Hawaii has made national news several times. Just this year there was the downpour on Kauai that caused major floods and the Big Island’s lava eruption in the Puna area had several Hawaii visitors change their flight plans. Even more recently hurricane Lane made herself known with a deluge of rain and winds reaching 60 mph.
Keep in mind that our bad weather is seasonal – the last hurricane to actually hit Hawaii was hurricane Iniki back in 1992. Plus, we’re an island chain so in most cases not all of the islands are affected. If you’re wondering about the latest eruptions happening on the Big Island, check out my post on whether or not it’s safe to travel to the Big Island right now.
Hawaii is known as a tropical paradise and for good reason – most of the islands enjoy a pleasant mid-80 degrees (F). Although there are exceptions such as Haleakala on Maui or the Mauna Kea summit on the Big Island (it gets cold!). Each island is a little different from the others, so you’ll want to do your Hawaii trip research based on the specific island you’re visiting. Kauai is known for its rain (but absolutely gorgeous landscape views), while Kona on the Big Island is a hot desert.
If you need help on what kind of clothes you should be packing, here’s my suggestion on what you should be bringing with you to your Hawaii trip.
My brief explanation on each Hawaiian island in one sentence:
Big Island – A variety of elevations and nature to explore and a lot of time spent driving.
Maui – Less crowded than Oahu with more of a country feel to it, but still retains that city life if you really need it.
Lanai – Luxury travel with a huge resort, golfing and 4×4 exploration.
Molokai – Very few people and even fewer tourists, spotty reception and pristine beaches.
Oahu – Tourist central, Waikiki and a number of hotels and accommodation with an unending list of things to do.
Kauai – Less crowded than Maui with plenty to do for those who love the outdoors.
Click to read an in-depth review of each island that will help you narrow your choices down on which island to go to.
Usually I’d say the cheapest ticket is the best, but there is one airline that stands out on the route to and from Hawaii. If you decide to ride with Hawaiian Airlines, you’ll receive an in-flight meal that is not only locally inspired, but also created by a local chef. And I don’t mean just any random chef in Hawaii. These are chefs that have made a name for themselves and are regularly featured on TV shows, documentaries, magazines and whose skills are acknowledged worldwide.
The featured chef and their menu changes from time to time so it’s always fun when I see something new on my in-flight informational packet in the airplane. And I can personally tell you that they’ve always been delicious!
Local Tip: If you’re going to go 1st class, your trip to Hawaii may just be the one you want to upgrade your tickets because you can expect amazing menu concoctions such as pineapple coconut cheesecake or the delicious short rib beef stew.
My answer for this common question is at the very, very least 5 days for the Big Island, Maui, Oahu and Kauai. It’s very difficult to run out of things to do on these islands when it comes to outdoor activities, shopping, beach days and playing tourist. For Molokai and Lanai, you can get away with 2-4 days at the bare minimum depending on how much you can survive without the city life, shopping or entertainment.
If you plan on squeezing at least 2 islands into this trip, aim for at least 4 days on each island otherwise you’ll feel rushed and tire yourself out.
Waikiki is the tourist hub of Hawaii. While most people believe they want to avoid other tourists, it’s pretty difficult to do so on Oahu since Waikiki is in such a central and convenient spot. Buses, taxis, Ubers and bikes are everywhere and it’s so easy to just step outside and have access to all sorts of entertainment from surfing lessons to food tours. It’s easy to spend more than a few hours walking the strip and enjoying the sights, visiting the various hotels, testing each beach across Waikiki and filling your stomach with delicious delights created by world-famous chefs.
For first-time visitors to Hawaii or even first-time travelers, I’d suggest Waikiki just for the convenience of it. Yes, there are tourists everywhere you go, but you still have beautiful beaches and the crowd certainly gets smaller when you explore outside Waikiki (North Shore, hikes, circle-island tours, etc).
Check out my post of 150 things to do on Oahu. It’s a massive list and I’m sure it will help you fill up your itinerary.
If you’re really not into staying with the tourist crowd, but still want the resort experience, try any of the hotels at Ko Olina or the Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore.
In general, I would answer this question with a “yes” for every island, except for the Waikiki area – but this also depends on how big your group is, who is traveling, where you’re going and what your budget is. Click to read my post on how to know if you need a rental car during your stay on Oahu.
Surprisingly, most hotels and accommodations don’t have an in-house shuttle bus to take you to and from your hotel. Instead, there are plenty of shuttles, luxury cars, taxis and Ubers at your disposal. For small parties, shuttles are the cheapest and convenient, at around $15 roundtrip per person. But keep in mind that with large parties, you may end up saving quite a bit if you reserve a personal pickup or even a limo.
For more transportation tricks check out my post on everything you need to know for Hawaii transportation.