The flight was expensive and so was a night at the Hyatt. With Traveler's Joy, we could afford to buy it. Poetic!
We decided we wanted to go sports fishing, do a helicopter ride, go on a 7hr tour, spend a couple days discovering the island, and we managed to do it all.
I’d heard about Traveler’s Joy from a co-worker and as soon as I saw the website, it was extremely apparent that this was the right type of registry for us. Our friends and family couldn’t wait to start contributing to our celebratory retreat.
We decided to travel to Kauai for our honeymoon, stopping off there for nine days, on our way back from our mainland wedding. For us, it was a compromise between the adventure my husband wanted, and the romance I desired.
We participated in a 7 day cruise around the Hawaiian Islands with Norwegian Cruise Lines. We chose Hawaii because it was a destination that both of us had been dying to see.
Through Traveler's Joy, our friends and family gifted us $2,600. Combined with the $3,000 we saved, we were able to enjoy 10 days, flights and food in Hawaii - and we spent every penny. Hawaii is an expensive destination, but we loved the spirit of the island and the experience of a true paradise.
Traveler's Joy was a little known flawless diamond in a mountain of "cabinet filling" registries... a unique alternative to impersonal cash gifts.
We departed Los Angeles just two days after the wedding and planned for an eight-day trip to Maui. Thanks to our Traveler's Joy registry, we were able to upgrade to first class, too. It was definitely the way to start a honeymoon.
We wanted this trip to be as unique and fulfilling as our personal journeys have been. We knew that by allowing our family and friends to share this moment with us, it would be. Before Traveler's Joy, there was not a link that connected your family to your new journey as a fresh new family addition.
Our helicopter tour on the big island of Hawai'i was one of the highlights of our trip, complete with a bird's eye view of both fuming volcano crater and lava flow not far from the pit.
We knew we could afford going to Hawaii, but without Traveler's Joy, we would have been unable to experience all that the island had to offer. Having the registry really made all our honeymoon dreams come true.
We already had all the kitchen and living gadgets one would normally register for. How many dishes and towels can one household actually need? Every one of our guests who purchased a gift through Traveler's Joy loved the experience and with those gifts, we were able to do everything we wanted on our honeymoon.
There is no more romantic beautiful place to spend the first few days of your life as a married couple. There is nothing like Hawaii, there is something beautiful about going to sleep with the lanai doors open, hearing the ocean lap over and over on the beach.
Many of the people we encountered were implants from other parts of the United States, and it is absolutely obvious why they left the mainland for Hawaii. The islands are captivating, and even after all that we have seen in the world, did not fail to live up to my very own "fairytale" honeymoon dreams - which Traveler's Joy helped to make possible.
We would absolutely and enthusiastically recommend Oahu as the perfect honeymoon destination (and in fact, have already tried to talk our friends into taking their honeymoons there!). The total trip cost $5,000, but thanks to Traveler's Joy, almost everything was paid for ahead of time in the form of gifts.
Our favorite activity has to be between deep sea fishing and surfing. My brother has a fishing boat so the sea was ours for as long as we wanted. It was such a beautiful day and the waters were amazing!
We are certainly grateful for the existence of such a registry and without a doubt, we would recommend other couples to use Traveler's Joy, and visit the Hawaiian Islands!
I have to give kudos to Traveler's Joy (and of course the people who contributed) because it helped give us the excuse to "splurge" on all the fun things that we may not have normally done. My wife Becca and I had been living together for a few years before we got married, so we already had many of the traditional registry gifts. Meanwhile, since we love to travel, this was the perfect alternative.
Since we were so fortunate to find Traveler's Joy, the generous gifts of our friends and family allowed us to treat ourselves to one night at the well-known Grand Wailea Resort on the Wailea side of the island.
If you like the idea of a Hawaii honeymoon, but the thought of crowded beaches and tourist traps makes you think twice, then consider Molokai. There, you'll find dramatic waterfalls, the world's tallest sea cliffs, rainforests, fragrant plumeria trees, archeological sites, ranches, coral reefs, authentic native Hawaiian culture, and some of the most spectacular white beaches in Hawaii – but no stoplights, no crowds of tourists, and no building taller than a coconut tree. The island, which is 38 miles long by 10 miles wide, has only 7,000 permanent residents (most of them native Hawaiians) and 80,000 visitors per year. Honeymoon here, and the island is practically yours.
Despite its lack of commercial and tourist development, there is still plenty to see and do on Molokai (as the extensive list of activities and attractions below demonstrates). "Life on Moloka'i is so non-commercial that visitors at first might wonder, 'Where's the Hawaiian stuff?'" the Molokai Visitors Association says on its website. "The answer is – it's everywhere. Impromptu performances at Kaunakakai's Saturday street market. A group of men standing out on the reef hauling a net together. Young girls dancing during the dinner hour at one of the small hotels. The baggage handlers playing 'ukulele in the lull between planes. It's normal life."
Islanders like to say that Hawaiian culture is not so much preserved as it is lived on the island – it's frequently called the "most Hawaiian" of the Hawaiian islands. That's because native Hawaiians make up most of Molokai's population, and the Hawaiian Homestead Act of 1920 restored their control of ancestral lands (including much of the coast). Most of the island is rural, enabling many native Hawaiians to practice traditional livelihoods such as farming, fishing, and hunting. Hawaiian culture is also on display during the island's many festivals, which are celebrations of native culture by Hawaiians, for Hawaiians – on Molokai, they are not primarily tourist events, although visitors are more than welcome.
