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Planning a visit to Hawaii is one thing many individuals dream of. With its gorgeous seashores, dramatic volcanic landscapes, and plush inexperienced hills, it’s probably the most lovely locations we’ve visited but additionally the most costly.
Whereas we do assume the islands are definitely worth the excessive value, to benefit from your keep, it’s important to plan prematurely.
On this put up, we share our prime Hawaii journey tricks to present you how you can plan a visit to Hawaii that’s good for you.
We’ll cowl what number of days you want in Hawaii, which island to go to, the place to remain, the highest actions, what you will need to ebook prematurely, and every little thing else you want to know.
No, since March 2022, the Protected Travels program has ended and there are actually no necessities for coming into Hawaii.
Home US guests to Hawaii not must fill out an internet kind or present proof of vaccination or a damaging take a look at.
Masks are actually optionally available, however some companies might require them. Please be respectful.
I like to recommend making reservations for accommodations, automobile rent, eating places, and excursions as far prematurely as attainable as a consequence of excessive demand. Be sure you enable loads of time at airports as safety strains are lengthy.
Worldwide Guests to Hawaii
All non-US residents should nonetheless present proof of vaccination to enter the US.
Since June 2022, most worldwide guests not must take a Covid take a look at to enter the nation.
The exception as of January 2023 is guests over 2 years outdated travelling to the US from China, Hong Kong, and Macau—a damaging take a look at taken inside two days of departure is required.
Journey insurance coverage is all the time very important for visiting the US, the place healthcare is so costly, but it surely’s much more essential proper now.
A superb finances coverage that we’ve used is SafetyWing. It’s out there worldwide, covers COVID-19, and is great worth for households as two kids underneath 10 are free.
For those who want cancellation cowl, Heymondo is one other nice possibility that insured our final US journey.
How Lengthy to Keep in Hawaii
The common keep in Hawaii is about 7 days. I believe it is a good minimal time for a visit, though 10-14 days is healthier if you wish to go to a number of islands.
Some guests do go to Hawaii for 4-5 days, but it surely’s a great distance from the US mainland (or wherever!) for a brief journey, and also you’ll spend the primary few days adjusting to the time zone change. That stated, if it’s all you’ll be able to handle, it’s higher than no time in Hawaii!
If in case you have per week on your Hawaii trip, I like to recommend selecting only one island to go to. See beneath to seek out the most effective Hawaiian island for you.
If in case you have 10 days in Hawaii, I like to recommend beginning with 3 days in Oahu after which visiting Maui or Kauai for per week.
Greatest Island to Go to in Hawaii
Selecting the most effective island to go to is among the most difficult elements of planning a visit to Hawaii. They’re all various with tons to supply, so it simply relies upon what you’re on the lookout for.
Most guests to Hawaii go to one in all these 4 islands:
Oahu is by far essentially the most visited and developed Hawaiian island. It’s house to the big metropolis of Honolulu, which incorporates the well-known and really crowded Waikiki Seaside (the place most customer lodging is positioned).
Oahu provides essentially the most selection of buying, eating, and nightlife, so if you wish to mix metropolis and seaside life, that is the most effective island for you.
It’s additionally by far the best place to handle with out renting a automobile (though I nonetheless suggest it). For those who keep in Waikiki, you’ll be able to stroll to the seaside and lots of retailers, eating places, and actions.
You too can take excursions, Ubers, or the Trolley Bus to close by sights together with the Pearl Harbour memorial.
Oahu’s North Shore provides a way more relaxed vibe with lovely seashores and big waves for browsing within the winter.
Oahu is straightforward to suit into Hawaii holidays as Honolulu Worldwide Airport provides essentially the most flights from the mainland US and worldwide locations.
Our favorite actions in Oahu are:
- Taking a helicopter experience across the island for gorgeous views. We suggest the one hour doorways off tour with Rainbow Helicopters from Honolulu.
- Snorkelling at Hanauma Bay.
- Enjoyable on the Windward Coast seashores particularly Waimānalo and Kailua.
See our 7 Day Oahu itinerary for a lot of extra suggestions.
The place to remain in Oahu: Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore is our favorite place we’ve stayed in all of Hawaii! It’s significantly dreamy with unbelievable ocean views, remoted seashores (with turtles!), fashionable rooms, and many to do. It feels a world away from Waikiki.
Maui is the second most visited island and is a well-liked honeymoon vacation spot.
It has beautiful seashores, world-class whale watching, and the Highway to Hana drive the place you’ll be able to see waterfalls, bamboo forest, and black sand seashores.
