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Top Five Rookie Mistakes When Visiting Hawaii


Hawaii is such a unique and diverse vacation destination, and US travelers are rushing to plan their trips there during this time when domestic travel feels “safer.” After all, Hawaii can feel like an exotic, international vacation without ever leaving the good ole USA. It’s often the number one destination for honeymooners (I spent my honeymoon there.) But it’s a great family vacation destination too!

There is so much to do in the Hawaiian Islands – a wide range of activities and experiences – I’ll write about both honeymoon and family trips in another post. Still, this post is all about what NOT to do when vacationing in one of my favorite vacation destinations. Here, I will share the “Top Five Rookie Mistakes when Visiting Hawaii” with you:

1) DON’T visit a lot of islands in a short amount of time!

Slow-Down, Hawaii is an experience, so why do so many people want to visit all five major islands in 10 days? Each time you switch islands, you spend at least eight hours of your vacation packing, checking in and out of the resorts, returning and picking up the rental car, the timing of the arrival at the airport, time at baggage claim, driving to your new hotel, and settling in. And eight hours is quick. With long lines and new safety protocols, it could be closer to twelve. So I recommend visiting no more than two islands in seven days (focusing on only one is even better!) Two islands in 10 days or three islands in 14 days will indeed be the best way to explore each destination mindfully.

2) DON’T think a Hawaiian vacation is an all-inclusive destination!

First off, there isn’t an all-inclusive resort in Hawaii. State law prohibits the inclusion of alcohol in a hotel room rate/package. And, second, as a foodie, I would hate the idea of having to eat all my meals at my resort. There are so many off-the-beaten-path and roadside options for trying fresh, authentic cuisine. If a package dining price for some meals is your jam, most four and five-star resorts will include an excellent breakfast for an additional per-day add-on to the resort costs (When booking with us, we often get the breakfast added in at no additional fee.) The rest of your meals are best when exploring the many culinary options throughout your activities during your stay. Plus, Hawaii is an accessible driving destination, with some of the best experiences outside the resorts.

3) DON’T pack stilettos and neckties!

“Formal” attire in the islands means putting on a fresh Aloha shirt with your best flip-flops. Men do not wear ties under normal circumstances, and women can get by with sundresses and sandals. The number one item to NEVER forget is high SPF, reef-safe sunscreen, and your favorite sunglasses and sun hat. The rays can be brutal, and you don’t want to ruin your vacation with a killer burn or sun sickness.


4) DON’T bring your road rage and leave your impatience ways at home!

Marrying into a Greek family, I’ve had 25 years to learn about island time. And in the Hawaiian islands, it’s not any different. As a mainlander, you need to adjust your expectations and embrace the Aloha Spirit of relaxing and slowing down. Don’t be that guy/gal who honks your horn unless it is an emergency (it isn’t nice!) Be generous, let locals pass you, or let people merge into traffic. If it takes a moment for someone to acknowledge you because they are “talking story” with someone else, take a deep breath and smile. Your turn will come! And a meeting time usually means 10-15 minutes later. Get used to it…you might even relax a little!

5) DON’T let a luau be the only cultural education you get!

Before your trip, google the internet for stories on the fascinating Hawaiian history and culture. There is so much more to Hawaii than the beach! Learn some common Hawaiian words; sign up for a workshop on the Hawaiian culture often offered free at your resorts. And, most of all – be respectful of the Hawaiian ways and customs. Even though it is still the USA, you are a lucky visitor.

If you’re ready for your OWN adventure to our nation’s 50th state, reach out to Stay Balanced Travel today. As a certified Hawaii Destination Expert, I am uniquely qualified to help you have the most relaxing and memorable time in the Islands. Click HERE to get started!

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