This week I’m blessed to be able to be spending it in Hawai’i with family and friends. For those of you in sales — yes, I did take a week off at the end of the year. Bad Howie.
This is my first trip to our southern-most state, which the locals tell me has a temperature variation of about 10 degrees from summer to winter. I’ll let Hawaii’s Official Tourism Site clue you in to the wonders of the state. The one thing I’ll recommend to everyone visiting the islands is to “Just Ask.”Ask the flight attendants, the rental car agents, front desk staff at the hotel, the concierge, your taxi driver, and most importantly the server at your restaurant. Ask them where they go and what they do.
Hawai’i can, at times, seem like another country. It’s far away, the weather is amazing, and culturally it brings something many of us have never experienced. But the language barrier doesn’t exist. You don’t need to fumble your way through broken attempts at basic linguistics, just ask. Interacting with strangers in a foreign language can be awkward and stressful. One of the reasons organized tours are so successful is that you don’t need to worry about language and coordination, but when you don’t do this, you miss out on some of the best stuff. Here’s what happened for me.
We arrived in Honolulu and spent the night in O’ahu. After walking around a bit, we ended up back at our hotel (Moana Surfrider on Waikiki beach; thank you SPG Free Night promo) sitting at the bar sipping Mai Tais and some beer from the Kona Brewing Company. The drinks were good, but the bartender and waitresses made our bar visit memorable. We got recommendations for dinner, breakfast, and lunch that all fit our requirement of eating locally. We wanted to eat food we can’t get in Savannah, and we wanted to eat at a place that we’d never find in or near Savannah.
A drive-in, a shrimp truck, and a breakfast joint in a strip mall – we were in foodie heaven. Over the next few days you’ll likely find us at the Farmers’ Markets, or dive, or a food truck. Either way, we’ll be eating some of the best food at even better prices.
The other side of asking is talking to your fellow travelers. One of our stops in O’ahu was Pearl Harbor. We had the honor of traveling to the USS Arizona memorial with a combat veteran of that fateful day. He was there to pay his respects. He graced us with stories of his time in the service. There wasn’t a dry eye to be found. (picture credits: saraski)
Whether you’re a foodie, a history buff, or just like to talk people, just ask. You won’t be disappointed.
Travel Tip: Find a better seat
I’ve run into this a few times with flights I’ve booked for family: there are no good seats available. Airlines block seats for elite status passengers, and also for disabled/handicapped passengers. These seats typically open up when elites get upgraded (five days, three days, and on day), or at the 24-hour window before scheduled departure. Take a hint from how Southwest does it, where you check-in and get your boarding assignment at 24 hours out, and check for new seats at that 24-hour mark. You’ll find some better seats have likely opened up and you may have a chance for some prime overhead bin real estate or at least seats closer together for your group.
Packing Tip: Pack a bag
This one definitely isn’t rocket science, and it is something I’ve learned from my wife. Our bag of choice is a messenger style backpack. It’s a sling, folds flat in a suitcase, and weighs next to nothing. It holds a towel, a couple of bottles of water, our camera, and other random things. The backpack works well and leaves our hands and arms free.
Citi Thank You Premier Card, 50,000 Thank You Points!
Citi Prestige® Card
- Annual Fee: $450 fee
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Bank
The increase to 50,000 ThankYou points for the Citi Prestige card may be a signal that Citi wants back in the game, big time. The sign-up bonus has just been increased to 50K points from the previous 30K offer. An added benefit is a $250 annual air travel credit each calendar year -- so, if you sign up in April, you'll receive the credit this year, and again in January of next year -- which more than covers the $450 first year fee. When you add in lounge access for you and up to two of your guests, you’ve added another $400+ in value. One more benefit worth mentioning is the fourth night free for any four-night hotel stay booked through Wagonlit Travel. And lastly is the $100 statement credit when you sign up for Global Entry and pay for it using the Prestige card. Don’t forget the ever-growing number of airline transfer partners that work with the ThankYou points program.
- $250 Air Travel Credit each year
- Complimentary 4th Night for any hotel stay
- Earn 50,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.
- Points are redeemable for an $800 flight on American Airlines or US Airways®, a $665 flight on any other airline or $500 in gift cards.
- Transfer points to a variety of travel loyalty programs from airlines to hotels.
- Earn 3x points on Air Travel and Hotels
- Earn 2x points on Dining at Restaurants and Entertainment
- 1 ThankYou® Point per $1 spent on other purchases