Planning Your Perfect Vacation, Part 3

This is the last installment of planning your perfect vacation. Here is a link to Part 1 and Part 2, in case you missed it. Honestly, working on this post couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.

Maui in the 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 Airfare? You Bet!

So, on to vacation 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. 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!

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 three.

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

In the comments below, share with us your favorite trips and tips. You can be sure I will be blogging about Maui next month!

So, what do you think? Comment here!