Renting a Car in Honolulu?

Renting a Car in Honolulu?

Will You Need A Rental Car in Hawaii?
Here’s a Q&A from a saved draft. This is a Travel Blog.
Sharing it now for #TravelTuesday!

Hawaii 23

Waikiki Beach – Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Q: Is there a difference in reserving a rental car here or when we land in Honolulu? Any rental companies you’d recommend or avoid?

A: Internet before you arrive!

Check each Rental Car Company WEBSITE for best deal! They run 24 hour cycles for car rentals, so if possible arrange your pickup and drop off in 24 hour increments. You can also get a deal on week long rental if you’ll be there that long. Also, you’ll get better rates away from the airport rental office (you won’t pay airport fees), so if they have another location rent from them. (they might even offer delivery to your hotel and you can usually get a free shuttle from the airport)

NOTE: Each company’s rates and availability vary wildly depending on what events are happening, the day of the week, the weather, “hotel block” specials and many other factors, so reserve ahead of time VIA TELEPHONE (not the internet) if possible and always get a confirmation number and the name, employee number and direct phone number of the employee you booked the reservation with.

AAA offers discounts, join the rental car company “customer card” loyalty program before searching for rates (they always offer upgrades and discounts) and check with the hotel for a package deal/discount or free rental! You probably don’t need additional insurance coverage, but check with your own car insurance company and make sure you are covered when driving a rental car in the destination location! If you have travel insurance, that may also cover you. Check and see if the resort fee at the hotel covers parking too.

They also may try to sell you GPS and additional upgrades, add-on services or amenities with your basic rental. Buyer beware! Do you need that GPS or can you just use your smartphone? It’s a lot of fun to have a convertible or a jeep, but how much more will it cost and how much driving will you really be doing on Oahu? Remember to figure the cost of fuel into your budget and the higher gas prices in Hawaii!

NOTE: Once you’ve found the best deal for a rental car, check and see about package deals/vacation companies that will save you money with a bundled “air-hotel-rental car” package or consult a travel advisor for additional service and a price quote.

Plan ahead! Make your reservation well in advance and watch for any specials that might be offered after you reserve (they’ll usually allow you to change to the lowest rate). Be sure to plan your connection from the airport to the rental car company location, most offer free shuttles, or you can arrange other transport. It’s always best to do your research and make your arrangements and reservations prior to arrival.

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Hawaii 24

Duke Kahanamoku Statue on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

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Travel Answers: San Francisco! Yosemite!

Travel Answers for San Francisco and Yosemite:

Q: What’s a great day trip from SF that’s not wine country?

A: Great Day Trip from San Francisco?

Drive south on beautiful Highway 1 to Santa Cruz. Stop along the way in Pacifica, Half Moon Bay, Davenport and/or at Ano Nuevo State Reserve and see the Elephant Seals.

Pacific Ocean from Highway 1 (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Pacific Ocean from Highway 1 (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Visit the beach and the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, shop the Pacific Garden Mall, and check out the University of California, Santa Cruz (arboretum, performances, museums & special collections at the McHenry Library). Tour the campus, there are great views of Monterey Bay, art installations and walking paths/roads through the meadows, pastures and redwood forest on the hill (just stop and get a visitor pass at the main gate).

There are plentiful beaches, galleries, shops, restaurants, bars, wineries, clubs and other performance venues in Santa Cruz and in the nearby communities of Capitola, Aptos, Felton & Bonny Doon.

Check out the world famous Mystery Spot and Lighthouse Field State Beach! The Evergreen Cemetery est. ~1885 is one of the oldest in the bay area and state and it’s now a tourist attraction.

Return to San Francisco via Highways 17 (880) to San Jose and the 280 or 101 freeways back to the city sometime after sunset.


 

San Francisco from the Bay Bridge (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

San Francisco from the Bay Bridge (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Q: Best 3-day weekend trip from San Francisco? Looking for something outdoorsy that would be a good use of weekend summer trip. Ideally somewhere warm enough for sun, swimming & shorts. Probably for a small group (either 2 or 4 ppl).

A: 3-Day Trip from San Francisco? People have already recommended Big Sur, Carmel, Monterey and Santa Cruz to the south. Marin, Napa, Vallejo, Mendocino, and Lake Tahoe to the north. So how about going east to Yosemite National Park? Yosemite, Merced, Mariposa are all within driving distance and only a few hours away. Just make sure to make a reservation! http://www.nps.gov

Half Dome - Yosemite, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Half Dome – Yosemite, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)


Q: Best airport to fly into for a week at Yosemite?

