Hawaii Honeymoon (and Vacation) Do’s and Don’ts

The following guest post was kindly written by Jim who writes daily about personal finance issues at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity. Jim recently returned from a honeymoon in Hawaii and, like many people, has fallen in love with the Aloha state. His favorite island is Kauai and thinks he saw a Menehune.

Hawaii 189

My wife and I recently had the great pleasure of honeymooning on the islands of Hawaii, the first trips for both of us, and picked up a few do’s and don’t along the way. Some of these tips are just good general vacationing tips, such as packing an extra suitcase, but some are specific to Hawaii. These are also tips that I hadn’t heard of before our trip, unlike the ubiquitous tip of not leaving
luggage visible in your car, so we hope they will be new to you all as well.

Do Remember Those Essentials
Hawaii is an archipelago, which means everything that isn’t grown there is shipped in. That also means everything is more expensive than on the Mainland so try to bring as much as you can with you so you don’t have to buy it. On our trip we actually brought a few bottles of wine, some trail mix, and other assorted items we normally wouldn’t bring on a trip with us. We figured that we
could carry the load so we might as well save a few dollars by bring it with us! And yes, wine is essential.

Do Get Those Blue Guidebooks [The Ultimate/Revealed Guides written by Andrew Doughty] The locals hate them but those blue guidebooks are a treasure. You could go on a drive, have nothing planned, and rely on the blue book to guide you the rest of the way. We used it every night to help decide where we’d eat, we used it to help us figure out what hikes to do, and we used it to help us find where the locals hang out (so we could avoid tourists like us!)

The one caveat about the book is that it sometimes tells you to take a departure from the trail and go down some path for a secret detour. Sometimes those detours have newspaper clippings of people who have died… I advise that you avoid any trail whose only trail head is an obituary.

[Sheila’s note – also, be very careful that you do not trespass.]

Do Know Where Costco Is
Having Costco in Hawaii saved us a tremendous amount of money in gasoline. I don’t know how they do it but they are consistently cheaper than the competition, sometimes by a significant amount, and you can even take advantage of their cheap prices on food (and wine!) if you want to pick up some snacks you may have forgotten. If you don’t have a blue guide book for the island, Costco usually carries it.

Do Bring An Empty Suitcase
Invariably you’ll pick something along the way in Hawaii, or any vacation, so it’s crucial that you pack an empty suitcase to haul your booty back to the Mainland. Even if you have the space, the ridiculous weight restrictions on luggage (and surcharges) will often be killer unless you can offload that heavy Kona coffee and mac nuts into another roller.

Do Become Everyone’s Friend
Talk to everyone, become everyone’s friend, make conversation and remember you’re on vacation! Hawaiians are usually very friendly and very easy going. Sometimes you find people who are in a mood, we all get in those moods, but usually people are wearing their Hawaiian shirts and having a good time.

Don’t Try To Visit Them All!
We had planned to honeymoon in Hawaii for about two and a half weeks. Our first week was slated for Kauai, followed by a few days on the Big Island, then a few days on Maui, followed by a few in Oahu. About a month before our trip, as we were finalizing lodging and inter-island airfare, we decided to scrap Maui. Boy was that a great idea! We felt too compelled to visit everything on our first trip and we were both glad we removed an island from our itinerary because it gave
us more time to enjoy the three islands we did go. You never want to feel rushed when you’re on vacation, especially when it’s your honeymoon.

Traveling inter-island is not a hassle at all, we flew Hawaiian Airlines, but you do lose a few hours each day and those are precious hours you could be spent hiking, snorkeling, or lying on the beach. We decided that we’d be going back to Hawaii in the future so we should save some for the next trip.

Don’t Pack Snorkel Gear
Snorkel gear rental on the islands is so cheap, there’s really no need for you to pack a mask, wetsuit, and fins; unless you have a ton of room to spare and don’t mind lugging it around. The equipment won’t be as good as anything you can buy in a store but you don’t need to carry it all the way from home either.

Don’t Be In A Hurry
Nothing… happens… in… Hawaii… in… a… hurry… so… relax. πŸ™‚ Some people make joke about Hawaiian time but it’s legit, stuff is simply more relaxed and everyone’s having a real chill time. Don’t rush people and they won’t look at you like you have four heads. Just hang loose, just have fun…

Do you have any Hawaii honeymoon Do’s and Don’ts that I missed? Please share!

  1. Hey there we are!

    You’re very welcome Sheila, I had a lot of fun writing it… it’s like when I write, I go back to Hawaii. πŸ™‚

  2. Jim – thanks for sharing some great tips. I see you’ve caught Sheila’s bug “it’s like when I write, I go back to Hawaii” — why do you think she writes about Hawaii so often? πŸ˜‰

    Did you take any tours while you were there? I’m not a huge tour fan–although I’ve been on some great ones in Hawaii–but I wonder if being on a honeymoon you had a preference.

