HAWAII

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Aloha Friends!
 

It’s tough to imagine that a destination so remote, so exotic and so wonderful could be part of the United States. But Hawaii is all of that, and so much more. When you picture in your mind a perfect tropical paradise, chances are it looks a lot like Hawaii. Blue waters, pristine beaches, lush forests and sunrise/sunsets so amazingly brilliant. Its volcanoes so imposing, you can only but stand back and stare in awe at the wonders of nature.

The moment you step off the plane you know you’ve arrived in paradise – the air is clean and warm. There is an unhurried laid-back feel that you only can find in tropical settings. As you pass through Customs you’re greeted with smiles and welcoming voices greeting you with ‘Aloha’. Be prepared as you will hear this ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ greeting hundreds times a day throughout Hawai‘i.

Hawaii's foremost attractions are beaches, volcanoes, surfing, luau, lush scenery, golfing, waterfalls, Polynesian culture, ravishingly beautiful (and rare) tropical flowers and plants, hiking, relaxation, historical sites, shopping, watersports, deep-sea fishing and friendly people who exude the "spirit of aloha."  

Most travelers to Hawaii visit the island of Oahu and choose just one Hawaiian island to vacation at because this is all they want or need to meet their R&R requirements. However, with the ease of island hopping these days, via air, you may want to consider a multi-island Hawaii vacation.

 

Hawaii is made up of eight main islands (and over a hundred smaller ones), but the four most popular islands to visit are Oahu, Kauai, Maui and the Big Island of Hawaii.  Each island is distinct and offers a unique slice of Hawaiian life that’s worth a visit.

Pairing Visitors to the Hawaiian Islands

When making the decision to go to Hawaii we have many of our clients call to ask ‘Which island do we think would fit us best?’  Here is quick overview:

 

First Timers

In Oahu, pay your respects at the Arizona Memorial, one of America’s greatest tributes to those who died in service of their country, filled with engaging history and heartfelt emotion.

Maui, no visit to Hawaii is complete without a genuine luau experience, and Maui’s best is the Old Lahaina Luau, featuring a sumptuous buffet dinner, traditional arts and crafts demonstrations, a dramatic imu [underground steam cooker oven] presentation, and Hawaiian revue.

Kauai is for sailing, great food, and sunsets, and the NaPali Sunset Sail delivers all this and more in an awesome evening of cruising just off the colorful Na Pali Coast.

Seasoned Travelers

In Maui, board a chopper to view Maui’s famous Haleakala National Park and Haleakala Crater, plus the Hana Rainforest Preserve, the largest rainforest in the US.

On Lanai, it’s all about the beaches: Polihua Beach, though remote, is an awesome stretch of golden sands; Shipwreck Beach is a magnet for strolling and beachcombing; and Hulopoe (named “#1 Beach in America”) is best known for snorkeling, surfing, and dolphin-watching.

Romantic Getaway

In Kauai, experience the Kauai way it was meant to be seen on a deluxe helicopter tour that soars over Hanapepe Valley, Waimea Canyon, the Na Pali Coast, and Mt. Waialeale.

Maui is a place where you can set a date with the sunset as you sail the open waters and feast on an exquisite dinner buffet, the Teralani 2 catamaran takes you to see some of Maui’s most breathtaking and beautiful sights.

While in Oahu, you can hire a local pro photographer for a day of shooting unique sights like Magic Island Lagoon, Waikiki Beach, Sans Souci State Recreational Park, and the War Memorial Natatorium

Families

On Oahu a must-visit is the amazing Polynesian Cultural Center and see authentic villages, live arts and crafts demonstrations, the pageant of the long canoes, and an extravaganza of song and dance. Just for the kids there is the Critter Encounter at the Waikiki Aquarium; children's programs at the Hawaii Nature Center; hands-on exhibits at the Hawaii Children's Discovery Center and the Bishop Museum.

Maui, here you can enjoy a genuine Hawaiian experience at Maui’s Old Lahaina Luau, featuring a sumptuous buffet dinner, traditional arts and crafts demonstrations, dramatic Imu presentation, and Hawaiian revue.

