15 Travel Tips & Hints for visiting Hawaii

Hawaii is like a jewel floating in the vastness of the Pacific Ocean, with its 137 islands, islets and atolls, forming the 50th state of the United States, except the Midway Atoll. Its six main islands, popular and loved by tourists from around the world are: Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Hawaii, Molokai and Lanai. In what follows, I will mention a few hints and tips that I find useful before going on a long journey, to this wonderful paradise, Hawaii.

Getting here: The airport is Honolulu International Airport, being the gateway to Hawaii and the Pacific. Wiki-Wiki bus line with free transfer carries passengers from the arrival gate to the baggage reclaim area, in case the plane landed on the runway built on the ocean. The most important inter-island airlines suppliers are: Hawaiian Airlines, Island Air, Mokuleia Airlines, low-cost companies.

When to go: the ideal period is in low season from mid-April until mid-June or September to mid-December, when prices fall sharply and the weather is excellent.

Weather: The hottest months of the year are August and September. In Hawaii there are 2 seasons: summer and winter. In summer the average temperature is around 29 degrees Celsius and winter is wetter, during the day being around 25 degrees Celsius and at night, approximately 16 degrees Celsius.

What to pack: related to clothing, since the weather is quite unpredictable, depending on the season, you should add in your baggage: rain jacket, hiking boots, sandals or shoes for walking, thin & casual clothes, glasses, sun hat, sunscreen, insect spray, and an elegant shirt or a dress, because at some fancy restaurants is required an elegant outfit.

CANNOT bring in Hawaii: fresh vegetables or fruit, being extremely harsh penalties.

Because Hawaii's territory has no rabies, there is a very strict law that animals stay for 4 months in the quarantine station. So before you get on the island, if you come with your pet, you have to do the formalities for it, to stay 30 days in quarantine.

The official currency is the American dollar. Credit cards are the most used especially Visa and MasterCard, finding ATMs in banks and major malls.

Opening hours: Shops are open from 9:30 AM to 9:00 PM. Banks are open from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Gas stations from 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM and from 9:00 to 3:00 p.m. - museums. Some supermarkets are open even 24 hours.

For disabled travelers, most hotels are equipped with special rooms and most intersections in Hawaii have special ramps.

Be aware that smoking is strictly prohibited in public buildings and in most small hotels, so be careful when choosing a hotel, as they have smoking prohibited.

Tipping in Hawaii is always normal and expected, starting with the maid who cleans your room, the porter who carries your luggage, up to the waiter at the restaurant, the taxi driver and the guy at the gas station.

All beaches in Hawaii are public, even those who have behind them an ultra luxurious hotel.

What to buy: The most popular and known sweet souvenirs are macadamia nuts covered in chocolate, or Kona coffee as well as teas, cookies, chips and other goodies made from plants and Hawaiian ingredients. These can be purchased at reasonable prices in supermarkets like Longs Drugs or ABC stores, which are in the resorts. Famous are also the Hawaiian blankets, or CDs with Hawaiian music, jade, kimonos or objects carved in koa wood.

Aloha means ‘Hello’ but also ‘Goodbye’. If you receive a garland, the normal gesture is to reward the person with a kiss on the cheek.

Friday's celebration, is called ‘Aloha Friday’, meaning the day when the Hawaiian are wearing colorful Hawaiian outfits.

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