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Re: Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park Once your driving, consider Glacier National Park in Montana as well.
July 27, 2010, 04:41:11 PM
5 day Kauai/Maui Trip Report with 4 month old and maneuvering tznius issues I know many trip reports here are about how someone flew some premium class flight for the minimum amount of points or some glitch where they basically got paid for going, but I wanted to share my experience as it might interest those who have very tight times of when they can travel, canít find availability or want to know how crazy it is to go with a baby. I also wanted to share my perspective as someone who wonít go to a beach, pool, poolside or snorkeling during normal times when other people are around.

I just went on a 5 day trip with my wife and 5 month old to Kauai/Maui. This was our second trip to Kauai with a baby. Our first trip was during a major storm with the only part of the island seemingly dry was the Grand Hyatt and Polihole Beach. Even Waimeu Canyon was under clouds for 4 days. Even with all that rain, that first trip was awesome and just hanging around the GHK was amazing. But with all that we heard about the island we decided to adventure out 3 years later and try it again.

Flights: We flew Hawaiin Air JFK-HNL-LIH, LIH-OGG, OGG-HNL-JFK. Biz seats were not available with points, so we took economy (20K each way) and paid $100 each for Extra Comfort seats. No, it was nothing compared to when we flew United or AA from JFK to LAX last time in biz, but the travel time was short, the customer service was great, and the Extra Comfort Seats gave us loads of legroom and allowed us to put baby to sleep on floor with room to spare. Itís together with first class section so more quiet as well.

Lounges: We checked out the IASS lounge in HNL with Priority Pass. No bathroom, No AC, but free drinks and wi-fi so okay if you come in with low expectations.

Hotels: We stayed 2 nights in the Grand Hyatt Kauai (44K Chase points) and 2 nights in the Andaz in Maui (2 free nights for opening Chase Hyatt card). They upgraded us in GHK to room with beautiful views of pools and ocean. No upgrade in Andaz so we had ďGardenĒ view.

Food: For breakfast Ė My wife made these healthy muffins and we brought several Nugo Bars to start the day. We kept the muffins frozen in the cooler until the day we needed. For lunch Ė We brought both cold cuts in individual vacuum sealed packages as well as prepared tuna fish in Ĺ pound containers and alternated having that with crackers, Matza, or wraps. For Dinner - We brought a 4 quart slow cooker along with those Meal Mart meals they sell in Costco which we froze and kept in Polar Cooler which keeps frozen for 24 hours. In the morning we would pop 2 meals of brisket or stuffed cabbage or whatever and keep it on low and when we would come back to room at night we had hot food waiting. I bought the one that had clamps and I put in a oven cooking bag which I knotted inside to not only simplify clean up, but to make a second seal. On the days when we couldnít do the crock pot because of flights, my wife had made dark breaded schnitzel and froze it in cooler. We took out 4-5 hours before we needed and worked out great.  And of course, lots of snacks  :) .

Baby: This is BEĒH #8 for us and all kids are different, but in our experience before 12 months itís worth the gamble and 13-24 months itís not. At least not for an escapade with just my wife and I. When we travel with the family itís anyways a circus so doesnít make a difference then. We brought one of these Ergo Baby carriers like 10 years ago: Iím sure we could have done cheaper but we have put many miles on it and worked well for us but nothing to compare it to since itís really the only one we ever had.

Weather: When you come for 1-2 weeks you can afford rainy days, but when you do a short marathon, the rainy days can ruin your trip. Well BĒH unlike our first trip, the weather was perfect every day.

ē   Day 1 Ė Arrived in LIH in the early evening. By the time we got to the hotel, we decided to try to go to sleep by 9PM and get early start on next day.
ē   Day 2 Ė Woke up like 7AM, took a walk around pool area, grounds of GHK before if got busy. Left to Waimeu Canyon at around 8 AM. Did the lookouts recommended in Kauai revealed book. Hiked Awa'awapuhi Trail (6.5 miled RT) and had lunch overlooking the valley. Shortly after did the Canyon Trail (3.6 miles RT) which book recommends as well. Nu'alolo Cliffs Trail was closed with pretty mean signs on it, so with a 4 month old in tow and 7 kids at home, I didnít think risking my life was worth it. Changing diapers and nursing every few hours definitely takes more time, but baby was able to fall asleep with me holding him in carrier. We could barely walk the next day after doing over 10 miles, but the views were unforgettable. We were going to do sunset in Polihole beach but since we spent time there on our last trip and we were tired (and hungry), we headed back to catch sunset by GHK. Sleeping by 9 PM
ē   Day 3 Ė We were going to get up early and go up North to Hanalei, and Keíe Beach (our last trip we visited St Regis in Priceville) but we were so sore and my wife was having such a great time at GHK that we spent the morning chilling out there. We had 2 PM helicopter ride with Blue Hawaiin which was awesome. When we finished we went straight to airport where we caught 4:30 flight LIH-OGG flight. Arrived at Andaz, checked in, unpacked and went to sleep by 9 PM.
ē   Day 4 Ė We were woken up at 5:45 AM by a fire alarm sounding in our room with announcement that they were evacuating hotel. For most people it would have been a nightmare but it got me free parking at checkout and more importantly it allowed us to start our Road to Hana trip at 7:15 AM. No it wasnít me who pulled it and it was cancelled 10 minutes later so we didnít even have to leave the floor. Road to Hana was amazing. The Revealed book gave me places to stop where everyone else seemed to keep driving. Yes, we drove all the way around and it was a beautiful day. We didnít get back to hotel until 7 PM. We had dinner waiting, explored the hotel a bit, packed and again went to bed by 9 PM.
ē   Day 5 Ė I had told my wife we had to leave hotel by 10:15 AM. We were up early and had a nice time walking the grounds, watching the Ocean, getting some morning sun. We checked out and I surprised my wife with a massage at this place which had great ratings and was 3 minutes from hotel : It was less than half the price of hotel and my wife said actual massage was on par to what she had in GHK last time around. Then off to catch a 2 PM flight OGG-HNL-JFK.

