Don’t Let This Happen to You!!

We get many calls from distraught people who have either arrived on island, or are getting near their arrival date, only to discover they have no place to stay.  Many times people like the idea of booking a specific unit with a private owner, or a non-professional management company…they see the pictures of the unit online, they fall in love with the unit, and decide that they must stay in that particular unit…even if the cost is higher.  Sometimes it works out, but you don’t want to be in the group of people that it doesn’t work out for!

Many things can happen when you book with private owner.  Sometimes it’s a complete scam and there was never a rental to begin with…and you’ve already paid for something that isn’t even available.  In one such incident, a couple arrived at the condo that they had prepaid for and were told they had no reservation, it was a scam.  They were left scrambling for a place to stay, and it didn’t get their long anticipated dream vacation off to a very good start!

Here are a few of the risks that come along with booking a private owner or non-professional management company:

  • The owner double books their unit by mistake
  • The owner decides they want that week
  • A family member wants your week
  • The condo gets sold
  • Something breaks right before you arrive
  • Something breaks while you are there and you are trying to track down the owner off island to get it resolved
  • When you arrive the condo is nothing like you had imagined…pictures can make just about anything look good 🙂

With private rentals you also don’t get many of the perks that come with most professionally managed units, like front desk check-in, maid service, quality control, onsite maintenance/management, etc.  There is always someone there to help you if an issue should arise, including moving you to a different unit or property if need be.  With private owner, or non-professional managed units, you are on your own… if you have any trouble with the unit there won’t be anyone to help you resolve issues, relocate you, etc.  They have zero accountability.

However, no need to stress!  When you book with us you’ll know that you’ll have a place to stay when you arrive.  You book a room category, advise us of any special requests, and your room will be assigned at check-in.  You’ll check in at the front desk, and if you have any problems, we’ll be here to assist you in solving them.  We’re a full service agency from the beginning to the end of your trip…and you don’t pay anything extra for this service, it’s FREE!!  Remember, you’re not buying the condo…so don’t be lured by pretty pictures that may or may not be accurate!  Book with us and we’ll ensure your vacation gets off to a good start…you deserve it!! 🙂

Airport/Travel Tips

Traveling can be stressful, but you can make your trip more enjoyable and less stressful if you do a little preparation before you go.  These are just a few tips we’ve compiled from our experiences:

NO liquids are allowed to be carried through the security check point at the airport…liquids are only allowed in your checked bags.  However, each passenger is allowed one (1) quart size Ziploc bag to carry on the plane containing items with three (3) ounces or less of liquid.  They will confiscate any other liquids…we’ve personally “donated” a few items! 😉

Try to get to the airport 2-3 hours before your scheduled departure time.  It can be time consuming parking, getting into the airport, checking your bags, going through security, finding your gate, etc…and if you’re one of the lucky ones that gets selected to go through additional screening it can take even longer.  Better to be early and have extra time, than to be stressed and even miss your flight! :0

Check with your specific airline to see what’s allowed to be checked and carried on.  Each airline has their own regulations in regards to cost per bag for checked luggage, sizes, weights, etc.  Most airlines limit the number, size, and types of items you can carry on the plane as well.

Be prepared before you get to security…as a general rule this is what you can expect, although we’ve found that this varies slightly airport to airport:

  • Have your boarding pass and identification ready to show the security check point person.
  • You’ll have to remove your shoes (for this reason we always wear shoes with socks, if you’re not a germaphobe like us this won’t be an issue for you, lol), jacket, hat, empty pockets, etc. and place items in a bin…all but strip down to go through the metal detector/body scanner. 🙂
  • You’ll have to remove your laptop, tablet, CPAP, etc. from your bag and place them in another bin.
  • You’ll put your ziploc bag with your liquids in a bin.
  • You’ll put the rest of your items (purse, carry-on bag, etc.) on the belt.
  • Wait for the security personnel to give you the go ahead to walk through the metal detector/body scanner and tell you you’re free to go and gather your belongings…and then you can repack and redress, ha! 🙂

Food is not usually served on flights anymore…and let’s be honest, if it is it’s not usually that great! J  They will provide non-alcoholic drinks and a snack (like a tiny bag of pretzels or nuts)…additional food and alcohol can usually be purchased (they don’t take cash, only debit/credit card).  You don’t want to get stuck on the longgggggg flight to Hawaii with nothing to drink or eat (we’ve done it! 😛 ), so we’d recommend purchasing food and drinks once you get through security inside the airport and taking it with you on the plane.

