Tips for first time travel to Hawaii

Take note of all these tips for traveling to Hawaii for the first time that you will surely come back to your senses if you plan to travel to this place soon!

These are things we wrote down every day during our trip, some of them would have been great to know before we went! Today we leave them all here to help you organize your trip better.

There; let’s go with our tips for traveling to Hawaii for the first time!

Tips for first time travel to Hawaii

Hawaii Travel Tip nº1:Read our tips for traveling to USA

The first piece of advice we can give you is to read carefully our post of advice for travelling to the USA for the first time.

There, we answer many questions about the United States and we tell you about some customs such as the subject of tips.

We also talk about electricity and plugs, units of measurement (miles, gallons and pounds) and other interesting aspects for your first time in the USA.

Hawaii Travel Tip nº2:Mobile Internet

We find it almost indispensable to take the internet on the road on a trip to Hawaii, and we use it a lot!

We used Google Maps as a GPS to reach the sites, we consulted directions, schedules…

And something very important, we consulted the alerts of the National Parks to know the conditions, in the following point we spoke to you better of this subject.

More info in our post about how to have internet in USA, SIM card.

Since a few years we travel with Holafly, they send us the cards at home and we landed in the U.S. with internet in the mobile, plus you have 5% from our link!

On this last trip to Hawaii we also tried the eSIM, with which you do not need to receive the physical SIM card at home, they send you an email with a QR code and it is fast, that’s it, only available for the latest models of mobile.



Tips for first time travel to Hawaii

Hawaii Travel Tip 3: Check out the National Park Alerts

It will also help to have internet in your mobile phone to know the alerts of the National Parks.

For example, the road that goes up to the top of Mauna Kea on Big Island is cut off as soon as there is any bad weather.

The areas that can be visited in the National Park of the Volcanoes where Kilauea is located also vary according to the activity of the volcano.

We leave you with some of the websites that we consulted during the trip:


Hawaii Travel Tip nº4:Book your accommodations in advance

We recommend that you book your accommodation as far in advance as possible.

Despite having the flights 7 months earlier and looking quite far ahead, when we went to book the hotel we liked best on Maui was already sold out and we had to choose another one.

Besides that we saw with our eyes how the accommodations increased in price every week that passed.

These were the accommodations that we chose for this trip in case they serve you as orientation:

ACCOMMODATION IN OAHU: Ala Moana Hotel in Honolulu, very close to Waikiki Beach, we took it because it was out; a very interesting offer but here; our first option was the LaCroix Waikiki Hotel.
MAUI ACCOMMODATION: Royal Lahaina Resort, Maui is the island where we found the most expensive accommodation of the whole trip, our first choice was the Days Inn Maui Oceanfront but it was sold out when we went to book.
ACCOMMODATION IN BIG ISLAND: In Big Island we stayed in two accommodations, one in Kona, the most touristic and beach side, where we were in an Airbnb (34€ discount for your first reservation) and other three nights in Hilo in the Grand Naniloa Hotel, where we knew the wildest part of the island.
Views from the Royal Lahaina Resort at sunset

Hawaii Travel Tip nº5:Rent a car to tour the islands

Renting a car is great for touring the islands from end to end and seeing everything at your leisure.

Remember that to climb to the top of Mauna Kea it is compulsory to take a 4×4, for the rest of the islands/volcanoes with any model of car it is enough, although we recommend you to take an intermediate or SUV.

We found the best price by booking on the en Auto Europe website, everything is very well specified and we have never had any problems.

In addition, most (if not all) rentals can be cancelled 24 hours in advance if you find a better offer.

Some time ago we also booked on the Rentalcars website, you can also have a look at it.

Remember to take the international card, in all our trips to the U.S. has been the first time we have been asked, even so, it is mandatory to carry.


Our car rental in Maui

Hawaii Travel Tip nº6:National Park Pass

You will probably visit one of the three National Parks during your trip to Hawaii.

You can pay for each single ticket or buy a pass. In both cases it is per vehicle and includes all its occupants.

Hawaii National Park fees:

Haleakala National Park: $30
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: $30
Pu`uhonua O Hōnaunau: 20$

National Parks Pass:

US National Parks Annual Pass ($80): Interesting if you’re going to take a trip to the West Coast in one year or less and already have the pass.
Hawaii National Parks Pass (Tri-park annual pass 55$): If you only plan to visit Hawaii’s parks, this is your best pass.

The climb to the top of Mauna Kea is free.

Hawaii Travel Tip nº7:Take it easy

You can kill it with ease! Although the islands seem small, moving around can take hours, especially on Big Island and Maui.

