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How Not to Look Like a Tourist in Hawaii

Updated on March 15, 2012

People in Hawaii love helping visitors to have a good time. We truly want you to to love the islands the way that we do. As much as we love tourists though, most visitors would like to try to avoid looking like too much of one. Sure, the camera and the map are a tip off, but here are some other ways to help you avoid standing out while visiting Hawaii.

The Tourist Sunburn, or Our Sun Can Beat up Your Sun! - Hawaii is much closer to the equator than any other state, even Florida, so you will burn here even if you don't at home. Nothing screams "tourist" more than a sunburn on just one side of your body. Slather on that sunscreen and wear a rash guard at the beach.

The Latest Fashions - Hawaii is not exactly the fashion capital of the world. It usually takes about six months for trendy fashions to reach us. We were all a little mystified about the gladiator sandal until we saw enough of them on visitors to realize that it was a trend. Gladiator sandals are very impratical for Hawaii since we take our shoes off before entering the house. It's really hard to just buckle all those buckles, let alone re-buckle them. Although Honolulu and the larger resorts have their share of Prada, Gucci, and Chanel, being cutting edge is not that important to most people. You may be rocking that romper, but you might also be the only person wearing one.

Aloha Wear - Go ahead and wear that aloha shirt or muumuu, just make sure that every person in the family isn't wearing the same print. Most everyone in Hawaii has some type of aloha wear, and many business require employees to wear it on Aloha Friday (which is every Friday). Look for something tasteful in department stores or boutiques.

Shoes - Flip-flops, or slippers as we call them, are a must. No one wears closed-toe shoes and socks with shorts, unless they're athletic shoes. Water shoes, like Aqua Shoes, are not real shoes - they're supposed to be worn in the water (hence the name). If you wear these in a store, you will get stares.

Shorts - Short shorts may be stylish for women, but not for men. They haven't been in style since Magnum P.I. in the 80's. So gentlemen, unless you have legs like Tom Selleck, wear shorts that at least reach your mid-thigh if not your knees. Most men wear board shorts for swimming.

The Rental Car - Certain rental cars are just tourist cars - the red convertible, for example. If you want to fit in, a Jeep might be a better choice. But, you are on vacation, after all, and if you imagined yourself driving around the island with the top down, go for it. Whatever you drive, don't honk your horn unless you are in danger of getting in an accident. Honking, when not absolutely necessary, is considered extremely rude. Also, if someone is nice enough to let you cut into traffic, at least offer them a wave or a "shaka".

Rest assured, even if you drive down the street in a red convertible with a sunburn, matching aloha wear, short shorts, and gladiator sandals with socks, we will still appreciate having you visit, although we may giggle just a little bit. Just remember, don't honk, and do wave!


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    • hush4444 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks RTalloni - Hawaii is all about fun!

    • RTalloni profile image


      6 years ago from the short journey

      Fun (and practical) stuff. :)

    • hush4444 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks for stopping by, elayne001! It's hard to know how to really fit in until you've lived here for a while, but ignorance is bliss!

    • elayne001 profile image


      7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      So true and great tips! I remember when we thought it was cool to all dress in the same aloha print, but found out later.

    • hush4444 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks so much, Brittany! We may not be up on the latest fashions, but we do have good taste in slippahs!

    • brittanytodd profile image

      Brittany Kennedy 

      7 years ago from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

      Great tips! I feel like us locals can spot a "haole" from a mile away! Haha. Great hub to prepare people. I love the part about how trends get to us 6 months later. Definitely true! Keep up the good work. Mahalo

    • hush4444 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Hawaii

      Wow, congratulations! I hope you have a phenomenal time in Hawaii.

    • gzbraniac profile image


      7 years ago from San Clemente, CA

      I'm actually going to Hawaii this November to congratulate myself for the Bar exam! This will come in handy. Thanks!


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