It is amazing how fast three weeks have flown, yet I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve been in here.
Today was the first day back to work for the new hubby and for me. I admit I have a touch of the post wedding blues. *JustLikeThat* the wedding, our time in Maui and most importantly, our time with the girls has come to an end.
Saying “see you again soon” to them at the airport when we dropped them off was hard. I mentally prepared as much as I could. I asked my friends for be strongvibes and I even practiced what I’d say. I still cried, but I don’t think they knew.
After the wedding and our fun times at Disneyland, we spent some time at home unwinding then walked to beautiful Balboa Park and stopped to smell the roses. The blooms were beautiful and colorful. The girls loved the rose garden.
Before all of us knew it, my wonderful friend Hannah arrived to take us to the airport. Off we were to Maui!
I have received a few requests to write about budget. We have been doing a lot of flying and traveling with a teenager and a 7-year old doesn’t come cheap. So how did we fly to another state, pick up the girls, fly home to San Diego, get married, go to Disneyland, then to Maui, back to San Diego then to another state to drop them off AND then back to San Diego? Phew! Miles, discount programs, planning, shopping around and never underestimating the power of asking for a military discount!
When we planned to go to Maui, I immediately booked a condo rather than a hotel using a code for a military discount. This was a back-up as I was sure I could find a better deal, and I did.
I will include a list of vendors at the bottom of this blog entry.
Here is a breakdown:
Disneyland tickets – no way around it if you’re only going for one day. They’re expensive and it sucks they have decided to raise prices. We got the tickets on base and they were a few dollars cheaper. If you are going for more than one day it is a big cost savings if you purchase the two and three day Park-Hopper Passes.
Luggage – do not forget that active duty military does not pay for luggage! MOST airlines allow FIVE bags up to 65 pounds (not the usual 50). I also have Elite status with the airlines, so that helps with bags, too. However, we didn’t need it since hubby’s military status covered us all. That is a savings of hundreds of dollars! Check the airline policy before you fly and don’t forget to tell them because the gate agents will not ask you! Must show military ID and you have to be active duty. I don’t think they’ll do it for dependents traveling alone (though no harm in trying).
Tickets to pick up the girls and fly back from dropping them off: Airline miles. Total cost $20 ($10 each ticket for airport security fees – a mandatory charge)
Tickets for all four of us from where the girls live (not near a large hub) to San Diego and back to where they live – I shopped A LOT and tickets were averaging $800 a person. That is over $3,200 when you add in taxes and fees! I use Priceline.com quite a bit. I put in our dates and when I put in a bid for half, Priceline came back with an offer of $675- a savings, but still not great. Priceline.com has a feature that suggests better prices if you can leave on alternate dates and by leaving one day early, the ticket priced dropped to below $400 a person. After taxes and fees, we cut over $1,000 off the price of the tickets.
To get to Maui from San Diego and back I used airline miles and Expedia.com. We saved over 50% in costs doing this and ended up in a great 2 bedroom (large bedrooms!), 2 bathroom condo with an ocean view with free parking and everything we could ever need – fully stocked kitchen with dishwasher, washer/dryer, etc. They even put a small twin bed in the bedroom so the girls could sleep in separate beds. The condo was located where Kihei and Wailea touch. We also got a mid-sized SUV which ended up being only $53 in cost to us.
The condo gave us a coupon book which included 10% off of groceries at the local supermarket – as long as you spend $50 or more.
We grocery shopped and spent $95. We ate breakfast in the condo each day (check out the palm tree in sand we made from bananas, green apples and oranges below!), usually had lunch out, dinner at home with the exception of the luau and a late lunch that stuffed us so much we were all too full to eat that evening! And of course, we had to have shaved ice while on the island!
You do not have to spend a ton to stay entertained in Maui. We did the Road to Hana (though I would recommend having entertainment in the car for kids if you go this route- the girls got a bit bored a times during the drive – and many adults have been known to get bored, too), hung out on the Black Sand Beach, bought coconuts (and drank from them), dragon fruit and pineapple bread from the side of the road, hiked in Iao Valley, got free seashell necklaces from Hilo Hattie’s, did more snorkeling, played on the beach, shopped and before we knew it, it was time to head back to the mainland! Had it been whale season, we definitely would have gone whale watching with the Pacific Whale Foundation. I recommend this if you’re in the area during that time. There is also a parasailing group that offers military discounts, but they did not return my attempts at emails and phone calls (not sure I’d recommend them given their failure to get back to a potential customer).
Here are some photos from our time in Maui. Due to their ages, I will not show the girls’ faces on the blog. I also respectfully request that readers do not copy, reproduce or alter these photos in any way. If you’d like to share these photos, please link back to this page. Thank you. 🙂
I was tickled that the condo left a card and a treat for the girls.My 7 year old bonus daughter exclaimed, “They DID KNOW I was coming!”