I’m planning a fall trip to Yosemite and trying to figure out which airport to fly into: Sacramento, Fresno, San Fran? I’m coming from New York so I have some airline options. I’m most concerned about which airport will have sufficient car rental options and flights at all hours.

A: If you’re flying in from NYC, you’re going to have to land in San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland or Los Angeles. Each has it positives and negatives, so base your decision on the cost of airfare and then determine the best mode of transport from your destination city.

Rent a car (get unlimited mileage plus insurance) or take Amtrak (train and bus combo) from Los Angeles or San Francisco/Oakland. The bus will take you right into Yosemite National Park and drop you at Yosemite Lodge at the Falls and it’s both less expensive and cleaner than driving! www.amtrak.com/san-joaquin-train

The drive from Los Angeles is about 6 hours, and you’ll travel the 5 freeway to interstate 99 through Bakersfield, Fresno and the Central Valley to interstate 41 into Yosemite.

The drive from the Bay Area is about 4 and 1/2 hours (could be longer with traffic) on highway 580 through San Leandro and Livermore to highway 205 through Manteca to interstate 120 into Yosemite.

NOTE: If you’re driving in the Sierra Mountains in the Fall, be prepared for rain and snow at higher elevations, some roads may require tire chains (sometimes a problem with a rental vehicle).

There are also tour companies that have chartered buses that will take you into the park, or backpack/bus adventure travel companies like Green Tortoise from San Francisco that include more than just transport: www.greentortoise.com/adventures/yosemite-national-park-tour-3d.php

NOTE: If you’re going to take a chartered bus, make sure the company is CA state licensed and check their safety and consumer record before buying a ticket!

Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)


Q: Most impressive staircases you’ve ever seen?

I recently saw some of the craziest staircases in the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. Where else in the world has cool, winding, or even weird staircases? Want to plan some trips to see them..pictures would be awesome, thanks!

A: In Yosemite Valley there is a stairway to the top of Vernal Nevada Falls that was carved out of the granite rock. You can start at the bottom of Vernal Falls and climb 2000 feet to the top of Nevada Falls and the rim of the valley.

“Climb along nature’s giant staircase, where you are rewarded with close-up views of two waterfalls and numerous geologic features (depending on how far you choose to hike)…Prepare for slippery footing and a tremendous amount of waterfall spray in spring and early summer (hence the name for this trail!).”

Follow the Mist Trail 0.5 miles up a steep granite stairway of over 600 steps! Continue on to the top of Half Dome if you have a permit (and “weather permitting”).


Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Q: Where was your favorite backpacking destination? Out of all the places in the world, where was your favorite backpacking destination and why?

A: My favorite backpacking destination: Tiltill Valley above Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in northern Yosemite National Park. Picture a valley just like Yosemite except there are no other people, no cars, no shuttle buses, no buildings… just an amazing wilderness all to yourself. It’s a long day hike uphill to reach the Tiltill Valley, but it’s worth the trip!

The trailhead begins at the Hetch Hetchy parking area, and it’s a rugged uphill trek past the reservoir and into the backcountry (be sure to get your permits at the ranger station and be aware you are in “BEAR COUNTRY” – problem bears are relocated to this area of the park).

p.s. I don’t recommend backpacking solo, you should always have at least one travel buddy when you are in the backcountry!


Yosemite in Winter (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Yosemite in Winter (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Q: How many days would I need to explore most of what Yosemite has to offer? I’m planning on going there some day and I would like to know how much days would I need to explore most of what the National Park has to offer! Thanks.

A: How many days in Yosemite National Park? It depends on how much of the park you want to explore. If you just want to see Yosemite Valley, you should allow at least three days. You should add more days if you want to really see everything! It also depends on how active a hiker you are because there are great things to do and day trips with varying degrees of difficulty you can experience. Ride the Shuttlebus and walk the valley, tour the valley in an open air tram, hike to Mirror Lake, picnic at Yosemite Beach, hike to the top of the waterfalls or around the rim of the valley, climb to the top of Half Dome or El Capitan. Visit Yosemite Village and the Ansel Adams Gallery and be sure to check out the The Ahwahnee Hotel.

