Terri & Tim
Honeymoon Destination: Hawaii
Our honeymoon was a 10 day adventure to the islands of Hawaii. We narrowed our experiences to the two islands of Kauai and Oahu to get the full spectrum of what Hawaii had to offer. The Island of Kauai is less populated, full of sports and nature, perfect for the outdoorsy nature buff and Oahu is a metropolitan city within paradise that houses some of The United States most memorable history and a wide array of activities to keep any type of personality busy.
We chose to depart on August 23rd. My wife had never traveled outside of the state of California with the exception of a few trips to Mexico with her family when she was younger. And I had traveled to just about every global destination I can think I want to visit, including Hawaii (17 times except Kauai). From a young age my parents ventured around the world with me in tote. Traveling long distances was second nature to me and off the wall travel destinations were not abnormal. I could have recommended a list of awe-inspiring places for our honeymoon all over the world, but alas there was limit to my idealisms. The first, money, we just had the wedding of our dreams and now we had the savings accounts of our nightmares. Another aspect of the god send, Traveler's Joy, was not having to go greater in debt on honeymoon expenses. The second limitation was time, the average person only gets two weeks off of work and when traveling to experience a new culture and country, it is near impossible to do in two weeks. Third and probably most important was the fact that we had a 14 month old son at home who we left in the loving care of his grandparents. Yes we trusted them, yes we know they raised us, but no we were not yet ready to travel half way around the globe to spend 10 days away from him. So we didn't want to venture very far from our own culture, language, and son. After factoring in all those elements we decided between Hawaii and the Caribbean. Having traveled to many of the Caribbean islands previously, I knew that they were not the paradises you see on the commercials, outside the luxuries of the resorts. So Hawaii became the closest, most comfortable, romantic, tropical designation with the widest spectrum of adventurous and unique things to experience together.
One of the biggest recommendations I can give when asking for things for your honeymoon are reward points. Let me explain, there are tons of people out there that travel all the time or they have a lot of expenses that they charge, well we knew one of those people. Find out if any of your immediate family has a growing number of rewards points and ask them for gifts of donated points or tickets or hotels stays, it costs them nothing and saves tons. In our case my mom and I had large accounts of frequent flyer miles and Hilton honors points. We cashed them in and flew free to Hawaii, and spent 7 nights in Kauai, at a 5 star Hilton, all for free. The Hilton Hotels have always had a high quality standard for their hotels and who would complain about a free room with the addition of a free ocean view upgrade upon our arrival when we showed them our marriage certificate. Everything was perfect. We flew into the airport, picked up out car from budget rent-a-car, and headed off to the hotel. Upon check in we received an upgraded room and a bottle of champagne along side a fruit and chocolate tray to congratulate us. Our room over looked the beach and ocean creating the perfect romantic and peaceful setting each morning when we woke and evening when we wanted to unwind to the sounds of the waves crashing.
After changing and enjoying the room and view, we headed down to the concierge. We had received a lot of money for our honeymoon and wanted to experience as much as possible. We set up everything fast and easy right from the lobby and then took off for dinner. We ate at a small but tasty restaurant, The Pacific Rim Café. The menu consisted of a fusion of Asian \ Polynesian \ and Hawaiian food, most of which melted in our mouths. The next day we started our adventures, compliments of all the funding we received from Traveler's Joy.
The first day was an early one, but exciting and turned out to be one of the best experiences of our trip. We took a Zodiac boat up the Napoli Coast, one of the most gorgeous coastlines in the world, known for its jagged, green covered cliffs, waterfalls, rainfall, and multiple movie cameos. This thrilling ride took us up the coast, past a naval base, in and out of breath taking sea caves, and then eventually on to the shore of an old Hawaiian settlement to see ruins, and eat lunch. This was definitely one of the most fun and thrilling aspects of the honeymoon. We had scheduled most of our trips for the mornings, which allowed us to take advantage of the pool and beach in the early afternoon, to work on our tans, and to figure out what kind of tropical drink we wanted to try that day. This was definitely the right choice, because even though we had to get up early it allowed us to relax before an early dinner and gave us plenty of time to enjoy each others company at night.
