How to Plan a Trip to Hawaii


Hawaii is an American paradise. Where else can you relax in the tropics but still speak English and spend US dollars? You can make the most of your Hawaiian vacation with a little planning. If you know where you are heading and what you will be doing, you wont waste any of your valuable time. Time should not be wasted while savoring paradise.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer with Internet Connection
  • Hawaii Travel Book

Start with your port of entry. Most visitors to Hawaii arrive at Honolulu International Airport. It is on the most populous island of Oahu. It is also possible to fly directly from the mainland United States to Maui and the Big Island of Hawaii. The islands of Kauai, Molokai and Lanai are serviced by commuter airlines. Begin your trip planning from the city you arrive in. Use the Internet and travel books to give you ideas on specific tourist sights you wish to experience.

Decide how many Hawaiian islands you will visit. Will you be spending your entire vacation on Oahu or will you be splitting your time among several islands? It is important to decide how long you will spend on each island before you arrive in Hawaii. You can see some smaller Hawaiian islands like Molokai and Lanai in a day. Kauai requires a bit more time. Oahu, Maui and the Big Island each require a week or more to fully enjoy. If you have limited time you may be better off sticking to just one island.

Choose what kind of vacation you want. In Hawaii you can play golf, climb a volcano, swim with dolphins, snorkel or learn the hula. You can also just sit on a beach. Decide whether you want an active vacation or a relaxing one. Your answer will direct you toward specific islands. On Oahu you can visit the USS Arizona memorial at Pearl Harbor, tour the city of Honolulu and hike to the top of Diamond Head volcano. Maui has gorgeous beaches on its western shore. Some of the best are Ka‘anapali Beach and Kapalua Beach. A visit to Maui isn't complete until you bike down the Haleakala volcano and drive the road to Hana to experience swimming under waterfalls and in the seven sacred pools. Kauai is lush, green and tropical. You can take a boat to the Fern Grotto to see a cave overgrown with tropical ferns. Lanai is a resort island that used to be a Dole pineapple plantation. Today it is full of expensive resorts for the rich. Molokai is relatively tourist-free and a good place to sample genuine Hawaiian life. Check out the ancient fertility stone or the site of the old leprosy colony. The Big Island is dry and arid with the only active volcano in Hawaii. This is where you go to see lava flowing from the Kilauea Volcano.

Use your port of entry as your hub. Plan to see the Hawaiian city where you arrive either first or last. If you are headed to other islands you will probably take commuter flights from the same airport. Either get on another plane immediately and work your way back to your port of entry or see the port of entry island first then head to the other islands later.

Plan out your an itinerary before you arrive. That doesn't mean you need to know what you will be doing at every minute. Just be sure you know where you will be and have at least one big activity planned for each day. That way you will have transportation and lodging information arranged ahead of time. The last thing you want is to waste time trying to find a place to stay and figuring out how to get there. A little planning will save you a lot of time. Your daily big activity can be something like biking down Haleakala volcano on Maui, touring the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor on Oahu, sailing to the Fern Grotto on Kauai or watching the lava flow from the Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island. The rest of your day can be spent on less regimented activities like sitting on the beach, snorkeling or shopping. Also plan one big meal per day. This can be a luau, sushi or a great local Hawaiian restaurant. You can grab your other meals on the run.

Tips & Warnings

  • Hawaii can be an expensive destination. This is especially true of lodging, gasoline and food. Be sure your plans fit within your vacation budget.

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