Accommodations in the park range from tent and camp sites, RV sites, covered campsites, tent cabins, and hotel rooms. You need to make reservations for any of the concession vendors a long time in advance at nps.gov and there are lots of rules and regulations you need to be aware of before and during your visit.

REMEMBER YOU ARE IN BEAR COUNTRY!

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia Redwood Trees (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia Redwood Trees (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

There are other areas to see within the park or just outside: Tuolumne Meadows, Mariposa Grove and the Giant Sequoia Redwood Trees, Wawona Point (and historic hotel), skiing at Yosemite’s Badger Pass in winter), Bass Lake, Oakhurst, and many others. You should allow 1-3 days or more for each area depending on how active a hiker/camper/skier/snowboarder you are.

If you want to experience the backcountry as a backpacker/camper you should plan 3-14 day trips. there are great areas in and around the park. I’ve been to the Tiltill Valley above Hetch Hetchy Loop and down the South Fork Merced River in the Sierra National Forest, both of which were excellent backpacking trips! Be sure to learn the necessary skills and the park rules and regulations before entering the wilderness.

You are also close to Lee Vining, Mammoth Mountain and Mono Lake State Preserve which are near the east entrance to the park.

See also John Muir Trail and the Yosemite Park website nps.gov for more info.


 

Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Q: You have a day to explore Yosemite. What do you HAVE to see?

I love everything about being outdoors, especially around water. I like hiking, but I don’t get too extreme. Viewpoints that are hidden/will make me never want to leave would be loved.

A: What to see in Yosemite Valley? Everything!

Ride the Shuttlebus, walk the valley paths and bridges, raft or inner tube down the river, tour the valley in an open air tram, hike to Mirror Lake, Picnic at Sentinel Beach Picnic Area, hike to the top of any of the waterfalls or around the rim of the valley or to the top of Half Dome, climb El Capitan. Visit Yosemite Villageand see the Visitor Center and the Ansel Adams Gallery, shop at Curry Village and be sure to check out the Ahwahnee Hotel. See my other answers for more.


Wawona Hotel - Yosemite (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Wawona Hotel – Yosemite (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Q: Places to stay in Yosemite? If anyone is familiar with places to stay IN the Yosemite Park… I am trying to decide between a few places… Curry Village, Yosemite at the Falls & Wawona Hotel. From what I gather there aren’t bathrooms in Wawona Hotel (not so thrilled with that idea). Any advice, please on these 3 places?

A: Yosemite Lodge at the Falls is the best place to stay, unless you can afford the Ahwahnee Hotel. It’s centrally located in Yosemite Valley near Yosemite Falls and a couple shuttle stops (almost walking distance) from Yosemite Village. The accommodations are “motel quality” but nice enough considering you won’t want to be inside very much.

Curry Village is near Half Dome, and on the shuttle route. The accommodations are mostly tent cabins with shared facilities and some full cabins with private facilities.

Both Yosemite Lodge and Curry Village have a “cafeteria” style restaurant, a “hamburger stand”, a bar/restaurant and mini-market/gift shops. Yosemite Lodge also has a nice sit-down upscale restaurant.

The Wawona Hotel sits up on the rim of the valley about a 45 minute drive from the valley floor and the village. It’s a very nice historic hotel, but not really convenient if you want to be in the valley. There are cabins with private facilities and they are very nice if you don’t mind walking outdoors to get to the main building (more of a problem in winter). Wawona is great if you want to ski at Badger Pass Ski Area, visit Glacier Point or the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia Redwoods.

There are Ranger led nature talks available and other entertainment at all three locations. Yosemite Village has a market, a Visitor’s Center with an Indian Village and interpretive programs, the Ansel Adams Gallery, the post office and more restaurants and gift shops.

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Yosemite Falls - Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Yosemite Falls – Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)





 

 

Cripple Creek Music Co. Store in Ashland, Oregon

Cripple Creek Music Co. in Ashland, Oregon

Down on Main Street in Ashland, there’s a music store: Cripple Creek Music Co.

Cripple Creek Music Store

Cripple Creek Music Store

In business since 1976, this place is a musician’s dream store. They have a great inventory of instruments and accessories, a very knowledgeable staff and great customer service.

