Hawaii is a destination that many people dream of visiting, and it certainly has everything that you need to enjoy a relaxing vacation, including the perfect combination of sun, sand and sea. If you are one of those lucky enough to be about to make your dream vacation come true, you might be wondering how to make the most of your time of the islands. One of the big questions you will need to answer is whether you will opt for the all-inclusive services of a luxury resort or hotel, or take advantage of the privacy offered by a rental villa.
The greatest range of accommodation is available on Oahu, home to the capital, Honolulu, and all of its cultural events and conveniences, as well as rainforest trails and one of the most popular Hawaiian beaches, Waikiki. This is one of the best locations to look for all-inclusive accommodation, although you will also find plenty of choices on the Big Island, Hawaii, home to some spectacular hiking routes and the magnificent Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and around Kapalua, Kaanapali and Lahaina on Maui. If you are looking for a quieter vacation, you might want to consider renting a villa on one of the other small islands open to tourism, or even in a secluded spot on the main islands. You will need to consider not just which of the islands you would like to see, but also whether your dream of a vacation in Hawaii will be fulfilled better by a luxury all inclusive resort or a private villa.
Making the Most of Hawaii
Your choice of accommodation will influence the types of activities you can indulge in while you are in Hawaii. While spending time on the beach is one of the main reasons to visit, the location you choose to stay in will determine whether you are on a popular beach with easy access to nearby bars and restaurants, or a secluded stretch of sand steps away from the door of your own villa. Your villa might offer additional facilities, such as access to a swimming pool or boat, but the options are still likely to be more varied if you are at a larger hotel. Resorts might offer the chance to unwind in the spa, attend evening events with local food and music, or join excursions to popular tourist sites around the area. On a villa holiday, you will need to be more independent, which can be an enjoyable challenge if you like to plan your own vacation activities or avoid the crowds. The freedom of a villa stay can inspire you to see more of what Hawaii has to offer, and no matter where you are staying, there is plenty to do on the islands:
- check out the events happening at the Polynesian Cultural Center on Oahu
- feast on some local delicacies at a luau
- look out for humpback whales on a boat tour near Maui, from December to April
- trek though forests immortalized in many famous films on Kauai
- join a tour to see an active volcano on the Big Island
- relax on the stunning beaches, or get into the water for kayaking, parasailing or snorkeling
Staying in a hotel or all-inclusive resort can be more convenient if all you want to do on vacation is relax, without needing to think about any practical concerns. The hotel can take care of everything from airport transfers to dining and entertainment, so you can avoid the hassle of having to find out where the best local restaurants are, or of locating supplies so that you can cater for yourself. You can easily spend every day of your vacation relaxing on the beach next to your hotel, without a care in the world, but you will probably find some enticements to explore more of what Hawaii has to offer, or to plan some of your own adventures getting to know the islands. It is a good idea to bring a guidebook and to make sure you have some US dollars in your wallet if you are coming from overseas, even on an all-inclusive break, just in case you are tempted out of your resort.
Staying in a villa instead will enable you to enjoy the same Hawaiian adventures, but it will also require you to have more independence, which will be ideal if you enjoy making your own plans and searching out the authentic local flavors. You will also benefit from a greater degree of privacy, particularly if you are willing to travel further than the main tourist destinations. Having your own home away from home can be particularly pleasant if you are coming to Hawaii for a romantic getaway or honeymoon, or even if you are traveling with your family and you want to make sure there is plenty of space for the kids to run around and work off some energy. You will need to consider whether you are willing to cook for yourself or to find somewhere to eat out locally, but if your dream vacation is of lying on your own private beach, a villa holiday may be the best choice for you.
“Melissa Durbin is a freelance writer and mother of two. She took up the digital pen after deciding that she wanted to balance work and family life more than her previous job allowed. When not researching or writing, she enjoys keeping fit; of course two tireless Labradors help.”