Adventure Seekers

The Big Island, witness the magic of Kilauea with twilight volcano trek, taking you through the island’s incredible range of ecosystems and climate zones, as well as viewing possible eruptions of lava.

On Kauai, witness breathtaking mountain and ocean views as you hike Kalihiwai Valley and the lowland rainforest to the spectacular five-tiered Kalihiwai Falls.

Maui, board a chopper to view the famous Haleakala National Park and Haleakala Crater, plus the Hana Rainforest Preserve, the largest rainforest in the US.

Oahu, hop into a Jeep to explore the islands diverse landscapes, including Diamond Head, Pali Lookout, the famous North Shore surfing beaches, and the Dole Pineapple and Coffee Plantation.

Lana’i was previously used as a pineapple plantation.  This comma shaped island has now phased out pineapple production and is developed into a tourist resort spot.  Rent a 4WD and explore the dirt roads and trails through the plantations.

Weather

There are generally two seasons in Hawaii. Winter (November through April), when temperatures typically range in the low-70s to mid-80s, and Summer when the high can run into the low-90s with high humidity.  The busy season runs from December through March [which is Whale-watching season], with the last two weeks of December being the prime time during which many people travel here for the holidays.

Wondering what to wear in Hawaii? 

 

Beach and water activities are one of Hawaii's biggest recreational draw. Packing for a tropical vacation is one of the easiest packing chores, since the sun, heat and humidity mean that there is a minimum of bulky clothing to bring.  People here are on ‘island time’ and are very laid-back with a casual dress-code atmosphere. Flip-Flop Sandals, Shorts and Bathing Suits [with a Cover-Up] are acceptable in most all restaurants especially near beaches in and around the shoreline and beachfront hotels.

Hawaiian evening wear steps up the dress code just a bit from daytime casual.  During the evenings ‘Casual Resort’ wear is appropriate for nightclubs, lounges/bars, and upscale restaurants dress code.  This basically means Mens Collared Shirts; like Tommy Bahama Hawaiian shirts, Skechers Slip On Shoes or sandals and Khaki Shorts for men; Sundresses or Capri’s with a nice Blouse and Sandals are about all you need.  A light Sweater/Jacket would be recommended during the winter time as the ocean breezes can get a bit chilly in the evening and early morning hours.

 

Don’t forget to leave room in your luggage to take home souvenirs from your visit.  Just be careful not to overload the luggage where there will be imposed BIG charges by the airlines for overweight baggage. We recommend that you have a Portable Luggage Scale to check suitcase weights prior to leaving for the airport.  If you find yourself overweight and no room to cram all your stuff to take home, try going to a UPS/FedEx shipping store and ship your stuff home.  Check with your airlines for luggage requirements and fees.

Here are few of our Luggage Recommendations...

Luggage

 

When packing for the Hawaiian Islands, remember less is more. With consideration as to just how much room you will be needing for your carry-on luggage we love, and recommend, the Travelpro Platinum Elite 21" Expandable Carry-on Spinner with USB port.
 

If you don’t need that much luggage room nor expandability in your carry-on then we recommend a simple lightweight Duffel Bag perfect for toting your essentials. This solution is especially handy if you are planning on island-hopping and flying on a smaller plane with limited overhead bin space.  

When we travel we always both take 2 pieces of luggage each.  One check-in luggage piece and one carry-on piece.  For our check-in luggage piece, we love and prefer the Samsonite Ziplite 3.0, 28", Hardside Spinner wheel Luggage, scratch and abrasion-resistant, easily maneuverable, expandable and 5 stars rated.  This piece of luggage makes it easy to move your tote across runways to the terminal or your ground transportation.
 

Note…If your current luggage does not have a built-in TSA approved lock on it then it is always advisable to have TSA Approved Luggage Locks to secure your belonging. 

