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Hotwire Hotel: Planning my first hawaii trip- new to priceline- need advice


GeorgeAD4
By GeorgeAD4,
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Hi there,

With airplane tickets being apx 400 for a round trip from NJ to Hawaii, I decided to book one.

Now I need a place to stay and perhaps car. I have never been to hawaii so I do not know what is the best way to enjoy things.

I will be arriving Fri Jan 30th to Fri Feb 6th (7 days)

I would love to get something reasonably priced maybe a 3 star for around the 50 a night place, however the sheratn offer for 99.00 seems very tempting.

My thoughts were to rent a car or maybe see another island. The car prices on rentals seemed relatively cheap however, i am unsure about which hotels will have parking. I will need internet access to check my work emails.

I am not a beach bum, and while I will spend a some time there, I am unsure as to wheather I would feel comfortable being tied into the beach area for 7 days? Will I be bored or would I be better off adding another island or travelling aroudn the island to the itinary. Im having trouble imagining a small area keeping my attention for so long.

Any advice in planning and getting the best deal on lodging and perhaps car is appreciated.

I am open to all options including priceline, time share tours, renting rooms on craigslist, etc/ provided I have a clean, quiet, smokeless room where I will be comfortable sleeping and it is not in a bad unsafe area.

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If you already have your RT airfare purchased to/from NYC i think visiting antoher island may be time consuming. It would work on a 7 day trip if you could do it in 3 segments (NYC-->Oahu-->another island-->NYC) but if you're tickets are already bought i think it would be a lot of 'downtime' traveling since you'd need to return to Oahu for your departure back to NYC.

Waikiki is a small city and i'm sure you'll find lots of non-beach activities to do. I would stay in/near Waikiki and then take day trips... a 'full day' is heading to the North Shore, you can stop at the Dole Pineapple Plant along the way even if just to say you've seen it, see the waves/surfers of the North Shore (if it's season, i'm not sure if it is), eat at the Shrimp Trucks, then head back to your hotel/area. There are also swap meets, flea markets, and fruit/food markets which you may find interesting and an opportunity to blend in among the locals.

As far as your lodging, i think you'll need to do a bit of research first to determine if you do want to stay on Oahu your entire time, what time of hotel you would like, as well as what you can/can't ensure when using PRICELINE or HOTWIRE. With PRICELINE you won't be able to ensure a non-smoking room, with HOTWIRE this would be possible only if you choose a hotel with a 'non-smoking' icon.

Have you decided yet what you would ilke to try for... a Resort class property near $100 or a 3* property near $50?

Please use these PRICELINE and HOTWIRE links to begin your travel purchases.

Please use this HOTWIRE and these PRICELINE LINKS: HOTELS, CAR RENTALS, and AIRFARE to begin your travel purchases

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A true 3* (not a 2 star listed as a 3 star) I think would serve my purposes very well....especially if parking is included.

I read some reviews of the sherdon and people said that the hotel made their trip. .if a 4 star is really is that special and it will be only 30.00 difference a night, i might be tempted to go for it and make the trip special.

I was thinking maybe spend 5 days on the island and then maybe 1-2 days on another island. Since Ive never been to oahu, I do not know if Ill be bored with just one.

Let me know your thoughts.

George

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From my search so far, parking has rarely been included so if you find something with free parking, please let me know!

I have been to Hawaii many times because I have family there.

I think that your idea of getting bored after 5 days is probably right. I got sort of bored after 3 or 4 days. I loved going to Maui and Kauai--a lot different type of feel from Honolulu for me.

Oh and my experience with using craigslist to find a room...the ones that I have been interested in charge a $300 deposit which won't be returned right away (most say 2 weeks), charge on average $80 cleaning fee at the end of the stay, sometimes have parking and internet (which attracted me the most) and charged a 5% surcharge on visa!

What really changed my mind was the 5% surcharge for visa...so that's why I'm trying to get a room on hotwire and found this site!

