Hawaii is typically the top tropical and air destination for Automobile Club of Southern California members, according to the AAA Travel Agency. As the travel season heats up, the Auto Club is offering tips from its Westways magazine travel experts – along with a travel sale to Hawaii through April 30.
“We’re excited to be able to offer continued availability in Hawaii and a sale through April 30 even for some bookings during the most popular summer travel months,” said Pamela Shepherd, the Auto Club’s vice president of branch operations. “We are also offering other destinations in the sale through April 27, but Hawaii is typically our top destination for travelers planning a big vacation.”
Westways’ TravelSmart Columnists Paul Lasley and Elizabeth Harryman have visited Hawaii more than a dozen times and are experts on what to see and do in the islands, along with the Auto Club’s AAA Travel agents.
Here are Paul and Elizabeth’s top tips for those considering a Hawaiian vacation:
- Immerse yourself in the Hawaiian culture. A lot of places have sun, sand, and surf, but only Hawaii has the Hawaiian culture. Many hotels and resorts in the islands offer classes in hula, lei making, and even the Hawaiian language. Take advantage of those opportunities. On Oahu, visit the Bishop Museum to learn about the islands’ rich history.
- Consider a vacation package. Companies such as Pleasant Holidays offer packages that include airfare, accommodations, airport transfers or a rental car. Optional perks such as a lei greeting or a helicopter tour may also be available. These packages are often great deals.
- Indulge in Hawaii regional cuisine. Classically-trained chefs use fresh, local ingredients to create some of the best food on earth. In Honolulu, check out elegant places such as the AAA Five Diamond Chef Mavro or Alan Wong’s more casual Pineapple Room in the Ala Moana Center. And try local specialties like spam musubi and malassadas, Portuguese-style donuts (the Home Maid Bakery on Maui has great ones).
- Go local. Instead of attending a big commercial luau at a hotel, look in the local paper to see if a church or community group is hosting a luau; you’ll have a more authentic experience. And check out local musical groups in clubs.
- Do some of our favorite things on each island. On Maui, watch the sunrise at the top of Haleakala; on Kaua‘i, visit the botanical gardens, on Hawaii Island visit the heiau (ancient temples) along the Kohala Coast, as well as Volcanoes National Park, where you can gaze into the vast moonscape-like crater. In Waikiki, go to the House Without a Key lounge at the AAA Four Diamond Halekulani hotel at sunset, listen to a local musical group, and watch dancers perform hula in front of a century-old kiawe tree.
- Work with a travel agent. A travel agent experienced in Hawaii can help you find the Hawaiian vacation that best suits your interests and budget.
- And finally, enjoy the spirit of Aloha. You won’t find it anywhere else in the world.