I have zero desire to travel elsewhere UNLESS it was free and even then I would have to consider the destination before going. Aruba wins every trip...Its been MANY years since we have traveled anyplace else with the exception of Disney for my son and a FREE trip to Puerto Rico staying at the Ritz.
I have been to Hawaii twice. Once to Maui and once to the Big Island. Both were trips I earned through my job and we stayed at super expensive hotels. I'd like to go back on our own sometime and see how we like it, maybe staying in a condo. The Big Island was amazing. It had everything...beaches, volcanoes, rainforest, snow on top of the volcanoes, ranches. We drove around the entire island and even spent two nights in the rain forest in a bungaloe that had three walls of just windows. The experience of seeing the lava glow at night and then watching it disappear as the sun rose over the volcano was something I'll never forget. We love to scuba and snorkel and on the Big Island we went out and did it at night with manta rays! Both places there were turtles everywhere when you snorkeled! They said not to touch them but they would literally come up right beside you! Maui was beautiful and we saw so many cool things driving the road to Hana.
In a perfect world, I would love to spend a couple of weeks in Hawaii per year and a couple in Aruba. We fly from Indiana so we have long flights to both locations. Of course Hawaii takes longer and you do have to deal with the huge time difference. There are no direct flights from Indy to Aruba so it takes us a while to get there as well.
Since we've been going to Aruba for so many years now (13 trips), I don't feel guilty spending most of our time on the beach because we've already done so much (although each year we seem to find a few new things to do!). In Hawaii we didn't spend all that much time on the beach because there was so much to explore. We would even just drive around and find beaches and places to jump in and snorkel!
For now we will continue to make our annual trip to Aruba but I will go back to Hawaii again someday.
Have been to Hawaii, and funny thing is, yesterday we picked up a DVD tape of an original VCR tape we got when we took a Blue Helicopter tour over the big island. I was crying at one point, not because I miss Hawaii, but the scenery was sooooo gorgeous, but... I asked Dh and he and I at the same time both agreed we would take Aruba over Hawaii any day, any time for any reason.
We did do a lot of the the touristy things while in Honolulu and got to see some cool things while on the big island...black sand beaches, turtles laying eggs, green sand beaches and of course the helicopter tour....so, yes there is a lot to see, beautiful scenery....but our hearts belong to Aruba for so many other reasons....the people we have met over the years have always made us feel welcome and a part of the island. Hawaii is a tourist island and very "cold" and impersonal. Not because of the people, just the circumstances...
I spent a lot of time in Oahu in the 80s, 90s and early 2000s, from periods spanning a few days to a few months at a time. DW got to visit and she was impressed with the lush scenery and the hustle and bustle of Waikiki and the quietness and serenity of the North Shore. We never made it to any of the other islands unfortunately, so I can't speak for them. Although Oahu is a huge tourist area especially for Americans and Japanese, you have to get away from Honolulu to experience the real Hawaii, like the old Sugar Bar in Waialua. I found the native Hawaiians to be very friendly and they exhibited the aloha and Ohana spirit very much and I was warmly accepted into many local family celebrations. Okay enough about that. Now days, I would much rather go to Aruba and lay by the pool or on the beach all day and avoid that terribly long flight from the East Coast to Hawaii. I have to say I think both cultures are wonderful to experience in their own ways.