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December trip for two Aussies - trip summary

Brisbane
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December trip for two Aussies - trip summary

Aloha,

My partner and I had decided to go to Europe for a month in August/September this year and weren't planning on going on any more international trips, as least not until next year anyway.

Flights

We had heard Hawaiian Airlines were offering direct flights from Brisbane starting in November. They had a sale in July, we looked at prices and saw airfares were only 1000pp over Christmas!!! Hawaii with other airlines were cose to 2000pp so we knew it was a

deal we couldn't resist so we went ahead and booked it!!

Upgrades were offered both ways. $700 to Honolulu and $735 to Brisbane. As tempting as it sounded, we declined. The flights went quick enough and I got to get a decent sleep on both flights, yippee.

Airport transfers

ABC Limos - international airport transfers - www.abclimosvc.com/

Originally we had wanted to book with Hawaii23, however they hadn't responded to e-mails and when they did get back to us, they only had availability for arrival from Brisbane and Vegas.

And we had initially contacted ABC Limos for a tour. We knew Melvin was quick at responding to e-mails, so we dropped him a line. He soon enough responded - he was available so we decided to book him for international airport transfers. We wanted a sedan

but it wasn't available so we got a limo.

Melvin is just lovely!! Excellent service. The limo is the biggest limo we've been in! The limo we had in Vegas last year was big but not this big. Worth every cent!! Glad we followed TA's recommendations. :) If you wanna arrive in style, contact Melvin at

ABC Limos!

For domestic transfers (for a 2 night Vegas layover), we chose VIP Trans. www.viptrans.com/

We wanted private transfers and because Hawaii23 did not have availability, we ended up booking with VIP Trans for $22 return per person. They were prompt in picking us up for airport drop off, for our Vegas flight. There was someone waiting for us at the baggage carousel on arrival from Vegas and we were taken to our hotel almost immediately. Excellent service. We will definitely use them again.

Hotel

Holiday Inn Beachcomber - www.waikikibeachcomberresort.com/

We booked a king room at Holiday Inn Beachcomber for an overnight stay at the beginning of our trip, before heading to Vegas for 2 nights then returning to Hawaii for the remainder of the trip.

We had chosen this hotel for its location to International Market Place, Macys, the new Victoria Secret & Ross Dress for Less and of course Cheesecake factory!!! We thought it was fantastic. Definitely good value. We will not hesitate to stay here again!

Queen Kapiolani hotel - www.queenkapiolani.com/

We decided we wanted a hotel closer to the beach for the remainder of our trip and we chose Queen Kapiolani. The hotel is reasonably priced and minutes away from the beach and cafes/restaurants. The room was decent enough for 2 nights - it was somewhere to shower and sleep which was what we were

after. Like Holiday Inn, we would recommend this hotel.

Helicopter ride

Makani Kai helicopters - www.makanikai.com/

As we had a short trip, we still wanted to see a bit of Honolulu and what better way to do that than up in the air??

We booked a 30 minutes flight with Makani Kai helicopters via viator.com, at $139.49 per person. viator.com/tours/…d672-5055PALI

We opted for the 9am flight. We were picked up at 8am and met 4 other passengers joining us on the flight. We watched a safety video before being cleared by security to fly. The flight took exactly 30 minutes before landing. We were then taken back to our hotel. We recommend Makani Kai helicopters if you are looking to get a taste of Oahu.

Pearl harbour

We reserved the 11.30am slot for USS Arizona on Recreation.gov with a $1.50pp processing fee. We also got USS Missouri tickets online: http://www.ussmissouri.com/page.aspx?pid=605

We booked the Pearl Harbour shuttle through VIP Trans at $9.99pp. www.viptrans.com/pearl-harbor-shuttles.html

VIP Trans were right on time for our 7am pick up from Queen Kapiolani hotel. Travel time to and from Pearl Harbour was 30 minutes.

Upon arrival, we collected our USS Arizona tickets in a couple minutes. The USS Missouri queue was longer, we waited approximately 20 minutes.

We got shuttle transportation to the Battleship Missouri and lined

up to get onto USS Missouri. Total time, including transportation was 2 hours and 15 minutes.

While waiting to check out the USS Arizona, we checked out and took photos of USS Bowfin Memorial. It was crowded there so didn't get a good shot. Also took a photo of the USS Bowfin submarine. Hope to check it out another time!

After USS Arizona, we grabbed something to eat before getting the 2pm VIP Trans shuttle back to Waikiki.

Definitely glad we decided to go to USS Missouri. Such a beautiful ship!