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To clarify, I do agree with trying to see more than one Hawaiian Island in a trip, but my point is that this is difficult on a week trip... especially if you need to return to the original island for your return flgiht home. Doesn't matter how close the airport is (and i don't find the Oahu airport that user friendly with the shuttle busses required to get from luggage areas to the terminal) travel days are still 'almost' wasted between the time needed to travel to the aiport, be there early enough for check-in and securtiy, then fly, retrieve luggage, arrive at new hotel. Even for a 30-60 minute flight the whole process can easily kill a day... and since this would need to be done on the day to the 2nd island as well as the day returning from the 2nd island, i think it's a bit much for a one week trip... time which could otherwise be spent finding something neat to do on Oahu.

A true 3* (not a 2 star listed as a 3 star) I think would serve my purposes very well....especially if parking is included.

I read some reviews of the sherdon and people said that the hotel made their trip. .if a 4 star is really is that special and it will be only 30.00 difference a night, i might be tempted to go for it and make the trip special.

The 'problem' is that you won't know which hotel you will be receiving until after your purchase... so you won't be able to know if the hotel is what you deem to be a 2*, 3*, or higher. If you think your standards are higher than PRICELINE's then you should adjust your minimum star level accordingly. As well, what if you raise your budget and try for a Resort and don't get the Sheraton... would you be just as happy with a different Resort for that price? Given your needs you may want to search HOTWIRE as well... it will cost you a little more than PRICELINE, but at least you'll be able to take an educated guess as to what you'll likely be receiving before your purchase.

Please use these PRICELINE and HOTWIRE links to begin your travel purchases.

Let us know how you'd like to proceed and we'll advise accordingly, athough there's not really too much that can be done until you decide if you'll be spending your entire stay on Oahu or trying to visit another island.

Please use this HOTWIRE and these PRICELINE LINKS: HOTELS, CAR RENTALS, and AIRFARE to begin your travel purchases

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To clarify my flight information...

I will be leaving Friday 1/30 on 1:35 pm. and arriving at 7:35 pm.

I will be returning Friday 2/6 at 8:55 pm and arriving the following day at 11:20 (red eye)

I was planning on sleeping on the way back (which may or may not work) however, I would figure I would have most of the day of the return flight to use as I wish.

In theory I could leave another island on Fri afternoon and still get my plane if I planned on being at the airport 7pm.

As to timing.. Maybe trying to come up with a plan might help.. Does this sound realistic? I guess I could group the non waikiki activities together and stay outside of it for those days. Is it better to be in waikiki weekends or weekdays?

Let me know your thoughts on this if I am missing anything special or timed wrong.---(very rough initial draft)

Saturday- beach and waikiki?

Sunday -church and driving up to north shore.

Monday- Beach/ Snorkeling, cultural center in evening with luau.

Tuesday.-Bishop museum/ pearl harbor visit diamond head.

Wednesday-Beach activities.and/or waikiki activities.

Thursday morning -Leave for other island. (which and what to do, I cannot say)

Friday -return from other island- head back.. be at airport at 7:00

In looking at the agenda, I guess i could get away with renting a car for a couple of days.

My experiences on craigs list were not ideal either. I found one place that seemed nice for 27 for the room, but people said that was not in the best neighborhood with deserted cars around. Perhaps I could use that for the few days out of the area. I found those 80.00 with cleaning fees things but werent impressed. I dont like sharing a room, (I cant sleep during snoring, excessive noise, loud motors, cigarette smells, etc.) one guy had a room for 50 a night but wasnt going ot be available. Another when I asked said they had a room, but then later told me nothing available.

I looked at the timeshare tours and they wanted 758 for the beachcomber for 6 nights with 100.00 polynesian villiage voucher (but they included parking internet, etc)

I am trying to see about Time share rentals.. never done that.. if anyone has any advice.

I have a friend who works at a hotel I think on the big island, but I lost her card... I dont know how to track down and locate her.

As weird as it sounds, I would definately like to meet Jim Nabors on the trip.

Thanks to everyone for sharing their input.

