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Wgal traffic-HONOLULU -- While planning a weeklong family trip to Hawaii as an escape from winter, I kept getting suggestions from friends, websites and even my kids for all kinds of "must-see"......

Wgal traffic-HONOLULU -- While planning a weeklong family trip to Hawaii as an escape from winter, I kept getting suggestions from friends, websites and even my kids for all kinds of "must-see" activities.

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  • 1. asrimohd.com wgal traffic wgal traffic WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2010 4:19 PM POSTED BY NATES HONOLULU -- With all kinds of "must-see" activities, Hawaii can get expensive fast, but you can see the best for free. Thursday, January 6, 2011.   wgal traffic WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2010 4:19 PM POSTED BY NATES HONOLULU -- While planning a weeklong family trip to Hawaii as an escape from winter, I kept getting suggestions from friends, websites and even my kids for all kinds of "must-see" activities. I'm happy to report we skipped 'em all with no regrets. Yet our trip to Hawaii was spectacular. We hiked through rain forests, walked across a volcano floor, stargazed from the world's tallest mountain, and swam in a bay so full of colorful sea life that it was like stepping into an aquarium. We visited Pearl Harbor, climbed Diamond Head, sunbathed on Waikiki and body- surfed at Hanalei Bay. We saw petroglyphs on a remote seaside trail, and watched Hawaiian dancers in a park at sunset. We even stopped by the apartment building where Barack Obama was raised (1617 S. Beretania St., Honolulu), because I wanted my city-born kids to see that you don't have to grow up in a mansion to be president. Which is not to say that a vacation to Hawaii can be done on a dime. We pounced on a $550 round-trip airfare, but even that meant $2,200 for a family of four. Because it was our first visit, we hopscotched among three islands - the Big Island, Oahu and Kauai - which meant $60-per-person flights from one island to the next. My husband covered six nights' lodging for free by saving hotel credit card points for more than a year, but the one hotel night we paid for ran $350. We also paid for rental cars, but that let us skip taxis and tour buses. We stuffed ourselves at free hotel breakfasts and at places like Me's BBQ, 151 Uluniu St. in Waikiki on Oahu, where the plate lunch (a mix of choices including chicken, fish, pork, vegetables, rice and macaroni salad) fills you up for under $10. The ubiquitous Hawaiian ABC chain became our second home, as it does for many tourists, offering basics like sunscreen and postcards as well as fresh fruit, sushi and sandwiches. But most of all, we collected memories from one amazing adventure to the next, without spending a lot of cash. Here are some details.