Hawaii is a lovely state with beautiful nature and wonderful islands. This is a practical guide on how to plan your Hawaii trip. 4 simple steps to have a wonderful holiday in Hawaii.
Check out Hawaii 101. You will find details of the various islands, useful websites and inspiration.
Step 1: Identify which island(s) to visit
There are 8 main islands to visit, and a bunch of tiny baby ones. From West to East, you have Ni’ihau, Kaua’i, O’ahu, Moloka’i, Lana’i, Maui, Kahoʻolawe, Hawai’i. Getting between the islands can be expensive, time consuming and very troublesome. So, choose which island(s) you want to visit.
Recommended islands based on activities
- For hiking, trails and rich nature: Kauai
- For Stairway to Heaven hike (very famous), Waikiki (very famous) & historical sites (Pearl Harbour): Oahu
- Live amongst the locals & road less travelled: Molokai
- Quiet, peaceful & away from toursits: Lanai
- Beaches, whaling, hikes: Maui
- Volcano, beaches: Big Island (Hawaii)
Flights Between Islands
- Hawaiian Airlines: Your best bet
- Mokulele: all islands except Kaua’i
- Island Air: O’ahu, Maui & Kaua’i
- Ohana: Oʻahu, Maui, Big Island, Molokaʻi, and Lānaʻi
Step 2: Transportation & Getting Around
Questions to answer:
- How long are you in Hawaii?
- Can you drive?
- Do you want to drive?
- Are you going to explore the island (e.g. hiking, beaches) or just stay in an area (e.g. honeymoon)?
This is the ultimate hack to get around Hawaii. If you are on a budget, use the car as a home. Sleep in it. Save on accommodations! With a car, you can get to anywhere you want and explore as much as possible without restrictions.
Tips on Driving
- Book your car rental as early as possible
- Rent cars from larger companies. Smaller local companies have poorer vehicles and service.
- Gas is expensive!
- Always wear seat belts (drivers AND passengers)
- Be wary of speed limits. Police regularly check and ticket tourists. (Just like every other touristy cities. E.g. Southern Cape in South Africa)
- If you want to see something, pull to the side of the road to admire it. Don’t slow down can create traffic.
- O’ahu has terrible traffic congestion.
- Use Google Maps instead of Apple Map
- It is better to plan exploring/sightseeing in an area for 3 days, than exploring 1 island per day.
- Crazy traffic everywhere! Be prepared for slow speed limits, delays and congestions.
If you can’t drive, take the bus instead.
- O’ahu: take The Bus. Good service and on-time. Use 4-day visitor passesif it suits your itinerary. Search for your buses at org.
- Kaua’i: Not dependable.
- Maui: Maui Bus provides day passes.
- Big Island: Hele On Bus
Big note: Uber & Lyft cannot go to Honolulu airport! Reserve your ride. They do not pick up passengers on the street. Uber & Lyft exists on Oahu and big cities.
Step 3: What To See/Do
You guessed it, there are tons of things to do in Hawaii.
- Explore nature with hiking, volcanos and beaches?
- Learn about the history and culture through some museums, shipwrecks and Pearl Harbour?
- Shopping for local products, gifts, malls, etc?
- Unique local foods and drinks around the island?
You should have an idea of this in Step 1 (above), when you choose the islands you are interested in. Rank your preferences and check this article for a catalogue of (free) activities to do!
Step 4: What To Bring
- Reef friendly sunscreens
- Waterproof case for phone or waterproof camera (I recommend a GoPro. You can use it for hikes, snorkeling, scuba diving and more. It’s definitely worth it in Hawaii!)
- Floatation Strap, in case you lose your thing in the sea
- Water shoes, better than slippers and keep you safe when you’re snorkeling
- Waterproof Dry Bag
- Sand resistant beach towel, it changes your life. Trust me!
Trevellers is my way to change the world. Through my stories, tips and lessons learnt, I truly hope to inspire you to get out of your comfort zone, see the world and see who you truly are. Travel is more than just taking a selfie at beautiful destinations. Travel is an adventure, where you can truly become who you are, give you the time to reflect and grow to become the person you’ve always dreamt of.