Waikiki in a Week

You know when they say it’s better to live with no regrets? I will never regret spending a week on Waikiki beach, even though I lost a day.

The infamous south shore beach on the Hawaiian island of O’ahu (which holds the capital, and is site of the international airport) Honolulu, was the scene of a spontaneous catch-up for my friend Kathy and I in 2008. We hadn't seen each other since we returned from teaching English in China two years previously; she lives in Canada, I live in England.   

So how did Hawaii happen?

When the opportunity arises to join a mate near Maui, you don’t say no.  You save and save and save and wonder if spending a month’s rent on a flight is really a good idea (it is; I saved for a flight AND rent). 

Then you check the atlas and ponder the sanity of travelling from London to Los Angeles (11 hours) to Honolulu (6 hours) - halfway around the world - for a week; the only annual leave available. 

Then you Google Waikiki beach, and suddenly the Agadoo song (#holidaycampbrat) is on repeat as you simultaneously hit up Expedia and pack your bags.  

Right then: details 

I was lucky enough to travel in January 2008, shortly before the economic downturn; before even Obama was in the Presidential office. Flights on Expedia cost around £550 return, but the currency exchange rate meant it was almost $2 to every £1.  It’s never been that good since.

Currently the exchange means you’ll get around $1.20 for every £1.  And flights for January 2018, as of today, are coming up at around £880.

Motto: travel when you can, you have no idea what’s around the corner.

Shared dorm at the Hokondo Waikiki Beachside Hostel (free breakfast of coffee and toast included). Literally moments from the beach.  Although I now Hilton wherever I can, the hostel was great, and I wouldn't hesitate to stay there again. If I was travelling with family I’d opt for a private en suite, which many hostels offer.  I’ll save the Hilton for one-night city me-breaks.   

Hawaii is an American state (the 50th and most recent to have joined in 1959), so you’ll find the chains.  Pineapple and spam are popular and frequent the menus, as do Mai Tais and Blue Hawaiians, for the rum-based refreshments.

Okay, I had a week: what did I do?
You won’t be bored remaining on O’ahu for a week.

1. Kicked back paddling in Hawaii – British term, as in ankle-splashing; there is a sectioned off area for little ones, and non-swimmers, to enjoy the beach. 

2. Hiked Diamond Head volcano crater – was a lot easier than I expected, despite having the word 'hiked' in the sentence.

3.  Shopped at Chinatown – I love night-shopping and negotiating at Asian market stalls. 

4.  Watched for (and momentarily saw) humpback whales from about a mile away – this is seasonal, December to May.
5.  Watched the Surfers on North Shore (I don’t swim; I know!) but I can appreciate a barrel.

6.  Visited the Polynesian Cultural Centre, understanding a detailed look at Island life, and a celebration of Elvis

7.  We para-sailed, where I discovered I can scream for 8 minutes (the length of the ride). 

We also ate at the Cheesecake Factory - first time I couldn’t finish a whole dessert – and visited the 5* Royal Hawaiian hotel, to enjoy Mai Tais on the beach, where I learned of a certain 19th Century Queen Consort, Queen Emma.

Aside from the Pearl Harbour WWII memorial, which I never had time to visit, you could spend longer in Hawaii and hop (usually on a boat or a plane) to other islands...Hawaii (also known as Big Island), Maui and Kauai to name just a few along the 1,500 mile chain.

It would be another couple of years before Kathy and I would see each other again, both involved in new, and ultimately long-term, relationships; I had the great pleasure of attending her wedding in Belize last April! 

Travelling such a distance, across so many time zones, incorporating delays and changed-minds on layovers, I returned to lots of texts from worried family and employers, wondering where I was – apparently I had been due home the day before.

Would I return?
Absolutely, even in the current economic climate when the exchange rate between US dollars and British Pounds is so naff.  I would stay longer and nip over to explore Maui and Big Island, which Mini-Me would adore as she’s a bit volcano-obsessed at the moment, so visiting the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory would be perfect for her. 

Er, I’d better start saving. 


I’d love to hear your unforgettable travel experiences in the comments below!

Wander Mum


  1. Oh my goodness, I feel a bit spoiled, it's only about a 6 hour flight for me to Hawaii! But then you get to fly all over Europe from London, so I think I'd take that instead. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Haha, that is true... My Canadian friend loves our access to Spain, Greece and Italy!

  3. I'd love to visit it one day:) #citytripping

    1. Thanks for your reply... I dreamt of Hawaii for a good few years before I made it happen... Good luck with your dreams!

  4. I think you have just convinced me to book a trip! Great post!

    1. All part of the inspiration ;) Would love to hear all about your Hawaiian adventures!

  5. I'd love to visit Waikiki and in fact plenty more of Hawaii! I love your holiday spirit and attitude! Not many people bunk up in a dorm room in Hawaii but you know what - why not! #CityTripping

    1. Exactly! The dorm was a great way to meet new people... Conference attendees, writers and one very enthusiastic sky diver who kept trying to convince me to take to the plane with her... #thanksbutnothanks!

  6. I love your holiday spirit and attitude!
    Thanks to share this great post.

    1. Glad you enjoyed the post, thanks for your comments!

  7. Love the mantra travel when you can. It's so true...don't put it off. You've brought back memories from my time in Hawaii, I don't even think I was there a week. Loved the north shore, never seen waves like I have there. Arriving home a day late definitely made me giggle. Your poor parents! Thanks for linking #citytripping

    1. I can't wait to return with Mini-Me, although I probably won't get her off the beach! #Mauicampsiteneeded I keep watching Hawaii 5-0 just to catch a glimpse of the waves *hanging ten* :-)

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