Best Hawaiian Islands to Visit
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Ultimate Hawaii Travel Guide

Hawaii is located in the Pacific Ocean off the West coast of the United States of America.  The capital is Honolulu and the state is a tropical paradise that is completely unlike the mainland.

Technically part of Polynesia, the culture here is unique and very different than you will experience anywhere on the mainland. Our Hawaii Travel guide is designed to help you plan and prepare for your trip to the islands.

There are active volcano, dream beaches, jungles and more palm trees than you can imagine. This state is full of adventure and the ultimate tropical vacation for those that don’t want to exercise their passports from the USA.

The state of Hawaii is comprised of 8 islands; Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Big Island, Lanai, Molokai, Ni’ihau and Kaho’olawe.

Each one offers a treasure trove of landscapes and experiences and the most difficult part of your planning will be choosing which Hawaiian Islands to visit during your trip.

HAWAII TRAVEL: QUICK TIPS

  • Do you need a visa? International visitors to the USA may require a visa for entry
  • Currency: United States Dollar (USD)
  • Climate: Hawaii experiences 2 seasons throughout the state, dry season and rainy season
  • Primary Religion: Christianity
  • Local Languages: English & Hawaiian
  • Etiquette Tips: Do not trespass on private land, do not litter, do not drive off marked roads
  • WIFI: Available in most, if not all, accommodation throughout the state. Many restaurants and tourist offices offer free WIFI too.
  • SIM Cards: If you have an unlocked phone, it is possible to pick up a local SIM card at most Hawaii airports on arrival. This will enable you to have data like you would at home. Another alternative is a universal SIM card that works in multiple countries.
  • Travel Insurance: With all travel, we highly recommend you take out a travel insurance policy when you book your trip. This will cover your trip in case of any unforeseen events happen.

Don’t Visit Hawaii Without:

UNIVERSAL TRAVEL ADAPTER

GET A GUIDEBOOK

REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE

HAWAII BUCKET LIST

MORE THINGS TO TRY IN HAWAII

There is no shortage of great things to do in Hawaii during your visit and the biggest problem you’ll face is fitting them all into your itinerary.

Each island has its own offering and unique things to check out during a visit, so be sure to look at our island guides once you decide where you’re itinerary will take you.


FOODIE BUCKET LIST

When you’re visiting Hawaii, you can find a vast range of international cuisines all over the state.

The food these days is a real fusion of Asian, Pacific, and European dishes. There are Mexican, Chinese, Korean, and plenty of fast-food chains. 

If you want to try traditional Hawaiian food, head to a Luau – or feast. You’ll be fed great food, cocktails, and other beverages all night while immersing yourself in the local culture.

The centerpiece will be the Kalua Pig, which is slow-cooked below ground after being wrapped in banana leaves.

HAWAII FESTIVALS

Plenty of festivals and events are held throughout the year in Hawaii, so the chances are high that something interesting will be happening no matter what time of year you arrive!

Big events include the Honolulu Festival, held in March to celebrate Hawaiian culture, the Merrie Monarch Festival held over Easter celebrating Hula dancing, and Lei Day, on the first day of May. 

On top of this, there are food, wine, and music festivals, and plenty of surfing competitions.

Pack like a pro on your trip to Hawaii!

POPULAR REGIONS IN HAWAII

HAWAII TRAVEL BUDGET

Setting a budget for your Hawaii travel itinerary is highly dependent on your travel style. It is possible to visit just about anywhere in Hawaii on any budget and still have a great trip. That said, you can make your trip as basic or as luxurious as you desire.

To help you set your budget, we’ve included some base range price estimations for travel around Hawaii. Of course, keep in mind that prices can fluctuate based on seasons, availability and festivals.

ACCOMMODATION: The cheapest accommodation in Hawaii will be hostels, which can be found for between USD 20 and UD 30 per night. Basic hotels are likely to cost up to USD 100 for private rooms, and anything more luxurious above this price.

FOOD: Food generally costs more in Hawaii than anywhere else in the USA, as much of it has to be imported. In larger towns and cities, you can eat out at cheap restaurants and spend around USD 10 per meal. You can find buffets at resorts for around USD 25 per person, which can be good value.

TRANSPORTATION: Transport is expensive when you travel to Hawaii. Inter-island flights can cost up to USD 200 per person, while car hire will set you back at least USD 75 per day.

