably Polynesian culture is infused with the eating of animals and that tradition is sprinkled into the places you can visit while you stay. We did manage to find some delicious places to eat and I will definitely share those here!
1. Book a condo.
Not only is it more cost effective to stay in a condo if you’re staying with a bigger group or a family of 5+, the ability to shop for food and cook at your fingertips is really handy. Even if it is just to throw a frozen pizza in the oven! LOL. Their grocery stores are well stocked with vegan options and I think we would have saved money simply purchasing things to whip up even if it meant that we had to clean dishes afterwards. Also having the comfort of lounging in a living room versus a hotel room that is blasting with air conditioning can prove to be a little exhausting without the change of scenery.
2. Use a car sharing app.
We used a car twice during our stay and I can’t recommend the Hui car share app enough! It is easy to sign up with and there are many stations around the island making it easy to find one near you. The only thing to remember is that you have to return the car at the same station you rented it from and the other is that you are pre-purchasing your time slot with no refunds if you return the car early and a potential hefty fine if you are late. Traffic in Hawaii can sneak up on you so it’s best to book a day for peace of mind. A gas card is included in each vehicle so you are not on the hook for the filling up on your own dime!
3. Bring quick dry beach towels & a big beach tote.
This came in so handy for the days where we took the car up to Hale’iwa and visited the beaches up there. These towels are oversized, dry very quickly and pack small making it easy to take with you. Of course hotels do provide towels but they are/can be small and not ideal for laying on actual sand. We actually took our beach items from the hotel and brought them with us to the beaches of the north shore! And this oversized tote carried the towels, goggles, snacks, books, water..everything but the kitchen sink LOL and I was able to flatten it to pack in my carry on too! You can use code THE.CAKE.MAMA10% for 10% off all Poppy & Peonies goodies!
4. Download the Happy Cow app.
This was really helpful in finding restaurants that were vegan/vegan friendly while we were out and about! Some of our fave spots were:
- Holey Grail donuts
- Yard House
- Barefoot Beach Cafe – live music every Thursday!
- Matsumoto Shave Ice
- Island Vintage Shave Ice
- Island Vintage Coffee
5. Keep your eye on the time!
Because you’ll be travelling into the past when you’re flying from the west coast, you’re going to be 3 hours behind. You’ll be soaking up that island life without realized that some places do close early or open late or only open certain days of the week! Be sure to try to plan your day so you’re not caught without options for food.
6. Do visit some local free fun.
- There is a free 1 hour guided tour at the Moana Surfrider Hotel Museum that shares the history of Oahu
- Every Wednesday and Saturday there is a hula show at the Kuhio Beach Hula Mound (by the BIG banyan tree)
- Every Friday there are fireworks at the Hilton Hotel
- Hike the Manoa Falls Trail (Diamond Head used to be free but you now have to pay and reserve a time slot)
I hope this helps you plan your trip to Hawaii, feel free to ask questions about your trip and I’ll be happy to get back to you!