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USA Travel thread #30

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#126 kirsty38

Posted 20 December 2012 - 08:03 AM

love reading about everyones holidays also love your blog kee that is very helpful.
What are hawaiian airlines like to fly with?
We have to transfer from Domestic to International in Brisbane airport, we have 2 hours to do this so hopefully it all goes in a timely manner.
Do I need a different sim card for my phone, i use prepaid so does that matter?
I probably have heaps more questions too.

#127 Just us

Posted 20 December 2012 - 09:08 PM

QUOTE (kristin5 @ 19/12/2012, 07:50 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Finally, i feel like it's a little more real. After months of talking about our trip, we have made our first booking - the Grand Californian hotel & spa (for part of our Disney stay). We never thought we'd be able to afford the prices they usually charge, but thanks to gay day rates, we can!

We are looking at either the Fairfield Inn or hojos for the other part of our stay in Disneyland.

And then probably the Signature Suites in Las Vegas (have any of you stayed there?)

And we will book a hotel in downtown Denver (hoping that the NFL draw is kind to us and that the Broncos will be playing on the weekend we are there :-) )

Just waiting for the flight specials for September to be released now, wish they'd hurry!

I can't recommend Hojo's enough Fiona, they were amazing super clean, very very friendly and helpful and we would stay there again in a heartbeat.......we wish we were there right about now!

Talk about post holiday blues guys, we have been back about 4 weeks and I'm missing everything about the holiday soooooo much.

We are trying to decide when the return trip will be, either November 2014 or if we should do Christmas 2014 and trying to make up our minds if we do the West Coast again or if we do East Coast and hope for a white Christmas, either way it is way way to depressing thinking about how far away it is sad.gif

Do you know what else is a side effect of our Holiday? I am struggling to find much for the kids for Christmas as we shopped up such a storm that they need absolutely nothing!And even if they did, Aussie prices are killing me!

Oh I'm so jealous of you guys planning for trips that actually have a set date.

#128 ~Kee~In~Hawaii~

Posted 23 December 2012 - 08:49 PM

I just wanted to come in and wish all my travel buddies here a Merry Christmas original.gif

You're all amazing and make me so happy, it's a great feeling to be able to so freely discuss traveling to the USA with a group of like-minded people as nice as you all are. Your support and good wishes over the last 5 weeks since I lost my Dad have also deeply touched my heart and lessened the pain a little so thank you to each and every one of you.

I hope 2013 brings you all amazing adventures, lots of fantastic accommodation sales and plenty of smooth flying wink.gif

Edited by ~Kee~In~Hawaii~, 23 December 2012 - 08:50 PM.

#129 Peanut

Posted 23 December 2012 - 09:33 PM

Ditto to you Kee, our Cruise and Hawaii Queen!

I hope everyone here has a safe and happy Christmas and I look forward to reading all of your lovely travel plans next year!

#130 minidiamond

Posted 23 December 2012 - 09:43 PM

Hi all
We are about to take off for a US trip, DH & I have been quite a few times before but it's our first visit with our new bub !

I've already bought us a nice new stroller that we're picking up when we arrive but a few other things popped into my head, one of them being nappies.  So ... does anyone have recommendation for the best nappies/diapers in the US ? We use Huggies here but a friend told me she didn't have a great experience with the same brand in the US.  My DS is nearly 5 months old.

Thanks !

#131 kristin5

Posted 23 December 2012 - 10:30 PM

QUOTE (Jaxxie1 @ 20/12/2012, 10:08 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I can't recommend Hojo's enough, they were amazing super clean, very very friendly and helpful and we would stay there again in a heartbeat.......we wish we were there right about now!

Yeah, have heard it is good and our travel agent (who is also a friend) recommends it too. I am waiting to see what price we can get for a premium room (as the standard queens are freeway view rooms and we want Disney views). Otherwise we will say at the Fairfield Inn which is where we stayed last year.

I know what you mean about post holiday blues - to alleviate those with this trip (which isn't even until September!) we have already started planning (loosely) another big trip after this one, hopefully around Christmas/New Year of 2015, which will also be our 10th wedding anniversary. We'd like to go to Disney World at Christmas time and be in NY for New Year's Eve (our anniversary). Does anyone know how long Christmas decorations stay up in the Disney Parks for after Christmas?

And yes, part of the reason we keep returning to the US is the shopping.