ACTIVITIES: Activities vary in price, of course, but a snorkeling day trip can cost around USD 100 per person, while Scuba diving is likely to cost USD 100 per dive.

BUDGET


100 USD PER DAY

Not including the flights to get here, budget travelers will still be looking at spending USD 100 per day if they want to do more than just sit around the hostel. 

This will get you a few day trips, plenty of beers, and surfboard or snorkeling hire from the hostel you’re staying at, but it will be money well spent!

MID-RANGE


300 USD PER DAY

Travelers with a budget between USD 100 and USD 300 per day, will be able to spend their Hawaii travel vacation enjoying the sun, sea, and sands from the comfort of a holiday resort in Oahu or Maui. 

They’ll enjoy plenty of food and drink, and great day trips around the island they’re staying on!

LUXURY


500 USD + PER DAY

With a budget above USD 300, luxury travelers can enjoy the finest hotels in Hawaii, as many day trips as they can fit into their schedule, and the best food and drink during their stay.

You’ll be able to splurge on luaus, helicopter rides, diving trips, 5* dining, private whale watching and much more.

WHERE TO STAY IN HAWAII

Below you will find some of the places we have stayed during our travels in Hawaii. These are individual properties that we enjoyed and would recommend to other travelers.

For more specific advice, check out Best Area to Stay In Maui – Best Hotels & Travel Tips

HOW TO GET AROUND IN HAWAII

Anyone looking to travel to Hawaii will need to fly into Oahu and connect to the other airports across the archipelago. Despite this being an island state, there are few public ferry connections, aside from the regular service between Maui and Lanai.

There are private boat charters, or you can join day trips by helicopter or boat to explore other islands. On the islands themselves, there’s limited public transport. Most travelers will choose to rent a car if they want to get off the beaten track and not have to join day tours all the time.

TOP HAWAII TOURS

WHEN TO VISIT HAWAII

When planning your travel to Hawaii, it’s important to consider when to visit the state. As a tropical archipelago, the islands experience distinct wet and dry seasons, which can seriously affect the experience you have while on vacation. 

The dry season is April to October, while the wet season is November to March. The busiest time to travel to Hawaii is generally between June and August when many people arrive during the school holidays for their vacations. Prices are much higher at this time of year, and the beaches can be really crowded. 

Christmas and New Year are busy too. Despite it being the wet season, it’s still hot, and storms are rare. Expect higher prices this time of the year. 

If you can, try to time your trip to coincide with the shoulder seasons, before or directly after the peak months during the dry season. You’ll still enjoy great weather, but you’ll beat the bulk of the crowds!

For more information, check out the Best Time to Visit Maui: Month by Month Breakdown

DO YOU LIKE TO BEACH HOP?

SAFETY IN HAWAII

Hawaiian culture is very friendly, and the islands are well used to having tourists around. That being said, the cities and popular beach resorts can see waves of crime hit them through the tourist season, so be aware of petty thieves when you travel to Hawaii. 

Travelers should also keep abreast of the weather situation and watch out for Pacific storms, as well as the threat of volcanic eruptions across the archipelago – although these are both rare, at least on a dangerous scale.

As with any destination, we recommend learning and adhering to certain safety practices when you travel. Be sure to read our personal travel safety tips, compiled from our travels across 7 continents.

HAWAII TRAVEL: BOOKING RESOURCES

  • Skyscanner – A fantastic flight search engine that searches a lot of different airlines, including many of the budget carriers that larger sites miss. Every single flight search we do starts here.
  • Airbnb  A great accommodation alternative for renting out apartments, condos, townhouses and rooms while traveling. (If you’re new to Airbnb, get $35 off your first stay!)
  • Hotel Seach Engine – Our custom-built hotel search engine allows you to search hotels all over the world and compare prices before booking. It pulls the best prices from all the major online travel agents, such as Expedia, Priceline, Booking, etc. to one place.
  • Discover Car Hire – Allows you to search car rentals across multiple rental agencies worldwide. 
  • Viator – The best trips are made up of multiple smaller tours to really dig in and get to know the places you are visiting. Our preferred place to book day tours, day trips and shorter multi-day tours is Viator.
  • G Adventures – If you want to do a group tour around Hawaii, go with G Adventures. They offer great small group tours that use local operators and leave a small environmental footprint. If you go on a tour with anyone, go with them. 
  • World Nomads – We don’t travel without insurance and you shouldn’t either!