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Hawaii calls

(This column written for JoeSentMe, the informative travel newsletter for professional travelers)

I just returned from a delightful trip to Kaui with my wife and daughter. Unlike many trips this year, this one was smooth and trouble free. We were fortunate to travel on Alaska Airlines non-stop from San Diego to Kaui. With no status or privlidge, we flied economy and it was still a delightful trip. Alaska’s normal economy seating is quite comfortable, every seat has power, and WiFi was just $8. I used my wireless connection to watch TV using my YouTubeTV account. Simply signed in and confirmed that I was traveling away from home.

We’ve been going to Kauai every two years for about 15 and it’s remarkable how little of it has changed. It’s plush with foliage and great for everything from relaxing at the ocean to hiking through canyons and waterfalls.

The tiny Lihue airport lets you get to the rental busses door to door in about 10 to 15 minutes. Rental cars are still pricey, although not as bad at the $100 per day rates right after Covid. We ended up paying Hertz $350 for a full size car for a week using my daughter’s company account. I did a lot of checking on and several of the rental card sites, including Avis.’s best rates were about $500, except for minivans that were a surprisingly $300. I had originally booked a car using my Avis corporate account., but at $575, it was the most expensive of all and after bombarding me with reminders to buy insurance every week, I was happy to cancel and go elsewhere.

Kauai has changed little over all these years. It’s laid back, unpretentious, with limited shopping and eating. It’s far from a culinary destination, and the better restaurants tend to be overpriced and underwhelming. Fortunately our hotel/timeshare, the Marriott Wailoha, has outdoor gas grills where we cooked steaks from Costco and fish from the local fish market.

Poi’pu, where we stayed on the south of the island, has the best weather on the island: 80 degrees F and sunny every day. If you want to get away and experience a relaxing vacation, it’s hard to do better than Kauai in the fall. With direct service from San Diego and Seattle, Alaska is the way to go. They are one of the few airlines that have their act together and treat their passengers like welcome guests.