The second day was filled with the funniest guides I have ever experienced. We really wanted to experience zip-lines, but we were unaware that we would receive a 5-hour comedy show along with the exhilarating feeling of flying through the Hawaiian rainforest. The feeling of soaring, jumping and zipping 300+ feet off the ground was amazing. We "Zipelled," a mix between repelling and zipping, and experienced a face to face encounter with a 60 foot waterfall as we slid down through the forest. When we were finished with that, our guides took us to a 30-foot waterfall that had a 40-foot high rope-swing into a swimming hole. My wife and I took the plunge and flew through the air un-harnessed this time. Exhilarating!!! On the way out of the forest we stopped to feed some wild piglets, fresh guava from the surrounding trees. The whole day was again astounding. Again we unwound on the beach and went out for a nice romantic dinner at a Thai restaurant, Lemongrass. The meal was unique, flavorful, and the setting was romantic and relaxing. The Island of Kauai is small enough to be able to drive anywhere in a reasonable amount of time and take advantage of all the unique restaurants the island adorns.
On the third, forth, fifth, and sixth days of the trip, we went horseback riding, shopping, snorkeling, got full body massages at the spa in the hotel, and explored the ins and outs of the island. We saw breathtaking waterfalls, long white sand beaches, small ghost town like villages, and simply just got lost in paradise. Kauai offered the simplest treats like shaved ice, in every flavor imaginable, and the finest representations that art and food have to offer. We experienced a traditional luau at Smith's and we ate at a restaurant that epitomizes the word romantic, the Beachhouse. We wandered through Kim McDonalds galleries, looking at island inspired paintings and took in the small but plentiful boutique shops dotting the towns of the island. The first 6 days of our honeymoon were adventurous, romantic, and relaxing, all culminating in a perfect blend of activities. Kauai in a word was "amazing."
Leaving Kauai we flew to Honolulu, Oahu were we were met by the hustle and bustle of a metropolitan city, which happens to be in one of the most exquisite and exotic locals on earth. Diamond Head loomed to our left and as we peered from our Ocean front hotel on to Waikiki beach, sweeping beautifully yet packed in front of us. We strolled through the high-end shops and boutiques, and enjoyed our balcony during the perfect sunset. On Oahu we felt an energy of the bars, clubs, and restaurants filled with tourists from all over the world. We managed to still choose our meals wisely and found a fantastic array of gourmet cuisine all over the island capital. The following two days would be our last of the honeymoon but, with the contributions in Traveler's Joy, ended up being sensational. Enjoying our remaining time, we started with an island tour, which took us to Pearl Harbor, the Dole Plantation, and many other must-see points through out the island. This was a educational experience filled with bonuses of beautiful views pineapple ice cream, and cultural enlightening. We also had the pleasure of swimming with dolphins, at Sea Life Park and the only whalphin on the plant (half right whale, half bottlenose dolphin) which was more than exhilarating. It had been a dream of my wife to swim with dolphins and had been fulfilled thanks to our careful planning and our generous gifts through Traveler's Joy. As if that wasn't enough we went snorkeling at Hanama bay and on her first time snorkeling Terri and I saw brightly colored fish and sea turtles with in inches of us.
The experiences that we had in 10 days were more than many are able to have in a year or more. Our experiences and travel itinerary and experiences were the perfect blend of activities and relaxation, and will be hard to duplicate without a fare amount of support and planning. First things first making your registry fun and thorough on Traveler's Joy and spreading the word about its benefits was the key to our honeymoons success and the unlimited possibilities you can use its gifts for.
The approximate cost would have been $7500.00 with out reward points and Traveler's Joy gifts. The priceless memories and minimal effort to make it the best and most perfect honeymoon was aided by the ease of Traveler Joy's format and existence.
Thank you for all your help in making our experience of planning and paying for our honeymoon stress free!
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