Yes, we have been waiting, not so patiently, for Southwest Airlines to start their nonstop flights to Kauai and now the company says they are VERY CLOSE. This is good news for anyone with a Southwest credit card or who is part of their Rapid Rewards program. Because, in some cases, a traveling partner flies free.
Southwest Airlines initially proposed routes to Hawaii way back in October 2017. Southwest will operate to Hawaii from Oakland, Sacramento, San Diego, and San Jose, and will serve Honolulu, Lihue, Kona, and Kahului. They also want to run an inter-island service, which would bring some much needed competition to this market.
The number one question I get asked most often by travelers is, “When is the best time to visit Kauai?” I always have a difficult time answering this question. My first impulse is to say anytime, but I realize this response is not helpful. Although we do not have the traditional seasons that much of the country experiences, we do have changes throughout the year that could make a difference as to when you make your trip to Paradise.
Weather, animal migrations, crowds and airline prices are all factors that should be considered when deciding the best time to visit Kauai. And, of course, it depends on what you want. For example, if you want to see the humpback whales, then November to April is your best bet. If a boat ride down the Na Pali coast is a priority, months when the swells die down (April to October) are a must. Hikers may want drier weather. Sun bathers will choose different months from people who prefer to stay cool. And, if money is a concern, airline prices definitely fluctuate throughout the year.
You have booked your tickets for a flight to the Garden Island and now you need to find a place to stay. Vacation rental or hotel room? The choice is easy. My husband and I have traveled extensively over the last twenty years and we have found renting a vacation rental far outweighs staying at a hotel. Here is why.
When our luxury home, Kauai Vacation Rental at Honu Point, was completed in 2015, I signed up for a subscription with one of the big name vacation rental sites. I paid an annual fee for the advertising it provided. This site offered the guest the convenience of seeing a variety of choices, and communication between the guest and owner prior to booking was encouraged. Booking my home on this site was free to my guests.
In 2016 a well-known travel company bought this site, and now it is hard to avoid a service fee without booking directly with a vacation home owner. These fees can be significant. Even if the owner pays the listing site a subscription fee, the site now charges the guest a minimum service fee of 4% – 12% of the rental. “Service Fee” sounds somewhat better than “Booking Commission,” but it is simply a fee the site charges the guest for using its services.
There is nothing wrong with a vacation rental site charging a fee for its service, though it tends to irk me that they are getting paid on both ends of the transaction for nothing more than advertising. What is really upsetting, however, is that they are making it more and more difficult for me to communicate directly with my guests prior to booking. They block any website pages or email addresses that I wish to send to my guests, making it very hard to recommend activities and services that might make planning a bit easier.
For these reasons, owners are banning together to get the word out about how to book directly the next time you want to rent a vacation rental property. Yesterday was Guest Education Day (February 7, 2018) and #bookdirect is still trending on social media. I still use the advertising site but I wanted to bring awareness to my past and future guests of the choice you have when renting a vacation rental property.