Bargains we got for ourselves, family and friends!!! (also got some bargains in Vegas)

- 1 litre Jim Beam - $16 (approx $38 at home)

- Knowing Estee Lauder perfume - $75 ($98)

- Guess Seductive perfume - $24 ($60)

- Skin Expertise Collagen Moisture Filler Day/Night Cream - $14 ($30)

- L'Oreal Visible Lift Anti-Wrinkle Foundation - $12 ($20)

- Boardshorts - $9

- Havaianas thongs - $18 (for the same style, $25-30)

- G Shock watch - $88 ($199)

- Hawaii caps - $3.99

- Colgate Toothpaste - $2.99

- Small Colgate Sensitive toothpaste - $0.99c ($3.49)

- Underwear - $5/26 at Victoria Secret and 3 x $1.49 at Walmart

Observations/thoughts

- We had perfect weather the whole time we were there - it sure beat the 35-40 degrees Celsius weather back in Australia.

- Hawaii wasn't crowded like Vegas

- Loved Holiday Inn and its location

- Lovely people!

- The pink shopping trolley is a bargain at $2 per person..we used it to get to and from Ala Moana shopping centre last trip and again this trip.

- I should have got that Guess bracklet I had my eyes on, such a bargain too at $15....next time! :)

- Was surprised at the bargains we got and still had money leftover :P

- Wished we stayed longer!

- Hope the airfares are cheap again for next Christmas so we can spend my birthday and new years in Hawaii!

I have posted ABC Limos, Holiday Inn Beachcomber, Makani Kai helicopters (still pending) and Queen Kapiolani hotel reviews if you want to check out the photos. :)

I will be posting a Vegas trip summary if you want to check it out.

Sorry this got long! Hope you enjoyed my trip summary.

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Dallas
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1. Re: December trip for two Aussies - trip summary

Wow - great report. Sounds like you had a great trip. I'm looking forward to seeing your report on the Vegas portion as well.

Thanks for posting and Aloha

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2. Re: December trip for two Aussies - trip summary

Fabulous report .. good idea adding the websites, it helps others to check them out.

I too am a fan of the Holiday Inn Beachcomber .. we enjoyed our stay there ... you cannot beat the location.

Brisbane
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3. Re: December trip for two Aussies - trip summary

Cheers everyone. ;-)

I think we will stay at Holiday Inn Beachcomber again next trip. I even had a look at December 2013 prices! ;-) too early to be booking anything anyhow lol

Vegas report is up for anyone interested in having a look: tripadvisor.com.au/ShowTopic-g45963-i10-k599…

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Alaska
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4. Re: December trip for two Aussies - trip summary

Thanks for the awesome trip report! You had so much wonderful information and I appreciated your review of the Queen Kapiolani Hotel. We will be staying there for four nights next September. We almost stayed at the Holiday Inn Beachcomber but then I realized it would be too busy for us. I'm so glad you had a terrific time! Deb

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Queen Kapiolani Hotel
Queen Kapiolani Hotel
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Brisbane
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5. Re: December trip for two Aussies - trip summary

Cheers Deb! ;-) You will like Queen Kapiolani hotel for its quiet location. I can't fault the hotel or its rooms. :)

Also, I forgot the link to our Hawaii photos. Here it is, for anyone interested: http://www.facebook.com/#!/media/set/?set=a.10151389497762095.536441.722287094&type=1

Enjoy!!

Edited: 8:06 pm, December 31, 2012
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Queen Kapiolani Hotel
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Hawaii
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Wollongong...
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6. Re: December trip for two Aussies - trip summary

Enjoyed your report. Some great info in there. Very glad you didnt let us Aussies down on the shopping front :-)

No its never too late to start planning again - I started while I was still there but a birthday cruise got in my way then the cruise ship company cancelled that cruise so I started planning for Hawaii again and then my DH decided to look at Disney World for the kids. Now Im trying to swing a stop over on the way back.

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7. Re: December trip for two Aussies - trip summary

Disneyworld with a Hawaii stopover sounds good...happy planning your trip. ;-)

We're aiming to have an annual Hawaii trip. just love the shopping!!! :D

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Dallas
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8. Re: December trip for two Aussies - trip summary

Wow, that makes for a really long trip js4rq.

Maybe do Disneyland in California, and mix in some San Francisco too.

SF is fun for 2 or 3 days and good food too.

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San Francisco
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9. Re: December trip for two Aussies - trip summary

We did a 3 weeks USA holiday in 2011, which consisted of Vegas, Disneyland, LA, Hollywood and Mexico cruise.

We are looking at a relaxing trip this Christmas..but we are looking at returning to Disneyland one day and perhaps check out SF or NY?? ;-) We want to return to Europe though, so not sure when we can fit it all in... lol

Edited: 2:56 pm, January 01, 2013
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Wollongong...
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10. Re: December trip for two Aussies - trip summary

js4rq - you sound like us. Theres so much to see and do out there but Hawaii keeps calling us. I need to win lotto to keep paying for all the trips we want to take. I guess Ill keep putting Hawaii as a stop over when I can squeeze it in for now.

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