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The All-Travelers Guide to a Perfect Hawaiian Holiday

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

Hawaii is one of those idyllic travel destinations that has something to offer everyone at anytime of year.  No wonder 660,000 people visit the Aloha state every year. Because there is so much to see and do, we asked the good folks at the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau  to help us create a quickie all-travelers guide.

To keep things interesting, we’ve broken down the top picks for things to do and the islands to do them on by traveler type.

Hawaii.cat

Once-in-a-lifetimer

dolphin pod

  • Swim with dolphins or manta rays – Get up close and personal with these amazing marine creatures in their own natural environment. Embark on a morning sail off Oahu’s quiet Waianae Coast for a water encounter with Hawaiian spinner dolphins; or suit up for a nighttime dive off the Kona Coast on Hawaii Island to swim with the manta rays.
  • Conquer your fears – Take your vacation to new heights on an adrenaline pumping skydive or zipline in the Hawaiian Islands. Whether you’re taking the plunge out of a plane above Oahu’s picturesque North Shore or soaring over Kauai’s lush rainforest or  the 250-foot Akaka Falls (Hawaii Island) by zipline, don’t forget to enjoy the incredible views along the way.
  • Vacation on Hawaii’s lesser-known islands – Away from crowds and the hustle and bustle of everyday life are the islands of Lanai and Molokai. Lanai is known for its peaceful seclusion, high-caliber golf courses, and enthralling sights for explorers. On Molokai, you can seemingly travel back in time, feeling the mana (power) of the Hawaiian culture and enjoying outdoor adventures ranging from sports fishing to mule rides.

Honeymooners

o-HAWAII-BLACK-SAND-BEACH-570

  • ​Get out of your comfort zone – Trying something new together will spark romance and create memories that will last a lifetime.
  • Splurge a little – Upgrade to an ocean view room or tack on a few extra days and visit multiple islands for a very rich and diverse experience. Many hotels put together specialized offerings such as private beach dinners and ocean-side couples massages that would make for a memorable experience.
  • Savor Hawaii’s cuisine – From  shave ice to sashimi, everything tastes better in Hawaii. The culinary scene in the islands has evolved to be incredibly fresh, local, ethnic, inspiring, and ono (delicious). Given the variety of food trucks, new and tried and true restaurants, and culinary  festivals in Hawaii, avid foodies will find plenty to do and taste.

Family Spring Breakers 

  • ​R​egions that offer a range of accommodation options and ​are within close proximity to a variety of activities, shopping and dining outlets tend to be the most popular for family/multigenerational travelers, including:
    • ​Poipu, Kauai – ​Family-friendly beaches, conveniently located near shopping, dining and golf
    • ​Waikiki, Oahu – Nightlife, shopping, variety of dining and entertainment options, history, arts and culture, family-friendly attractions
    • Kaanapali, Maui – Great beaches, outdoor ocean and land activities, golf, shopping and dining
    • Kona, Hawaii Island​ – Culture, national parks, museums, shopping and dining
  • Hawaii’s outdoor activities, historical attractions, agritousim experiences, evolving culinary scene, and cultural festivals continue to be extremely popular with family travelers. Travelers enjoy the variety and diversity of experiences found on each island.  On Hawaii Island, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park remains at the top destination for hiking, exploring the Thurston Lava Tube, and the awe-inspring experience of visiting Halemaumau Crater.
  • Take the road less traveled – After witnessing a magnificent sunrise on Haleakala, Maui’s highest peak, take the road less traveled and bike down the crater. Cycling down world’s largest dormant volcano may seem daunting, but the ride is surprisingly relaxing  and one that the whole family will always remember.