George

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In theory I could leave another island on Fri afternoon and still get my plane if I planned on being at the airport 7pm.

In theory this would work, and maybe others are more comfortable with it than i am, but it's too much risk for me... there would be too much fear for me of the flight not making it back to the airport by 7pm for me to catch the flight back home. Should that happen, a last minute purchase for the next flight out back to NYC would likely be $$$. I suppose if you're flying the same carrier it might help and they may allow you to take the next flight at no charge, but i dont' know what the official policy would be.

I equate this to cruising where you always arrive at the port city the day before the ship leaves... i've seen it firsthand and heard too many stories of those not making it to the pier in time due to unexpected flight delays.

Please use this HOTWIRE and these PRICELINE LINKS: HOTELS, CAR RENTALS, and AIRFARE to begin your travel purchases

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I have been to Oahu many times, and I wanted to point out a few things.

One, I don't know of any hotels that offer free parking. It isn't cheap, either. Count on spending $15-$20 per night at most hotels for parking.

Two, the best options for "cheaper" hotel rates are "Waikiki Central" or "Marina Area". These hotels aren't right on the beach, but they are "ok" if you aren't expecting luxury. The Doubletree Hotel on Ala Moana Blvd is a common "3 star" pick on Priceline in the Marina Area, and I was able to book some nights here for $75 over the Christmas holiday. Valet parking only, and a 10 minutes or so walk to Waikiki Beach.

Three, most of the hotels in Waikiki are older, and the star ratings are typically generous in Hawaii. I have stayed at "3 star" hotels in Oahu that I wouldn't recommend if things like dirty carpets and peeling paint bother you.

Public transportation is very good on Oahu, and you can take a bus to pretty much anywhere you want to go. The drawback is all the stops in between where you are leaving from and where you want to go to. Car rentals can be cheap. I always book my car rental on Travelocity or some other site to make sure I have a reservation, and periodically check the travel sites to see if prices have dropped. Then, once it gets close to my departure time, I will go to Priceline and try for an even better deal. Most times I get one. I wait until very close to my departure time to use Priceline because I dont' want to lock in a price too early. The fluctuation in price is amazing over there.

I would strongly encourage you to save one day for a drive around the island of Oahu. It is a stunning drive, and can easily be accomplished in less than a day (with plenty of stops along the way). I would also encourage you to save a morning for a hike up Diamond Head crater for a wonderful view.

As for going to another island, you can catch 5 a.m. flights to most islands with return flights the same day late in the evening. The flights are probably around $150 round trip right now. Be aware that driving times are very long on the other islands because 2 lane roads are the rule. No 4 lane highways anywhere but on Oahu. You need to pick a particular destination, because you wont' have much time to drive around and explore. The day will be gone before you know it. The good thing is, if you miss your flight back to Oahu there will be another one in 30

minutes or so.

Oh, there is no way I would plan on visiting a neighbor island the same day I am leaving to return home. Way too much risk.

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Thank you everyone for their thoughts.

I called Hawaii AAA travel dept as well as continential travel dept. They kind of assured me that if I left an island at around 3pm I would have no risk of missing my 8:55pm flight as these are only 50 minute rides that run fairly often. Another option is to put the island trip in the middle.

I was thinking of perhaps three nights in waikiki, two up north and two on an island. Although if you still feel strongly on nixing the island, then I guess I could go four days waikiki, three up north, or just all in one location. (cutting the plane out would make it more affordable.)

If what is said is true that it would cost me 75.00 for a 3 star (that is really a two star) I guess paying the extra 25 a night for a luxury hotel would be worth it.

As mentioned before, peeling paint, spots on floor are not a problem. The problems would be things that could cause trouble sleeping (noise, uncomfortable bed, smells, etc) as I normally dont sleep as well away from home.

I saw some hostels (never used them before) but if Im going to be getting a 2 star room anyway, Things I saw include..http://www.hostelsaloha.com/ which offers a private room in waikiki for 41.00 a night plus 5.00 for parking. (I have never used a hostel.. know nothing about them.) (no taxes, etc.)

