Dear Readers – Please share your Hawaii travel tips.

Palm Trees and Beautiful Blue Sky

I’ve been really excited about the community that’s been building up here at Go Visit Hawaii.  I love your comments and insight. Your input really helps all of us Hawaii fanatics in planning our Hawaii vacations. 

You’ve read lots of tips from me, now it’s time to hear from you.  So, I’d like to ask you to please comment with any tips you picked up from your vacations.  Here are some questions to trigger your ideas:

– What would you say was the highlight of your vacation?  What would you tell everyone is not to be missed?

– Did you go to any places you wish you hadn’t?

– Were there any tours that you didn’t take that you wish you had taken?  Were there any tours you took that you wish you hadn’t? 

– Do you wish you’d taken the tour at a different time or day?

– Were there any places that you wish you had seen but somehow missed?

– What money saving tips did you discover?

– Did you have any mishaps that you may have been able to avoid?

– How did your flights go?  Are there any things about your flight that you would have done differently?

– Did you pack too much or too little?  What items would you not pack next time?  Is there something that you didn’t pack that you wish you did?

– Do you want to go back to Hawaii?  What’s on top of your to-do list for next time?

I’m excited to hear what you have to say, so please share your tips in the comments!  I know several of you have just returned from your vacations, so do please chime in.  Mahalo!

  1. My husband and I loved Hawaii Shark Encounters on Oahu! It was out of the ordinary from a “typical” beach vacation and made for one of the most memorable Hawaii trips ever!! Sharks were already circling the boat when we got to the shark grounds 3 miles off the North Shore. We dropped a shark cage into the water, jumped in and saw nearly 30 sharks (Sandbar Sharks, Galapagos Sharks & Grey Reef Sharks). It was a bit scary.. totally out of character for me, but it was also one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done. I think a good vacation offers those types of experiences that you may not get the chance to do anywhere else. It is a great memory and I would highly suggest it to anyone traveling to Hawaii.

  2. I believe that it never occurs to young people that they can stay at a hostel about a block away from the beach for as little as $25,00 per night. Hawaii has a surprisingly large number of them as well in great locations. I sincerely wish that I knew that back when I was in collage. I would have visited a lot sooner.

  3. Many of the churches and non profit organizations have fundraisers on Saturdays or Sundays. these may include Hawaiian BarBQ, plate lunches, etc. These can be a great budget weekend meal around lunchtime and it goes to a good cause. This holds for Hawaii as well as other places in the US. the good thing is that it is usually pretty good home cooking.

    It may take a little digging to find these places, but check with the local newspapers and also check bulletin boards in small towns.

    One year we were in Honolulu for Mothers day and there was a little Home for People with Mental Disabilities right next to the Dole Plantation. I took my mother there for Lunch and she loved it. the meal was good, but the experience was in seeing the delight in the faces of the residents that were serving us.

  4. We visited Oahu and had visted many things in Honolulu, the North Shore, we had driven along the cost from the North Shore down to St. Louis, drove over around Pearl Habor, but we noticed that we hadn’t went to the west side of the island. So we hoped in our car on our last full-day in Hawaii.

    I was left with a bad taste of Hawaii and wasn’t sure if we were going to come out of there alive. There were miles and miles of homeless people living on the beaches along the coast. The further we got north the worse shape the homes were. I am originally from Iowa and I compared the houses to hog houses – with rounded metal roufs. We believed that the road went through to the North Shore, but as we got clear up north, we found that the road does not go North – so it was a wasted trip.

    We had rented a brand new Ford Mustang with a convertible top (only 13 miles when we started) so I got really nervous when we were driving back. A car came at us going approxiately 100 mph and as soon as it got past us it pulled it’s emergency break and did a 180 right behind us. They came at us going really fast and we weren’t sure if we needed to duck as they passed us going extremely fast in a no passing zone. We let the car get far enough in front of us, but then a few miles down the road we seen it coming back at us again. The whole experience was quite frieghtful and I would not recommend that anyone go over in this area. I seen nothing in the traveler’s information that warned us not to go to this side of the island.

    Other than this day we had a lot of fun in Hawaii and we plan to visit again (but just not this area).

  5. Mahalo, Tamara, Dave, Frank and Lindsay! These are some fantastic tips and definitely worth sharing!

  6. Unpack a few of those shirts. I don’t know anyone who leaves Hawaii without a new shirt or two. Same with the swim trunks. Clothing makes a great souvenir and not packing the extra clothes can save a lot of space.

    You can’t leave Hawaii empty-handed. Everyone back home will expect “Something”. However… Don’t buy these items in Waikiki… Make a quick trip to Wall-Mart near the Ala Moana shopping center and buy most of your gifts there. They have a an entire section of the store devoted to cool but cheap Hawaiian stuff that’s perfect for bringing home as gifts. They have a better selection and way better prices.

  7. Some great tips shared already. Here are a few of mine…

    A lot of activities and restaurants have an “off peak” rate. If you don’t mind playing golf after 3pm or grabbing dinner before 6pm, you can often save a lot of money.

    It never hurts to ask for a flight or room upgrade, when you check in. If you have a frequent flier/stayer card you might be able to get a free upgrade. Some credit cards might come with perks too.

    It’s easy to take lots of photos during your trip–even video. Be sure to take equal time simply taking in the sights as well. It’s easy to get back home and realize your memories consist of what you saw through a viewfinder.

  8. @ Dave – Good point about not packing too much. I waaay over packed for my first trip to Maui and I did buy a shirt while I was there. Now for the swim suits….um….it takes us girls a lot longer to find a good fitting swimsuit, so I’ll spend my time on the mainland swimsuit shopping. 🙂 We almost always go to the Wal-Marts on the islands. We like to stock up on mac nuts, coffee, and coconut syrup there. Thanks for adding in more tips!

    @ Andy – Thanks for those additions. As you and I have experienced, you tend to get a little better treatment if you sign up for the hotel loyalty programs.

  9. aloha,
    its very easy to over-spend in hawaii – so in order to save money…you really should plan ahead. i was just recently in honolulu.
    here are some of my tips on saving money in hawaii:

    1) get a room with a kitchenette. there really is no need to have breakfast buffets everyday. instead, find the local grocery store and cook your own breakfast. we spent $50 for 4 days for 3 people, making eggs, toast, cereal, and fruit. most hotels with kitchenettes already have the necessary supplies to make food (pans and utensils).

    2) keep yourself busy. whether you’re surfing, hiking, or snorkeling – you’ll be too busy enjoying yourself, thereby avoiding unecassary eating and shopping.

    3) make your own tours. there’s tons of activities going on, so take the time to explore your area (via scooters, walking, or a car) – and it might suprise you how many different forms of free entertainment and picturesque view there are.

    4) plan your budget ahead. fix a set amount to spend and stick to it. at the end of each day, count your money spent and money remaining. its very easy to find missing money due to random and unplanned coffees, souvenirs, rentals, etc…

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