Merry Christmas everyone, and a safe and happy New Year to all!

Edited by kristin5, 23 December 2012 - 10:31 PM.

#132 hunter4

Posted 23 December 2012 - 11:33 PM

minidiamond - I've actually had most sucess with some of the store brands rather than the big name brands.  Definitely skip on the Huggies - the Pampers I don't mind, but really if you can find Top Care, or Baby Basics, Baby Luvs(depends where you shop) these are all pretty good.  The Target brand have good absorbancy but can be a bit saggy on some babies, Walmart brand I like too.  Also make sure you know your babies weight in pounds so you can figure out what size (multiple kg by 2.2).  I generally find if you're near the top of the listed range you're better off going for the next size up.  Have fun

Merry Christmas everyone.

#133 ~Kee~In~Hawaii~

Posted 24 December 2012 - 06:02 PM

I just gave myself a Christmas present, I'm all booked for our flight to Hawaii before the cruise back. I *unfortunately* had to book us to leave on September 18th rather than the 21st as the cost was half - I forgot that school holidays start in NSW next year on the 20th so the flights for the day we were meant to be leaving are already way OTT. I'm willing to suck it up and deal with an extra 3 nights in Waikiki if it means I save $990. Adding on the accommodation only cost me $100 because I've hit the threshold for free nights so it was cheap. Better to have $800 in my pocket than in Jetstar's!

I'll need to be changed to the 18th September on the list, thanks original.gif Return date is still the 23rd of October.

The only thing I'm a little grumpy about it that the purpose of the trip has turned into being about scattering Dad's ashes so Mum is paying for my financially irresponsible sister, BIL and nephew to fly over and stay for 2 weeks but when I just spoke to her about booking our one way flights (hers included) she asked what the total is, divided it by 3 people and is coming tomorrow to pay us back HER airfare. She has no intention of paying our way over to Hawaii like she is doing for my sister. I don't want to be sooky but it hardly seems fair that she keeps preaching the whole "Dad would want me to cover the trip costs with his life insurance money - like it's an inheritance" and then she only pays for my sister because she is too lazy to work and therefore cannot afford a trip herself. Why should I be punished because my husband and I work our butts off to have the good things in life? Especially if she is going to keep going on about it being Dad's money and how it should go towards the trip. I'M ON THIS TRIP TOO YOU KNOW?!

Sorry, I'm a bit annoyed by Mum's attitude today. I personally think the money should be in the bank for her to live off in her retirement and if my sister can't save up for the trip then tough titties but I'm outnumbered in that regard. The other logical idea (if the money must be used) would be to pay for all of the trip EVENLY and make it all fair but I'm outnumbered in that too apparently.

Eh, enough ranting. The good point is that I am booked to fly out on the 18th and I can't wait! biggrin.gif

#134 snugglybug

Posted 24 December 2012 - 07:57 PM

Merry Christmas travel buddies! Hope everyone has a great day. original.gif

#135 shellbee

Posted 27 December 2012 - 01:45 PM

Hi, have decided to start thinking about our first big o/seas family holiday to coincide with a milestone birthday but have no idea where to start..... We want to go MEL - LA for family of four for around three weeks. Virgin are currently having their Boxing Day sales so managed to get tic's for $1077 for same date but 2013 (was doing a hypothetical to get a cost idea).

It's been 12 years since I have been to the US so I have no idea where to begin. Can anyone suggest hotels, itinery etc please. We want to do the usual Disney, Legoland, Universal type stuff. We will have a 7 and 5yo at the time. It is worth breaking up the flight with a Hawaiian stop over?
Thanks in advance. original.gif

#136 *Pebs*

Posted 27 December 2012 - 10:48 PM

add me to the list.

Myself and DD (10)

24th August till the 7th September 2013

LA-Anaheim-New York-Los Vegas

That's a lot in a short time, I know! I just can't afford to take anymore time off work or take DD out of school for any longer.

This is DD's first USA trip and will be my second.

We are flying air NZ, with a stop-over in Auckland. I got the flights for a bit less than $2000 (for both of us.. return!).

In LA we are staying at Loews - I got a great rate through hotelclub (at least I think it was). In Anaheim we are staying at HoJos.. I just booked through Disney, I though the prices were quite reasonable anyway. In New York we are staying at The Casablanca and I am still deciding where to stay in Vegas.. so many choices!