Also I saw the polynesian plaza for 505 a week. I do not know what their parking situation is.

Also, I saw this on the north end, Ho'o Nanea Hale for 52 a night for a private room. (5 night min) I do not know any more as I have not spoken to anyone there, but the reviews on this seemed good.

Any help in sorting this all out is appreciated.

Im getting nervious as time is getting closer.

To summarize I guess if I can get close to a true 3 star for 50.00 a night Im comfortable going that direction. If I have to pay apx. 75, I guess I would rather pay the extra and get something special or go for one of the other options. (or maybe the sherdon for some of the nights for that price.

George

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They kind of assured me that if I left an island at around 3pm I would have no risk of missing my 8:55pm flight as these are only 50 minute rides that run fairly often. Another option is to put the island trip in the middle.
Of course if you left the island at 3pm you would arrive in time... but my concern would be if the 3pm scheduled departure was delays for whatever reason (mechanical, weather, airport closes due to problem with another plane, etc, etc) and the 3pm flight doesn't depart until sometime later in the nite. Would this be the expected situation, "no", but it does happen.
To summarize I guess if I can get close to a true 3 star for 50.00 a night Im comfortable going that direction. If I have to pay apx. 75, I guess I would rather pay the extra and get something special or go for one of the other options. (or maybe the sherdon for some of the nights for that price.
So do you want to try for a 3* property first? If so, which zones are you willing to accept and what is your maximum bid at the 3 star level?

Please use these PRICELINE and HOTWIRE links to begin your travel purchases.

Please use this HOTWIRE and these PRICELINE LINKS: HOTELS, CAR RENTALS, and AIRFARE to begin your travel purchases

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I don't stay in hostels so i can't comment on them, and i'm not a fan of apartment rentals since there are too many 'unknowns' and there is little or no recourse if there is a problem or things are not the way they were represented. At least at a hotel if you have an issue there is a 'chain of command'... front desk, manager, corporate, etc, where each person along the way is hoping to resolve the issue and that you dont' need to get the person above them involved.

If you want to try for a 3* let us know which dates you've decided upon, the zones you're willing to accept, and your maximum bid ($50??) and we will suggest a strategy for you to follow.

Please use these PRICELINE and HOTWIRE links to begin your travel purchases.

Please use this HOTWIRE and these PRICELINE LINKS: HOTELS, CAR RENTALS, and AIRFARE to begin your travel purchases

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Please see another island over the seven days. Go see Maui; it is a lot of fun and much more relaxed then Honolulu. You are going to be disappointed if you stay on HNL for all seven days. There are some good specials on inter island flights. What airline are you flying? Try to book you inter island flight on the same airline so you can have them check your bags all the way through on one of the flights. I always spend my last few days on HNL to make sure there is no chance that I miss my flight to the mainland.

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Probably not do-able (read: cost effective), but I would look to see the change fee/price difference regarding changing your return flight home from a different island... this would be much easier if you flew NYC-->HNL-->(antoher island)-->NYC rather than trying to squeeze a RT inside of your NYC-->HNL trip.

Another option is to see if there are any departures to another island well after your 7:35pm arrival (say after 10pm... ideally even later after 10:30pm). Since most delays occur regarding take-off, you'll know before boarding the plane if you'll likely be on time or not, leaving you enough time to change your flight to the next island on day of arrival to the next morning (yes, there would likely be a change of tix and/or fare charge for doing so, but at least it's less risky than missing your fligth back to the mainland on the return portion of your trip)

Please use this HOTWIRE and these PRICELINE LINKS: HOTELS, CAR RENTALS, and AIRFARE to begin your travel purchases

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I also would not stay at a hostel, especially the ones near Waikiki. Not a chance.

You aren't going to find a 3 star REPUTABLE hotel for $50. I was extremely lucky to find a 3 star for $75 for a couple of days (of course, add in $20 for parking and valet fees and you are over $100 per day if you have a car).

