Booked multi-city trip using United miles for 5 of us (+1 infant on lap). CLE-LAX Friday, then LAX-OGG Sunday, OGG-CLE with stopover in DEN the following Sunday. Somehow I was only charged 22.5K miles for each ticket round-trip! I couldn't believe it at first but just let it be and left a reserve of miles in the account in case they were to charge me the whole 45K. UA never did despite a couple free schedule changes due to timetable variations over the months. If someone can explain this to me I’m all ears. It was a pleasant surprise because now I have enough miles to get all 6 of us somewhere domestic for our next trip.
1. CLE-LAX on Friday morning and stayed with relatives in Oxnard. Very relaxing Shabbat by the beach. Budgeted a little time to hang out at the new UA lounge in LAX. Kids loved the outdoor terrace and could have watched the planes coming and going for hours. Rented a cheap minivan from Advantage Car. Saved a ton using Advantage but it wasn’t pretty and took forever.
2. LAX-OGG Sunday afternoon and landed around 6PM in OGG. We stayed in a VRBO condo in Kihei for around $170 per night and it fit all 6 of us nicely. Kashered a few things in the kitchen and went to Target and Costco to stock up on food. The Safeway in the area unfortunately had no Kosher meat so we went without for the week. Costco had kosher cheese.
3. Monday we didn’t do anything except relax on the beach and let the kids play. We also went in the pool.
4. Tuesday also relatively laid back. Drove (with our rented minivan from Advantage) to Lahaina and did the reef dancer tour for an hour with the kids ($122 for all of us). Since we weren’t scuba diving or doing much snorkeling I thought we needed to at least see the reef somehow. It was really great. There was also a playground there with a huge Banyan tree. That entertained everyone for a couple more hours.
5. Wednesday we did the drive to the summit of Haleakala and stopped several times on the way. There was a great lavender farm (called Alii Kula, thanks Maui Revealed) with a scavenger hunt for the kids. It was beautiful. We stopped on the way up to play in the clouds. Literally. Kids loved that. We didn’t do the sunrise but the view during the day was still amazing.
6. Thursday was the road to Hana. My kids (9, 6, 4, 1.5) are awesome travelers and loved this. We didn’t do many of the amazing hikes I read about but we did stop every 30 min or so to look at waterfalls or stop at random coconut vendors. We also drove down to the little neighborhood of Nahiku. Our big stop was the black sand beach and surrounding lava tubes. Super fun! Almost got washed out by the tide. Towards the end of the day the kids were exhausted and fell asleep while I drove the back way around the whole road to hana. You need to be very confident in your ability to drive and negotiate with other cars to do this!
7. Friday. Just relaxed. Hung out by the beach and went swimming.
8. Saturday. Same as Friday.
9. Sunday. OGG-DEN-CLE. Had almost a 4 hour layover in DEN but thanks to the United Club card we had a nice time hanging out in the UA lounge. The kids slept on the floor. No family room there unfortunately.
Bottom line, it was an amazing trip! Totally doable with kids if you set your expectations right. I have cheap Android tablets that they only get to use for 4+ hour traveling so that zombied them out most of the flying.
Thank you all for the tips and tricks and especially Dan who got me into this game 10 years ago. Our annual winter vacations would not have been possible without all of you. Being Orthodox and sending your kids to private school can really drain the budget. But I always say that no one can take my miles!
Till next time.