926 days and counting…

Big Island Rental

Tom and I have often talked about going to Hawaii together. I had been there many times before we met and have anxiously awaited the day when he and I could share this glorious experience together.

Houseplants here in Minnesota are huge flowering bushes and trees in Hawaii, the lush greenery and colors mesmerizing along with the roaring surf on the world’s best beaches and a tropical climate that only fluctuates a few degrees year-round.

Big Island rental interior

I could write for days about the reasons why one must experience this remote collective of islands, each with its own history and personality, each appealing to travelers for their own personal reasons.  

As we have planned our now 926 days beginning Halloween 2012, Hawaii was definitely in the mix, although not conveniently located to accommodate our lofty itinerary. We grabbed a pricier ocean view house on the Big Island  (outside of our budget for the first time) for one month to bring our family together for Christmas 2014.  

Big Island Rental Master Bedroom

To compensate for the increased cost of the Big Island rental, we decided we must find a home in which to stay put for two to three months earlier in the year at a rate that would compensate for the increased cost of the Big Island house. We were able to accomplish this seemingly impossible scenario by renting a fabulous house on the remote island of Madeira off the coast of Portugal.  

Madeira, Portugal view from the veranda.

Upon researching vacation homes all over the world, we have discovered that both Hawaii and Alaska are some of the most expensive places to visit. An 800 square foot vacation cabin in Alaska typically rents for over $3000 a month for both winter and summer. Hawaii is slightly less at about $2500 a month for the same size condo running around 20% higher during the high season of US winter months. All vacation rentals in Hawaii are subject to a 13.42% state tax.

As we continue to post information about properties we have booked, the theme is consistent, beautiful homes with distinct personality and style, whether a 17th-century farmhouse in Tuscany or an aptly named 14th century “Stone House” on a quaint cobblestone street in Cajarc, France.

Madeira, Portugal interior view

As we’ve come to the realization that it makes sense to stay in Hawaii after the family Christmas gathering to keep costs under control, we realize that Hawaii is an unlikely state to visit with the intent of controlling costs. The islands require most products to be imported with the exception of bananas, pineapple, coffee, ginger root, guavas, macadamia nuts, papayas, and taro. About 90% of Hawaii’s gross product is produced in the service industries.

Our long-term goal has been cruising to Alaska in May 2015 to spend the summer living one month at a time in three different locations providing us with the opportunity to experience its beauty, its people, and its diverse wildlife.  

Madeira, Portugal exterior view

This objective left us with the difficult task of finding an affordable property on any one of the Hawaiian islands for a period of four months. Perhaps we’d island-hop, spending a month in Maui, Kauai, Oahu, and Molokai.  

After spending no less than 40 hours looking online at hundreds of rentals we came to the conclusion that island hopping was not realistic for our budgetary concerns due to the high costs of one-month rentals during peak season and the cost of travel from island to island. Nor did we want to sacrifice quality or location.  
We knew we’d have a better opportunity to negotiate a four-month stay. Preparing a property after one and two-week stays is time-consuming and costly for landlords.  

With the new goal of finding one location for this extended stay, we were able to stay within our monthly budget with a fabulous two-bedroom ocean-view condo in breathtaking Princeville on the north shore of Kauai, a highly sought-after location in the islands.  

By adding this booking to our already packed itinerary, we find we are now booked for a total of 926 days beyond October 31, 2012. Will we continue to book well into the future? Yes, based on prices in Alaska, we will continue to look for the ideal properties. Also, the cruises for 2015 from Hawaii to Alaska are not posted as yet.  It could be another year before they’ll be available. In the interim, we’ll wing it! Yes, we’ll wing it!

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