We ate everything from this basket and it was delicious! Again, another welcome from the condo. What a wonderful touch!
Her palm tree creation. Banana tree trunk, oranges as sand and green apples as the palm tree leaves
We stopped here for pineapple bread – this was very near the end of the Road to Hana
My new hubby with his gorgeous girls at Black Sand Beach off the Road to Hana – the tide was high, so there wasn’t a lot of beach, but they still had fun running into the waves
One of many beautiful views on the Road to Hana
Waterfalls along the Road to Hana
It was her first time snorkeling. She rocked it!
Daddy and his girls
Time to get the imu!
Somewhere under the rainbow…we got some great shots under the rainbows at the luau. My dress kept blowing in the wind and I look 9 months pregnant in all the pictures in this dress!
Both girls got two pearls in their oysters! Knock three times, shout ALOHA! and open.
A view of Iao Valley – always a favorite, and a great hike with kids since it’s not too challenging
Here I am setting a great example!
A wonderful time snorkeling with all these guys!
A lot of sea cucumbers!
A view of Lanai from our condo balcony
Now you know we had to get our pins and poker chip!
A visitor in the tide pools at ‘Secret Beach’
My husband can slice a pineapple!
The girls didn’t like the coconut water, so we ended up drinking these. Proud of them for trying it!
After doing some shopping, we spotted these characters doing Gangnam Style and The Harlem Shake among many other dance styles LOL!
We had a blast! When a thirteen year old snorkels for the first time and tells you it is the coolest thing she has done in her life, that’s a BIG DEAL! I have such wonderful memories of our times in Maui.
Alas, time does not stand still. It is time to get back to the work I love, for my husband to return to base and for us to enjoy our newlywed-dom. I miss the girls and can’t wait until the next time we see them. In the meantime, I will look forward to our many adventures – big and small – to come!
Until next time, ALOHA!
Maui Vendors List:
Aston Maui Hill – I highly recommend this condo complex. Now, I am a hotel snob. I have always stayed at the Four Seasons on Maui, and while Aston Maui Hill is not the Four Seasons, this was a great place. It was extremely clean, quiet and the staff was friendly. The coupon book they provided was also great. The kitchen is fully stocked – pots, pans, dishes, vegetable peelers, potato mashers, you name it! Washer and dryer is a 1/2 load, but bring your own washer tabs from home and go home with clean laundry! Get an ocean view room and enjoy dining out on your balcony! They also have free meals for children.
Boss Frog’s – snorkeling equipment. They gave us a deal and they have coupons all over the place (just look in the touristy magazines available near food stores or at the airport). We rented equipment for $5 each person, per day. They also provide a great map with just about every snorkeling spot on the entire island and they will provide recommendations based upon experience levels and what you want to see. We went to the one in Dolphin Plaza which was very close to the condo.
Foodland – Also very close to the condo. This grocery store will have everything you need. Do not get sticker shock. Groceries are much more expensive in Hawaii than the mainland.
Café @ La Plage – when hubby wanted a coffee fix, this was his go to place. Also in Dolphin Plaza, next to Boss Frog’s.
Hawaii Gift and Craft – surprise, also in Dolphin Plaza! We came in here actually looking for socks and low and behold what an awesome place for souvenirs! They have something for all price points and it’s cute and good quality.
Royal Lahaina Luau – I will be honest. I hate to write this, because the staff is very nice, but this was not my favorite luau. This is my fifth luau and it places fifth. It took a very long time to get in line for food, and the pre-entertainment was lackluster. The girls were bored and I kept thinking it would get better, but it didn’t. They also charge for leis and give out the seashell necklaces instead. I would recommend The Old Lahaina Luau, hands down, over any others.
Fred’s Mexican Cafe’ – we had a good late lunch here on our last full day in Maui. We were so full we couldn’t even eat dinner! Casual and reasonable prices for Maui.
Hilo Hattie – you can have them open up the oysters for you here, but buyer beware – the company that does this is independent from Hilo Hattie and your purchases in the jewelry area do not apply to any coupons you might have (i.e. spend $20 at Hilo Hattie and get a free mug). Souvenirs are pricier, but they do have a good selection. You also get a free seashell necklace when you enter.
Harley Davidson – almost all Harleys provide a military discount, this one does, too. If you ride, don’t forget to get your pins, patches and poker chips! If you are looking for this place online, try entering “Cycle City Maui” – they sell other brands, too.
Don’t forget to ask for military discounts wherever you go! There were places that would do 10% just for asking!
This post has been added to the #SundayTraveler Link-up! For more fun travel adventures check out Frank About Croatia by clicking here.