The island's terrain varies widely. On the north side are gigantic cliffs rising more than 3,000 feet above the sea, sliced by razor-thin canyons and the tallest waterfalls in Hawaii. The Kalaupapa Peninsula, which extends from the foot of the cliffs, contains a rainforest with plant and animal life found nowhere else in the world. The western coastline forms a bowl-shaped arc that is home to some of Hawaii's largest (and least crowded) beaches. Central Molokai is hilly, rough pastureland largely devoted to agriculture. The eastern part of the island is rainier and more forested, while the south shore is protected by the most extensive reef system in the United States.
Molokai offers a variety of different accommodations: bed-and-breakfasts in the central part of the island, three modest mini-resorts along the sheltered south shore, ranches on the east side of the island, and condominiums on the north. A number of guest houses are also available for rental. Cut-rate backpacker lodging, as well as camping, is a possibility for couples on a budget.
Hit the Beach - Molokai boasts 16 beaches (although only six are considered suitable for swimming), including one of Hawaii's largest white-sand beaches: Papohaku Beach, which is three miles long and 100 yards wide (long stroll at sunset, anyone?). Quite a few visitors report not encountering anyone else on the beach – not even another footprint!
Take a Cruise - Molokai Fish and Dive offers a variety of cruises, including a whale-watching cruise, a sunset cruise, and a snorkeling cruise. Other charter boats will take you deep-sea sport fishing or on wild rides along the island's stunning sea cliffs.
Play in the Water - The reef that lies about a mile off Molokai's south shore creates relatively calm, shallow, lake-like waters for all sorts of aquatic activities. Hop into a kayak and explore the shore's ancient fishponds and mangrove forests. Or go scuba diving with native guides who can show you the area's underwater caves, blue holes, and hammerhead sharks. Snorkeling is also an option, although online reviewers who have snorkeled on Molokai say it's not as good as on other Hawaiian islands.
Head into Town - Kaunakakai, Molokai's largest town, offers shopping and dining opportunities within its one-block-long "downtown" – the perfect place to pick up some wine, Molokai sweet bread, or maybe a homemade lunch sold off the back of an old pickup by a Hawaiian family. Kamakana Country Store is your go-to spot for local products and food specialties. The Molokai Visitors Association advises guests to stock up on provisions soon after arriving, as the town largely closes down after sunset and on Sundays. One exception to that rule is the Kanemitsu Bakery, where people start lining up at the back door around 10 p.m. in order to buy the bakery's famous bread hot out of the oven.
Take a Hike on Hawaii's Wild Side - Kamakou Preserve, maintained by the Nature Conservancy, contains more than 250 species of native plants, 90 percent of them found only on Hawaii. A boardwalk offers close-up views of a bog, as well as nice views of two valleys ornamented by long waterfalls. The Nature Conservancy also runs a shoreline preserve at Mo'omomi, where coastal dunes protect rare native plants and animals.
Swim Beneath a Waterfall - Hike through the forests of Halawa Valley to the 250-foot high Moa'ula Falls, and swim in the pools beneath the falls. (The valley and waterfall are on private property, so you will need permission and a guide.)
Ride into the Sunset, and the Sea - Pu'u O Hoku Ranch is a small-scale cattle ranch and organic farm that has a variety of trails on its 14,000 acres. These trails feature the beautiful Halawa Valley, waterfalls, secret swimming holes, views of the North Shore sea cliffs, and (in winter) a humpback whale nursery. Explore the trails by bicycle or horseback. The ranch offers a romantic sunset horseback ride, complete with champagne dinner in a wild setting, as well as a coastal ride that culminates with a plunge into the sea, horse and all. Molokai Ranch, a working cattle ranch and resort, also offers horseback riding – but not your typical nose-to-tail trail ride; you can even participate in a roundup.
Descend the Tallest Sea Cliffs in the World - You can descend the sea cliffs on the north side of the island along a four-mile trail to the Kalaupapa Peninsula; the wide, safe trail drops nearly two thousand feet by means of twenty-six switchbacks. You can hike the trail on foot, or on mule-back.
Hotel Molokai - This lovely resort boasts a Polynesian village of bungalows ideal for a genuine hideaway from the modern world. The experience includes daily breakfast, oceanfront pool, and popular bar offering live music.
Hale Kai Beach Front Estate - Offers two gorgeous cottages set on secluded beachfront property on the island’s east end. Both exude Hawaiian charm, are equipped with all modern amenities, and feature beautifully landscaped grounds. You can even swim, snorkel and kayak right out your front door.
Aloha Beach House - A Hawaiian-style private home with 1,600-square feet of space, high ceilings, and beachfront access. The property is tastefully decorated and includes a private outdoor shower, deck, spacious kitchen, and views of Maui.
Molokai Komohana - A lovely B&B near Maunaloa. The plantation-style property, also located close to the island’s best white-sand beaches, features ocean views, daily breakfast, Wi-Fi, and afternoon tea and cookies.
Kualapuu Cookhouse - If you follow the lead of the locals, you’ll most certainly end up here, a terrific plate-lunch/diner-style establishment. Couples can look forward to traditional Hawaiian menu items such as mahi-mahi and lemon chicken with rice, plus burgers, omelets, and assorted sandwiches.
Kanemitsu's Bakery - Dating back 80 years, this bakery is famous for its hot bread, which is served fresh right out of its back door — at about 10 p.m. The hot breads feature delicious extras like jelly, cinnamon, butter, and cream cheese.
Molokai Pizza Cafe - This island staple serves Molokai’s best pizza, plus an wide array of options like barbecue ribs, fresh fish, and much more.
You can get to Molokai from Honolulu via plane or, if you visit Maui first, by the Maui-Molokai ferry. Molokai Airport (MKK) offers taxi and car rental services.