To start your Hawaii vacation on the right foot or slippah, we’ve compiled a list of Hawaii travel mistakes that should be avoided. After reading us, please add your ideas in the comment section. And let us know which one you like best. There are about 30 to choose from.
1. Speaking pidgin English will raise an eyebrow unless you are raised here. Hawaii Creole is similar to English but separate. It is spoken by those who grew up on the islands and heard on playgrounds and in neighborhood conversations.
2. Disturbing turtles and monk seals. Volunteers try to tie up the areas around the turtles and monk seals that sit on the beach. If the ropes are not there, remember by law you must keep a minimum distance of 50 feet. If you see any of these in the ocean, it is recommended to keep 10 feet away.
3. Removal of rocks, coral, or sand. Aside from Hawaiian cultural beliefs, there are state laws that prohibit the extraction of coral and sand. As for the extraction of lava rock, it is associated with the goddess Pele. So removing it hurts many. Also, do not take a stone from the heiau (Hawaiian temples). Stone piling is also a wrong practice and offensive to Native Hawaiians.
4. Forget to explore across the beach. For example, staying in Waikiki and not visiting other parts of Oahu including the North Shore, Pearl Harbor, and cultural places like Iolani Palace as starters.
5. Missing many unique Hawaiian food options. Stop at Farmer’s Markets. Shop for foods not seen on the mainland. Enjoy restaurants with Hawaiian-style food including the ever-growing number of food trucks. And definitely don’t miss the poke test, shave ice, and malasadas.
6. Getting sunburn. The Hawaii sun is stronger than you think. You can also get sunburn on a cloudy day. Hawaii state law requires that you use reef-safe sunscreen.
7. Cheap tipping. Please be generous to our overworked hospitality employees, many of whom are still working up to three jobs to make a living here.
8. Wearing shoes in someone’s house. Take off your shoes at the door and relax. Be sure to hose the sand to your feet before entering or have socks on hand.
9. Planning more than can be accepted at the speed of our island. Use Google Maps to see how long it takes to drive between points A and B before you leave.
10. Leave things visible, in your rental car. This is a safety issue. Before you go out, move things to your trunk.
11. Driving fast, making a U-turn, or honking. Here on Kauai for example, that two-lane road is a highway and not a country road.
12. Jaywalking. Instead go to the crossing because drivers don’t expect you in the middle of the road.
13. Ignoring ocean hazards. For starters, please do not swim or snorkel alone or where there is no lifeguard. The ocean is stronger than you think. When in doubt, don’t go out.
14. Not planning ahead.
15. Spending too much. Check out today’s post about resort fees and taxes that can add up to 50% to your bill.
16. Do not re -check your itinerary and bookings. In today’s weather, make sure your flights are still working and schedules don’t change. It probably didn’t happen to you, but it has BOH editors. Previously, we both showed up for the same car rental, and on another occasion, at a hotel, and we didn’t get the right check-in day when we made reservations.
Worse, on a recent adventure, your editors received a call from Hawaiian Airlines that the flight (from Sydney to Honolulu) had been changed to a different date. Upon reviewing, we suddenly realized that it was indeed a very lucky thing. The flight we originally booked was not for the day we intended to fly. If it weren’t for their coincidental change, we would have had at least, a very expensive change fee if we had caught on. Otherwise, we would have missed the flight altogether.
17. Packing guides. They are still useful, even less so in print. Just use your smartphone or tablet. Also check out your local library for a free Hawaii travel guide download. Our personal favorite Hawaii guidebook series, Hawaii Revealed, is available as an app or eBook.
18. Over-packing and even forgetting important things.
Make sure your phone is ready for all the great photos and videos on the beach of Hawaii. Bring the electronics you need for your laptop, cell phone, and camera. We couldn’t get away without our portable chargers just in case. Choose one that is powerful enough while still small and easy to carry.
Pack light. It’s Hawaii and we’re just casual here. Many of our hotels and most vacation rentals have on-site laundry facilities. Shop Hawaii stores for reef walkers, sunscreen, snorkel gear, and more.
19. Placing undue trust in travel reviews.
What a difficult subject. We cannot live without them and yet we cannot trust them as we once were naive. We continue to believe that success or failure is based in part on reviews, perhaps up to half of all travel reviews are financially motivated.
At Beat of Hawaii, we use every source we can find to triangulate reviews (Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google, Booking, and more), and always remember that a large percentage of reviews are fake. Have you ever tried using FakeSpot? We use it with mixed results. It aims to help find fake reviews. At each inspection, we try to sift through the trash to find the gems. There is so much at stake for hotels, restaurants, and tourist attractions that we think they always leave reviews on the opportunity.
20. Just looking for “budget” hotels.
Before traveling in “budget style” (that’s just a joke), check out hotel deals out of season. Sometimes the nicer hotels are just slightly higher per night than the 2-star clunkers. And the percentage of hidden fees is lower. We also try to book directly with hotels and skip the middleman for many reasons including sometimes avoiding fees. Another highly recommended value option is Hawaii vacation rentals from Airbnb and professional vacation rental management companies.
21. Forget to check prices on cars, air, and hotels again. Check to ensure that prices have not changed from the time of booking until the time of travel. As a result, it is possible to get credit with the airline or otherwise improve rates. It takes a bit of time but it may be worth it. Sometimes we save 50% by re-booking our car rental the day before the trip.
22. Booking hotels without out, more than 90 days in advance during the off-season.
The best deals on hotels are almost always within three months before leaving except for the maximum travel time during the holiday and summer. Deals could be even better in the last 30 days. In 90 days, hotels evaluate their pricing model in relation to the number of booking firms. At that point, they are likely to make changes or use distribution tools (online travel agencies) to help dispose of excess inventory.
23. Not checking terms and conditions, additional fees, and carefully checking your rental car for damage.
When you enter into a contract for plane tickets, car rental, hotel, or any part of the trip, you need to read and understand the terms before paying. That includes cancellation policies as they are constantly changing.
To avoid sticker shock on your trip, make sure you consider charges on checked baggage, resort fees, parking, taxes, etc.
Before driving your rental car on the lot, inspect it carefully and note any damage you may find. Even if you’re tired from your flight, don’t forget to do it. Help everyone. PS: check the gas as well.
24. Island hopping on a short or important vacation.
Consider that you will lose at least 4 hours from your itinerary to swap islands. If you are new to Hawaii and/or want to see most of the islands, a week -long NCL Hawaii cruise may be more appropriate. Another compromise is to stay on Maui and visit the two islands with a fast and fun ferry to Lanai.
25. Overscheduling your trip with too many things and activities. Hawaii, of course. We have guests who go from one activity to another without time to relax, have fun and appreciate.
26. Both parking fees and resort fees are not reviewed. They are big. We make that research part of the primary review of accommodations.
27. Thinking of needing a rental car for the entire trip to Oahu. In Waikiki, for example, this will avoid parking fees, and make your vacation simpler. Try in-town rentals instead of from the airport.
28. Not planning which island best meets your vacation needs. All the islands are great, but they are also very different. Coming to Kauai expecting nightlife will definitely bring you trouble, for example. Also, make sure you understand where the activities you are looking for are located. Did you know that some people make the mistake of thinking that the Big Island (Hawaii Island) is Oahu/Honolulu?
29. Arrive during peak travel times when you have other options. The off-season will give you better deals and less crowded beaches.
30. Not renting a car on nearby islands in particular. Otherwise, you will be stuck using a bus that will save money but eat up your time.
31. Invading private property or ignoring warning signs. Be careful here. Disrespecting private property can cause you trouble on your Hawaii vacation, or worse.
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