Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tips For An Affordable Vacation In Hawaii

With everything that is going on today, people are feeling they need a vacation more than ever. But, for the same reasons, they are feeling more challenged in being able to take a vacation. Here are some tips that we have gleaned from our guests here at Leilani Bed and Breakfast on turning these challenges into an opportunity for taking their dream vacation in Hawaii.

  1. The challenge of rising airfares: Our guests seem to be getting more for their travel dollar by taking fewer, longer vacations. That way, they spend less on airfare overall, really have an opportunity to explore their destination well, and feel like they have more time to relax from their hectic pace and return home refreshed. Most of our guests are from mainland US, Europe, or Australia and are spending two to four weeks in the islands, getting full value from their travel dollar, making their trip an affordable Hawaii vacation.
  2. The challenge of hotel expenses: More of our guests are travelers who would previously spend all their time at high end resorts. They are finding they can get quality accommodations for far less at many B&B's. By splitting their time between these types of accommodations, their dollar stretches further and they get different experiences. B&B's offer a more personal experience. It is important to look for one, such as ours, that also respects your privacy. And for those B&B's on the Big Island of Hawaii having undergone a quality inspection by HIBBA, you know you will be staying in a clean and respectable establishment. And, you'll be seeing more of the 'real' Hawaii.
  3. The challenge of affording guided tours: We see our guests picking one or two favorite guided tours, and for the rest of their trip, being their own tour guide with the aid of wonderful Hawaii guide books. We recommend the series of guide books by Wizard Publications. The one for the Big Island is The Big Island Revealed: The Ultimate Guide Book. There is one for each of the main islands. These are so good because they give so much local knowledge not included in other guide books.
  4. Inter island travel: The best deals are usually directly from the local airline websites, rather than the compare and shop travel sites. Be sure to check the websites for Hawaiian Airlines, Mokulele Airlines (Go), Island Air, and Pacific Wings.
  5. Save on dining out in Hawaii: One way to economize is to check before booking your place of accommodations for an available kitchenette, BBQ, or similar facilities, where you can make a few simple dinners. This way you can save your dining dollars for those special nights. We find many of our guests like this option on days that they have been hitting the site seeing trail hard, and just want a quiet relaxing evening.
  6. Hawaii car rentals: Car rentals are a bit tricky. People want to hold out for the 'best' deal, however, during peak travel periods, the islands can run low on rental cars and waiting to the last minute to book could backfire. Also, some of these rental agencies have a clause that specifies they can give you the class of car you requested, or the best available at the time, which is usually a free upgrade. The unsuspecting may end up with a larger car they didn't need or want, and is a gas guzzler. Sometimes, what appears to be the cheaper offer isn't. Also know that gas prices vary widely around the islands. We can give our guests the latest on the best places to fill up when they arrive.
  7. Knowing if it is safe: The Hawaiian islands are doing well and thriving after the Japanese earthquake and Hawaii tsunami in March. Those of us involved in the tourist industry want you to have the latest information possible to make you feel comfortable and secure in planning your visit here. The Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau maintains a post of the latest information to keep you informed at http://www.gohawaii.com/statewide/travel-tips/special-alert. Please be sure to check this out, to alleviate any concerns you may have.
We hope you have fun planning the vacation of your dreams in Hawaii. Hopefully these tips will help you make it affordable. Don't be shy in asking questions about everything you are booking!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mayday call off Mexico picked up in Hawaii

Sometimes being in the right place at the right time can make a huge impact. Randy was listening on the maritime net March 21st, and heard a mayday call. A boat in distress off the coast of Mexico, approximately 120 miles west of Ensenada was putting out a mayday call. Due to vessel problems his signal was very weak, and Randy - KH6RC - from his ham radio station here at Leilani Bed and Breakfast on the Big Island Hawaii, was the only person who was able to pick up the weak mayday call from the sailboat. Rex - KC5AGO , in Stonewall, Texas, was able to hear Randy's contact, and notified the US Coast Guard, with Randy acting as the relay for messages to and from the boat in distress. Here is a video of the man and dog rescue for those who want to see your Coast Guard in action.

