Hawaii  Travel Tips

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Take our advice: spend less time spinning your wheels, and more time having fun. Fly to your destination island (Maui, Kauai, Kona, etc.) direct, rather than connecting in Honolulu. This will give you many more hours of vacation time and minimize complications.

oahu guidebook:

molokai and maui guidebook:


   If you are visiting both Oahu (Honolulu/Waikiki) and a neighbor island, you'll save vacation time by making Oahu your first destination.

    Landing in Honolulu, changing planes, and then flying on to a neighbor island ON THE SAME DAY will eat up that entire first vacation day, and add as much as 3 hours or more to your travel time! Many morning flights from the US and Canada mainland will put you down at Honolulu as early as noon, with plenty of time to enjoy your first day. Consider this when scheduling the time of your flight. We'd rather get up early on travel day and get to Honolulu early...its like having an extra vacation day.

    Enjoy OAHU first, Then fly to a neighbor island on another day. But keep hotel check-in

times in mind: 3 PM, in most places. If you arrive on the neighbor island earlier in the day, you can drive around and explore until hotel check in time. Don't leave your luggage unguarded in your car! Many hotels allow you to drop your baggage off for them to store until you check in. Ask before you fly in. If you do check your bags, keep your valuables with you.


    If your last stop in Hawaii is MOLOKAI, then the mandatory agricultural inspection becomes a real pain, as there is no agricultural inspector at Molokai airport. You must claim your luggage from your Molokai-Honolulu flight at the Interisland Terminal in Honolulu, drag it to the main Overseas Terminal, have it inspected, then stand in line to re-check it. Ooooh my back!! If Molokai has to be your final stop, then book your connecting flight home to allow time to do all this. To avoid the hassle, don't make Molokai your last stop before returning home.

    Honolulu's Interisland Terminal is right “next door” to the International Terminal, but it's still a hike you'd be wise to avoid. Free Wiki Wiki buses run every few minutes between the terminals, but signage within the Interisland Terminal indicating where to catch the Wiki-Wiki can be very confusing. ASK.


    If flying to a neighbor island, consider flying into the airport closest to your hotel. You'll save up to two hours (or even more) if you're staying near Kauai's Princeville Resort, or Maui's Ka`anapali / Honokowai / Kapalua Resort areas, or Maui's Hana area. You will be flying on a small plane, so ask the airline what kind of craft they fly, if that matters to you. There may be 60 seats on the plane to West Maui Airport, but perhaps only 11 on the plane to Hana. Generally speaking, Hawaiian Airlines flies the biggest planes into Hawaii's smaller airports


Hilo Airport signage is preposterously and glaringly absent —preposterous because people have been complaining about it for years, and how hard is it to make a sign and hang it up, anyway?

There is no indication curbside which airline is located where. Ticket counters are located at both extreme ends of the terminal. so good luck guessing which area your airline is flying out of!


Packing, checking out, getting to the airport, waiting, flying on to the next island, renting a car, driving to the hotel, checking in...that eats up an entire vacation day. Minimize the vacation time loss by traveling very early or late in the day. Notify your next hotel of your check-in time so they don’t sell your room to someone else.

Tips On Visiting Hawaii’s Neighbor Islands: Fly Direct


  We contribute reviews and opinions to TripAdvisor.com, and when we are making travel plans ourselves, we check out readers’ restaurant and hotel reviews for insight. Not that we always agree with some of the more off-the-wall diatribes, but we do learn valuable details, as well as find great deals by comparing airfares and itineraries, and compare rental car deals as well. Click the link to have a look, and search for reviews of the hotel or restaurant, beach or park, city or province you have in mind.

For the best prices in air, hotel and car rentals or a package deal, we recommend Travelocity:


    When leaving Hawaii from a neighbor island, make sure you have your luggage inspected by the Agriculture Dept., located right there in the ticket area, before standing in the ticket counter check-in line. This way you can check your luggage through, worry-free, to your final destination without the hassle of an agriculture inspection in Honolulu. (The AgriGuys often use drug-sniffing dogs, so don't try to bring home any paka lolo).

Hawaii Travel: An Unbeatable Research Tool


We recently heard from someone who was very disappointed with their stay at the wonderful beachfront  Sheraton Waikiki, because it had no beach. We asked, "Did you research your choices?"

