Denise Goldberg's blog

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A puzzle solved

A puzzle waiting to be solved, a week's worth of holidays needing to be used, and soon...

It's winter here in the northeast. Escaping to escape to a bit of warmth and a lot of beauty seemed like a good thing to do with my prized time off. Hmmm... where should I go?

I know, I know, you already know I'm headed to Hawaii, but I thought you might be interested in my scattered thought process in getting to that decision.
I started by looking to the southwest, looking for a place to walk in comfort. What do I consider comfort at this time of year? No snow underfoot, temperatures that support walking without layers and layers for warmth. I looked at few southwestern national parks that have been on my "must visit" list for a while, including Joshua Tree NP in California, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona, White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. Funny, nothing from that list jumped out at me for a week-long visit right now.

Out of curiosity, I looked at airfares to Hawaii. Yikes! expensive... Then I jumped to the American Airlines site on the off chance that there were tickets available for miles. I never thought that would be a possibility. I've always assumed that (travel) using miles to get to places like Hawaii would need to be booked far in advance. Oh, how lucky. This time I was very wrong; not only were there seats available, depending on the day I chose to travel, those seats were available at the lowest possible award level.

That's it, the solution the my puzzle. Hawaii...

The last time I flew to Hawaii I managed a two-airplane jaunt in each direction. That's not possible with today's flight schedules on American Airlines. Given that I'm using mileage instead of money, yes, my flying can only be on American's airplanes. I've added a couple of hours to my outbound flight by choosing my first connection point to be Dallas instead of Chicago. It is winter after all. Even though I'm starting from an airport in the north, I'd prefer to avoid any additional northern possibly snow-plagued cities as I head for tropical warmth. My flight(s) out go from Boston to Dallas to Los Angeles to Kona. Coming home will be a two airplane trip, Kona to Los Angeles to Boston.

My next task, ground transportation. This will be a photography and hiking trip, so I need a car. When I first looked weekly rental rates were what I would consider to be outrageous - in the $425 to $450 price range before taxes. Luckily, I was able to get a rate less than half of that using a corporate rate. Funny thing, I just checked the prices again today, and they are all back to reasonable weekly rates. I switched my reservation to Hertz at a slightly lower rate than the reservation I initially made a week ago. Very odd. But hey - I'm not complaining.

Next, places to stay... I'll be splitting my nights between two B&Bs.

The first two nights I'll be at the Aloha Guest House in Captain Cook. That's just south of Kailua-Kona on the western side of the island. be starting along the western side of the Big Island with a two-night stay in Captain Cook.

Next stop, Volcano. I'll be spending four nights at Bamboo Orchid Cottage in the town of Volcano. That's just outside of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the source of my repeating visits to the Big Island.

Once I made the decision to go to Hawaii, the details of how to get there and where to stay fell together in minutes. I'm ready!