Keep this in mind when you are planning a trip to Hawaii.

Not so much on Oahu, it’s the most urbanized island of all and you’ll even see multi-lane highways at some entrances to Honolulu.

In the case of Big Island and being the largest island of all, we recommend you to stay a few days in Hilo and other days in Kona to avoid doing so many miles.

Try to move away from the road and let go if you see that you are queuing too much, the Hawaiians will thank you with the “shaka’s sign” extending the thumb and the finger, this gesture will be seen countless times in Hawaii as a sign of thanks or aloha.

Shops on Hana Road

Hawaii Travel Tip nº8:Travel Insurance

Don’t forget to bring a travel insurance for the United States with high medical coverage. This point is a must on this list of tips for traveling to Hawaii.

Healthcare in the United States is quality, but it is also private and one of the most expensive in the world (to say the least).

We recommend that you take out a travel insurance policy that does not require you to spend a single day in advance and that provides good medical coverage.

We always travel with Iati Seguros, the Iati Estrella insurance is the most suitable for the USA with up to 500.000€ medical assistance.

We give you a 5% discount on your Hawaii travel insurance.

Hawaii Travel Tip nº9:Make tourism responsible

Leave everything just as you found it, don’t leave or take anything, with more emphasis; in the sacred places for the Hawaiian culture like the Haleakala or the Mauna kea.

It is forbidden to disturb or approach the turtles, with fines of up to $100,000.

Don’t step on the coral and try to wear SPF that doesn’t harm it, & did you know that one of the main causes of death of coral is due to sunscreens? If you don’t have it, don’t worry, in Hawaii you’ll find it everywhere.

I think you don’t need to remember this point, but I couldn’t help but put it on this list of tips for traveling to Hawaii.

Hawaii Travel Tip nº9: Make tourism responsible

Hawaii Travel Tip 10: Water is Safe

Water in Hawaii is drinkable, you can take a reusable bottle and fill it, you will find many places to do so.

You can also pass through the airport security checkpoint without any problems.

Hawaii Travel Tip 11:Wear warm clothes

In Hawaii it’s a nice temperature all year round, but if you’re thinking of climbing to the tops of the volcanoes you should bring warm clothes.

As crazy as it may seem at the top of the volcanoes the temperature never exceeds 8 degrees and in winter you will find snow and temperatures below zero. Wrap up warm!

Do not forget to pack some raincoats, you can see our recommendations in our travel guide to Hawaii.

Hawaii Travel Tip 12: Rainfall zones on each island

Each island has very different areas in terms of temperature and rainfall. Keep this in mind when booking your accommodation in Hawaii.

You may see a very cheap hotel and it may be because it is in the area with the most rain and the lowest temperatures of the island.

BIG ISLAND: The Hilo area has the most rainfall and the lowest temperatures, unlike the Kona area where it does not rain and the temperatures are more pleasant.
MAUI: The area of Hana and the famous “Road to Hana” is the part of the island where it rains the most and the temperatures are the lowest, however in the area of Kihei it does not usually rain and the temperatures are higher.
OAHU: In Oahu the contrast is not so great, but the northeast zone of the island is where there is usually more precipitation.
Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden in Oahu

Hawaii Travel Tip nº13:Save on Lunch and Dinner

To save on lunch and dinner, we draw on the Whole Foods and Foodland supermarkets more than once, and in both you’ll find prepared meals, Hawaiian pokes, sandwiches…

Great for saving a little at this point!

Be careful with the timetables of the restaurants, except for Oahu which is the most touristic island, in the rest of the islands the restaurants normally close at 20:00/20:30.

Take it into account and don’t get confused about going to dinner!

Travel Tip Hawaii nº14:Watch out if you buy fruit for the return

Be careful if you buy fruit or food before you take your flight back to the mainland. There are baggage checks at the airports and you cannot take any fruit or food out of Hawaii.

To move between islands there is no food control.

Hawaii Travel Tip nº15:ESTA Application for Travel to the U.S.

Remember that to travel to the USA with a Spanish passport you need to apply for an ESTA visa exemption.

It is done online and a few days after you receive the confirmation in your email, it is a very simple process.

Always do it from the official website! Some companies do the processing for an extra fee which does not make any sense.

It costs $14.

And here are our tips for your first trip to Hawaii!

Have you got any questions? Do you have any tips for traveling to Hawaii that we have missed?

We are waiting for you in the comments!

Other articles from our trip to Hawaii:

free travel guide to hawaii


Other links of interest for your trip to Hawaii


The entry Tips for Traveling to Hawaii for the first time appears in Living on the Move.