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Things to know before going to Hawaii
1. What is the temperature in Hawaii?
I’m asked a lot of Hawaii questions and this is one of the most common! In most parts of Hawaii, the average temperatures year-round will be somewhere close to a high of 85 and a low of 75.
This can vary drastically; after all, Hawaii Island has 9 of the world’s 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 want to bring a jacket.
It also rains heavily in some areas, Mount Waiʻaleʻale on Kauai is the wettest place in the world.
Most of the tourist areas are dry and sunny. Wherever you’re visiting, make sure to do your research so that you can adequately prepare.
One last thing about the weather in Hawaii, most of the popular areas for tourism are dry and sunny all year long. So bring your slippahs (flip flops), tank tops, and shorts!
I was asked about this so much that I wrote a blog post about the worst time to go to Hawaii. Check it out!
2. Local Culture in Hawaii
The spirit of aloha is genuine, 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.
No matter what, don’t be that tourist that steps on the coral, trespasses, or is generally disrespectful. If you come with respect, the majority of the time, you will be met with a very warm welcome.
For more information about what not to do in Hawaii, check out 20 things you should never do in Hawaii.
Also worth mentioning, not everyone living in Hawaii is “Hawaiian.” It’s not like being “Californian.” In fact, the majority of Hawaii residents are not native Hawaiian.
The term Hawaiian refers to native Hawaiians, which make up a small percentage of Hawaii residents. It’s easier to refer to those who live in Hawaii as “locals.”
If you’re interested in learning more about some non-human locals, check out the ultimate guide to Hawaiian animals.
3. Hawaii has a ban on plastic bags
Plastic bags are banned in Hawaii, which is fantastic and helps keep the ocean clean. However, it might be a shock to you if you haven’t visited the islands before.
To be even more environmentally conscious, make sure to bring your own water bottle. I personally love my Hydroflask.
Lately, I’ve been traveling with my Berkey Sport. The Berkey Sport is great to have on hand when water quality is questionable. Airport water is usually disgusting.
4. Is Hawaii expensive?
Ah, another common Hawaii question! I’ll give you the short answer here, or you can read the long answer in the post “how much does a Hawaii vacation cost?”
You probably know this already, but the cost of almost everything in Hawaii is higher than most of the mainland. So, yes, Hawaii is expensive!
The Hawaii islands are extremely remote. Virtually everything has to be shipped into Hawaii. Even things that are sourced locally (such as fish) may have a higher price because fishing boats use fuel, and fuel is expensive in Hawaii.
The cost of living in Hawaii is also very high, so goods and services all have higher price tags.
Hawaii is almost paradise, so the extra cost is worth it. It’s also important to note that electricity is costly on the island. Most hotels in Hawaii do have air conditioning, but some condos and Airbnb’s do not.
Make sure to check before showing up and being surprised. Even if your accommodations do include A/C, it’s always a nice gesture to try to conserve power whenever you can.
Turning the lights and A/C off when you’re not around or not leaving the doors open with the A/C running can go a long way.
5. Public restrooms can be hard to find in Hawaii
You’re in Hawaii, which is one of the safest tropical destinations to explore. You’ll likely be out and about a lot. Once you get outside of tourist towns, public restrooms can be difficult to find.
This is particularly true on the less populated islands such as the Big Island and 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 those that do are porta-potties. Kauai has a lot of porta-potties as well. Imagine portapotties in hot weather; it’s precisely what you’d expect. Plan accordingly. 😉
6. Sacred spots in Hawaii
Native Hawaiians have spiritual connections to many sites around the islands. Be careful to follow any rules about 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.
A gentle reminder on the Road to Hana in Maui.
8. Don’t touch the wildlife or coral in Hawaii
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. You can read my post about where to find reef-safe sunscreen to learn more.
9. Things tend to be laid back in Hawaii
If you love wearing flip-flops, shorts, or sundresses all the time, anywhere, you can! In her book, Julie from 365Kona says 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. 😉 This happens a lot in the resort pools, trust me.
10. Island Time is a real 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.
Drivers also tend to be more courteous, unless you’re in Honolulu. Honolulu is a city so I’ve seen some pretty aggressive driving there. Otherwise, it’s pretty laid back.
On the flip side, you might be enjoying the Hawaii scenery but remember, there are people who live and work in Hawaii. If there is a lot of traffic behind you, pull over and let the locals pass.
Things to know before going to Hawaii
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 have any tips or things you wish you would have known before going to Hawaii, I’d love to hear about them in the comments.
For more Hawaii travel tips, check out some of my Hawaii vacation posts:
- 7 best Hawaii tours.
- 10 best adventure activities on Kauai.
- 100 things to do in Hawaii.
- 25 things to do on Kauai.
- 7 Best things to do on Maui
- 7 Best things to do on the Big Island
- Maui vs. Kauai
- Is Hawaii safe?
Planning a Hawaii vacation
If you’re in the planning stages of a Hawaii vacation, make sure to check out some of my Hawaii vacation planning guides.
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