You too can watch the solar rise above a volcanic crater and go to wineries and lavender farms in Upcountry.
There’s a variety of resorts, eating, buying, and actions in addition to pure sights.
Our favorite actions in Maui are:
- Staying in a single day in Hana (we love Hana Kai Condos) to discover fashionable sights like Waianapanapa with out the crowds.
- Whale watching from Lahaina. We noticed an unbelievable quantity of humpbacks on our small group boat journey with Makai Adventures.
- Enjoyable on the seashores of West Maui (with turtle sightings!).
See our Maui itinerary for extra suggestions.
The place to remain in Maui: Kahana Reef has inexpensive, oceanfront condos on the west coast. We noticed whales, turtles, and unbelievable sunsets from our lanai.
The Large Island (formally referred to as Hawaii) is the youngest Hawaiian island, so it’s not as inexperienced as the opposite islands and has extra lava landscapes.
If you wish to see an lively volcano, that is the island to go to.
It’s the biggest island with various landscapes from white sand seashores to snow-capped volcanoes.
Our favorite actions on the Large Island are:
- Evening snorkel with manta rays. We obtained extremely shut to those magnificent and big creatures on our manta journey with Sea Quest.
- Snorkelling at Kealakekua Bay and Two Step.
- Kilauea Iki Path – Mountaineering right into a volcanic caldera in Hawaii Volcanoes Nationwide Park.
See our information to the finest issues to do on the Large Island for extra suggestions.
The place to Keep on the Large Island: You’ll need to divide your time between the west and east on this huge island. Our favorite space was Volcano, the place we adored this peaceable cabin within the rainforest. It’s very completely different from the remainder of Hawaii.
Referred to as The Backyard Isle, Kauai is essentially the most lush and inexperienced of the islands.
Kauai has grow to be extra fashionable, but it surely isn’t as developed as Maui or Oahu.
The jagged inexperienced cliffs of the gorgeous Napali Coast are the large draw, however there are additionally pretty seashores, waterfalls, climbing trails, and multi-coloured canyons.
Our favorite actions in Kauai are:
- Admiring Kauai from above – Our Kauai doorways off helicopter experience was spectacular.
- Crusing the Napali Coast – The large sea cliffs are gorgeous and we noticed whales, dolphins and turtles on the best way.
- Seeing turtles and seals on Poipu Seaside.
See our put up on the finest issues to do on Kauai for a lot of extra.
The place to remain in Kauai: We cherished our rental at Kiahuna Plantation on a gorgeous seaside in Poipu.
Much less Visited Hawaiian Islands
If you’re trying to get off the crushed observe, you might think about visiting one in all these smaller, a lot much less visited islands:
- Molokai – Referred to as The Pleasant Isle, on Molokai you’ll discover a gradual tempo of life and extra native Hawaiians, however much less selection of lodging and actions. It’s additionally house to the leper colony of Kalaupapa, which I grew to become fascinated with after studying a few these Hawaii books.
- Lanai – For a few years Lanai was a pineapple plantation and it’s now house to a couple luxurious resorts. If you wish to benefit from the secluded seashores with out the excessive price ticket, the ferry from Lahaina on Maui solely takes an hour, so you might go to on a day journey.
Which Facet of the Island?
The character of every island additionally depends upon which half you go to.
All of the islands have a wet aspect the place the surroundings is lush and inexperienced and a dry aspect the place you’ll normally get extra solar.
They’re each value visiting, which is why we cut up our island stays between two or three areas.
The place We Visited in Hawaii
We had 3.5 weeks on our first Hawaiian trip and divided our time between Kauai and Maui, with one night time in Honolulu earlier than our onward flight.
There’s a lot to do on every island that we’re glad we didn’t attempt to add in an additional island.
On our second 3 week Hawaii journey, we spent per week on Oahu (however may have stayed longer) and two weeks on the Large Island.
We love all 4 of the key Hawaii islands, however our private favorite is Kauai.
Planning a Journey to Hawaii: Earlier than You Arrive
- Save up – Hawaii is pricey and also you’ll get pleasure from it extra should you aren’t worrying about each penny. We spent $267 per particular person per day (travelling as a pair), together with every little thing besides flights from the mainland US. You would spend much less by travelling within the low season, selecting non-beachfront lodging, and skipping expensive excursions. You would additionally spend much more by staying in luxurious resorts and consuming out for each meal.
- Go to within the winter to see humpback whales – We have been astounded by what number of we noticed in Maui in February. January to March are the most effective months, however you may see a couple of from November to Might. Winter climate could be cooler and rainier, however we nonetheless had principally sunny days and the ocean is swimmable yr spherical.
