Hawaii is not just a collection of islands -- from the Big Island to Maui to Kauai to Oahu, with great surfing -- but it is our 50th state with a unique place in our history. Waterfalls, volcanoes, tropical rainforests, lakes, and black sand beaches all give visitors the opportunity for a diverse array of activities.
Apple Vacations (www.applevacations.com) offers an array of trips to warm places including Hawaii, but you can search specials by choosing your month and airport departures. Right now they're offering the Sheraton Waikiki from $1,099 per person, from Chicago O'Hare to Honolulu, for five nights with midweek July and August departures. Part of this special includes a $75 dining credit per room, per stay, and for families, children eat free, on specific dates. Apple's site advises that the book-it function online does not work and you should contact your travel agent to book -- it even gives you a link to find one right there, in case you don't have your own travel agent. The trip is also available for the same select dates from Boston, priced from $1,169 per person, airfare inclusive. While this price hardly qualifies as a steal, it's worth noting that the Sheraton's five golden apples rating indicates an "exceptional" rating from Apple.
If you're flying from the west coast of course you're bound to get better deals. Seattle, for example, has a handful of options available from mid-range Ohana East from $799 per person for midweek departures and a five-night stay in August. Or the King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Resort on the Big Island, priced from $989 per person, including airfare, for five nights. Both of these deals are also available for mid-week July departures for the same price.
Apple also has a handful of last minute deals valid for travel from Newark Airport to Maui, to the outrigger Nalu Resort for five nights, a free night, rental car with unlimited mileage. It's priced from $969 per person for select mid-week departures in July.
Additionally, if you click on "Best Buys" on the home page you're brought to a page that includes packages at places that have earned golden apple ratings and which are more expensive than the deals mentioned here, these properties are slightly more indulgent.
Hawaiian Airlines (tel. 800/367-5320; www.hawaiianair.com) is offering a few special fares but vacation packages too. For fares, San Diego to Hawaii is priced from $384 nonstop, round-trip. Book until July 2 and travel now through October 31. You can fly to either Maui or Honolulu. Additionally, Phoenix to any island in Hawaii is being offered starting at $399, but you must act fast because the booking deadline is June 30 for travel now through September 30. Through the airlines you can also book inter-island travel, and look into a handful of promotions dealing with frequent flier miles, car rentals and more.
Hotels anywhere in high season, but especially Hawaii, can get pricey. Hotels.com (tel. 800/573-7251; www.hotels.com) is running a promotion that's valid for travel through September 5 at select locations in the islands, with a booking deadline of July 18. Many of the properties involved are resorts that include a golf course, so they're not exactly budget-oriented, but the Outrigger Fairway Villa, usually priced from $280, is on special for $160. Another property, Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort and Spa is priced from $199. Located on Keauhou Bay right on the Big Island, with two golf courses, shopping and swimming opportunities. Rooms come with, as you might expect, Kona coffee.
Pleasant Holidays (tel. 800/742-9244; www.pleasantholidays.com) is offeringa scattering of vacation specials to various destinations in Hawaii. Six days in Waikiki are priced from $525 per person, good for select Wednesday and Thursday departures until August 16. The price reflects airfare from Los Angeles and five nights at the Ohana Maile Sky Court, located in town but close to Waikiki Beach. For a stay closer to the beach, the ResortQuest Waikiki Beachside is priced from $644 for six days/five nights, based on travel from Los Angeles. Complimentary continental breakfast, a 2-for-1 luau certificate, a coupon booklet and other incentives are thrown into the deal. The deal is valid for travel on select Thursdays through August 10. The prices quoted do not include taxes.
Finally, if you want a different kind of stay, check out Hawaii's Best Bed & Breakfasts (tel. 800/262-9912 or 808/263-3100; www.bestbnb.com). This reservation service starts from $20 and the owners personally select traditional homestays, cottages, and inns based on each one's hospitality, distinctive charm, and attention to detail. They also book vacation rentals, hotels, and resorts.
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