Useful Information About Hawaii
Here you’ll find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we get about Hawaii as well as some other useful information about the hotels, self-catering apartments, room types and flights to Hawaii.
When you holiday in Hawaii your main accommodation options are hotel or self catering apartments, known in America as condominiums. At Aloha Holidays we prefer to offer accommodation we have either visited or stayed in ourselves. While we cannot claim to have personally checked out every apartment or room available, we believe the properties we offer are well managed and are ones in which we would be happy to stay in ourselves. For this reason, we recommend you select self-catering or hotels in Hawaii which are at least 3* in standard.
Virtually all hotels and condominiums in Hawaii charge a daily resort fee, or service fee. This usually covers items such as a free daily newspaper, free local telephone calls, etc. It can range from $25 – $35 per room per day and is usually paid locally to the hotel on departure.
Hotels tend to offer the best value, particularly if you can get breakfast included in the price (most American hotels offer room only). As in most US hotels, all inclusive packages are not available in Hawaii but with so much delicious Hawaiian cuisine on offer locally this is actually a bonus.
In Hawaii, hotel rooms and self catering apartments are graded and priced according to their views. At Aloha Holidays we will always tell you what room type is included in the price of your vacation.
City or Garden View
This is the basic room category tour operators base their package prices on. But you will not have a good view and could end up overlooking the car park or have a wall right outside your window. If a good view is important to you – upgrade. It won’t cost much and will be well worth it.
In Honolulu on Oahu this view is very pretty by night with the twinkling lights of the houses snaking up the mountain side. By day it is usually comparable with a city view. On the outer islands, Maui, Kauai and Hawaii’s Big Island, the mountains make for an attractive view by day.
Partial Ocean View
This is the minimum room category recommended by Aloha Holidays. Usually Partial Ocean View means a side-on view of the sea but in some places could mean a sea glimpse if you crane your neck over the balcony! These rooms tend to be on a higher floor thereby looking over the tops of any nearby buildings. Your view will partly include the sea and could include some roof and/or trees.
These rooms are usually ‘sideways on’ to the sea view, not directly opposite the shore line. You could end up with some neighbouring buildings in your line of sight but your view will mostly be of the sea.
Again these rooms are found on the higher floors. Your lanai (balcony) or windows will look out directly over the ocean. This is particularly useful during whale watching season (Nov – Apr) in Maui, so don’t forget your binoculars.
Tip: If you are watching your budget opt for a higher category room in a lower grade hotel, e.g. an Ocean View room in a 3* hotel rather than a Partial Ocean View room in a 4* hotel.
Self Catering – The self-catering condominiums tend to be privately owned but are managed by companies which rent to tour operators. This means the standard of individual units can vary greatly. It also means there are certain times of year, during popular US holidays, when self catering can be difficult to source. Aloha Holidays recommends opting to stay in an hotel during these periods.
There is no direct flight to Hawaii from Ireland but many airlines offer air travel to Hawaii via various US or Canadian destinations. It takes about 6 hours to fly from the west coast of North America to the Hawaiian Islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
In the past, it was relatively cost effective to combine a stop in a mainland US city such as Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York or San Francisco. Unfortunately the airlines have now decided to add considerably to the airfare price if you do so, so it is usually better value to head straight out and back from Hawaii. It is also worth noting that if you stop off in another city or island, you will have to pay approx $25-$30 per checked bag for each extra flight between the mainland and Hawaii.
It can be a false economy to book online for cheap flights from Ireland to a mainland American city and travel to Hawaii on a separate air ticket. If you miss your connection for any reason you will probably end up having to buy another flight.
When you are travelling half way around the world you are much better off to buy your air ticket from a bonded and licensed Irish travel agent. And when you are going somewhere as special as Hawaii, whether for a winter sun holiday, summer family holiday or honeymoon, you really should enjoy the peace of mind that comes with booking with the specialists, Aloha Holidays.
Before booking you should consider the following:
- Do you want to take the shortest number of flights?
- Do you want the cheapest flights to Hawaii?
- Do you require Business Class (a popular honeymoon option)?
- Do you want to include a stop over in a mainland US or Canadian city (i.e. Vancouver, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Boston or Chicago) either on the way out or the way back? Stopping for even one night at an airport hotel can help with jet lag but does add to the cost. Sometimes Aloha Holidays can find a flight which permits a one night stop over without increasing the cost of your flight.
- Do you collect air miles with a particular airline?
- Do you want to avoid or include a particular transfer airport? (i.e. London, Amsterdam, etc)
- Do you have any flexibility on your travel dates in order to avail of the best value flights?
Important Notes about Airfares and Passports
We do as much as we can for all our clients, but Aloha Holidays is not responsible for airlines changing or cancelling their fares and schedules without notice. In order to guarantee your fare the ticket must be paid for and issued the same day the reservation is made.
Note: by clicking any of the links below you are leaving the Aloha Holidays website.
- All passengers travelling to the USA must have a machine readable passport valid for 6 months after the date of return travel.
- All children traveling to the US must have their own passport.
- All passengers must obtain either ESTA US Visa Waiver pre-authorisation (for Irish and some other passport holders) or a visitor’s visa prior to booking their travel. It is compulsory for all passengers travelling to the US under the Visa Waiver Programme to apply online for authorisation online prior to travel.
- If your flight is via Canada, most travellers will also need a visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to fly to, or transit through, a Canadian airport.
- It is strongly recommended you apply for your ESTA and eTA before you book your flights.
IMPORTANT: If you do not get prior authorisation you will be denied boarding! Airline tickets must be issued in EXACTLY the same name as appears on the passport. Please check carefully you have given Aloha Holidays the correct names/spelling of all passengers before the tickets are issued as making a later change will incur a charge by the airline.
• Hawaiian Time Zone: Hawaii is 10 hours behind GMT. However, Hawaii does not observe Daylight Savings Time so between March and November it is 11 hours behind Ireland.
• Telephones: The area code for the entire State of Hawaii is 808. For long distance calls between the islands dial 1-808 followed by the number. All calls within an island are local. Many hotels offer free local calls. Most Irish mobile phones work in Hawaii but check with your local service provider to be sure … and watch out for those expensive roaming costs.
• Weather: As they say in Hawaii: “Sometimes same, sometimes little bit different!”. It is almost always warm and sunny (about 25 to 30 degrees Celsius), with a chance of showers so anytime of year is a good time to visit. The trade winds keep things comfortable year-round so high humidity or sticky heat is rarely a problem. Water temperature averages around 24 degrees Celsius year round.
• Clothing: Definitely casual. T-shirts, shorts and sandals are the norm. Bring a light jacket for evenings. Semi-casual is fine for restaurants and nightlife. Suits and ties are rarely worn, even amongst the business community where colourful Aloha shirts are usual.
• Tipping: Around 15 to 20 percent on meals, at least $1 per bag for porters and $1 to $2 per night for housekeeping. Remember, even if breakfast is included as part of your holiday package you are still expected to leave a tip for the waiting staff.
Photo credits: Dreamstime; HTA / Tor Johnson; HTA / Danny Sepkowski; Aloha Holidays.