A lot of thought and care needs to be put into planning a trip to Hawaii. Of course that is why we recommend using a travel advisor (me)! There are some things to keep in mind as you go into the planning process, then during the trip. So, let’s dive in.
Do you want to stay on one island or island hop?
As you’d imagine there are pros for each. Single island itineraries are easier to plan and can be less hectic, and since all of your time will be spent in one place it will allow for full immersion into all of the island has to offer. Oh, and you won’t have to deal with inter-island flights which can be super expensive. On the flip side, hopping can help if you’d like to experience as much of the state as possible in one trip. You can then compare the offerings and vibes on each island.
What island fits your style?
There are eight major island that make up Hawaii with the most frequented being Oahu, Maui, Big Island of Hawaii, and Kauai. Each has a unique culture, history, landscape, vibe and things to do and see. Choose Oahu if you are looking for an island with a city vibe that’s near/on a beach.(Honolulu/Waikiki!) Think lively clubs, bars, nightlife, shopping, and dining. Maui is for those who want a tropical paradise with a little bit of everything – beaches, hikes, volcanoes, rainforests, resorts, and nightlife. The Big Island is known for its multiple climates and abundance of natural attractions, including Volcanoes National Park. Kauai is known as the “the Garden Isle” and for good reason. It’s lush landscape makes it a perfect escape for those looking for a more outdoor and active vibe.
Have a budget.
Your trip will likely have a lot of components – air, hotel, transportation, activities, and food. Keep in mind that Hawaii isn’t exactly cheap either. Try to come into the planning process with a number in mind. A solid budget will help in the recommendation process and final creation of an itinerary that meets your specific needs.
Book well in advance.
The most critical components of a trip to Hawaii (or anywhere, actually) are flight and hotel. Pricing for both is subject to change at any time and is usually based on supply and demand. So, typically, the earlier you book the better. Once your dates are solidified and options selected, place a deposit, or complete the booking! If you’re considering travel during a peak time this is even MORE important.
Plan activities in advance.
Do NOT wait until you’re in destination to book tours and excursions. Put together your must-do list and purchase. Again, the sooner the better, since space on some activities is limited and can sell out quickly it will also help in sticking to your budget.
Knowing what to pack.
Think about your trip and what it involves. It can help in determining what to pack. For the most part, the vibe in Hawaii is relaxed, but if you have more active things panned (hikes, biking, etc) you want to pack for that. I am sure that if you have a strenuous hike planned, you don’t want to forget your boots. Flip flops at all other times are perfect, but I am sure you don’t want to hike in them.
Likely a rental car will be recommended, but at the end of the day, it is your call. If the thought of driving in an unknown place, heavy traffic (especially on Oahu) and sometimes expensive parking (even at hotels) don’t appeal to you, we can work around it. Transfers and ride share options can always be discussed.
Hopefully these tidbits were helpful as you consider travel to Hawaii. I’ll help keep these things top of mind as we go into the planning process and certainly as you’re getting ready for the most exciting part – the trip itself!