Congratulations! You have decided to visit Hawai'i, or paradise as I like to call it. Your tickets are booked, you've packed everything you need and you even have some adventures planned. You're almost ready! All you need to know now is what not to do to ensure your time here is the best that it can be. This is exactly why I have compiled this list of the top Hawai'i travel mistakes to help you on your way.
Spend the whole time in Waikiki
Waikiki is definitely somewhere that you have to visit during your time in Hawai'i, after all it's world famous and there is so much to see and do there to give you the feeling of being on vacation. Just keep in mind that O'ahu has a lot more to offer than simply Waikiki so don't be afraid to put your Mai Tai down, get out of the beach chair and venture out to explore other beautiful areas of the island. If you're not sure where to go, that's what my blog is for!
Stick to traditional foods
Don't get me wrong, a traditional burger and fries are good. But why stick to foods you can get everywhere else when there is a range of things to try that are a little more unique and have an island flair to them. From the variety of Poke flavors, Shrimp Trucks on the side of the road, Spam Musubi, Malasadas, Acai Bowls with fresh, tropical fruits, Luau feasts or even a simple shave ice, there is a lot to try here. Approach eating with an open mind and try as much as you can. You might be pleasantly surprised.
Think you'll magically tan without sunscreen
Seriously, you don't want to be walking around red faced with the white glasses patch or have a beautiful, strapless maxi dress with beet red shoulders. Just use some dang sunscreen.
Skip the cultural lessons
One of the best parts about living on or visiting the islands is the rich culture and long standing traditions. Knowing more about the traditions and culture is not only interesting but it helps to strike a balance so that you can be respectful as you share the island. The Polynesian Cultural Center is a great place to start if you are interested in learning more and there are many other cultural lessons offered around the island so you can pick what suits you.
Take things from the land/ocean (unless its trash)
This includes lava rock, sand, coral and shells. Yes, I said shells and I know that's unpopular because so many people collect them but they belong to the ocean to provide homes for animals. They have a purpose in nature. Taking from the land is considered disrespectful and in some cases bad luck. Sea glass is good to collect if you want a momento because it doesn't belong there in the first place and in addition to sea glass, collecting a little trash each time you venture out goes a long way and serves as a means of keeping the areas we share clean.
Visit the aquariums
If you want to see marine wildlife, the best place to see them is in their home where they are free to roam and not stuck in a tank, forced to do tricks for us. There's so much to see here as well (check out my Instagram if you need inspiration). A simple snorkeling session can bring you up close with an array of fish, turtles, eels, starfish, sea urchins, sea cucumbers or even an octopus. If you are not a confident swimmer then you can do this as part of any number of ocean snorkel tours where you will have staff there to help you, give you a life jacket and keep an eye on you when you are in the water. There are also tours where you can swim with wild dolphins, sharks and go whale watching leaving no shortage of opportunities to see wildlife.
Harass the animals
Now if you do see some cool marine wildlife, the one thing to remember is to respect their space. Touching animals like Turtles or Dolphins is a big no-no. Getting a little too up close with them is not only rude but it can also have you slapped with a fine due to the strict regulations in place to keep the animals safe. It can be hard because it is so exciting to be in the water with them, but remember to restrain yourself and get a couple of pictures without touching, chasing or blocking their path to swim.
You're on island time now! Remember to slow down, enjoy your time in paradise and be present in the moment. No need to be darting from here to there in a hasty rush because then you will not be able to fully soak in and appreciate all that the island has to offer. The same goes for viewing it through a screen, whether it is your phone or camera. I am guilty of doing this a lot to capture the beauty of the island for the blog but I have to admit, that I do enjoy and get so much more out of the days where my battery dies and I am just enjoying the adventure for the sake of it.
Do you have any to add to the list?