Heading to Kauai soon? Here are all the places I wish I had known about before I went.

I’ve written a fair amount of itineraries for this site, mostly because it’s the travel information both you as readers and I myself need help with most often. I have personally spent hundreds of hours researching destinations, and even more time benefitting from the planning of others and my own experience.  And as much as I love writing personal pieces or thoughtful narratives, I find quality itinerary and genuine recommendations surprisingly difficult to find — online or otherwise.

I also want to continue to demonstrate how much can be seen, even at a reasonable pace — for the part-time travelers who feel limited by a few weeks of vacation time. I hope to show that it’s as simple as aligning your priorities, doing the research (which I hope I am contributing to,) booking the ticket, and going.

The good news is one week in Kauai is a fantastic for the part-time traveler who has limited time.

When I sat down to share my tips from my recent time in Kauai, however, I found dividing the island into regions and subcategories to be more effective for explanation.  I’ll share those along with a brief breakdown of what to plan for each day in a week.

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A good friend of my father’s grew up on the Big Island of Hawaii. That fact, combined with the random weeklong October break from school, meant that I was fortunate enough to spend weeks of my childhood every year in what is still one of my favorite places in the world.

As time went on and the family vacations slowly ceased, I took a break from visiting Hawaii. Eager to see the world and experience growth from unfamiliar cultures and bits of life lived outside of my comfort zone, I stopped wanting to go.

Eventually, and especially since moving to San Francisco, I began to hear a small whisper intuitively calling me back to Hawaii. I had yet to visit one major island, and as my interest in hiking and spending time in raw nature had grown since childhood…I knew it was finally time to get to Kauai.

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A Traveler’s Dilemma

Please note that this trip is one I would have taken of my own volition, but I was invited to participate by Country Inns & Suites and did receive compensation for my time. All opinions and experiences are fully my own.

I once had a discussion with another traveler, sitting on a remote beach in New Zealand. It is one that I still remember vividly.

I had made fast friends with Kiwi couple while taking a break from kayaking on the tip of the South Island, in a national park called Abel Tasman. The conversation swiftly turned to travel (as they tend to do.) We ran the normal gamut: where we had been, where we wanted to go. Of course I then thought to ask them  about their favorite places on the North Island, which I was due to return to the very next day. This was their home, after all. No one could know it better.

“Never been,” they stated.

I tried to keep my jaw from dropping and my eyes from visibly widening in shock and confusion. New Zealand was far away for most of the world, but once you’re there — it’s not a big place. In fact, the whole of it seemed about the size of California to me. How could they possibly have never been to the other half of their tiny country?

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“New Orleans is unlike any city in America. Its cultural diversity is woven into the food, the music, the architecture – even the local superstitions. It’s a sensory experience on all levels and there’s a story lurking around every corner.” 

Hey, you!  Listen.

What’s that sound?

Is it:

a) a light jazz band playing soulfully in the streets

b) you, weeping because NOLA food is so amazing and you’re not there right now

or c) my stomach growling

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I haven’t shared much about it on PTT, but I went through a bit of a rough spot in my personal life post-traveling — as we all do in periods of change and transition.  This went beyond the normal reverse culture shock/reintegration blues I have come to expect after spending time abroad.

I’m lucky to have had such an incredible place to retreat to — to pause, reflect, and bounce back.  I spent a lot of time with family in the mountains surrounding Lake Tahoe.  After identifying why traveling makes me so happy, I picked up hiking and immersed myself in being outside, soaking up nature.  It was rejuvenating, harmonious, lovely.  I am forever grateful.

Now that I am back to being based in Northern California, it seems that Tahoe is everyone’s favorite spot to retreat to.  If people aren’t talking about the city, they’re talking about escaping to Tahoe.

Despite its ubiquitous popularity here, the lake and these mountains will always hold a separate, special place in my heart.

So when friends of mine asked me to participate in a blog series called “Show Us,” a behind-the-scenes look at something from our lives, I knew where I wanted to take you:

hiking lake tahoe Five Lakes Trail - Tahoe Mount Rose Sunset, Nevada

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