Although going to another island would be nice, I guarantee you that you can't even begin to see all that Oahu has to offer in the time you are going to be there. If beaches aren't your thing, you are much better off to stay on Oahu.

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Sigh. .This low price week off is starting to get expensive.

What do you know of hostels? I dont know anything.

75.00 for a 3 star or 100.00 for 4 star, plus 20.00 plus other sundry things. plus car rental..

I read this on google regarding waikiki parking..

"Nearer to central Waikiki is the Waikiki Banyan Hotel (on

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Hawaii is not known as a cheap vacation destination.

If you like dorm-type sleeping arrangements with limited (or no) privacy, a hostel is for you.

Waikiki has nothing in common with NYC. Yes, many things to do are outside of Waikiki, but all are a bus ride away.

You need to decide what you want to do.

As for "27 a night" slum rooms, I don't know where you found them, but personally I would sleep on the beach before I did that.

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I have stayed at hostels all over the world (including once in NY!). What age group are you in? The younger you are, the far easier it is to 'rough' it. Are you travelling alone or with someone?

Some hostels are dorm style, or have small private rooms. On the one hand, if you are travelling alone, hostels give you an opportunity to meet up with other travellers, share tips and even get together to travel together. Could you accept sleeping in a room with strangers? (There is the security aspect to think of as well, without even venturing out in the hestel neighborhood!). Can you accept having them snore, be messy, or make noise when you're trying to sleep?

I have travelled to over 70 countries and with hostels you can have the best of times or the worst of times. I stayed at a private hostel in Maui and I can honestly say, it was one of the best times of my life!

My cousins just booked a 2 star room on Waikiki for $60. That's probably the bare bones cheapest rate they could get for a hotel on Waikiki. From what I could find from my searches, that is probably the cheapest. To them, they could care less what the hotel room is like, their priority is strictly finding the cheapest hotel rate without it being a hostel.

So you have to ask yourself--can I put up with the possible hostel inconveniences to save around $30? That $30 could pay for some of the car rental/parking. Do you really need a car every single day? Honolulu is well known for having a pretty comprehensive and reasonably priced transit system. You might also consider planning so that you rent a car just for those days that you absolutely have to.

With regards to staying in a 'slum' area...you have to remember that Hawaii is an American city that has it's share of American crime. Would you stay in the same kind of area in NJ or NY? If that doesn't bother you, then maybe a hostel in a cheap area is okay for you.

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Regarding my thoughts on hostels, I would not go to one unless I have my private room. I am mid 40s and travelling alone. The one I spoke to said they have a no alcohol policy and things are quiet. I could not sleep well with someone next to me snoring away. I do understand the security issue too. However, I am getting the feeling that what people told me about hawaii, even things in the trunk of a car are not safe. (and I feel safe having things in my trunk in NYC.)

The slum phrase is perhaps not the best definition. I saw on Craigs list a place described as peaceful house in rainforest. When I asked someone from hawaii, they said it was not the best neighborhood. Then again, Im wondering if Waikiki is the best neighborhood either, as cities tend not to be. I also feel more comfortable that way then being tied to a city's public transportation.

I still believe that with half the things outside waikiki, and half outside waikiki, unless your on the ocean with an oceanfront view,I would feel more better staying in a decent neighborhood suburbs than the city. You dont have to worry about traffic, parking and other congestion problems. That doesnt mean I wish to be an hour away, but a 10-15 min drive is fine by me.

I guess lets see if we hit success with a decent 3 star at 50 a night. We probably wont, but if we don't get anything, then I guess we'll try a "Plan B".

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I guess im viewing it more like a NYC or a Washington DC than a Newark.

Places that you cant find street parking tend to have a lot of car congestion. Maybe your right that I dont understand it.

The place I saw was in KALIHI VALLEY. But I guess thats where the poor people live.

The other place I was looking more at was in manila. People said it was a nice area, but nothing left.

I guess for 50 a night 7 days is 350. Lets see if we can get a real 3* for that on the site.. see if it works.

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