    Take a tour, and concentrate on your new bride. Or, organize it yourself and spent some quality alone time. Curious to hear your advice.

    Thanks again for some great tips!

  3. Maybe one on the lighter side, but “don’t” wait too long to go back :).

    To the visit them all comment, it is certainly a good idea to plan multiple trips if you have your heart set on seeing all the islands, that is, unless you like packing and unpacking every 3 days while on vacation. Even on some islands (not to name names) you might even need multiple trips to see and do everything just on that one alone.

    @Jim, I do hope you and your wife get to go back and see Maui in the future.

  4. I have mixed feeling on those guidebooks. They often tell you to do something that is not safe for anyone but the ironman/woman and direct you to very dangerous locations and to trespass. They also direct you to locations that do not have the best emergency access if something were to happen.

    When at Costco, avoid going on a Saturday afternoon (parking can be a 20-minute wait). If you venture inside on a Saturday, prepare for elbow-to-elbow congestion in the main isles. Costco also sells liquor, although, for a vacation for two, the quantity may be more than you’d use: I hope, otherwise you’re missing out on the islands!

    If you’re interested in trying the raw fish, or “poke” (po-kay), Costco has it and I’ve heard wonderful reviews from locals and tourists!

    I was pretty happy with the rental snorkel gear in the places I’ve visited. Some of the off-site rental places, like Snorkel Bob’s, often give discounts and coupons when you rent gear there, as well.

  5. Jim,

    Re: the “Guidebook.” Right on for your cautions about dangerous area’s. There are public hearings taking place on Maui now regarding closing off some area’s that have been made popular by the blue book. Injuries and cultural damage are cited.

    Scraped Maui! I can only assume you’re saving the best for your next trip. πŸ™‚

    Sheila, you’ve got to get to the islands more often. This has really become a lively place since your BI visit πŸ˜‰


  6. I appreciate all the comments and discussion!

    @Kris – You’re right about multiple trips just for one island- as many times as I’ve been to Hawaii, I still have a “to do list” for each island for my next visit. For example, I’ve spent nearly a month (combined) on the Big Island and I still have things I want to do there!
    @Ben – Thanks for your first time comment at Go Visit Hawaii. I never would have thought of good poke being at the Costco. We sampled some poke at the Safeway and found out that most of it was actually frozen and shipped in from somewhere else. Strange, huh?
    @David – Ha! I’ll speak to the boss about your suggestion. πŸ˜‰

  7. @Andy: Yeah, it’s fun writing about Hawaii because it’s such a wonderful place. In Kauai we went twice out on a zodiac for a snorkeling and then a whalewatching tour with a friend of the family who runs it as a business and a helicopter tour (jack harter). On Big Island, we did a tour with Vavoom tours for the volcano thought I don’t think tha twas absolutely necessary. Lori (Vavoom) was really nice though, she took us around for hours and hours and we drove down to where the lava was spewing into the ocean when it was going wild for a day or so. Oh, we also did the Kipu ATV Ranch Tour on Kauai, that was awesome.

    I’m usually not a fan of tours because my wife and I like to hike. Hiking doesn’t really need a tour, we just find the trail head and follow the dirt path. The other thing about tours is that it locks up your morning or afternoon, so you lose a bit of that flexibility. Part of the fun of vacation is doing whatever you want, when you want… even if it’s absolutely “nothing” like lie on the beach!

    @Kris: All of the islands need multiple visits, at least that’s my excuse! πŸ™‚

    RE: Blue Book – I had some mixed feelings too, on one hand I do like how you can drive around and it tells you where to go. On the other, I don’t like how it tells you to climb down dangerous areas and such. I think if you use your own judgment you’ll be okay… some people are just foolish.

    Definitely no trespassing, that’s rude.

  8. Jim – a hiking fan? Now you’re talking my language. If you tell me you also like poke and mai tais, we might have been separated at birth! πŸ˜‰

  9. I would also add to this “don’t join any timeshare because you get cheaper cruise drive or helicopter ride”

    Don’t you hate their “specials”? Nothing against timeshare investors but I think many tourists fall down to timeshare just to save $100 or less

  10. @Andy: I love all manner of seafood, raw, cooked, partially cooked, whatever. πŸ™‚ The one thing I have yet to try, but still want to, is blowfish (fugu). My dad had it (my mom refused) and said it turned his face numb… hahaha.

    And everyone is a fan of mai tais. πŸ™‚

    I actually proposed to my wife at the top of Mt. Tallac at Lake Tahoe, she’s an avid fan of hiking so we always try to get a hike in wherever we’re going.

    @Hawaii Blog: I’d probably just end that bit of advice at the “because.” πŸ™‚

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