Cripple Creek Music Store

Cripple Creek Music Store

From their website: Since 1976 Cripple Creek Music Company has provided beginner to professional musicians with all their musical needs.  Cripple Creek Music Company has a diverse variety of instruments and instrument accessories, as well as offering print music and repair on instruments…from traditional to New Age, Whatever your taste in acoustic music; Bluegrass, Folk, Jazz, Latin, World or Ethnic, Cripple Creek Music will start you on the right note!

Cripple Creek Music Store

Cripple Creek Music Store

There’s a lot to look at, and most items are available for “hands on” inspection and play.

Cripple Creek Music Store

Cripple Creek Music Store

Cripple Creek Music Store

Cripple Creek Music Store

“Folk and Ethnic Instruments of the World”

Cripple Creek Music Store

Cripple Creek Music Store

Cripple Creek Music Store

Cripple Creek Music Store

Cripple Creek Music Store

Cripple Creek Music Store

Cripple Creek Music Store

Cripple Creek Music Store

“Cripple Creek Music Company is a family business built on the traditions of quality service, knowledge, and integrity.”

Cripple Creek Music Store

Cripple Creek Music Store

Cripple Creek Music Store

Cripple Creek Music Store

It’s a great store! And they have a “secret room” that musicians and collectors will really appreciate:

THE VAULT – They don’t advertise it, and it’s a “word of mouth” type secret, but down in the basement is a temperature controlled bank vault with a collection of beautiful vintage instruments for sale (most are on consignment). I was lucky enough to get a tour and they let me take pictures! You may have to be a musical instrument collector or musician to really appreciate them, but here they are:

Cripple Creek Music Store

Cripple Creek Music Store – vintage banjos

Cripple Creek Music Store

Cripple Creek Music Store – vintage banjos

Cripple Creek Music Store

Cripple Creek Music Store – vintage banjos

Cripple Creek Music Store

Cripple Creek Music Store – vintage banjos

Cripple Creek Music Store

Cripple Creek Music Store – vintage banjos, a violin, acoustic guitars, steel drum & a mandolin

Cripple Creek Music Store

Cripple Creek Music Store – vintage acoustic guitars

Cripple Creek Music Store

Cripple Creek Music Store – vintage electric and acoustic guitars

Cripple Creek Music Store

Cripple Creek Music Store – vintage electric and acoustic guitars

Cripple Creek Music Store

Cripple Creek Music Store – mandolins, electric guitars and a 12 string guitar

Cripple Creek Music Store

Cripple Creek Music Store – Acoustic Guitars

Cripple Creek Music Store

Cripple Creek Music Store – they have a Martin ’47 Acoustic Guitar for sale

NOTE: The reason for my visit to the Cripple Creek Music Co. Store

We have a Vintage Martin ’57 D-28 Acoustic Guitar (for sale) – great condition, serious inquiries only, detailed description and more photos available – email us if interested.

Martin '57 D-28 (for sale)

Vintage Martin ’57 D-28 Acoustic Guitar – great condition (for sale)

All photos copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel.

Cripple Creek Music Co. – 353 E. Main St., Ashland, Oregon 97520 541-482-9141 www.cripplecreekmusic.com

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Another answer: Places to stay for Anaheim Convention Centre? Places to stay in L.A., preferably with a pool?

NOTE: This was a question with a very particular requirement, but the information in the answer can be helpful to anyone visiting Los Angeles or Anaheim!

Q: Best places to stay for Star Wars 2015 Anaheim Convention Centre? 

Q: Looking for suggestions of places to stay in L.A., preferably with a pool?

“My son is travelling to California (from Jersey, Channel Islands, United Kingdom) in April 2015 to attend the Star Wars Convention. He and his friends are arriving into LAX around 4 April and leaving the day after the convention on 20 April – the convention runs from 16-19 April….Rather than being stuck out at the convention centre, however, it seems that it takes 2 hours and many changes on public transport to get to convention centre area from Long Beach which is too long. Due to ages of travellers (16-22) hiring a car is probably going to be a no no! Could maybe consider staying in LA for the first part and moving to a hotel near the convention centre for the 2nd part. I’m sure a trip to Disneyland will be on the cards too. My son is blind and has some mobility issues so its useful to bear that in mind. Any info on places/areas to stay and getting around would be very appreciated. Thanks, Emma” ~ Emma T., Jersey, United Kingdom

LAX - Theme Building (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

LAX – Theme Building (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

A: Special Needs Travelers shouldn’t worry about visiting Los Angeles or Anaheim. It just takes proper planning and a good companion. Your son’s blindness and mobility issues shouldn’t prevent him from having a great time in California.