Naturalist & Wildlife Explorers

Bird of paradise flower

  • ​Hiking – Waterfalls, lush rainforests, native plants and breathtaking ocean views are just a few of the sights to look forward to on one of Hawaii’s many trails. A variety of hikes with various length and difficulty are available for every skill level.  Just remember – the harder the climb, the more rewarding the view.
  • Stand-up Paddle Boarding (SUP) – Experience the sport that is taking Hawaii by storm. While SUP looks deceptively easy, the popular activity delivers a full body workout and has become a popular cross-training activity. The best part about SUP? The spectacular view unlike any boring gym—a clear blue horizon teeming with ocean life.
  • Restore a taro patch –  Spend the morning at one of Oahu’s most beautiful off-the-beaten-path locations and join a community workday at Kakoo Oiwi. Clearing invasive vegetation, weeding and maintaining existing taro, or building auwai (irrigation ditch) for new taro will give you a new appreciation for Hawaiian culture, farming, and ecology.

The (mature) Fun & Mellow Wanderer

grand hyatt kaui

  • ​Attend one of the many cultural festivals and events as it enables you to mingle with locals, sample local fare, and participate in historic traditions. One example is the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival, co-founded by chefs Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong. Through the support of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, Hawaiian Airlines and other tourism industry partnerships, this event has gotten bigger and better each year. It started out on Oahu and in four years is now represented on three islands: Oahu, Maui and Hawaii Island. More than 80 renowned chefs, culinary personalities and winemakers come to Hawaii for this week-long event, and it sells out every year.
  • Check out some of Hawaii’s farmers’ markets to sample local food products and buy made-in-Hawaii gifts. For a more intimate experience, book a farm or agricultural tour.
  • Pamper yourself with treatments incorporating the locally grown, sourced, or harvested ingredients like Spa Grande’s Alii Honey Facial using honey from the Grand Wailea’s rooftop apiary (Maui) or a body treatment utilizing Hawaiian noni, coconut, kukui, volcanic clay, and ti leaves at Anara Spa at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa (pictured). Give yourself the ultimate treat, and book an oceanfront massage for an unforgettable experience.​​

 

Planning a Winter escape? Mallorca is calling

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

majorca.2

Mallorca in English, Majorca in Spanish — whatever the language, this island is breathtaking.  Stunning white beaches and the warm Mediterranean climate are good reasons to visit Mallorca, the largest among the Balearic islands of Spain, but they are not the only ones.

Linda K. Jenkins, CEO of Vacations-Abroad.com is high on Mallorca for a winter holiday.  She says Mallorca epitomizes the Mediterranean culture and landscape with its rocky dramatic coastline, white shimmering sandy beaches that are surrounded by turquoise waters. But it’s the amazing diversity of landscape, a rich heritage, the warmth of the local history and culture that makes Mallorca a magnet for tourists. For most of the people visiting Mallorca, their first trip is never their last here.

You will fall in love with Mallorca the moment you set foot on this beautiful island.  Unwind under the warm Mediterranean sun while being surrounded by the stunning mountains of the Serra de Tramuntana on one side and the beautiful Mediterranean Sea on the other.  When you arrive you will probably head for the nearest beach, where you can enjoy the dramatic coastline of white sandy beaches.   After relaxing on the beach you will begin to think about exploring all the treasures of the island; historic villages, famous wine vineyards, and tantalizing restaurants.

mallorca village

Mallorca Villages and Vineyards

Quaint villages dot the island surrounded by olive and grape vineyards.  Many of the towns have been influenced by Phoenicians, Roman and Moorish culture over the centuries.   Deia is a popular coastal village to explore and it is known for top Michelin rated restaurants and famous citizens.  The village of Alcudia was rebuilt by the Moors on ancient Roman ruins and hosts annual bull fighting events.  The town of Binissalem is located in the middle of the Manto Negro  wine growing region and hosts the annual Festa d’es Vermar during September that promotes the local wine and agricultural industries.

Seasons of Mallorca

Visiting Mallorca at various times of the year, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see the island in different hues and moods each time. The summers are the high season for beachgoers, so you can expect to find a lot of festivity and many entertaining activities. The beach scene is vibrant, the food is at its best, and the resorts are vibrating with excitement.  The temperatures are warm enough to relax and unwind on the beach after a swim in the warm Mediterranean. As the high season draws to a close in October, Mallorca gets ready to unleash its winter beauty.

