Hawaii Vacation Tips: What To Do, What To Avoid

Just because you’re staying in luxury homes in Hawaii does not mean you can do just about everything you want to do; you might be privileged, but you have to remember that you are staying in a land possibly rooted more on tradition and history than any other state in the United States of America. If you truly want to live the Aloha life, abide by these dos and don’ts to have the best stay ever.


DO Say You’re From The Mainland

The best option is to instead say you’re from the mainland or state which city or state you are from. Who knows, where you are from might even start an interesting conversation with the person you are speaking to.

DON’T say you’re from America

On August 21, 1959, the Hawaiian archipelago officially became part of the United States of America after it was declared the fiftieth state. Unfortunately, plenty of Americans tend to forget this little tidbit, which means when some tourists are asked where they are from, the answer is “from the United States”. Do not answer in this manner as you may come off as ignorant and rude, as Hawaii is a part of this!

DON’T stick to the normal foods

There are, admittedly, a lot of picky eaters in the world who will still stick to the ever so familiar fast food that is easily found in many western nations, such as Subway and Burger King. Or there are some who just want to play it safe by ordering the usual steak and potatoes in fear that they may not like the local offerings. Open your mind. Open your palette. Explore, because Hawaii truly has some stunning local foods that are of the highest quality, which leads me to my next point.


DO Try Hawaiian Food

Expand your horizons a bit and do try a few Hawaiian dishes, because they are absolutely delicious. Some of them might even be similar to your favourites at home since Hawaiian cuisine is partially influenced by Chinese, Puerto Rican, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, and Filipino food. For example, the Spam musubi is a must try for any lover of the canned meat. And if you’re ready to take on something entirely new, try something native Hawaiian, which are dishes that are purely Hawaiian with no outside influence whatsoever. Try Poi, a sticky, mashed taro paste or Lau Lau, which is meat (either pork, chicken, beef or fish) wrapped in taro leaves then slowly cooked in an underground rock oven called an Imu.

DO hit the Beach

You’re on vacation and you’re surrounded by some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Take a surfing lesson or two, wade the waters or build a sandcastle with your loved ones. Or go ahead, grab your flip flops or sandals as well as your hat. Take a walk, breathe in the fresh ocean air. If you’re an early riser, go in the early hours of the morn and watch the sunrise from the east and later on at dusk, watch the sunset in the west.

DON’T Forget Sun Protection

In Honolulu, it is sunny for around 70% of the year, which is perfect for those who just want to get golden brown skin; however, you also have to remember that Hawaii is a lot closer to the equator than the mainland, which means the effect of the sun’s rays can be a lot harsher than if you are in, say, North Carolina. And with the luring heat, you just might fall asleep as you lie on your beach towel. What you should do is to slap on your sunscreen before leaving for the beach to give it some time to dry. Get something waterproof with at least 30 SPF and do not forget to reapply every two hours. Do not forget to get lip balm as well. Don’t go out from 10 am to 2 pm since this is when the sun will be at its hottest.


DON’T take home a lava rock

While touring the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, you might be tempted to pick up a small rock to take home as a souvenir. But before you do, you had better think twice about it because of Pele’s Curse.

Legend has it that misfortune will fall onto anyone who brings home any rock, soil or sand from the islands. Some may not believe in the said curse, but the national park receives boxes and boxes of rocks every year from those who believe their misfortunes started when they brought home their lava rock. And if you think this is an ancient curse, legend also says it originated from a park ranger who grew tired of people taking home rocks by the dozen. Another is of tour guides and drivers who wished to stop tourist from bringing on their tour vehicles the dirt and pebbles from the park. Either way, you still must not take anything from the park aside from the souvenirs sold and pamphlets since it is against the law to remove any object from national parks, be it rock or a twig. So don’t be a lawbreaker; leave the rocks as they are.

DO Check Out Craft Fairs and Farmer’s Markets

If you truly wish for an authentic Hawaiian souvenir, then check out the craft fares, weekend markets, and farmer’s markets for some local goodies. These range from delicious goodies to aromatic Kona coffee to unique handmade crafts. The best part is by buying from these places, you’re supporting the livelihood of the locals. Tourism should always be sustainable and there should always be some give and take from both sides.

Hawaii is the one place you’ll want to go to relax and take a break from the world. Just remember these dos and don’ts, and you’ll definitely have the best stay of your life.


Danie is a crazy nomad who has been traveling the world for five years straight. Check out her stories at https://www.likeridingabicycle.com, or read on for posts from people all over the world!

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