- Go to within the low season to save cash – Within the spring (April and Might) and autumn (September to mid-November), the islands are much less crowded, costs are decrease, and the climate is mostly good. It may be very wet on Kauai in April, although. We discovered snorkelling higher in October than in February, because the water was clearer and hotter.
- E book your lodging far prematurely – Particularly in case you are travelling within the excessive season, need an ocean view, or are travelling to locations like Hana or Upcountry on Maui the place lodging is restricted. You’ll be able to seek for resorts and accommodations on Reserving and trip leases on Vrbo.
- Think about a rental slightly than a resort – For households, stays of per week or extra, and for these on a finances, renting a rental with a kitchen is a good way to save cash. There are various to select from and a few have resort services like swimming pools and beachfront areas. We principally keep in condos and Kiahuna Plantation on Poipu Seaside in Kauai is one in all our favourites. Vrbo is a good way to seek out condos.
- Break up your keep – If you would like the basic Hawaiian resort expertise however can’t afford it on your entire journey, divide your time between a rental and a resort. We did this in Oahu—staying in a rental in Waikiki for 4 nights whereas we explored the south, then stress-free at beautiful Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore for the final 3 nights.
- Camp in case you are on a decent finances – It’s not for everybody, however should you don’t thoughts roughing it, tenting is the most cost effective method to expertise Hawaii. There are some lovely campsites at seashores and state parks, though you normally must get permits prematurely. See this information to tenting in Hawaii for extra suggestions.
- Search on Kiwi or Skyscanner for the most effective flight offers – That you must get on a airplane to achieve Hawaii. The most affordable charges can be from Los Angeles or different West Coast USA cities. Southwest now flies to Hawaii at low charges. You too can get inexpensive flights from Canada and Japan to Honolulu.
- Fly out and in of various islands – Maximise your time on the islands by flying into one island (akin to Kauai) and out of one other (akin to Maui). I used to be shocked by what number of inexpensive direct flights there are from the US mainland to locations aside from Honolulu.
- Lease a automobile – It’s one of the best ways to see Hawaii and infrequently there’s no different method to attain elements of the islands. At busy instances rental vehicles can run out, so ebook far prematurely. We use Rental Automobiles to seek out the most effective deal and simply ebook the most cost effective financial system automobile.
- Journey between islands by airplane – There are not any ferries between islands (besides from Maui to Lanai) so that you’ll must hop on an interisland flight. Most are operated by Hawaiian Airways and are inexpensive and brief (20 to 50 minutes).
- Think about splitting your time between two or three areas on every island – If you wish to do a number of exploring, this can assist keep away from lengthy drives to sights. We’ve completed this on all 4 essential islands and it labored out effectively.
- E book Haleakala dawn prematurely – If you wish to see Maui’s hottest dawn, you will need to ebook as much as 60 days prematurely. For those who miss out, attempt once more two days earlier than when extra tickets are launched.
- Make reservations for some state parks – Non-Hawaii residents must ebook prematurely for sure parks and pay an entrance and parking price. These embody Haena State Park in Kauai, Waianapanapa State Park on the Highway to Hana in Maui, and Diamond Head in Oahu. Time slots are launched 30 days prematurely. E book as quickly as attainable as they do promote out.
- Pack a sweater – Whereas more often than not you’ll solely want summer season garments, it might probably get chilly on morning boat journeys or should you go to increased elevations (like Upcountry in Maui or Waimea Canyon on Kauai) particularly within the winter. Dawn at Haleakala, Maui and sundown at Mauna Kea on the Large Island are freezing and also you’ll admire as many layers as attainable. See the tip of this put up for extra recommendations on what to pack for Hawaii.
- Be taught a couple of Hawaiian phrases – Even when it’s simply Aloha (hiya and goodbye but additionally love and compassion) and Mahalo (thanks). I picked up vocabulary by studying the astounding novel Shark Dialogues by Kiana Davenport (which I extremely suggest each customer reads).
- E book eating places prematurely – Upscale eating places do replenish, so make reservations for wherever you positively need to eat (together with at resorts). A couple of weeks prematurely must be superb however locations like Duke’s on Waikiki Seaside ebook up months forward. Individuals are likely to eat early in Hawaii (round 6pm) so it’s simpler to get later reservations.
- Deliver money for tipping – Whilst you can add a tip to your bank card in eating places, it’s essential to have money for tour guides, valets, and resort employees. For those who’re not American, familiarise your self with tipping etiquette. We tipped 20% in eating places and sit down bars, $10-20 per particular person for excursions (together with for helicopter pilots), $5 for valet attendants (when the automobile was returned), and round $2-3 a day for lodge housekeeping.