Winter in Mallorca

For tourists looking for a quieter more reflective experience, the autumn and winters are a more suitable time for visiting the island. As the autumn starts, the vineyards put on their golden mane, and grape harvest along with the tradition of grape crushing begins. You can enjoy the cooler temperatures found in the Tramuntana range while exploring the limestone tracks that overlook the dramatic coastline.  Just as the winter comes to a close, the almond trees, millions of them, start to blossom. The trees are awash with white flowers that gently snow down upon the lush meadows.

The flights and accommodations are cheapest in winters, and the temperature is just perfect for exploring the exquisite countryside during the day.  If you need help planning a trip to Mallorca, visit Vacations-Abroad.com for accommodations during your stay.

 

 

 

Strange & Bizarre Travel Experiences from The Travel Tart

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

Now and again we like to throw in a curve ball post just to see if you’re paying attention.  That said, we found a funny new friend whose take on travel is anything but ordinary.  If you’re from the land “down under” you may already know Anthony, aka, The Travel Tart.  We asked Anthony to share some of his more outrageous travel experiences here on ExpertFlyer — Enjoy, and check out our video interview with Anthony below.

the travel tartHi there – my name is Anthony and I run the silly travel blog called ‘The Travel Tart – Offbeat Tales From A Travel Addict’ which is about the funny and offbeat aspects of world travel.

My main reason for travelling is that I don’t want to run out of dinner party conversations! Based on my experience, I find that people love the more unusual and bizarre aspects of travel – for example, the signs that don’t translate very well into English, or the things that go wrong on the road. I personally think these beat enduring a tortuous slideshow of two thousand selfies on Facebook!

I’m always keeping an eye open for the weird stuff on my travels. So here is a list of my top 5 strange and bizarre travel experiences that I may or may not have enjoyed! There might even be some useful travel tips here as well!

Here we go!

cow's nose with peanut sauce

  1. Eat Cow’s Nose with Satay Sauce – Indonesia

I’m always up for trying the weirdest food that won’t leave me sitting on the toilet for a week! Most of the time, I end up becoming pleasantly surprised with what I dare to ingest!

One of the more unusual dishes I’ve tried is from a city called Surabaya in East Java is called Rujak Cingur.  Ingredients are as follows: sliced cow’s nose (including the cartilage), peanut sauce, shrimp paste, noodles, cucumber, tempe (a local ingredient consisting of fermented soybean cake), pineapple, and immature mango. Think crunchy and meaty at the same time! The cow nose meat is cooked on a pan with all of these ingredients, and the peanut sauce is added last to smother the mix.

Indonesia is full of these culinary gems which at first sight, seem totally unpalatable, but when you chow down on the food, it tastes great! Other examples include mixing tea with egg, and mixing shaved ice with red beans and condensed milk.

funny mall attractions

  1. See the Sheep Gynecology Statues in Australia’s Capital

The Sheep Gynecology statues are probably one of the most bizarre sculptures you will see in a nation’s capital. Normally, there are parks and statues depicting some sort of national event or founding father! These weird statues are located in a central Canberra street mall and have become popular with visitors who have their photo taken next to this strange creation.

presidential highway gore-clinton

  1. Make your own Presidential Race on the Presidential Highway – in New Zealand!

Clinton is a small town in South Otago, in New Zealand’s South Island. It is located on State Highway One down the road from the town of Gore. Someone in a local tourism board thought it was a good idea to have the section between Gore and Clinton named as ‘The Presidential Highway‘, after Bill Clinton and Al Gore came to power in the early 1990s. This highway still exists!

cafe diana

  1. Drink Coffee at the Café Diana – London

This experience is like drinking coffee at a shrine! When she was alive, this cafe was often frequented by Princess Diana, as it is directly across the road from Kensington Gardens near where she lived. The current owners of Cafe Diana have obviously capitalised on this, as the entire wall space is covered in Princess Diana Photos or newspaper/magazine articles about her life. It’s a bit weird when you first walk in there, and it feels like a pilgrimage site!

beer vending machine

  1. Drink beer from a vending machine – Japan

Japan has one of the highest number of vending machines per capita in the world. You can buy almost anything from a vending machine there – such as hot noodles, clothes and beer! That’s right, there are vending machines in the street that can dispense beer at any time that you want. You could literally have beer for breakfast!