Don’t Forget to Pack

 

For your carry-on bag we suggest the following:

Beach Necessities

Packing for the beach/pool is going to be most of your items you pack and put the most thought into as this is one of the most popular things to do in Hawaii.  You’ll want more casual “knock around” clothes and fewer dress up clothes. We like to pack several breezy sundresses that can be worn as beach coverups or out to dinner. Also, keep everything casual. Unless you like getting dressed up.  Simple women’s sundresses and sandals are the fanciest you’ll ever need to be and at most places men’s golf/khaki shorts and casual shirts like a Tommy Bahamas are fine.

Outdoor Activities

When packing try to envision and anticipate what activities, you are going to partake in and what excursions you are going to want to do.  This will help in packing, so you don’t forget anything.

Hiking/Walking:

If you’re planning to go up to Haleakala (Maui), Mauna Kea (Big Island), or any other island mountain or lush forest you’ll need to dress warm and dress in layers.  Especially if you’re going for star gazing or to watch the sunrise since it’ll still be dark when you go up. It can really get cold and I mean…really cold. It’s not uncommon for it to be in the 20s and 30s (Fahrenheit) at the higher elevations.

Take advantage of the glorious views and lush greenery along the many hiking and walking trails on Oahu. The State of Hawaii has online maps available on their website Click HERE to view.

So, plan to bring:

 

Deep Sea Diving

You may want to bring some of your own personal equipment especially if it is fit specifically for you such as your own Wetsuits or Diver Suits, BCD - Buoyancy Control Device, Dive Masks, Dive Boots, Divers Regulator.  If you bring your Divers Knife remember it must be packed in your checked luggage. And, remember to us your TSA approved luggage locks to lock your bag down. Check with the airlines for any restrictions and/or instructions on securing your gear.  Items you don’t want take may be rented if the island you are on has a dive shop.  Please check before leaving home.

Snorkeling

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Fishing

Many visitors arrive in Hawaii hoping to jump on a charter boat and catch a big marlin. In reality, these large creatures of the sea are quite elusive, so there's always the possibility that you'll go home empty-handed. If you do land the big one—as in more than 100 lb/45 kg—it's customary in Honolulu for the boat to keep it. Anything smaller than that usually will be cleaned and cut up for you by the crew, sometimes for a fee. Practices vary, so inquire upfront if you want to keep the fish.

Most Honolulu sportfishing boats are berthed at Kewalo Basin harbor, off Ala Moana Boulevard, across from the Victoria Ward Centers. Bait and gear can be purchased there.

Paddleboarding/Surfing

Beginning surfers should stick to the gentle waves of Waikiki, where bodyboards and surfboards are available for rent at beach kiosks.  Beach boys and girls offer surfing and stand-up paddleboard lessons, outrigger canoe rides and catamaran rides from concessions on the beach.  The constant activity makes it a great place for people-watching. The best place to catch the Friday night fireworks is from the concrete pier in front of the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach hotel.

 

There are some more advanced breaks for surfers in Waikiki such as Queens, Paradise, Threes, Kaisers, Ala Moana Bowls and Tennis Courts at Ala Moana Beach Park.

Some other breaks exist down the mountain from Diamond Head Lookout and the U.S. Coast Guard station there. Park along the road and take the steep trail down to the beach. The memorial markers on the way down are a solemn reminder of the power of the ocean.

Golfing

If you are not wanting to haul your clubs or check them in at the airport as luggage there are shipping services like Shipsticks.com – ship golf clubs for as low as $39

Boating/Cruises

Tennis

Travel Electronics
 

Taking pictures on your vacation is a ‘must-do’…no excuses!  You will want to be able to take home all those amazing memories to share with everyone. Smartphone cameras keep getting better and better these days and unless you are really into photography you honestly won’t need a fancy camera. However, if you don’t have a phone that takes great pictures then you may want to look into your pocket digital photo camera options and invest in a Water-Resistant Digital Camera.

Hobby Drones

Today there is a new camera technology that is used by many and that is the Quad Copter Drone platform and many travelers take that unique video and camera technology along with them on vacation to memorialize their exploits. There are so many factors in the purchase of a camera/video drone we are referring you to a comprehensive "Best Reviews" on Amazon to help provide you with the needed data to make an informed decision. Best Hobby Drones - Amazon - Click HERE...