Tznius Issues: From the sounds of it, Iím one of the few people who have gone to Hawaii and wonít go snorkeling period, hang out in the beach or in the ocean or go swimming in pools during normal hours. Honestly I would have loved to go snorkeling, but couldnít figure out how to do any of the above for religious reasons. So my choices were either not to go, or do what I can do and make best of it. Iím not trying to encourage those who feel itís inappropriate to go. My intention is help those who have the travel bug and feel they will have to compromise since they think it's not possible to do the Kosher way. Iíll share my experience and hopefully it will be helpful for others who share or have similar views to mine.
ē   Kauai
1.   Hotel - Our experience at GHK was that if you hit the grounds early (out before 9:30-10 AM) or come back 30 minutes before sunset, then you can enjoy the beauty of the property. That doesnít mean you wonít see some people inappropriately dressed and youíll need to look away, but itís in no way worse than Miami where everyone is flocking to. If anything, itís much better. Thereís many nooks and crannies which gives you many places to explore and less probability of running into trouble. We probably could have gone swimming early morning or at night if my wife would have brought appropriate clothing but we didnít.
2.   Activities Ė Lots of safe stuff to do. Waimeu Canyon for sure all day activity. Polihole you can find empty beach and beautiful sunset. Helicopter ride. Drive up North to Hanilei, waterfalls and more. Check out St Regis. Beautiful hike right next to GHK along coast and golf course on other side.
3.   My Bottom line Ė With some brains and preparation, Kauai can definitely be done without compromising your standards and itís so beautiful. Anyways they know youíre Jewish, so no reason feeling uncomfortable sticking out and wearing Jewish clothing.
ē   Maui
1.   Hotel Ė The Andaz at least when I was there was a whole different story. The staff wears real low cut uniforms and the guests were young, cool and trying to play and dress the part. Even at night we had trouble navigating the grounds without pumping into Speedos or the like. The early morning was much better at pool area, but beach even at 8:30 AM had lots of joggers dressing in bathing suit or low exercise tops. I had a guest ask me at the hotel if there was a religious convention going on there because he had seen so many religious Jews. Not sure if best place for religious convention.
2.   Activities Ė We only we did Road to Hana. At 1 waterfall there were some ladies in bathing suits so we took detour. At Red Sand and Black Sand beach we had to turn around since there were too many bathing suits. Even 7 Sacred Pools which is one of the biggest attractions on RTH we had to leave since we were there at 3 PM and place was packed with bathing suits. But most of it was not an issue and many places to chill by the coast and watch the water or waterfalls and have them all to yourself.
3.   I would have loved to do Sunrise on Crater, but feared altitude change with baby. Could be thereís many other safe activities but just sharing what I did.
4.   My Bottom Line Ė The hotel was beautiful and RTH was awesome, but having done that already, I probably wouldnít return to Maui. It could be the other Hyatt attracts a whole different crowd which would have been better and I should have known better what would be at beach sites and should have just avoided those sites. Unlike in Kauai, I felt I was having to look away more times than not. Maybe it was just my experience or mazel when I was there, but again just sharing.

I hope to hit The Big Island one day.

I hope none of this offended anyone and I apologize if it did as it wasn't my intention at all. Iím just sharing my experiences as someone who loves nature and Gods creations but doesnít want to compromise my standards in doing so. If anyone is still reading this, Iím also full of gratitude to Dan and these forums for the great info in so many areas and hope that at some level Iím giving something back. Please PM me if I can help anyone.

January 20, 2015, 03:18:27 PM
Re: 5 day Kauai/Maui Trip Report with 4 month old and maneuvering tznius issues

If you think about it, what you basically did was take nice drives, see beautiful scenery, and go some great hikes. Most people looking to do that would go somewhere like Colorado or the Southwest. I would think that to schlep to Hawaii for that would be a waste, but if you were happy with that descision, who am I to judge 8)?

We did Colorado, Grand Canyon, Hiked down Supai, Canadian Rockies, Zion, Bryce, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Glacier, Tetons. But I do agree if it's someones 1 time shot who loves nature then he could easily be satisfied with any of the above.

For me, sitting on a plane with no cell phone reception and being able to have a conversation uninterrupted with my wife is also part of the getaway (remember that I have 8 and the house gets quiet at 11:30 PM when I'm practically sleeping) . Anyways we need to fly 5-6 ours to west coast, so 5 more hours to see something spectacular was worth it for us.

January 21, 2015, 10:43:55 AM