- Plan to go to a couple of island per week – You’ll spend an excessive amount of of your treasured Hawaii trip time travelling and there’s a lot to do on every island. Whereas interisland flight instances are brief, airport safety queues could be lengthy (particularly out of Honolulu) or flights delayed.
- Overlook hidden charges – The listed value for accommodations and resorts is never what you’ll really pay. You’ll have so as to add tax and infrequently a resort price, cleansing price (for condos), and parking cost. Examine the ultimate complete value when evaluating lodging choices.
- Go to throughout holidays – Attempt to keep away from the busiest instances of yr, particularly Christmas and New Yr when crowds and costs soar. Thanksgiving week is one other busy interval. Keep away from particular occasions like Iron Man on the Large Island in October. For those who should go to then, ebook far prematurely.
- Keep on the seaside (perhaps) – If you’re on a decent finances, you’ll save by staying a brief stroll or drive from the seaside. That stated, we regularly splurge on beachfront lodging and find it irresistible.
When You Are In Hawaii
- Learn novels set in Hawaii – Be taught extra about Hawaii’s fascinating tradition and turbulent historical past by studying one in all these books about Hawaii whilst you loosen up on the seaside.
- Schedule your most essential actions early – Climate can change and cancel actions like boat journeys and helicopter rides, so be sure you’ll have time to reschedule.
- E book Hanauma Bay Nature Protect on Oahu two days prematurely – If you wish to snorkel at this fashionable seaside, you will need to make a reservation right here at precisely 7am Hawaii Commonplace Time two days earlier than your go to. Slots promote out in minutes. Tickets are $25. It’s closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
- Use reef-safe sunscreen – Hawaii has banned the sale of sunscreen that makes use of coral-harming chemical substances (oxybenzone and octinoxate). You want a product that makes use of zinc oxide as an alternative, like this Moral Zinc sunscreen. Truthfully, it’s a ache to use, but it surely’s surprisingly water-resistant, and it’s value it to guard the reefs. Longs Medication and ABC Shops are good locations to select up all of your seaside provides.
- Put on a rashguard – Even higher than sunscreen is to guard your pores and skin by carrying a rashguard within the water, particularly when snorkelling.
- Signal as much as the Snorkel Report on Maui – You’ll get an e-mail each morning with recommendations on the most effective seashores to go to that day. Additionally they hire cheap snorkelling and seaside gear.
- Examine the Hawaii Seaside Security web site – To seek out out which seashores are protected for swimming or finest for browsing.
- Go whale watching – It was one in all our favorite experiences in Hawaii. We selected a small boat journey with Makai Adventures from Lahaina in Maui and cherished it a lot we went twice. You’ll be able to see whales on a lot of the islands—seek for whale watching journeys in Hawaii right here.
- Hike – All of the islands have lovely trails from straightforward coastal walks to difficult multi-day treks. It’s an important free method to get pleasure from the great thing about the islands.
- Lease a Tommy Bahama seaside chair and umbrella – Our condos got here with these, however you’ll be able to hire them on the islands inexpensively. They’ve backpack straps for straightforward carrying and make seaside hopping far more snug.
- Deliver or hire snorkel gear – If in case you have area in your baggage, carry your personal snorkel and masks. If not, hire it for the size of your keep from a service like Snorkel Bob’s (as we did on the Large Island). I appreciated having the ability to check out the reef every time we went to the seaside.
- Go to a farmer’s market – The contemporary produce is normally cheaper and higher high quality than the supermarkets and there are many tasty treats and foodie souvenirs to get pleasure from.
- Cool off with shave ice – This scrumptious icy deal with is so significantly better than we anticipated. Add a scoop of macadamia ice cream on the underside for optimum tastiness. Our favourites are Waikomo Shave Ice on Kauai and Unique Large Island Shave Ice Co on the Large Island.
- Take pleasure in a Mai Tai on the seaside – Touristy sure, but it surely’s a basic Hawaii expertise and these tasty rum cocktails are available cool Tiki glasses.
- Attempt Li Hing Mui – This dried plum is nice, salty, and bitter. It’s highly regarded in Hawaii (originating from China), and yow will discover them entire for snacking (a bit a lot for me) or as a flavour for a lot of treats. It’s my new favorite shave ice flavour (particularly mixed with lilikoi/passionfruit and pineapple).
- Drive the Highway to Hana on Maui – Most individuals do that in at some point, however we cherished spending a couple of nights in Hana to discover with out the crowds.