Digital Cameras

If you want a quick point and shoot pocket digital camera we recommend the following digital cameras that provide the best bang for your vacation dollar and will deliver the photos and videos of your vacation.

Video Cameras

 

We have addressed video cameras a few times above but want bring your attention to our recommendation featured on our Travel BLOG for the GoPRO HERO 7 the 2018 released Action Video Camera - for Details Click HERE>>

 

During our research for the Video Camera section we came across a cost effective alternative that is highly reviewed on Amazon that before you decide on your Action Video Camera, you need to check this one out.

Smartphone Accessories

 

Your Favorite E-Reader

Taking your favorite novel with your to get in some recreational reading? We invite you to browse our Which E-Reader is Best for You!  Our personal choice is the Kindle Paperwhite E-reader - Black, 6" High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Builtin Light and WiFi.

Of course if you prefer Apple products and some of our Clients do, then check out these great deals on these New Apple iPad's On Sale -  that can be used for your Kindle E-Reader with the FREE Kindle APP on the Apple APP Store.

I sometimes have 2 or 3 books going at one time.

Health and Safety

Watch for jellyfish warning signs on the beach and avoid the water when you see them. A nasty sting can ruin a fun vacation. Many snorkelers and swimmers carry a bottle of vinegar with them to provide instant relief.

Doctors-on-call centers can be found in several Honolulu hotels, including the Princess Kaiulani Hotel and the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Several hospitals are located near downtown and Waikiki, including Straubs and Queens.

If you need a pharmacy, try Long's Drugs, Walgreens or Walmart. There is a Long's Drugs branch in Ala Moana Center, and they are found near many hotels. You can often find a pharmacy in supermarkets such as Safeway, Star Markets and Foodland.

Last year saw an outbreak of Dengue fever & Ziki virus in Hawaii.  Today the Center for Disease Control [CDC] has no current warnings pending for any of the Islands.  However, there are still mosquitos and bugs in Hawaii that will bite you, so you will want to protect yourself and your family from being bitten.

 

  • Insect repellent - Our recommendations is Organic Insect Repellent – used for not only hiking but for a day at the beach or shopping around town.  We know that everyone is different in their body chemistry and reaction to bug bites.  We have found that the Organic Mosquito Repellent Anti Bug Outdoor Pump Sprays, 4 Ounces, USDA Certification, Cruelty Free, Proven results by Lab testing, Deet-Free, Value pack of 2 is the best buy and the most effective in combating critters.  It has long lasting protection and is safe for babies, kids, expectant moms and elders…and it smells good too. Note: If you prefer an Insect Repellent that contains DEET for extra protection, we recommend Ben's Insect Repellent.

  • Sunscreen - We recommend the Reef Safe Biodegradable Sunscreen Lotion spf 45+ for good reason. In Hawaii the sun is strong - A UV index of near 14+ every day speaks for itself. We recommend at least 15+ sun block in Hawaii at all times. The Reef Safe Biodegradable Sunscreen helps preserve Hawaii's delicate marine environment. A new law in Hawaii wants to ban the sale of any sunscreen that contains chemicals [specifically the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate] that can harm coral reefs. The bill, which will go into effect in 2021.

 

Please don't ruin your visit by trying to get that tropical tan; the tan will be gone within a month of your return home; the sun damage and memory of the burns will last a lot longer.

 

Do keep a fully charged smartphone handy, especially if you are going out on excursions or hikes. The global positioning capabilities of late-model phones have been the key to rescuing many missing hikers in Hawaii's rain forests.

Mahalo  - A hui hou' (Until We Meet Again)

 

To send a postcard home just doesn’t do justice to sharing where you are and what you are experiencing.  Feeling the soft breezes and the warmth of the tropical sun in Hawaii sets the background for what a ‘vacation’ should feel like.

One thing is certain – on your last night, as you watch the sun sink into the Pacific, you’ll wish you could stay a bit longer. 

Have more questions or interested in visiting Hawaii's Island Paradise, Click on our Travel Perks - Dream Vacations Banner Below!

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