FLIGHTS: Check flights into Kona and Hilo to see which are cheaper. It may also be more affordable to book into Honolulu and then take an inter-island flight on Hawaiian Airlines.
West Coasters: Flights from Seattle, San Jose and San Diego to Kona tend to be less expensive. Also, check out Virgin Airlines low introductory fees.
East Coasters: Consider RT from east to west coast (try Southwest) then RT to Kona or Hilo. Alaskan, Delta, United, Hawaiian and now Virgin Airlines often offer excellent fares on this leg of the journey.
A. Do I need a rental car?
It depends on how long you plan to stay. To keep costs down, group together and rent a car. Or, if you are only coming out for the conference – and enough interest is shown - we will arrange for a fee-based shuttle service to and from the airport, and between the Kamuela Inn and conference site.
B. Can I stay somewhere other than the Kamuela Inn?
Yes, but you may not get a better deal in terms of cost, location to conference site, and free breakfast. The Inn is also where IBC vans will do pick-ups for some field trips.
C. Do you cater to special diets?
Yes. Vegetarian and Gluten-free (but the latter may leave you eating a lot of salads!)
D. Can you handle Beachcombers with special needs?
We can accommodate everyone to a degree. All tutorials, museum trips and arts classes are open to everyone, including people with disabilities. But certain field trips – marked ‘moderate’ or ‘challenging’ - may be problematic for some people. For instance, some field trips require hiking down steep or slippery cliff-side trails, over rocky beaches or across rough terrain, sometimes for a mile or longer (coupled with the heat.) People who have ambulatory problems, bad knees or hips, or who over-heat easily should avoid these excursions and opt for ones marked ‘Easy’ or ‘Moderate’ instead.
We can’t stress enough that this is an active, hands-on learning conference. If you plan to join in on hilly or longer hikes, start getting in shape NOW!
E. Will I need special equipment?
Beachcombing on the Big Island is a very different experience for those of you accustomed to long flat sandy beaches. Many Big Island beaches are rocky with coral or lava cobbles, some of which require actual ‘combing’ over the top layer to find anything worthwhile. So no matter what field trips you sign up for, it is best to be prepared and bring the following:
- Sneakers or thick-soled shoes to traverse rocky terrain, slippery slopes, or avoid getting pricked by Kiawe thorns
- Garden or canvas gloves (lava cobbles can be tough on fingers)
- Sunblock & Mosquito Repellent (can be purchased on Island)
- And of course, Bathing Suits & Towels!
Basically, you will only need t-shirts, shorts, a sweatshirt (Waimea can be cold in February) socks, a light all-weather coat and a pair of long pants. If you can bring only carry-ons on the plane, that'd be a smart move.