- Eat in eating places for each meal – Eating places are costly and by self-catering in our rental we saved an enormous amount of cash. Even should you don’t have a kitchen, you’ll be able to choose up a pre-made picnic lunch from a grocery store and luxuriate in it on the seaside. A few of our tastiest meals have been from meals vehicles that are far cheaper than eating places. Hana in Maui and Hanalei in Kauai had the most effective collection of vehicles.
- Underestimate the ocean – Circumstances could be harmful and alter rapidly and drownings do occur. For those who’re unsure it’s protected, don’t swim.
- Flip your again on the ocean – Big waves can come out of nowhere when you find yourself swimming and even strolling alongside the shore.
- Combat a rip present – For those who get caught in a present, preserve calm, float, and wave for assist. Go along with the present and preserve your power.
- Contact sea turtles or monk seals – You’re prone to come throughout wildlife on the seashores, but it surely’s unlawful to get too shut or contact them.
- Feed fish or different wild animals.
- Trespass – Please respect non-public property. Whereas all seashores are open to the general public, they don’t all have public entry routes.
- Litter – Don’t depart something behind on seashores or climbing trails.
- Park illegally – Respect “no parking” indicators and don’t cease on the aspect of the street. This has grow to be an actual downside on the Highway to Hana in Maui particularly.
- Steal any rocks or sand.
- Contact or step on coral – Be aware of the place your fins are when snorkelling.
- Go away valuables in your automobile – And preserve any baggage hidden out of sight within the trunk. Lease a mid-size automobile slightly than a compact one (we discovered these didn’t have an enclosed trunk).
- Snigger on the hula – It’s not only a dance for vacationers, however a severe a part of native tradition.
- Refuse a lei (flower garland) – It’s a logo of affection and Aloha so put on it with gratitude and don’t take it off in entrance of the one who gave it to you.
- Put on sneakers into somebody’s home.
- Rush – Don’t really feel the strain to do every little thing. Be sure you enable time simply to loosen up by the pool or on the seaside. Decelerate and luxuriate in these lovely islands.
The climate is heat year-round in Hawaii so pack light-weight summer season garments—shorts, t-shirts, attire, a few bathing fits, and a seaside cover-up.
I’m a giant fan of PrAna for summer season attire and swimwear.
There’s no must pack formal garments as Hawaii may be very informal.
I do suggest packing one set of hotter garments for visiting locations at increased elevations or boat journeys in winter. A pair of denims or leggings plus a light-weight fleece or sweater must be superb.
If you’re planning on dawn at Haleakala in Maui or stargazing at Mauna Kea on the Large Island, it may be freezing, so add extra layers and maybe a packable down jacket when you have one.
We spend most of our time in Hawaii carrying climbing sandals—they’re good for seashores and hikes. Many seashores have tough entry trails so that you’ll admire one thing greater than flip-flops.
I additionally had a pair of ballet flats for a dressier possibility for the evenings. My present favourites are the tremendous comfortable Allbirds Tree Breezers—see my Allbirds flats assessment for particulars.
For operating, I put on the sunshine, breathable Allbirds Tree Dashers.
Different Helpful Gadgets
- Reef-safe sunscreen – Keep away from sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate which have been banned in Hawaii.
- Reusable buying luggage – Plastic luggage are banned on the islands.
- Spices – If you’re self-catering, you’ll lower your expenses by bringing a small quantity of spices with you. We purchased some on the bulk-buy part of a grocery store on the mainland.
- Water bottle – Keep away from creating plastic waste by packing a reusable water bottle. We just like the Vapur water bottle because it’s mild and packs flat when empty.
- Packable daypack – These backpacks slot in your baggage on the journey over and are helpful for hikes and exploring.
- Packing cubes – We swear by these as they preserve your garments organised and simple to seek out in your baggage.
- Fast-dry seaside towel – These light-weight towels dry sooner than conventional towels and sand shakes off them extra simply.
- Compact binoculars – There’s a lot wildlife to see in Hawaii together with whales, dolphins, seals, turtles, and birds. The tiny Olympus 8 x 21 RCII waterproof binoculars have been superb for getting a better look.
Is Hawaii Price it?
Sure, I believe Hawaii is effectively value visiting! Whereas it’s costly and could be crowded, there’s one thing about that gorgeous surroundings and stress-free vibe that entices many people to go to time and again.
I hope this weblog put up helps you with how you can plan a visit to Hawaii. Let me know when you have any questions and share your Hawaii journey suggestions within the feedback beneath.
We share extra of our Hawaii suggestions in these posts:
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