Planning Your Hawaiian Vacation
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So you're thinking about Hawaii and here you are at our website. Now what? If you're still on the fence about Hawaii, then hopefully we'll convince you along the way it's one of the most amazing places you could ever visit. And if you've already decided Hawaii is your next vacation stop, then the following steps should help you better start to plan your trip and understand the layout of our site. There's a lot of useful and professional information here, so pull up a chair and let us get to the good stuff.
You've got several options here, so how do you go about choosing that perfect island for your own trip? In fact, why choose just one? You might want to take our quick on Selecting the Best Hawaiian Island. Once you know which island (or islands) best suit you, then you can really begin to plan.
If you've decided on the island(s) your going to visit, then you're set to begin your planning. The next step is to consider your interests. One could spend years in Hawaii and never see everything, so carefully narrowing down your favorites is worth the time and effort now, ahead of time.
We'd suggest you go ahead and click on the tabs in the top navigation corresponding to the islands that you're planning to visit. Here you'll see that under the Attractions drop-down (in the sub-navigation menu) that we've gone ahead and categorized all the best spots in general categories: Sights, Beaches, Trails (Hikes), Regions, and Towns. We also have travel Articles and Facts for each island, plus a listing of Activities you can book on the island in question. On some islands, like Maui, we've even split of the Hana Highway into its own category - since so many places fall into that popular scenic drive. Our Hawaii Must See and Do for each island may also be a big help for some folks by presenting the top-rated attractions on our site.
OK, once you've nailed down a list of your favorite places you can get to the nitty-gritty of 'Beyond the Basics'. Some of this may seem irrelevant, but we highly encourage visitors to read as much as they can on the islands before visiting. Hawaii is like no other places in the United States, and quite honestly, is very much like visiting a foreign country. Check out topics like our Hawaii Safety page, our Rental Tips, and our Accommodation Tips. You might also want to read up more on Hawaii Weather patterns, Hawaii History, and the Geology of Hawaii.
Regardless of how much you've traveled in the past and where you've been, there is one good rule to follow when coming to Hawai'i, leave as much as you can at home! Seriously, bring only what you'll need during your stay and nothing more. Chances are a pair of shorts and a nice Aloha shirt are all you'll need for even some fine dining. Leave the formal wear back home. And please don't bring your passport if you're a U.S. citizen (you'd be surprised how many folks do).
A light jacket and a long pair of pants might also be nice for those visits to higher elevations around the islands. You'd be surprised how many "chilly" people there are in Hawaii each day. Sure it's tropical, but not everything's at sea level either. On the other hand, don't overdo it and bring your winter coat to Hawai'i unless you feel you absolutely need it for visiting the summits of Haleakala or Maui or Mauna Kea on the Big Island at sunrise or sunset. If you're visiting Kauai or Oahu, add a larger coat to the list of do NOT bring.
With the motto, 'less is more' in mind, here are a few other items to bring. Sunblock (the UV on Hawai'i is typically 14+ in the spring, summer, and fall), a backpack (for any hikes) and a water bottle, slippers (flip flops, shower shoes, zoris), mask, snorkel, and fins (or rent locally instead), two bathing suits (one to wear while the other dries) and a cover-up, camera and film (or digital cards), lightweight raincoat or poncho (it's tropical here), bug spray with DEET (for any forest hikes), flashlight (for just in case), hiking boots / hiking rods (even if you're not a hard core hiker, it's not a bad idea to bring proper footwear for some trails), and most importantly a list of all your troubles to leave behind. Seriously, we enforce that last one! For more tips and suggestions, visit our What to Pack page.