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Things to know before going to Hawaii
1. The temperature
In most parts of Hawaii, the average temperatures year-round will be somewhere close to a high of 85 and low of 75. This can vary drastically, after all, Hawaii has 11 of the worlds 13 climate zones. If you’re planning on taking any trips with a higher elevation (Haleakala on Maui, Mauna Kea on Big Island, etc) you’ll definitely want to bring a jacket. It also rains really heavily in some areas, Mount Waiʻaleʻale on Kauai is the wettest place in the world. Wherever you’re visiting make sure to do your research so that you can properly prepare.
2. Aloha & The Locals
The spirit of aloha is very real and the people of Hawaii are very friendly. Yes, there are some areas where locals don’t care for tourists, but you probably won’t go to those anyway. Don’t be that tourist that steps on the coral, trespasses or is generally disrespectful. The majority of the time you will be met with a very warm welcome.
Also worth mentioning, not everyone living in Hawaii is “Hawaiian.” Hawaiian generally refers to native Hawaiians which make up a small percentage of Hawaii residents. It’s easier to just refer to those who live there as “locals.”
3. No Plastic Bags
Plastic bags are banned in Hawaii, which is awesome! However, it might be a shock to you if you haven’t visited the islands before. Make sure to either bring your own reusable bags or plan to purchase some while you’re visiting. In this post, you can see the other things that I packed for one of my visits to Hawaii.
4. Prices of everything
You probably know this already, but the prices of almost everything in Hawaii are pretty high. Virtually everything has to be shipped into Hawaii. Even things that are sourced locally (like fish) may have a higher price because fishing boats use gas and gas is expensive in Hawaii.
Hawaii is pretty much paradise, so the extra cost is definitely worth it. You just have to work the extra costs into your budget when planning your vacation. The average cost of a hotel is around $200 per night. That’s why we recommend staying in a vacation rental.
5. Public restrooms
Once you get outside of tourist towns, public restrooms can be difficult to find. We first realized this on the Big Island but then discovered that it was even more of an issue in Kauai. If you need to find a restroom, try places like big box stores, grocery stores, fast food, etc. Most gas stations don’t have public restrooms, and a lot of them that do are actually portapotties. Kauai had a lot of portapotties as well. Imagine portapotties in super hot weather, it’s exactly what you’d expect.
6. Sacred spots (Kapu)
Native Hawaiians have spiritual connections to many sites around the islands. Be careful to follow any rules pertaining to where you aren’t allowed to go. You should also leave things as you found them. “Take only pictures and leave only footprints” is always good advice.
8. Don’t touch the…
Turtles, or the dolphins, or the coral! It’s not only against the law but messing with animals or coral can negatively impact the environment. One of the reasons why Hawaii is so beautiful is that it is so well preserved. Don’t ruin it for everyone else.
On that note, did you know that your sunscreen could be causing damage to marine life? Most people don’t know! Look for ingredients like oxybenzone, butylparaben, octinoxate and 4-methylbenzylidine camphor and avoid them. If you’re already choosing natural products, your sunscreen is probably safe but it is worth checking.
9. Things are really laid back
If you love wearing flip flops, shorts, or sundresses all the time, anywhere, you can! I have read that you should wear pants to funerals and court, but hopefully, you won’t have to go to either. Everything is just more laid back in general (look at #10) and the people of Hawaii do not generally seem to care about flaunting wealth or bragging about their jobs. If you hear someone doing either, they’re probably tourists. 😉
10. Island Time
Island time is a thing! Most people in Hawaii aren’t in a hurry. This can be a pretty big shock coming from the mainland, especially on the roads. Unless you’re near Honolulu, you probably won’t see speed limits over 55 mph, if that. Take your time and enjoy the scenery.
I hope that you enjoyed this post about the things you should know before going to Hawaii. Of course, this list doesn’t encompass everything but it’s a good starting point. If you’ve been to Hawaii, or if you live there, what can you add to this list? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
Planning a trip to Hawaii? Check out some of my other Hawaii posts: