Know Before You Go
Tourism is the main industry in Hawaii and after you experience the beautiful beaches, hiking trails, sunsets, and scenic views you will quickly learn why so many love Hawaii. Many locals will welcome you with open arms but there are a few things you should know before you go to Hawaii. Here are some ways to show respect to the locals and Hawaiian Islands:
- Beaches and Parks: When visiting beaches and national parks do not leave anything behind including trash. Also do not take anything from the island, it is actually illegal to take anything from National Parks.
- Land and Sacred Sites: Keep an eye out for signs that say “Kapu” as this is usually an ancient ground where royalty lived. Kapu means forbidden entry, in other words- no trespassing. Hawaii has deep respect for their royalty and history so make sure to respect the land and their culture.
- Respect: It is very important to show respect when in Hawaii. I am sure you have heard there is tension between locals and tourists. As long as you treat the locals with respect and kindness then you will be just fine!
Tips For First Time Visitors
For first time visitors these are things that are nice to know before you arrive to Hawaii in case you have to prepare or plan ahead of time.
Grocery Shopping Tip
Drive the extra mile to the grocery store located in the main town or closest to the airport. Not only will you have cheaper groceries but you will also have a larger selection. Tip: Ask the clerk or someone at customer service about free reward programs for additional discounts on selected items. It only takes a few minutes to sign up and its free! You can also shop for fish right off the boats or produce from a local farm or stand along the road. This is a great budget-friendly option while getting the freshest and organic food on the island.
I highly recommend bringing the Ultimate Guidebook depending on what island you are visiting. These books can be controversial as a few recommend hiking trails are on private land. The books also call out ‘hidden gems’ around the islands while revealing the locals private and ‘secret’ spots. Also, do not leave the guidebook visible in your rental car because this can trigger an angry local who believes the author is revealing their secret places around the islands. However, the books are helpful if you are hiking or driving and do not have cell phone service and need directions or tips to some of the best places around the islands. Below are the links to the newest edition of each guidebook:
- Maui Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook
- Kauai Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook
- The Big Island Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook
- Oahu Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook
Rental Car Tip
Renting a car is the easiest way to get around the island but be smart about what company you book through. Discount Hawaii Car Rental and AutoSlash usually offer the best rates, make sure to shop around before booking.
It is important to lather up and wear sunscreen to protect your skin, prevent skin cancer, and premature aging. Make sure to check the ingredients in your sunscreen if you pack your own from home. One thing to know is Hawaii recently banned the sale of sunscreens containing the coral-harming chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate and this went into effect January 2021. Side note- Florida’s Key West talked about a similar ban in 2021. The chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate are not only harming coral reefs but studies show it can also disrupt human hormone levels. Below is a list of eco-friendly and chemical free sunscreen:
- Sun Bum SPF 50. Good for: Fragrance-free and moisturizing
- COOLA Organic SPF 50. Good For: Organic materials and reef-safe
- La Roche SPF 60. Good for: Oil free and lightweight sunscreen
- Thinksport, SPF 50. Good for: Active people, reasonable price
- Altruist. Dermatologist SPF 30. Good for: Sensitive skin
- Amazon – Solimo Sport Spray SPF 50. Good for: Those who prefer spray
- Neutrogena Zinc, Face, SPF 50. Good for: Lightweight, non-greasy, face
Check out these related articles to start planning your trip to the Hawaiian Islands.