I am so excited that we will be spending a couple of weeks in the great state of HAWAII for our honeymoon! I have been to Hawaii with my family and absolutely love it there, but I've only been to the islands of Oahu and Hawaii (known as "the Big Island"). Grace has never been. We will be spending half of our time on Maui and the other half on Kauai. Today I want to share a little bit about how we chose this destination and our process for planning so far. Once we've actually planned out the trip a bit more, I'll do a post about planning the trip, similar to my planning for Alaska post. This one is more just about how we decided where to go for our honeymoon :)
How We Decided Where To Go
First of all, Grace is an angel and would have let me pick literally anywhere in the world I wanted for our honeymoon. I thought about the following: Santorini (I went two summers ago and it's unreal beautiful); an Africa tour (one of my other all-time favorite travel destinations; I've spent time in Zambia and Botswana and would love to go with Grace to South Africa, Madagascar, and the Seychelles); OR a big US road trip where we could bring the dogs and take ferries to places like the San Juan islands off of Washington.
So why did I pick Hawaii? A few factors. First, although I love adventurous travel, I wasn't really looking for that in a honeymoon destination. I really wanted something relaxing, stress free, and easy for our honeymoon. I want to do a huge Africa trip at some point with Grace, but that's a logistically complicated trip. And as BEAUTIFUL as Santorini is, it really takes a full 24 hours to get there from California. In addition, all of those places involve a different language, different currencies, passports needed, etc. Hawaii is just incredibly easy.
- You don't need a passport (as a US citizen). We both have passports but it's one less thing to worry about and potentially lose/forget
- There are ONLY nonstop flights from California. There's literally nowhere to stop because you're just flying over the ocean! And you can get there in under 6 hours
- The time difference is minimal (3 hours from California)
- Currency, language (for the most part), etc. is all the same as the US
Again, I'm a pretty experienced traveler but just for purposes of our honeymoon, I really want something as simple as possible! Hawaii fit the bill.
One other factor is gay-friendliness. With the exception of severe cases of homophobic places (i.e., Jamaica), I try not to let this determine my travel destinations. I'm not offended if people in certain countries assume we're just friends or sisters traveling together; if we can fly under the radar and experience beautiful places on earth, I'm all for it. We live in West Hollywood so I generally assume that anytime I leave my home it will be to a place less gay friendly than where I live, haha. As a gay couple it's common to turn heads in certain places where you travel (in the Yukon Territory of Canada and some parts of Alaska, for example). But for our honeymoon? I want the red carpet rolled out, champagne upon arrival, the whole enchilada. I don't want people asking if we're friends or assuming we want two separate beds in our hotel room. Of course, that can still happen anywhere, but Hawaii is SUPER gay friendly (it's the rainbow state after all!), so it lessens the chance :)
Picking Which Islands to Go to in Hawaii
This part was surprisingly easy. I'd already been to Oahu and Hawaii (the Big Island), and awesome as they were, I wanted to go somewhere new that Grace and I could both experience for the first time together. The other inhabited islands in Hawaii include Maui, Kauai, Lanai, Molokai, and Nilhau. Molokai and Nilhau are very different from the rest and don't include large resorts or many amenities (you actually can't visit Nilhau without an official invitation). They probably don't have the best "honeymoon vibes," at least based on what we're looking for. Lanai is tempting, but out of the three (Maui, Kauai, and Lanai), it feels like the one I can skip for whatever reason. I've heard so much about Maui and Kauai and so those were the ones we settled on visiting.
Deciding What to Book First
I have been getting super antsy and excited about booking our accommodations (there are so many good ones on Maui and Kauai!), but ultimately I realized I needed to book our flights before anything else and I'm glad I did! I found a great fare and our flights were completely free with all the credit card points I've racked up. I also booked our first three nights at a resort in Wailea (a town on Maui) that I am super excited about. I have a few more accommodations, plus our car rentals, to book and then we'll be set! Also, at the strong urging of a few people, especially my best friend Sarah, I made a reservation for Mama's Fish House on Maui! I don't want to make too many reservations or pre-set plans, but I think booking a few key things that we'd otherwise miss out on without advance reservations is worth it.
What I'm Most Looking Forward To
I'm excited for our first totally carefree, no responsibilities vacation . . . ever! Don't get me wrong, our dogs are my babies and I love them so much. But we always take them with us (hence the title of this blog), which makes vacations a lot more active because we have to be on a stricter schedule with dogs' feeding, walking, etc. This will be one of the first vacations we've really ever had time to just sleep in, spend our days with no schedule, and be super lazy and do things on a whim whenever we want. In my experience, Hawaii is a great place to have no schedule, so I'm just so excited to be lazy with Grace.
In terms of the actual islands, I think on Maui I'm most excited to drive the road to Hana and on Kauai I'm most excited to see the Na Pali coast (where a lot of iconic tropical movies were filmed like Jurassic Park). I think Hawaii will be the perfect mix of having plenty of things to do but also being on "island time" when we want to just relax and soak in the fact that we're married!
Why We Opted Against a Road Trip and Traveling with the Dogs
In this post, I talked about being torn between two potential honeymoon destinations but didn't say what they were. Well, the two things I was torn between were (1) Hawaii, which ultimately won and (2) taking a big wild road trip with the dogs, seeing Vancouver again, taking ferries to the San Juan islands off of Washington, exploring Montana, etc. To me, that second option is still SO tempting and something I hope we get to do at some point. But I decided on Hawaii because I want to prioritize relaxation and I want to focus on JUST us. A lot of our lives revolve around our dogs' schedules (in a good way) but we are the only people in our marriage--so I want to slow down and remove all distractions during our honeymoon. And while a road trip definitely puts me at peace, there's a difference between being at peace and being totally relaxed. I'm hoping Hawaii will give us both!
When We're Leaving
We are leaving on Monday morning after our wedding! I feel like the idea of being whisked away to your fabulous destination immediately following your wedding is super romantic and dreamy, but not very practical. We want to spend part of Sunday with our guests who are still in town and also have time to get organized with the dogs and not be rushed with packing and everything. We also might want to sleep in on Sunday morning and not be worrying about getting to the airport! So a Monday morning departure is perfect. With the time change, we'll be in Maui before noon! On the other end of the spectrum, I know it's also pretty common nowadays to wait a while after the wedding before honeymooning. I think that's a great choice too as it prolongs that newlywed season and gives you something to look forward to. That said, I've always dreamed about spending those first couple weeks as a married lady on my honeymoon. So it was important to me that we go right away (albeit minus one day).
Thanks so much for reading! If you have any Maui or Kauai suggestions, I'm all ears :)