"Yes, of course I did." she exclaimed. "But who'd ever think that a hotel located right on the water at Waikiki would have no beach!?

Good point.

So to make it clear, The Sheraton Waikiki has no beach, nor does the luxe Halekulani. They both have very nice pools, however, so if a beach at your doorstep is not a doorstop, then don't hesitate to book at these fine hotels.

The Ilikai, at the west end of Waikiki, made famous in the old Hawaii 5-O TV series, is newly refurbished: it too has no beach, but what they strangely neglected to focus on in their renovation was their uninviting pool. We feel that unless a Hawaii hotel has an atmospheric attraction that REALLY says "Aloha", —such as a beautiful pool that takes full advantage of the view, with comfortable lounges and a handsome dispensary for poolside food and drink— then the hotel owners don't have a clue.

In the Olden Days (the late '70s) the Hilton Hawaiian Village had no such open area, and instead allowed a bazaar of tacky shops to completely obscure its ground-level views of the ocean. The Hilton's subsequent spectacular makeover truly set the Gold Standard for future Waikiki renovations right up to the present day, for which the Ilikai has (again) missed the mark, at least in this particular respect.

For many people, neither a beach located right outside nor a pool is necessarily a make-or-break situation. In that case, those people need to research what is important to them: luxurious bedding, low room rates, proximity to shopping, award-winning restaurants on the premises (or a short stroll away), available parking for your rental car, in-room electronics, luxurious bathrooms and bath amenities, distance from construction noise or the racket from the evening musical entertainment. If you turn in early, when booking your room at your hotel of choice ask about the evening music, i.e., if your room overlooks it, how late it goes, etc.

Common sense prevails: if you love to party, you want to be near the action. If you love to shop, chow down, lay on the beach, get blottoed on mai-tais by the pool —choose your hotel accordingly to make the most of your vacation location.

Most people have free long distance these days, so call the hotels on your short list and ask all the important questions. Online or brochure photos can be misleading, so be clear about what you're getting for your room-rate, such as a REAL ocean view (and not a little slice you have to dangle over your balcony to see), free meals or drinks, or whatever the hotel is booming to draw you in.

The Princess Kaiulani, located right on Kalakaua Ave. across from the historic Sheraton Moana Hotel will be torn down and replaced, so neighboring hotels should be offering reduced rates for ear-plug owners. The modern Sheraton tower right next to the Moana is slated to be demolished as well, so call your hotel of choice to make sure you know what to expect during your visit. Very important: it never hurts to smile pretty and ask for an upgrade when you check in. You might just get it.

If you like nightlife, pick up a free copy of the Honolulu Weekly all over Honolulu for the latest and the trendiest places.

The Ala Moana Shopping Center, just over the west border of Waikiki, is still the largest outdoor shopping mall in the world, and is a shopper's dream, with a terrific mix of both high-end and more pedestrian choices. In central Waikiki, in the BEACHWALK area, you'll find all the top names in world-class luxury shopping. Set aside at least one late afternoon to visit a classic hotel for drinks, music, hula and sunset-watching. The Halekulani, the Sheraton Moana SURFRIDER and the Royal Hawaiian all fit that bill unforgettably.


hawaii guidebook:


Spending thousands to travel to the middle of the Pacific to just lie by a pool doesn’t make a lot of sense, especially in a locale as stunning and awesome as Hawaii. Oahu has more beaches than any other island, as well as a million things to do outside of Waikiki. We get sad when we see people on a bus, allowing someone else to determine what they will see and experience. People who intended to just lie by the pool for a week always come down with the “3rd-day-itch” to start exploring, once they decompress, and a rental is the only way to scratch that bugger.

Don’t end up regretting your untaken chance to fully experience Hawaii’s back roads and off-the-beaten-path wonders. Rent a vehicle! We favor Budget Rent A Car because they include lots of freebies. These freebies are really FREE, not just “2 for 1” or BOGOs. You get free admission to the Polynesian Cultural Center, free scuba lesson, free golf club rental at multiple courses, free orchid plant, free snorkel rentals, free Aloha Tower parking, free museum admissions, etc.