Are you thinking of planning a Trip to Hawaii? Where should you start? Which islands should you visit? Once you start looking at all the possibilities, it can seem daunting.
But it doesn’t have to be!
Yes, there are many islands from which to choose – each with its own long list of things to experience. However, planning the perfect air getaway will be a pleasurable experience if you know how to deal with it. Here are some quick tips for planning the perfect trip to Hawaii.
Schedule the Tour to Leave Some Wiggle Room
Now that you know which islands you’ll be visiting, set a loose schedule. Must fit into the must-see attractions, but try to leave a few hours around to just relax, or visit a place that a local has recommended to you. Leave room for the spontaneous and how the weather can affect your plans! If you choose the guided tours, be sure to book them before you arrive, or risk them being sold out.
Be careful with traffic on Oahu in the Honolulu area. While Hawaii is awesome in many ways, one thing we don’t handle so well is rush hour. If you’re driving between places or activities during the busy morning or afternoon hours, be sure to budget more time.
To get your planning juices flowing, there is a short list of activities to explore such as snorkeling, surfing, hiking, food tours, museum/historic sites, luaus, zip lining, helicopter tours, horseback riding, and whale watching. You can also find reviews of some of the attractions and activities on Roaming Hawaii here.
Book Your Cheap Flights and Luxury Hotel
It easily goes without saying that Hawaii is very popular all year round – so book your Hawaii flights and accommodations early! Having said that, prices fluctuate, so start buying prices at least six months in advance if you can. Ideally, you don’t want to wait less than two months to book these two important aspects of your trip. Set up alerts for flights so you know when prices drop and opt for flights in the middle of the week when prices are lowest.
Hawaii is a popular location for conventions, conventions, and corporate promotion trips. Sometimes depending on what’s going on this means a scarce supply of rental cars, especially on smaller islands. Make sure to book your car as soon as you have decided on your flights.
Consider Island Hopping
Considering the general rule above, decide how many islands you will visit based on the length of your stay. The islands of Hawaii include:
- Big Island – live lava flows (most of the time!), lush rainforests, towering volcanic mountains
- Oahu – luxury shopping, Waikiki Beach, Diamond Head, Honolulu, Pearl Harbor, the booming food scene
- Kauai – Lush, tropical rainforest, Na Pali Coast, Waimea Canyon
- Molokai – Kalaupapa National Park, Papohaku Beach, Halwa Valley Hiking
- Lanai – Lanai City, Hulopo Beach, Off-Road Driving, Garden of the Gods, Exclusive Resorts
Do your research to find out what you most want to do while in Hawaii, then choose your islands accordingly! Try to limit the number of islands as much as possible, because really, unless you’re spending a few weeks here, there’s no point in trying to squeeze them all into one trip.
Having said that, Southwest and Hawaiian Airlines make it easy to go from island to island. Just allow a few hours to travel from island to island, arrange transportation, check in at your hotel, etc. And remember, don’t rush anything! Whatever tours you arrange, make sure you have enough time to get there if you have just arrived.
Know What to Pack
Don’t think you only need to pack a short-sleeved shirt, shorts, and flip-flops! While daytime highs reach the 80s for most of the year, Hawaii gets its fair share of cooler weather (especially in winter after the sun goes down), and rain storms. And yes, it has snowed in Hawaii before (but probably not during your trip).
Double-Check Store Hours
While we usually refer to things going on as “Hawaiian time” as a joke, it can be too real for some businesses or attractions. You’ll want to make sure to double-check the opening and closing times of the places you want to visit, especially if they are small local businesses. For example, one of the must-try destinations for Hawaiian food (lau lau, pipikoula, kalua pig) is Helena’s Hawaiian Cuisine which is only open Tuesday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Is.
Bonus Tip: Connect with a Local!
There are a lot of great things about Hawaii and you can find lots of information online on review sites or blogs like ours. But, if you can, it’s always good to connect with someone who is local (or at least part of it) to help you plan your trip. We’ll have insight into things like transportation times, hidden gems, and meaningful choices of “tourist traps.”
Roaming here in Hawaii, we’d be happy to help if we can. If you have a quick question, head over to the contact page and drop us a note.