10 Travel Tips for Hawaii

America’s tropical paradise, Hawaii is a group of islands, each with something special to offer a visitor. From the surfing on Oahu, to the wonders of Maui, to the beauty of Honolulu, to the hidden wonders on Lanai, Hawaii is the great tropical escape for those looking to stay within America.

1. Best time to Visit

Many people wonder when is the best time to visit Hawaii. There are multiple answers to that question. In our opinion, there’s really not a bad time to go to Hawaii. Just about anytime is a great time to visit Hawaii. You’ll always be able to find nice warm weather in Hawaii. Due to Hawaii’s proximity to the equator, temperatures don’t vary as drastically from season to season as they do in North America, Europe, etc.

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  • Average daytime high temperatures range from mid to upper 80s in the summer months to upper 70s to lower 80s in the winter months. Vibrantly colored tropical flowers bloom year round in Hawaii, even in the winter months. Although, in Spring, some call this the start of the “dry” season. The weather is almost always perfect, and, in general, this is the best time to find good bargain travel activities.

2. Weather

Hawaii’s weather is warm all year round with daytime high temperatures ranging from 78F in the “colder” months to 88F in the hotter months. Hawaii’s proximity to the equator means that the its weather is tropically warm and consistent throughout the year. Typically December, January and February are the coolest months, while July, August and September are the warmest months. Evening low temperatures range from 65F in the cooler months to 75F in the warmer months.

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  • An interesting aspect about Hawaii rainfall is that most if the Hawaiian Island precipitation falls overnight. Even if a rain shower should interrupt your day, it rarely lasts more than a few minutes before the glorious sunshine breaks through again. You may even be treated to a rainbow afterwards.

3. Airport

So you’ve picked the Hawaiian island that’s perfect for you and now you must determine the logistics of getting there. Every first time visitor has faced the head scratching challenge of finding the right airport to begin their Hawaii vacation. Travel to Kona International Airport (KOA) in Kona to the west, or Hilo International Airport (ITO) in Hilo to the east. Most visitors arrive in Kona.

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  • There is also the option of flying into Honolulu International Airport (HNL) on Oahu first and then taking a short, 35-40 minute flight to the island of Hawaii.

4. Currency Conversion

In ATMs, though a currency exchange kiosk at the airport can be convenient before leaving the airport, ATM machines offer the same convenience – plus better exchange rates. Some banks charge fees of anywhere from 3% to 8% of the transaction. Before you travel, check with your bank to find out its policy so you know what to expect.

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  • If you do pay a per-transaction fee, you can cut down on overall fees by making a few large withdrawals instead of multiple smaller ones. There are other currency exchanges in Honolulu away from the airport. Hawaiian Bank offers foreign exchange services for all major currencies.

5. Security tips

Hawaii continues to be what many people consider as paradise. In fact, many visitors consistently give Hawaii high marks for attributes relating to our natural beauty, safety and security.

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  • While you are out and about in our Hawaiian Islands, please keep the following in mind to help you to have a safe and satisfying experience.

6. Ocean water safety tips

Hawaii is famous for its beautiful beaches and ocean activities, but Hawaii’s coastal areas are created by nature so use common sense and enjoy these areas with care. Ocean conditions around the island vary according to seasons, weather and location so it’s best to swim in areas where lifeguards are present and you can consult them before going in. Warning signs on the beach indicate dangerous surf so please heed the signs and stay out of the water.

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  • Here’s a beach tip that the locals know: Don’t turn your back on the waves; they come in sets and so a few minutes of large waves may be separated by a few minutes of deceiving calm. If you are caught in a strong current, wave to signal for help.

7. Pay special attention to Children

Please keep your eyes on your little ones at all times. Lifeguards are not babysitters and they are responsible for the safety of the entire beach. If you have a child playing on the sand, pay special attention to the waves behind them. It may seem peaceful for a few minutes…until the next set rolls in. Flotation devices and air mattresses can also be dangerous in the ocean, leading children in deeper water. Remember, most incidents occur suddenly and in the shallow areas close to shore.

8. Box Jellyfish

Once a month Hawaii beaches are visited by “Carybdeaalata” also known as “box jellyfish.” Named for their boxy shape, the jellyfish are carried by the tides into Hawaiian waters to spawn 8 to 12 days after every full moon. They range from one to three inches wide with tentacles up to two feet long. Stings from these deceivingly gentle looking creatures can be extremely painful and dangerous to people with allergies.

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  • Whenever you enter the ocean, it’s always a good idea to check the sand and in the shallow areas first to make sure it’s safe. If you’re not sure, ask a lifeguard

9. Coral Reefs

The coral reefs around our island are made of millions of individual coral organisms that thrive in the oxygen-rich waters along the shore. In addition to hundreds of species of fishes, the reef is also home to sea anemone, crustaceans and many varieties of seaweed. While these reefs are beautiful to behold, it’s best to look but not touch. When snorkeling, take care to keep your fins away from the coral heads. Even light scrapes from your fins can damage the delicate coral animals.

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In addition to being very fragile, coral can cause nasty cuts and abrasions. If you receive a coral cut, make sure you clean it well with fresh water and see a doctor if inflammation occurs. Some sea anemone have protective spikes that release a venom to ward off predators (including people), and of course you should never poke your fingers into holes because eels and other creatures will defend their territory with their teeth.

10. Pedestrian safety

Be a safe and smart pedestrian and know the rules. Review information provided by the Hawaii Department of Transportation on Walkwise Hawaii, a program aimed at helping pedestrians to be safe. Information is available in Japanese, Filipino, Hawaiian, Samoan, Vietnamese, Chinese and Korean languages.

There are beautiful beaches, amazing jungles, monstrous waterfalls, excellent diving, and world-class waves. Hawaii is a great destination for honeymooners, surfers, and families. While not thought of as a budget destination, there are plenty of budget options for people to choose from once you leave those resorts on Waikiki beach!

Image Courtesy: Eugene Kaspersky

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