#travel story: how to turn a work trip to hawaii into a mini break

best beaches in hawaii

punalu’u black sand beach, big island

Happy New Year! Welcome to my first post of 2015. I thought I would start it off with a quick travel story about my trip to Hawaii and how I leveraged my #1 travel tip of turning a business trip into a mini break. I know, I know, poor me. I had to fly 11+ hours, leave the cold of the east behind and land in what some would consider paradise. Okay, enough with the pity party and on to the story.

Unlike some of my coworkers, I choose to take my mini breaks at the end of the trip. As the event manager, there are simply too many last minute things I have to worry about that I simply would not be able to take a “break” and enjoy. For this trip, I go out every year for a trade show so I fly out on Sunday, set up our booth and meeting rooms on Monday and then “work” the show until Thursday afternoon. In between, I wake up at 4:00am (because jetlag is a bitch), do some work to stay caught up with the east and west coasts and try to leave the convention center for some Vitamin D and nourishment.

By the time Thursday afternoon hits, it’s all about fun in the sun! And a much needed nap tends to happen. {Side note – I try to get a little sun in on Monday if set up goes quickly + the weather is cooperating.}

•Mini Break Schedule•

First up, lunch with locals. Ono Seafood. Amazing! Absolutely delicious sashimi.

Next, dinner by the beach. Ocean House. Ask for a table by the window. AMAZING VIEWS. You can see Diamond Head from your table and on a clear night, you can see the sunset until it falls into the ocean. I”m sure specials change regularly, but try the red snapper and curry sauce if it happens to be the special of the night.

Friday, a day trip to the Big Island. I booked the Robert’s Hawaii Grand Circle Tour; be prepared for a long day, but it’s a great way to see the island in one day. They pick you up as early as 5:30 am and you don’t get back to your hotel until 9:00 pm. In between, you take a quick flight from Oahu to the Big Island, board an air conditioned bus and begin your adventure. Black lava replaces the lush green you expect of an island, that is until you get to the area near Parker’s Ranch…then you’re greeted with rolling hills and views of volcanoes…as you continue the tour you pass farms full of alpacas and cows…cross bridges with waterfalls as views…and the best part of all…travel through an active volcano! Yep, you read that right. Due to the danger, you no longer can get up close and personal with live lava flows, but you do have the chance to walk through the Thurston Lava Tube…after exiting the volcano you have a quick stop to hang with some sea turtles on black sand and to end the tour a stop by a coffee plantation and a beautiful ride down the coast as the sun begins to set. Hands down, Hawaii has THE BEST SUNSETS!

The rest of the weekend. Get the heck out of Waikiki and go to the western side of the island, it’s less touristy and more peaceful. After getting back from my tour Thursday night I took a $60 Uber ride (with making a stop) from the Courtyard Waikiki to the J.W. Marriott Ilihani. I had a wonderful time. The hotel is closing this month for massive renovations so it should come back even better! My room was HUGE: two closets, yes two and one was a walk in; a bathroom replete with a huge tube and separate shower and a lanai where I had ocean and mountain views. Continuing with my M.O. of 2014, I made a spa appointment for Saturday morning. A loomi loomi massage. Yep, the perfect way to end this trip and essentially six weeks of traveling. Even my masseuse said I was past due.

Travel tip: If Maui is in your sights for your mini break, check out this post and this one.

happy travels, tiffany 

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