Tips For Visiting Hawaii
Introduction To Hawaii
The State of Hawaii is a place of natural wonder--ecologically, geologically and culturally. It is the most popular destination spot in the United States, at least in terms of tourism dollars generated by the state. Americans, Japanese, Europeans, Canadians and many other peoples travel here every year to enjoy wonderful sands, good cuisine, fine shopping and great night clubs. Decent scuba diving, quiet retreats and sun filled days await!
I personally have been to Hawaii three times in my life and have loved it every time. Although Hawaii can be expensive, there are certainly ways to make it affordable for the common traveler. Whether you are going there for your honeymoon, a business trip, or just a spring break get away--I hope you will allow me to better serve your vacation. I won't explain all the tips and tricks to the Islands, but I will certainly wet your tongue.
Here we go!
Honolulu Hawaii, View From The 'Punch Bowl'
Pick a Spot, Any Spot
Oahu - The most populated island is an especially eventful vacation for those who enjoy history, beaches with a lot of people to meet, browsing for real estate, the best nightlife in the islands, and of course the best shopping available (Waikiki). Waikiki is the primary strip in Honolulu, which is on Oahu. It is where most timeshares, nightclubs, crowded beaches and cute boutiques are present. Honolulu is of course, where you will find Pearl Harbor. I highly recommend the day-long experience, although it may be too depressing for young children. Make sure to get there at 6:00am sharp, or else you might not get within premises until afternoon. Pearl Harbor is always crowded with tourists, especially during the peak season--be early, or don't come at all.
Maui - The quiet island. If you enjoy a "get away from it all" experience, horseback riding on the beach or just eating at a Domino's that only gets visited by the locals a few times a day--then you will appreciate Maui. Sugarcane & pineapple fields rule the day here. Generally nice locals, private villas and lonely beaches are present here. If you like to party, Maui is probably not the place for you. Night clubs are uncommon and are mostly found in Honolulu.
Kauai - Nothing but green valleys and a garden oasis. This island is somehow quieter than Maui. If you are looking for the robust ecological expierence expected of the Hawaiian Islands--then you must come here. Kauai is home to unique species of birds, the greenest landscape and is the least populated "primary" island. Beware, it rains often in Kauai, especially the higher in elevation you go.
Hawai'i - The big island--not to be confused with the state of Hawaii. As impied, it is the largest island of the chain. It is also the youngest island, and thus is experiencing volcanic activity all the time (and I mean all the time, want to see a lava flow? Get a tour guide). If you want the finest Luau experience available--then the big island is your place. You simply wont find a better Luau than here. You will notice black sands here, a unique sighting. Hawaii has plenty of beach to share, the most coastline of any of the islands. Want to see Dole pineapple plantations? Come on down, it's just a $40 plane ride away from Honolulu.
Lanai - The only time you will visit Lanai, is if you know a local, or if you decide to go snorkeling on Maui, and the boat lands on Lanai for lunch.
Molokai - The least developed of the "primary" Hawaiian islands. (When I say primary, I mean those that receive most of their revenue from tourism). Unfortunately, I have not been to Molokai, so keep reading.
Kahoolawe - This island used to be a bombing site for the air force. As of the early 90's, it is a live-fire sight no more! The island is still being cleaned up and will require some time to populate it again. Don't expect much tourism here for a while.
Niihau - This is a private island and is not accessible by tourists or locals.
Daytime in Hawaii
No Passport Required - Although this may be a "duh" moment for most, some people are not aware that you do not need a passport to travel to any of the Hawaiian Islands.
Beware of Bitter Locals - Locals in Hawaii can be characteristically unfriendly towards Whites and people of Japanese ancestry. Two rules and you will be fine: Don't go in their neighborhoods (often timeshares may be placed right in the middle of them, if you reside in one, just go to your destination and come back without making trouble. Don't make eye contact.) Many neighborhoods that are a few blocks from Waikiki are locals-only areas and are often very poor. The other rule is--don't go on their beaches. That means don't go to secluded areas of the island where only locals live. If you don't see another tourist when you feel you should, then maybe you shouldn't be there. Muggings are uncommon--but you may get cold stares and rude comments.
No Recycling System on Maui - As with most Island nations and/or states, most waste is hauled out by barge, and the Hawaiian Islands are none different. There is no recycling on Maui.
Hurricanes Avoid Hawaii - The last time a hurricane hit Hawaii was in 1992, and since then only tropical depressions or the seldom tropical storm has grazed the Island. This does not guarantee anything, but Hurricanes are uncommon in Hawaii.
Milk And Meat Are Expensive - If you are staying in a timeshare and wish to save money--pass on the milk and meat. For example, a gallon of milk is $7.99 before taxes. Also, most milk and meats are sub-par, since they have to be imported in by ship.
No Duty-Free Shops Available - Remember! Hawaii is a state and is not subject to overseas tax breaks and/or tax benefits. Sorry thrifty ones!
Renting Vehicles is Safe - For those of you who have read my Jamaica article--you know not to rent cars there. Not from Avis, Dollar, nadda. Luckily, it is perfectly safe to rent a vehicle in Hawaii.
Beaches on Waikiki Close Early - Mechanical beachcombers will usually begin to clean the beaches at around 11:00pm, although you don't have to leave, most people will venture to a bar, cafe or more private area for the evening when the combers come out.
Hurricane Sirens Are Sounded Frequently - Don't be alarmed (no pun intended), the state's siren system is activated once or twice a month to insure that they work. Ask front desk or whomever you are staying with when the alarms sound.
Man-O War Warning - Hawaii is known to have massive amounts of man-o-war float ashore during unique times of the year. Beach signs clearly dictate whether these occurrences are frequent, rare or non-existent at the correlating public beach.
Have Fun! - You are nearly guaranteed to have the time of your life on Hawaii. It isn't terribly expensive (flights can be as low from $250 round-trip from the mainland), and you are bound to find your niche! Be sure to check out the islands--that reminds me, I'm due to go back soon! Enjoy!
- Living & Working in Hawaii — Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism
- Honolulu Community College
- University of Hawaii System
University of Hawaii System
- Hawaii - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Connecting You to Hawai`i State Government. Online Services, Why wait in line? Get it done online.
- Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau