10 Things To Know About Hawaii – A First Time Traveler Guide
Hawaii is the best place if you are looking for a laid back vacation with plenty of gorgeous backdrops. If you are planning a trip, here are the 10 things that every first time traveler should know about Hawaii:
Be prepared for the weather. The weather in Hawaii is great if you like hot humid days or rain. In Hawaii, you have to be prepared for both. It’s the reason why everything is so green here.
Temperatures are around the mid-80s on most days so you’re not going need a warm jacket. If you live here long enough you’re gonna want to wear a jacket when it gets to 60s on those rare occasions.
Hawaii also has a lot of rain so make sure that you have a jacket, umbrella, some towels, and extra clothes.
More Than Just Beaches
Although Hawaii’s beaches initially attract people but there are other parts of Hawaii that keep people coming back. You can only go to the beach so much before it starts to get boring.
I would highly recommend people check out the other aspects of Hawaii like hikes, museums, food, and lots of things to do in Hawaii.
Make sure to try some of the local foods while you’re here. Hawaii’s history and culture are so unique and people must know a little bit more about Hawaii other than beaches and surfing.
Each Island Is Different
Just like any other place different regions have their unique subcultures. I would highly recommend visiting other places other than Oahu. Hawaii lifestyle is often defined by what we see on Oahu but actually, if you go to the neighbor islands that’s more of what the Hawaiian lifestyle is portrayed.
There’s a lot of things to do at night and there’s a lot of shopping but maybe you want to escape traffic and the busyness of life wherever you’re from and if you go to an Oahu you’re not gonna be able to escape that.
Kauai is the best place to go to experience what Hawaii is like or used to be like. There is a very laid-back lifestyle and lots to do outdoors, beautiful beaches, hikes, great local communities around the island, and the best place to get away.
Bans In Hawaii
Hawaii seems to be banning a lot of things lately. The biggest one you’re probably encountered is the plastic shopping bag ban on Oahu. Make sure to use a reusable shopping bag. Food establishments are still allowed to use plastic bags but for your other shopping, there are no bags.
Starting in 2021, Hawaii will have a sunscreen ban on certain sunscreens that have chemicals in them that are harming the reefs. You’re still allowed to use those sunscreens if you bring them from outside of Hawaii but you’re not going to be able to purchase them in Hawaii.
The single-use plastic ban on Oahu will be huge. It’s coming in 2021 and 2022.
Even in paradise, you can’t escape traffic. Each Island has bad traffic at certain times. The traffic in Oahu is probably the worst in the state.
Traffic is really bad during the week coming into downtown Honolulu and after work going to the west side. People who live on that side of the island spend one and a half to two hours one way every day in traffic which is pretty bad.
When a public school or the University of Hawaii system is out of school you can see a difference. So if you’re planning a trip during those times traffic will be a lot lighter.
Hawaii is very diverse. It’s probably one of the first things you’re gonna notice when you get here. It’s what makes Hawaii so unique and at the same time a challenge to be a part of.
Hawaii is expensive in almost every category of affordability. So while vacationing here for a week is ok for most families in the short term, it’s a tough economy for residents. Tourists typically tolerate higher costs, but in the long term it’s not sustainable.
Hawaiians vs From Hawaii
There’s Hawaiian and then there’s someone from Hawaii. T0his is an honest mistake that a lot of visitors make when they come to Hawaii but it’s one that quickly gets corrected.
There’s a difference between someone who is Hawaiian and someone who is from Hawaii. Hawaiian refers to Native Hawaiian ethnicity which is the Polynesian culture that first settled the Hawaiian Islands. If you are from Hawaii you may not necessarily be Hawaiian, you could be Japanese or Chinese or probably a mix of several groups.
The distinction is needed because in Hawaii culture is very important. It’s an honest mistake but it’s one that people should understand. If someone is from Hawaii and you call them Hawaiian when they aren’t, they should correct you. It’s more a respect thing than anything else.
Hawaii’s Complicated History
Hawaii has a very complicated history. Much of the conflict comes from the Native Hawaiians who were first settled here in the Hawaiian Islands and the rest of the outside world.
Hawaii was discovered and occupied by the Native Hawaiians for a while and then explorers and other people started to come to Hawaii. It then transitioned into a land of agricultural plantations and today, it’s a tourist destination.
Race, land, and control may be these underlying things that sort of creep up as you learn more and more about the culture and the history of Hawaii.
Get ready for some pidgin English. You may be hearing people speak what kind of sounds like English but with this thick accent and a lot of words that you can’t understand. It’s the way that some locals speak to each other and if you didn’t grow up in Hawaii it’s pretty hard to pick up.
The language originated in the plantation days and it’s just become a part of Hawaii culture. It’s evolved into a language that connects local people. If you can’t understand it, that’s okay. Most people in the service industry can speak both English and Pidgin English and you’ll be surprised how quickly they can turn it on and off.
I hope you enjoyed the post about the things you should know before your Hawaii trip. Now you can more easily focus on what Hawaii is and not what it is not.
Author Bio: John Gentry is a lifelong adventure travel enthusiast and international manager, Philanthropist, and solder. Spent 2011-2015 developing an international team in HsinChu, Taiwan. Early on he spent the better part of the 90’s working with the US Army in Germany, Iraq and Kuwait. He has had some great experiences, and successes traveling around the world documenting his travels with his family via exploretraveler.com.
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What an interesting read and didn’t realize all the aspects. I love the hiking though – that would be great. Thanks for your post.
We can’t wait to visit Hawaii – thank you so much for the tips, we’re excited to go exploring!
My husband and I have been talking about going to Hawaii for a while. I love all the information in this post and since I’ve never been this is a great reference.
Great info! I hope to go to Hawaii one day. I’m glad about the sunscreen and shopping bags. Every little change helps!
I’ve never been to Hawaii, so this was super interesting. Thanks for sharing.
Great post! I love Hawaii so much!
I totally agree with you that you need to visit more than one island. When I visited in high school we went to Kauai as well and it was the best experience ever. I love that Hawaii is banning plastic and non reef sunscreen – so important for our oceans.
Wow awesome tips! I am saving this for when we go!
Thank you for these tips!! We have been talking about a trip to Hawaii, so I will pin this for future reference!
I didn’t know about the sunscreen. Very interesting.
I would love to do some hiking in Hawaii!
What time of year do you recommend visiting to avoid crowds?
This is a helpful resource! My granddaughter wants to visit Hawaii when she graduates from high school in six years. I gift all of my grandchildren with a trip as a graduation gift. It’s something we can enjoy together and it whets their appetite for travel.
I can’t wait to visit Hawaii when they re-open for visitors. It will be my first visit and I’ll just be going to whichever island I can get the best deal because my goal is to eventually visit all of them.
Great tips for first-time visitors. I was surprised by how much it rained in Kauai (the first island we visited)…and so true that the islands are different.
LOVE HAWAII! Kauai is our fav!
We have not been to Hawaii, but plan to go one day. This post is perfect. I am saving for when we do go. Thanks!
Hawaii is truly a must-see.