The Coast Guard said that if Randy had not heard that call, the results could have been very tragic.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Tail of Two Turtles

Randy and I went to the National Park adjacent to the north side of Honokahau Harbor and walked along the beach for a little break from running errands. We generally make a weekly trip from Ocean View to Kona to stock up for our Leilani Bed & Breakfast guests. It was extremely low tide and we must have seen at least 20 green sea turtles feeding on the bottom of the reef in the shallows. We have been told since that they were all females; the males don't come in close to shore like that.

What we discovered is that they get quite territorial over their terrain of algae, and when another turtle approaches, they position themselves to bite the intruders tail, sending them off in a scurry. At first we thought it was just an isolated incident. Then the more we watched, the more tail biting occurred. Some got quite aggressive and in human terms, seemed even revengeful. Check it out next time you are in the area during a low tide. It was very amusing to watch the different personalities!

Here are the directions from the parks website: "Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park is located on the west coast of the island of Hawai'i, approximately 3 miles south of the Keahole International Airport and 3 miles north of the town of Kailua-Kona, on the ocean side of Highway 19." We approached the beach from the north side of the harbor where there is a small parking area and a walk through gate. Here are the directions for that: After you turn into the Harbor road take the first right turn and follow it until you see the Kona Sailing Club. Park in the gravel parking area and look to the right for the park gate. From here it is a 5 minute walk to the south end of the beach. Admission is free.

The whole walk along the beachfront is quite long, perhaps a mile or more. You can also see the Ai’opio Fishtrap. And the whales are just arriving offshore, so it could be a good chance to do some whale watching from shore also.

Enjoy yet another wonderful sight on this island!

Randy and Lynn

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Revisiting a favorite place on the Big Island of Hawaii

Randy and I finally replaced our "old" digital camera with a new one with much better resolution. To try it out, we went to one of our favorite stomping grounds, Black Sand Beach on the Big Island of Hawaii. It is just a short drive from the Leilani Bed and Breakfast. It was late in the afternoon and the sun and shadows were really great. So, what do you think?

The first two are of the fresh water pond, just behind the beach. And of course for the last picture, I had to shoot one of my wonderful friends, this amazing green sea turtle. I would say I see a turtle about 85% of the time I go to Black Sand Beach. Usually they are resting on the sand, but sometimes you see them nibbling on the algae on the rocks in the shallow water. For, me they are a symbol of wisdom. I often take a break from our B&B here on the south end of the Island of Hawaii and go and visit them. There are plenty of coconut palm trees along the beach for shade to hang out in comfort and watch. Of course you can also see them when you are swimming or snorkeling there.

By the way, when you do go there, be sure to take some beach shoes. The black sand can get really hot on a sunny day!

Friday, January 22, 2010

A New Hidden Gem on the Island

Randy and I made a day trip up to the north end of the island to see exceptionally large waves that had been reported. As it turned out, the waves seemed to have reached the island of Oahu and stopped, for the ones we saw were only a few feet. However, our adventure turned out great.

We found a small state park that we had not previously visited, Lapakahi State Park. It is the ruins of an ancient Hawaiian settlement of fishermen and farmers. It was originally settled in the 1300's. The location is exquisite, right on the waterfront with beautiful little coves. There is a two mile trail throug the grounds with a self-guiding brochure available. Most of the artifacts are original with a few restorations.

The other part of the adventure that was so great was that it was a wonderful whale watching day. All along the west coast, we could see whales. We must have spotted 40-50. We stopped at several good spots to watch and picnic.

This day trip made us realize just how easy it is for our guests at the Leilani Bed and Breakfast to experience wonderful day trips. The island is big, but not so big that you can't explore beautiful, remote places on the other end of the island in a leisurely day trip!

Keep in mind that the whale watching season in Hawaii is from Nov - March, with the best possibilities in the middle of those months.

Happy travels to all.
Lynn VanLeeuwen