Tips for your 1st Hawaiian Vacation

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1. Decide on a Budget

There a many activities to do for free in Hawaii like hiking, swimming, snorkeling, sightseeing, going on tours, or simply hanging out at the beach. All the beaches in Hawaii are public, which means you could spend your whole vacation exploring an island’s beaches without paying a penny.

Accommodation is where you’ll probably feel the biggest bite to your budget. For a dorm bed in a budget bacpackers hostel in Honolulu, you can expect to pay between $23 – $30 per night. Depending on the season, quality accommodation can start at around $100/night. For something special expect to pay between $200 – $300 per night. For example, a one bedroom condo rental right on the ocean at the Kuhio Shores complex in Kauai starts at about $225/night, so it’s important to budget accordingly before you go based on what you want. Besides, there are lots of affordable vacation rentals in Hawaii.

Renting a car can be a real advantage in Hawaii because there is so much sight seeing to do. Rental rates average around $30/day.

2. Pick an Island

There are four Hawaiian Islands that are best for first time visitors in my opinion: Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island. Choosing an Island can be daunting, but it’s actually the easiest part of the whole planning process. The reason being, you can’t make a mistake. All four Islands are offer beaches, sun, and beautiful scenery.

In general, people tend to chose Oahu and Waikiki when they want to stay in an inexpensive hotel, and be in a city environment with plenty of activity choices. Maui is a favorite among beach goers. Kauai is for those who like a laid-back, easy going vibe and enjoy exploration. The Big Island has an active volcano and sometimes lava flows are visible.

3. Stay for as long as you can

Don’t underestimate any island of Hawaii because it appears small on the map. Kauai may only be 33 miles long and 25 miles wide, but it would take months to explore every nook and cranny. You should never spend less than a week on any island, and don’t be tempted to visit as many islands as you can in one trip.

4. When to Go

The busier times of year are winter and summer as people escape the cold winter climates or go for summer vacation with their kids. Prices are higher during these time periods. If you have flexibility and don’t have a preference, the best months are April, May, September and October if you want to escape the crowds, and pay the off-peak, cheaper prices.

5. Acclimatize to Hawaii

The UV index in Hawaii can reach up to 12 times higher than most other places in the USA. With soothing ocean breezes, you don’t always feel your skin burning as you lie in the sun. Someone with a fair skin can sunburn in 20 minutes during the summer. So apply sunscreen when out in the sun, drink water, sit in the shade and wear a hat for the first few days so that you don’t get burned and ruin the rest of your trip. The peak sun burning times are from 10 am to 2 pm. Remember to re-apply sunscreen after you get out of the water and if you do get burned apply aloe vera or kukui nut oil to your skin.

6.  Stay Safe

The ocean in Hawaii can be very dangerous. Although some beaches are great for relaxing on and having fun, they’re not always safe for swimming. In the U.S. Hawaii has the highest rate of drowning. To be safe, swim at life guarded beaches, especially if you’re not a confident swimmer. Remember ocean conditions are constantly changing. It’s important to read the surf reports so you know what’s to be expected. Walking along the rocks at the edge of the ocean can be dangerous – every year people get swept away. When you arrive in Hawaii, you’ll find tourist literature that explains dangers and safety tips. Be sure to read them and be very cautious around the ocean.

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One Response to “Tips for your 1st Hawaiian Vacation”

  1. Brent says:

    And don’t forget to try SCUBA DIVING! This is a fantastic location and for about $100 (give or take a few) you can get suited up with an instructor and all the gear you need which you can safely try and practice with in a pool under supervision. If you have any problem or get nervous, you just stand up! Then head out into the open ocean with your instructor and have one of the most unbelievable experiences of your life! It is like visiting another planet and highly worth the price to try it. At least once. It can be life changing and eye opening in regards to our beautiful, delicate planet. You won’t regret it! These “try it” courses are everywhere. You just have to ask. I tried it in the Carribean and again in Hawaii a couple years ago. Today, I’m an avid scuba diver in the cold waters of Seattle, WA. It’s an adventure everytime.


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