#137 New_display_name

Posted 29 December 2012 - 06:00 PM

Hi All,

Just thought I would pop in to say Jet star are having their $329 each way flights on at the moment.

The bugger thing is for us that DH has the whole of March off and the cheap days are 27th February or end of the first week of March ( there are other dates but these are my options for our travel dates).. And his boss wont budge on two days earlier for his leave sad.gif

So I will continue to wait...

But still semi holding off to hear back on a couple of verbal job offers to see if they come through in written form then I may need to postpone until September or something as I don't want to take too much time off work in a new job. And have pacific cruise in April next year for my friends 40th, my current boss is fine with the whole month of March then back at work for a week before disappearing for a 9 day cruise lol...

Ohh And Kee.... I booked our cruise through vacations 2 go original.gif

#138 New_display_name

Posted 29 December 2012 - 06:12 PM

Ohh and another question too...

Is shopping in Hawaii noticeably more expensive than the main land?

A friend of mine suggested flying over and cruising back as there is no weight limit on the cruises.... but then that will limit the area of travel..

Hmm decisions decisions

#139 ~Kee~In~Hawaii~

Posted 30 December 2012 - 10:17 AM

Ohh And Kee.... I booked our cruise through vacations 2 go

Great to hear - if only there was commission in it for me from them! lol

Is shopping in Hawaii noticeably more expensive than the main land?

I've heard islanders say that while I've been there but, having now been to the mainland as well, I didn't notice a difference. All the prices seemed as cheap as ever when compared to Aussie costs and my first US shopping experiences were in Hawaii so I should have really noticed if things were cheaper again once I got to the mainland. It can't have been much over a couple of dollars difference or it would have caught my attention.

The idea of shopping in Hawaii and sailing back without luggage limits is the bonus of our cruise too original.gif I just had to make sure I booked extra baggage on the domestic flight home from Sydney when we get back to Oz. Now I am focused on saving all the spending money I will need - which is turning into quite a large amount what with all my make up supplies and now the photography equipment I have found over there for a fraction of the cost of here.

As for me, there's been one last change - sorry! DH and I decided to see what combining the 2014 mainland trip and the Alaska trip together would come in at. It ended up being a fabulous itinerary so we've gone ahead with the decision that it should be one big trip rather than 2 smaller ones. It looks like this:

Sept 11, 2014 - Oct 19, 2014 - Hawaii, Seattle, Cruise Alaska, LA/Disneyland, Miami, Cruise Mexico/Jamaica, NYC, Las Vegas, Hawaii.

We couldn't go past adding a cruise on the Oasis of the Seas to the itinerary while in Florida, even though we are already cruising Alaska. And guess what? The whole trip comes in at only $12,000!  ohmy.gif I thought it would be a lot more than that. It's knocked a lot of money off of doing them as separate trips, which means more smaller trips in the meantime - and yes, I consider a quick trip to Hawaii a "smaller" trip  wink.gif

So that's the major trip for 2014 done, now I just have to continue watching the price of flights to Hawaii for Christmas and see what they are like as that will be the decider as to whether we just do a Pacific Cruise around Noumea/Fiji etc or go back to Waikiki for Chrissy next year. Waiting for f;ight prices to be released is killing me. Oh well, 88 days until our little Easter cruise and I am looking forward to the break!

#140 Jo_P

Posted 30 December 2012 - 04:24 PM

Hi ladies, I hope everyone had a good chrissy original.gif
I will update the list in a minute, sorry for taking so long...slacker!
We are heading down south on a road trip this Thursday to stay near dh's parents in Umina NSW. We're staying in a holiday house right across the road from the beach, I cannot wait! Long drive down but we're taking it slow and stopping two nights each way so we can enjoy it.

Kee, let me know asap when you see sale fares to Hawaii for Christmas 2013, we want to be far far away for our next Christmas!!!
Dh starts holidays on the 21st Dec for two weeks.....not that we're organising early or anything cause that would be so unlike me and my usual last minute planning   tongue.gif

#141 ~Kee~In~Hawaii~

Posted 30 December 2012 - 04:44 PM

Will let you know Jo, DH goes on work break on the same day so we may well be having Christmas together next year biggrin.gif Cocktails are on me!

