You’ve decided to go to Hawaii for your next vacation. So you buy airline tickets and book your accommodation–great!
What are you missing? Plenty, actually. On top of planning your wardrobe and packing essentials, you’ll also need to prepare your itinerary–what attractions you will visit, what restaurants you will try, and how you will get there. Stressful, we know. But like any trip, you have to come to the island paradise prepared if you want to make the most out of it.
Don’t worry, we’re here to help!
To take the groan out of planning your getaway, we’ve listed some steps to take and things to prepare before you jet off to Hawaii. Check out the fairly comprehensive list below.
#1 – Read up about Hawaii.
Psych yourself up by doing a little research. Learning about the magical island paradise and its unique culture, geographic landscapes, and rich history in advance is one way to do so.
In addition, read up on the things you should watch out for in the city or town you’ll be visiting while you’re there. Much like any place, Hawaii is not without thieves and dangers like unstable cliffs, razor-sharp reefs, and twisty roads. If you’re not familiar with the sites you’ll visit or don’t know what you are doing, paradise can turn sour. So it’s best to research ahead.
#2 – Take care of your luggage.
When it comes to packing for a Hawaiian vacation, there’s one rule you should keep in mind: leave as much stuff as possible at home. With that in mind, here’s a curated checklist of the things you’ll need
during the getaway.
Casual Warm-Weather Clothing: Shorts and T-shirts would suffice for daytime sightseeing. Bring quick-dry trousers and tops, too, for activities like zip lining, hiking, and ATV tours. For dinners, men can pack collared shirts and khaki trousers while ladies can pack sundresses, casual skirts, or dressier tops.
Swimsuit: You can never leave for a tropical island getaway without it. Bring two, so you always have a dry suit to wear. Also, you’ll want to bring a cover-up while you’re in hotel lobbies and common areas.
Footwear: Since you’ll likely be spending most of your time on the beach and by the pool, make sure to pack a pair of flip-flops, sandals, or other comfy shoes for walking and lounging.
Light Sweater: It’s generally warm in Hawaii, but nights can be a bit chilly during the winter, especially in the uplands, such as Lanai City, Koele, Waimea, and Kula.
Of course, you also need to pack your toiletries, sunglasses (polarized is ideal), a rash guard, sunscreen, bug spray, lip balm with SPF, a lightweight beach bag or backpack, a flashlight, and your handy dandy camera. A Hawaii guidebook and map may come of great use, too. Make sure to bring one so you can easily find your way around the islands.
Additionally, bring some kālā (cash/money in Hawaiian) as there are some stores, restaurants, and facilities in the islands that do not take credit cards.
#3 – Visit your doctor.
If you have a health condition, be sure to set an appointment with your doctor weeks prior your scheduled vacation. This way, your doctor may prescribe you medications enough to last throughout the trip.
#4 – Call for early reservations and bookings.
Airline tickets and hotel accommodations aren’t the only ones you need to reserve ahead of time. There are also the restaurants you want to try and the attractions you want to visit.
Remember, Hawaii is among the most visited places in the U.S. by tourists and travelers. Regardless of the time of year, you can’t expect to do everything on your itinerary without making any bookings or reservations.
Tickets for attractions and events can easily sell out and restaurants can get fully booked. Other times, you will need to wait in line, which can be stressful and frustrating. Instead of being able to accomplish more things or go to more sites, you waste hours of your day slumped in a corner waiting for a staff member to assist you.
To avoid all these, be sure to call for reservations
. It’s also a good idea to ask what the restaurant’s dress code is when you call for dinner reservations.
Additional tip: Besides printing copies of your passport, traveler’s cheques, credit cards, airline tickets, and driver’s license, have a copy of all your bookings and reservation confirmations printed out for a faster transaction and emergency purposes. Also, save a copy of these documents on your phone, in case the printed files get lost.
#5 – Plan your transportation.
Are you going to rent a car or take the bus?
For the most sightseeing freedom, consider renting a reliable car. Look for one that’s big enough to hold your luggage and yourselves. A vehicle with a top rack can be handy if you have a sporting equipment, like a surfboard. But if you are staying in Oahu, you most likely won’t need a rental car because going around the island via TheBus (Hawaii’s public transportation) is fairly convenient and easy.
Whether you rent a vehicle or take public transit, ensure that you’ve researched where your hotel is and how exactly you can get around the islands from there and back.
#6 – Monitor the Weather in Hawaii
Do not forget to check how the weather looks on the island, at least a day or two before your flight so you can better prepare. If it’s raining, bring rain gear, such as ponchos. If it’s sunny, tote extra sun protection, like a hat or a visor.
Now that you got the last minute preparations out of the way, all you’ll have to do is enjoy Hawaii. Aloha!