Pico Medical Supply – 6035 W Pico Blvd, L.A., CA 90035 (323) 936-4104 http://www.picomedical.com  If you need a wheelchair (electric or standard), they have the best rental rates. They can also supply other mobility and special needs equipment.

Braille Institute Of America is a good resource if you need information about Los Angeles for the blind. (it’s FREE!) 741 N Vermont Ave, L.A., CA 90029 (323) 663-1111 email: la@brailleinstitute.org http://www.brailleinstitute.org/los-angeles-home-page.html 

Los Angeles Visitor Info: http://www.discoverlosangeles.com

City of Los Angeles Dept on Disability: http://disability.lacity.org

LAX has a Guide for Individuals with Disabilities and provides transportation from gate to curb for Special Needs Travelers 310-337-5005 http://www.lawa.aero

4 April – Arrive LAX Los Angeles International

Free Shuttle to Custom Hotel from LAX, they have accessible rooms if required, and there are places to eat and shop within one block of the hotel. Custom Hotel: 8639 Lincoln Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045 jdvhotels.com (310) 645-0400

Custom Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Custom Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Taxi or use Lyft or Uber car service. The Bus Stop is one block away. Journey up Lincoln Blvd to Marina Del Rey, Venice Beach and Santa Monica. (see my other answers for things to do) Culver City has lots of restaurants and things to do as well.

Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority (“the Metro”): Metro Bus & Rail http://www.metro.net – http://www.metro.net/riding/riders-disabilities

Metro strives to ensure that its services (over 200 bus & rail routes) are fully accessible to those with disabilities. To assist those with visual impairments, Metro provides Braille-encoded and large type “Metro Flash Cards” for signaling the correct bus. For information please call 213.922.7023.

Metro is also the primary funding source for Access Services Incorporated, the federally-required ADA paratransit service. This service is offered to individuals whose disabilities prevent them from independently using regular bus or rail service. It’s comparable to fixed-route service and offers 24-hours curb-to-curb service. For information, call Access Services Incorporated at 1.800.827.0829

8 April – 14 April: 6 more days to relocate to another hotel and explore other areas of the city (Hollywood or Downtown L.A. are two good options for destinations, see previous Blogs for details and answers)

Transportation from Los Angeles to Anaheim: Greyhound goes from Union Station via Downtown L.A. to Anaheim for under $20.

Greyhound Bus Lines 1716 E 7th St, Los Angeles, CA 90021 (213) 629-8401 http://www.greyhound.com

14 April – 15 April Disneyland & California Adventure

16 April – 19 April Anaheim Convention Center

Hilton Anaheim, Anaheim Marriott and the Disneyland Hotel are good choices and close to the Convention Center and Disneyland

Disneyland Guest Services: 714-781-4565 https://disneyland.disney.go.com/guest-services/guests-with-disabilities/  Visit the website for “Guests with Disability” info and downloadable guides to the park and services.

Disneyland Fireworks!

Disneyland Fireworks!

Transportation from Anaheim to LAX: return to Union Station via Greyhound and then take the Metro train direct to LAX.

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ADA AMENDMENTS ACT OF 2008

An Act To restore the intent and protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/ada.cfm http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/adaaa.cfm

The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board shall issue minimum guidelines that shall supplement the existing Minimum Guidelines and Requirements for Accessible Design….supplemental guidelines issued under subsection (a) of this section shall establish additional requirements, consistent with this chapter, to ensure that buildings, facilities, rail passenger cars, and vehicles are accessible, in terms of architecture and design, transportation, and communication, to individuals with disabilities.

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SNG CERTIFIED ACCESSIBLE TRAVEL ADVOCATE

SNG CERTIFIED ACCESSIBLE TRAVEL ADVOCATE

“Your Travel is My Business!”

Joshua Weisel (aka JoshWillTravel)

Luxury Travel Advisor 

Travel & Lifestyle Writer

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SNG CERTIFIED ACCESSIBLE TRAVEL ADVOCATE

SNG CERTIFIED ACCESSIBLE TRAVEL ADVOCATE