#142 Mellie Kate

Posted 30 December 2012 - 07:39 PM

hi everyone hope you all had a great christmas,i spent mine in surfers paradise and had a blast of a time we went on a few day cruises with lunches,we also went parasailing,snorkeling,had a play on a jetski,swimming,shopping(i got 2 big suitcases for our USA trip was $219 each down to $109 each yay)

Im super excited for our USA trip now as i got our flights during the webjet sale (yay) i managed to get SYD-HNL with jetstar and HNL-NYC-HNL with delta all up for $1979.10 ,im very happy with that as other prices i was looking at before the sale was $3000.

#143 New_display_name

Posted 30 December 2012 - 09:37 PM

Thanks Kee...

I think that vacations to go do have some sort of referral thing if we use the same booking agent, apparently you get on board credits or something. That's what the guy was telling me if we book additional cruises or if our friends book through him and mention that I referred or something like that.

What is your agents name? ( PM me if you like and your full name and I will start using that one and see if that gets you OBC)

I was not overly ecstatic with our agent, he didn't seem very interested at all. But we got our cruises cheaper than some others that are going and who booked through an aussie agent here in Canberra.

Is there a Marshall's in Hawaii??? It's one of my favourite stores

Edited by Becca81, 30 December 2012 - 09:40 PM.

#144 ~Kee~In~Hawaii~

Posted 31 December 2012 - 11:53 AM

Becca: Unfortunately there's no Marchall's in Hawaii, that's why I stick to Ross. I'd love a Marshall's there and I don't know why they haven't started up in the Hawaiian Islands.

My PM's don't seem to be working properly for some reason (they keep sending blank) so my cruise consultant is Nassim Diaz and she's lovely and told me it's fine to pass her name around. Just tell her Keely and Anthony from Adelaide, South Australia sent you wink.gif She knows us well now!

Mellie Kate: Well done on those flight prices, they are great!

Jo: No sign of December airfares from Jetstar yet but I will be keeping my eye out as the new year gets underway. I just booked accommodation at Ohana West from December 21st until the 28th just because it's now available and only $116 per night - which is good for Christmas since it's normally $100 per night at other times of the year. All up our accommodation is costing $926.48. I figured I may as well book it since there is no deposit and it's easily changeable or can be cancelled if we choose other dates or go somewhere else. At least the room is booked if we are going.

#145 snugglybug

Posted 01 January 2013 - 06:31 AM

Happy New Year!!

So who going to America THIS YEAR!!?

Sadly not me sad.gif  I can't believe I was saying that a year ago!

#146 Lees75

Posted 01 January 2013 - 07:25 AM

Not me. Maybe next year, but probably the year after.

#147 2anewme

Posted 01 January 2013 - 08:06 AM

Happy New Year!!

Hi everyone, sorry I've not been in.  I need to update my dates if I could

So excited!! we are going to Hawaii!! we decided that after 4 awful New Years Eves in a row, we are going to spend the next one out of the country!

27th December to 6th Jan 2014!  can't wait.  

Is it too soon to book anything? Kee??  Ive been reading your posts with great interest - will be picking your brain in the future.

#148 ~Kee~In~Hawaii~

Posted 01 January 2013 - 01:02 PM

So who going to America THIS YEAR!!?

waves.gif  Me, me, me! Hawaii counts, right?! 8.5 months to go biggrin.gif

2anewme: I'm more than happy to have my brain picked. DH and I only booked our accommodation with Ohana West for Christmas because they weren't taking bookings into 2014 yet but last night we decided the same thing, we're going for Christmas and New Year too so I will be changing the booking when I can get dates for the following year (probably a few weeks away yet) and will be on the lookout for the flights in the next month too. I'd say anywhere you decide to stay won't have dates into 2014 available yet either but once you've decided where you want to stay, check their site every day and get ready to pounce as soon as they are available. I have learnt from cancelling this past NYE over there that the prices for that date never goes down from it's first released price so get it as soon as you see it available. Better to be early than miss out or pay double. I had booked NYE in Hawaii back in Feb last year and it was only $109 per night. We decided that with the mainland trip, we couldn't afford to go again (and with DH getting made redundant twice) so we cancelled. When I looked it up again in September it was triple the price I had booked it for originally! The early bird really does get the best deal in this case. I guess there's a few of us on the lookout for flights and hotels for the end of next year original.gif

#149 Therese

Posted 01 January 2013 - 01:04 PM

New thread time original.gif

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