There you go. That’s just a small sample of some of the strange and bizarre travel experiences I’ve come across! They’re worth experiencing at least once!

Bye for now!

 

 

Friends of ExpertFlyer get $20 discount on Frequent Traveler University registration

frequent traveler universityFrequent Traveler University (FTU), a popular educational event about maximizing your frequent flyer benefits, has partnered with USA TODAY this year. The University will be back in Washington, DC, from December 3-5, 2014.

Our friends at FTU have extended a generous $20 discount to fans, friends  and followers of ExpertFlyer.  Sign up today on the FTU website and use coupon code: expertflyer for $20 off per ticket.

Visit the FTU website for further details on the event’s high caliber roster of speakers, such as Ben Muzabaugh, USA TODAY Travel, Gary Leff, View from the Wing, Summer Hull, Mommy Points and many more.

Halloween Destinations for 2014

zombieSince Halloween falls on a Friday this year, some folks may be opting to get their scare on all weekend long.  We’ve compiled a list of frightful entertainment options in the top three US cities.

Chicago

 13th Floor Haunted House

Boasting two attractions this year, the Rising, a gothic Parisian graveyard, and the Dead End District, a post-apocalyptic, zombie-infested urban nightmare, 13th Floor Haunted House will send you shivering into the night.

Disturbia Screams in the Park
Rated one of the top haunts in Chicagoland by the Chicago Tribune, the haunting experience of Disturbia leads victims into a lower level parking garage where they are confronted by terror upon terror as they move through 35 interactive rooms.

Statesville Haunted Prison
No one escapes from Statesville.  The Prisoners have rioted, the guards have fled, a darkness has seized control of this Maximum Security Prison and our Warden has opened the gates for visitors. After the prisoners have processed “The Meat/Visitors”, you will be forced to find your way through 23 maximum security cells and come eye to eye with over 100 criminals that were too evil to die.

Los Angeles

 Delusion 
According the the website, this moving play immerses you in a living, breathing world as you play your part in a psychologically disturbing tale of horror, suspense, mystery and adventure. You will interact with actors, perform actions, retrieve objects, solve mysteries, choose paths and sacrifice yourself if need be to further the story along.

Los Angeles Haunted Hay Ride
The Los Angeles Haunted Hayride promises Creatures and Hellish abominations of Apocalyptic proportions this year.  The extended trail is back bringing an entirely new twenty-five (25) minute experience to those who think they’ve “seen it all.”

Alone…An Existential Haunting
ALONE is a site-specific, immersive and artistic exploration of fear, loneliness and self preservation. It’s a thirty minute walkthrough experience which you may only enter alone, and where you become a willing victim to your own inner demons. ALONE explores the deepest regions of the bizarre, and places you as a participant in your own nightmare.

New York

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow…and more
Just 30 minutes north of New York City, get scared out of your mind in Sleepy Hollow/Tarrytown.  For 13 nights, Horseman’s Hollow takes “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” to dark extremes. The 17th Century Dutch colony of Philipsburg Manor transforms into a terrifying landscape ruled by the undead, the evil, and the insane. Visitors begin walking a haunted trail, stumbling upon scary scenes of a town driven mad by the Headless Horseman.

Blood Manor 

Billed as the most intense, creepy and scream inducing haunted house in the New York tri-state area, Blood Manor is comprised of 5,000 square feet of themed rooms, corridors, and a labyrinth of passageways designed to to maximize one’s fears.

 Bayville Scream Park
If you’re a theme park lover visiting Long Island, Bayville Scream Park features five sure-to-scare haunted attractions, including  Bloodworth Haunted Mansion, Uncle Needle’s Fun House of Fear, Temple of Terror, Zombie Pirates and Evil in the Woods.