Ahhh…the soothing sounds of IZ singing White Sandy Beach of Hawai’i on my iPod lull me back to the Hawaiian islands. As you may have heard, Hawaii is being especially hit hard by the slow down in the economy and consumer travel. For those still willing to travel, there is no better time to escape to paradise then now.

We are doing our part to support Hawaiian tourism this month and so can your family. Hotels are offering terrific deals and airfares are down from last year. Laura Bly with USA Today has some great trips that families can use for travel to Hawaii in her article, “Say ‘aloha’ to Hawaii hotel, airfare deals with these tips”

Here are some highlights from Laura’s article that you can use in planning your Hawaiian family vacation:

  • Consider a package, but price components separately to ensure it’s a genuine bargain. Note: you can employ many strategies to compare packages and price components separately. You can use a travel search engine like Live Search Farecast or Kayak.com. You can also compare prices on the major online travel agency sites such as Expedia, Orbitz or Travelocity and then search directly at hotel and airline websites such as Hawaiian Airlines. Hawaiian Airlines is currently advertising an inter-island fare special of $48 each way. BeatofHawaii.com is also a great resource cited in this article for local deals.
  • (Explore) Condo and home vacation rentals for extra space and privacy, complete kitchens and such free amenities as high-speed Internet.Note: Hip travel mamas know that accommodations with extra space are critical with young kids. Having a kitchen can save you money on meals, and extra sleeping areas will help you avoid sneaking around in a dark hotel room and being confined to the terrace after early bedtimes.
  • Look for last-minute airfare specials. As of the date of this article, Live Search Farecast, cites current fares to Honolulu are running 3% below last year; they’re up 20% to Maui. But, adds Farecast.com’s Mike Fridgen, “we’re seeing great deals within 14 days” of departure, such as $334 round-trip from Los Angeles to Honolulu and $408 from Phoenix to Maui.”Note: Live Search Farecast has some great flexible planning tools to help you know when to go and get the best airfare. Airfares generally start trending upward closer to spring break. I just did a search using Live Search Farecast’s flexible graph tool for last minute travel in March to the major islands and as you can see in the included screen capture, there are a few spots where prices dip to around $380 per ticket from SEA if you are willing to travel mid-week.
  • Sharpen your negotiating skills. “Hotel offers abound, from third night free (now the “new norm,” says John Lindelow of Travel-Hawaii.com) to generous spa and restaurant credits. Check online, then call the hotel directly to see if they can do better. Hoping for an upgrade? A plethora of empty rooms (particularly on Kauai and the Big Island) means asking nicely when you check in can pay off.”

Check out the full article here for more great tips on Hawaii travel and you can dip those toes into white sand and have the sound of the ocean soothe your restless soul… Aloha!

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