You island vacation awaits
We've got a whole bunch of Hawaii addicts in our office who have perfected the art of traveling to the islands-and living large-for less. They share their tips and secrets here, in hopes that their insight helps you get to indulge in poi and hula this summer.
Each Wednesday new fares are released, with rates fluctuating wildly. Keep an eye on fares from the airlines you know fly to the islands from your city of origin and buy tickets the second you see them at a reasonable rate. Case in point: One of our editors in California watched fares hover around $800 per ticket for round-trip travel from San Francisco to Maui for weeks. Then, the same tickets went on sale for $400. Look for new fares to be released on Wednesday of each week.
Be Flexible in Your Departure City or Route
Some airports in surrounding areas may have lower fares. Others offer lower rates for routes that have one stop along the way.
Travel at the Season's Shoulder
The eye of the summer travel storm is from mid-June to mid-August, which leaves late August with lots of great travel deals, including better airfare, hotel rates, and car rental prices.
Leverage Airfare Sites
Use websites like AirFareWatchDog.com and Kayak.com to research the cheapest flights.
Try to Use Travel Awards
Though summer is a busy travel time for the islands, there are still plenty of seats dedicated to award travel. Additionally, travelers using miles often change their arrival and departure dates, which opens up new seats every day.
Search for Lower Fares on Airline Websites
Airline websites are making it easier than ever to fare shop. Just visit the airline website of choice and use their calendar to find the cheapest fares, provided you're flexible on arrival and departure dates.
Buy Hotel Rooms from Discount Sites
If you've got the stomach for the nerves that come with facing the unknown, buying hotel rooms at the last minute can really pay off, especially if you do it through Priceline or Hotwire. We've scooped up $400 hotel rooms for $125 in the past-all by naming our own price on Priceline a few days before travel. And there's no need to worry that you won't get any room while you risk it, either; You can reserve your preferred hotel room at the going rate, find out when they command cancellation fee, and buy a discounted room just before they impose it. Just don't forget to cancel your original reservation!
Use Discount Car Rentals
Forget going directly to the major car rental companies. Our editors regularly Google "discount car rental Maui" and find local rental brokers who offer amazing prices for the same cars-from all the brand name companies. For her, a recent eight-day rental cost only $216! There are also independent car-rental companies, but many of them rent beater cars, which is fine if you're seriously cost-concerned and don't mind looking completely local!
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