10 Vacation Planning Mini-Miracles

image from FreeRange photographer: Filo

In planning my trip for Hawaii, my focus has been on "little daily miracles" (Thanks Virginia Woolf!).

What do I mean by that?

Well, I'm looking for the little things that will take the trip from ho hum to … magnifico! :) Sometimes this is in something as small as a hotel where we will stay and sometimes it's in something much grander … like a helicopter ride at sunset. Planning a trip to Hawaii is complicated, so I've loved all of the little moments that seem to work out for my benefit, whether I've spent time planning for them … or not.

1. RT flights from Atlanta to Hawaii for $22.50 (and a bunch of Delta points). ✈️

When we signed up for the Delta credit card (for Justin), we never imagined we'd be using the points he received with the card for a flight to Hawaii! In fact, I had planned little mini-trips using the Delta points at 5 or 10,000 points a piece for trips to places like NYC and Chicago. In other words, my goal was to break up those 70,000 points and get a lot of "mileage" out of them.

Justin's goal? Go somewhere we never would have wanted to fork the money out to visit.

A miracle, if you will.

2. Then, because that wasn't awesome enough, Delta changed the first part of our itinerary having us fly into MSP instead of LAX and shortening our transfer time to less than an hour. ✈️

Less than an hour to change planes? 😮

For someone who has never had to change planes before, that amount of time was scary!

So Justin called Delta and explained that we weren't comfortable with our layover schedule. Since Delta had reduced our layover time to 45 minutes from 3 hours, was there anything they could do for us?

… And when you don't like what the initial customer service agent says, you talk to someone else. So that's what he did. (Dang was Justin mad at me for making him call! And even more angry when he had to stay on the phone even longer!)

End result? We're flying into LAX one day earlier and have a two hour layover! Which basically means we get one extra day in Hawaii! Yay!!!!

image from FreeRange; photographer: Geoffrey Whiteway

3. With an extra day in Hawaii (really, Maui), I booked the Kula Lodge for our first night, meaning we will be able to get just a little bit of extra sleep before seeing sunrise at the peak of the Haleakala National Park!

4. Just after Justin and I began making travel plans for Hawaii, the Visa Signature website began offering a $100 Visa gift card and BOGO nights at Hiltons, so I promptly booked the Grand Wailea. It came with free breakfast, a room upgrade, and … well the Visa Signature deal. In the end I think we're saving money?

The Grand Wailea is an expensive hotel, but it is very well-rated on TripAdvisor. So yay!

5. After deciding a ferry to Molokai would be happening (because whales. duh.), I opted to fly from Molokai island to Honolulu for the last part of our 9 day Hawaii trip. ✈️

Originally I had booked Hawaiian airlines, but upon further investigation, I realized we could fly via the small aircraft carrier Mokulele Airlines, a nine passenger plane where every passenger has an aisle seat and a window seat. :)

Then I realized we could fly this airline at sunset

I'd be lying if I said my day didn't get even better with that realization. :)

I had wanted to plan a helicopter tour, but flying with Mokulele airlines achieved multiple things – it kept costs down, meant I wouldn't miss sunset despite being in the air (these planes fly lower than larger, mainland aircraft), and saved time by giving me my overhead view of the islands without preventing me from doing other things on ground.

image from: FreeRange photographer: Jack Moreh

6. As I ticked off necessary planning, I really spent my time researching hotels.
I chose the Hyatt Regency Maui, because of the penguins, dolphins and other mammals we might see there. (Maybe it will save us money, because we will be too busy looking at all of the animals to go and do anything else?) 🐧 🐬

And Turtle Bay, because it saved us time as we travelled around the island Honolulu is on. 🐢

Finally, I picked The Royal Hawaiian because pink. If you are going to stay in Hawaii, you might as well stay at a hotel that looks Hawaiian, right? 💕

7. When I realized the Molokai ferry no longer ran (as of October 2016), I got busy planning my ferry trip to Lanai. And from Lanai we would fly out to Molokai. (And from there Honolulu.) ⛵️

Yes, we would be spending way too much time flying, but…

our hotel in Lanai is way cheaper than what I was looking at in Maui.

And two, we'll be getting to see 4 islands during our trip! Yeah baby! :)

(I couldn't give up my ferry ride! Must. see. whales. 🐋 )

image from FreeRange; photographer: Geoffrey Whiteway

8. Through planning this trip, I discovered VisitACity (not an ad) which has made a huge difference in my travel planning. Now I know approximate times and can fill up my itinerary according to that. When I make bookings and purchase tickets, I know that we can make it where we are going by the time we need to get there. So that gives me a bit of relief!

9. I'm also eternily grateful for Club1Hotels (also not an ad), which has saved me a minimum of $200 on this trip alone.

10. Go Visit Hawaii has been incredibly helpful in my trip planning. They have broken down everything from the cheapest places to rent a car, what to do if you find roaches in said-car(!!), what to see and do on each island, best restaurants to eat at, and so much more! I can never thank them enough for all of the help they provide! :)

While not every aspect of planning this trip has gone smoothly, I'm greatful for what has. Hopefully in a few months, I'll be able to update you all with positive results and the realization that every aspect of this trip, from planning to going has turned out even more wonderful than I could ever have imagined! :)

Tell me about how you experience "little daily miracles"? While planning a vacation and having things go right might be nice, I imagine that some experiences, like your favorite song playing on the radio or having a good hair day can take a so-so day and improve it by a lot! … Has anything in your life, recently, just fallen into place, as if it were meant to be?

Linking up with Tamara Gerber
of Confessions of a Part Time Working Mom

for #TopTenThursday

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