Things you may want to consider bringing on the plane:

  • Earphones…there will be movies, music, sometimes internet access, etc. on the plane, sometimes free or sometimes for purchase.  They will also have headphones for purchase…again, all these items can only be purchased with debit/card card.
  • Small blanket, pillow/neck pillow…for obvious reasons.
  • Download movies, tv shows, music, books, etc. prior to the trip on your phone/tablet/computer.
  • Thankfully it’s rare, but bring anything that you can’t do without if for some reason your luggage doesn’t make it with you (yikes!)…like medication, phone chargers, etc.

Bring cash for tipping once you arrive for bell hops, valet, housekeeping, waiters/waitresses, activity guides, etc…we all know those ATM fees can add up! 😛

In addition, you can go to the TSA (Transportation Safety Administration) website for a lot more info https://www.tsa.gov   …and please check your specific airline’s website for more specific information.  We wish you happy and safe travels!! 🙂

Condos vs. Hotels – Which should I book??

Deciding whether to book a condo or a hotel for your Hawaiian vacation will depend on your personal preferences.  There are many differences you may want to take into consideration when planning your trip.  In many instances, both will have additional resort fees and parking fees, so make sure you look things over carefully before making a reservation.  The following are some of the pros and cons of each.

CONDOS

  • Condos are typically less expensive
  • Condos have a lot of the conveniences of home…including small appliances, dishes, silverware, cups, etc.
  • Condos have kitchens so you don’t have to eat all your meals out…unless you want to of course!  You can also keep drinks, food, and snacks on hand.
  • Condos are larger…more room for you and/or your family
  • Many condos have a washer and dryer in each individual unit
  • Condos are typically less flashy, meaning the grounds and pool area are more basic
  • Condos generally do not have room service

HOTELS

  • Hotels are typically more expensive
  • Hotel rooms generally just have the bedroom / bathrooms areas
  • Hotel rooms are smaller
  • Hotels are typically more flashy, meaning the grounds and pool area(s) are more lush, tropical, and have pool side services
  • Hotels include many amenities, such as housekeeping, gym, restaurants/bars, and spa
  • Hotels have room service

Both options are good, so give us a call and we will help you plan which option is best for you.

What You Need to Know about Renting a Car in Hawaii

People always ask, “Do you recommend we get a car in Hawaii?”…the answer is “YES!”.  On all the outer islands like Maui, Kauai, and Hawaii (Big Island) a rental car is a must have.  Unlike Mexico and the Caribbean, you’ll want to go out and explore the island on your own.  There are so many things to see and do, and you’ll need your own wheels to do it.  Rental cars on Oahu are considered optional due to the close proximity of lots to see and do in the heart of Waikiki, however, I like to have one there too even if it’s just for a couple days…it’s such a beautiful island outside of the hustle and bustle of Waikiki.  Also, rental cars are relatively cheap in Hawaii, we have been selling rental cars for under $230 a week for over 20 years…let’s hope it stays that way!

 

Some things to remember when renting cars:

  1. The rental car must be returned at the same time on the last day as the day you picked it up, otherwise the rental car company will charge you overtime.
  2. Check with your insurance agent about your rental car coverage before you go.  The rental car company will be very convincing that you need to buy their insurance when you go to pick up the rental car.  Insurance through the rental car company can cost you as much as the rental or more.
  3. Don’t accept the gas option, it’s silly to prepay for gas that you may not use.  Just say no and fill the rental car up with gas before you return it.  The only way you might be okay with the gas option is to bring the car back on fumes, & that’s not a good idea!
  4. If you wreck the car and you didn’t buy the rental car insurance, you are liable for the repairs.  You could also be liable for the time the rental car is out of service…some insurance policies don’t cover this part, so make sure you know before you go.
  5. Hawaii is a safe place to visit, unfortunately there are people everywhere that prey on tourists.  Do NOT leave valuables in sight in the rental car, if you do it’s very likely you will lose them, and the car may get damaged in the process.

