travel

Travel Arrangements: Vacation Planning Part 3

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This is the last installment of vacation planning, travel arrangements. Here are the links to Part 1 and Part 2. This is a repost from late summer 2017, before our trip to Maui. We had a wonderful time! I’m in the early planning stages for a late spring vacation trip. I’ll keep you posted on where we decide on our travel destination.

Going to Maui This Fall

We’re going to Maui next month and we had a hiccup in our accommodations this week.

For the longest time, we’re wanted to stay at Honua Kai, but each time I looked, their rates were really high. This year when I looked, their rates seemed much more reasonable. So we booked a 10-night stay with my sister and her husband.

perfect vacation
Honua Kai

On Monday, we got an email from our vacation rental agency telling us that starting the week before our visit, three of their four pools would be closed for resurfacing and maintenance. One of the biggest draws is their lovely pools! Since we spend most of our day at the pool, we took the opportunity to get a full-refund and book with another resort.

Booking a month out doesn’t leave you with the kind of inventory that you have three or months prior. It took us a few days to find a suitable replacement property. But, we are happy with the place we found at Ka’anapali Ali’i. The last time we were in Maui, we spent several nights at the Hyatt nearby and walked by the Ali’i almost every night and really liked their property.

Ka’anapali Beach in front of Ka’anapali Ali’i

Free Travel Airfare? You Bet!

So, on to travel planning…

My biggest tip when planning airline travel is to find an airline or two you like and get their credit card to build points. We have taken a number of free flights using our points. Points add up really quickly, and you usually get between 35,000 to 75,000 points when you activate your new card.

Alaska Airlines offers a companion fare of $99 a year (plus taxes) to their credit card holders. We used that for several years to fly to Hawaii in the fall. Unfortunately, now that we have moved, their flights from our local airport to Hawaii haven’t worked for us. I am thinking about cancelling that card and getting one with United, who has better flights from our local airport.

We also have an American Airlines card and have already taken two free flights with our points. You can get a flight with American points for as low as 12,500 points one-way. Our last flight to Florida and back was all taken with points.

St. Marten, 2011

My second tip is to take advantage of websites like www.kayak.com. It’s an easy way to compare flights. Also, kayak has a “fare predictor” app that recommends whether you should buy now or wait to book your flight. I have found that particularly helpful on deciding when to book flights.

I’m no expert, but I believe that flying mid-week is usually cheaper. It’s been my experience that flying on Tuesdays and Wednesdays are generally cheapest. When booking flights, I usually click on the box that says my dates are flexible. Then I can compare the cost on adjoining dates to find the cheapest day to fly.

And You’re Ready for Vacation!

Well, we’ve covered about everything you need to play your perfect vacation. Deciding where to go, choosing your accommodations, and now how to get there. Plus I shared how to earn free travel through everyday purchases, using airline credit cards.

One thing I didn’t share is the value of being loyal to one chair of hotel lodging. It’s an area that I’ve never really researched myself, but I have heard that it’s an easy way to earn free hotel nights. Major chains like SPG and Hilton have their own branded credit cards and by using them and sticking within those chains of hotels when traveling, you can earn free stays.

I think you’re ready to plan the perfect trip. I sure hope you do so soon!

Follow me on Instagram or The Feathered Nester Facebook page to see my latest vacation photos. 

In the comments below, share with us your favorite trips and tips.

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