Hawai’i seems to have a reputation for two things: It’s incredibly beautiful and expensive. While it’s still on the top of most avid traveler’s lists, and for good reason, there are a few ways to enjoy an affordable day in paradise with the family.
A few savvy tips and tricks to avoid falling for the tourist traps and overspending during your trip can help your family enjoy all the free activities Honolulu, Oahu, has to offer. Stretch your dollars a bit further, filling up with affordable family fun, free destinations wherever possible and some local eats.
Luckily, Hawai’i is a treasure trove for incredible natural beauty. Honolulu, specifically, boasts some of the most sought-after sites, including Diamond Head volcano, Hanauma Bay, Koko Head along Maunalua Bay, Nu‘uanu Pali and Manoa Falls hiking trails and waterfalls — just to name a few. While active families head to the islands partially to head out on hikes, scenic overlooks and take in the view after a challenging trek, there are easy trails and scenic walks for the less athletically inclined members on the trip. Either way, the view is breathtaking.
Each state park and hiking trail ranges $5–7.50 per guest and carload, adding an additional $1–3 for parking. These self-guided hikes offer an affordable workout and destination immersion you can’t get just anywhere.
Speak with your hotel or resort about tour options or rent a Jeep before your arrival and make your own way, enjoying the rugged beauty. Head off-roading on thrilling trails or stick to the incredible vistas of the coastline.
For those renting a 4×4 vehicle and taking in the scenery from the road, make a point to head to North Oahu and visit the world-famous Dole Plantation. Take a guided tour of the gardens and fresh pineapples before getting lost with the kids in the Pineapple Garden Maze. Kids and adults ride the vintage Pineapple Express Train, touring the plantation for $9–11, while kids 4 years old and younger ride free with an adult. Don’t leave before trying the frozen pineapple Dole Whip, $5.75.
Get back out sightseeing and enjoying the local culture by walking along the streets in town, window shopping and taking in the vibrant, but surfer-style décor, or opt for some history at the Pearl Harbor Historic sites; some entrance fees are as low as $1.50 if you book online.
While large areas of Colorado are experiencing exponential growth with far too many trees being clear-cut (it’s one of the fastest-growing states in the country), it’s still the home for great businesses striving to make the world a little greener. Those businesses include Sherpani, creators of women’s day bags, backpacks and travel bags, including a line of sophisticated, beautifully crafted items made from recycled plastic.
By Hainan Airlines
It’s been almost three years since Category 5 Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico, wreaking havoc on the island and leaving most residents without electricity and clean water. Tourism, which accounts for 6.5 percent of Puerto Rico’s gross domestic product, took a beating, with hotels closed for year-long repairs, airlines cutting service and cruise lines shifting itineraries to other Caribbean destinations. Timing for the hurricane couldn’t have been worse, coming on the heels of the government’s announcement in May 2017 that it was unable to pay more than $70 billion in public debt and thus forced to file for bankruptcy. Large protests and a change of government would follow. Then, in January 2020, a 6.4-magnitude earthquake rocked the south side of the island, forcing San Juan restaurants to close while power was restored. And as we write this story, coronavirus runs rampant across the globe with severe economic implications for all destinations, including Puerto Rico.
With technology advancing faster than ever, children globally are becoming attached to devices. Adults too. Our Netflix queue and ever-expanding inbox call our names even when we’re on vacation. We carry distractions with us everywhere, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to truly connect with your loved ones.
My youngest daughter and I arrived from Barcelona on the high-speed AVE train (in less than three hours) and entered Westin Palace Madrid in time for the Sunday Opera Brunch — which takes place under the stained-glass cupola of La Rotonda, where daily breakfast and cocktails are served. I’d heard about this event on several occasions when I toured the hotel in 2015, and when my granddaughter and I stayed there in 2017.