 

Different types of rental cars available in Hawaii:

  • Economy Car – Mitsubishi Mirage or similar
  • Compact Car – Nissan Versa or similar
  • Midsize Car – Hyundai Elantra or similar
  • Standard Car – Volkswagon Jetta or similar
  • Fullsize Car – Nissan Altima or similar
  • Premium Car – Nissan Maxima or similar
  • Luxury Car – Cadillac XTS or similar
  • Convertible Car – Ford Mustang or similar
  • Minivan – Dodge Grand Caravan or similar
  • Midsize SUV – Nissan Rouge or similar
  • Standard SUV – Hyundai Santa Fe or similar
  • Fullsize SUV – Chevrolet Tahoe or similar
  • Premium SUV – Chevrolet Suburban or similar
  • 2 Door Jeep –  2 Door Jeep Wrangler
  • 4 Door Jeep –  4 Door Jeep Wrangler

 

We would love to help you plan your Hawaii Trip!  All of our rental cars include all the taxes and fees, plus you also get one free additional driver!  The only thing not included would be gas, insurance, GPS, and car seats…all of these are options you can add when you pick up the car, and you will pay the rental car company direct for these additional fees.  Call today! 800-315-1812

Don’t End up in a Room You Don’t Want

When booking a hotel or condo reservation in Hawaii, make sure you understand the category of room you are booking.  Misconception of what type of view/room is one of the biggest problems when booking online.  No matter where you are from, Hawaii is a long way to travel to find out when you get there that you booked something you don’t want. The online agency is always going to display the cheapest, least desirable room…and it’s not the cheapest because they want to give you a good deal. It may be the cheapest because it has a view into the alley, doesn’t have a balcony (or lanai as we say in Hawaii), or possibly even has no windows – like the inside cabin of a ship.  Using our knowledge and expertise in the Hawaiian Islands, Blue Hawaii Vacations will help you avoid these mishaps when planning your trip.  We’ve listed a guide below to help you with the different room views and types of rooms in Hawaii…

ROOM VIEWS

Standard Room:  No promise of any special view or location, the least desirable views and rooms; also called moderate rooms.  Most likely an alley or parking lot view.

Garden View Room:  Should be a better location, views of property without seeing the ocean.

Mountain View Room:
 Typically views of Mountains in the distance.

Partial Ocean View Room:  Major obstructions between room and water; however, you should be able to see some ocean view from the lanai (balcony).

Ocean View Room:  Should have good ocean views from the lanai.  These units are usually located on the side of the resort and your ocean view will depend on which side of the resort your room is located.  Also, many resorts that are not located oceanfront and are located across the street may be quite a distance away and will call their rooms ocean view, even at a distance.

Oceanfront Rooms:  Should have great ocean views, and they should face directly oceanfront with a minimum of obstructions.  You should  have an ocean view even inside of the unit.

ROOM TYPES

Room:  This is a typical hotel room.

Suite:  Larger room and may have a separate sitting area and bedroom.

Studio:  Like an efficiency apartment, everything is in one room and most have a small kitchen.

1 Bedroom:  Generally most have a separate bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and living room.

2 Bedroom:  Generally most have a 2 separate bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, kitchen, and living room.  Waikiki is an exception, many of the 2 bedrooms only have 1 bathroom.

RESORT LOCATIONS

Oceanfront Resort:  These resorts are located on the ocean, but not necessarily on a beach.

Beachfront Resort:  These resorts are located directly on a beach.  You should always ask if their beach is swimmable – many beautiful beaches in Hawaii are not.  Always check with the front desk or someone local.  Please be safe.

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