Hawaii Travel Guide

Relax at beaches in Maui with 5 days in Maui, Hawaii. View of blue ocean and green jungle.

Hawaii has been one of our favorite destinations, and not just because we honeymooned here! Full of lush jungles, jaw-dropping landscapes, and pristine beaches, it’s no wonder so many people flock to the Hawaiian Islands all year round! This Hawaii travel guide will provide you with tons of Hawaii travel tips, including resources to help you book an unforgettable experience in Hawaii!

Below, find travel guides, packing lists, tips, and more for Maui and Kauai, Hawaii! 

Napali Coast from helicopter view of the lush valleys

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What to Expect in Hawaii

Hawaii Language:

Since Hawaii is a state in the United States, the language is English. The Hawaiians do have a native language, Ōlelo Hawaiʻi, however, there are fewer speakers each year. 

Hawaii Capital:

 The capital of Hawaii is Honolulu and it is located on the island of Oahu.

Hawaii Currency:

The Currency is US dollars, just like the rest of the United States.

Tipping in Hawaii

You should tip in Hawaii, just like everywhere else in the United States. Tipping is expected, and around 15-25%.

Credit Cards and ATMs in Hawaii:

Credit cards are widely accepted in Hawaii. Some of the major banks are First Hawaiian Bank, Bank Of Hawaii, CIT Bank, and Central Pacific Bank. Visa and MasterCard are accepted everywhere.

If you’re traveling internationally, you could consider using the Revolut Card. By doing so, you’ll have access to 28 in-app currencies.

Hawaii Safety:

In terms of safety, Hawaii is one of the safest places to visit in the US.

It ranks in the lowest 25% for violent crime, which is lower than other popular tourist locations such as California and New York. That being said, you should still be aware of pickpockets.

Getting Around Hawaii:

The best way to get around most Hawaiian islands is by renting a car. You could use Uber and Lyft in some situations, but if you don’t rent a car, doing guided tours will be your next best bet. If you’re exploring many of the islands, guided tours are available.

Hawaiian Airports

Daniel K. Inouye International Airport is Hawaii’s most popular airport, which was once known as the Honolulu International Airport (HNL). This is actually one of the world’s largest airports. 

Other popular airports include Hilo International Airport (ITO), Kahului Airport (OGG), Lihue Airport (LIH), and Molokai Airport (MKK).

Power Outlets in Hawaii:

There are two plug types that you can use in Hawaii, type A and B. Plug A can be recognized by two flat parallel pins. Plug B is similar but with a grounding pin, too.

Hawaii, just like the rest of the US, operates on 120V and 60Hz. 

This is the Travel Converter I use that works across the Globe.

Popular Places in Hawaii:

The most popular places in Hawaii consist of Honolulu, Lahaina, Kihei, Hilo, Lihue, and Kaneohe. Overall, the most visited islands are Oahu, Maui, and Kauai.

Popular National Parks in Hawaii: Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park and Haleakalā National Park.

Famous Dishes Across Hawaii: 

Hawaii has many delicious traditional dishes to try. When you’re there, make sure to check out:

  • Poke– Diced raw fish and vegetables
  • Natural Shave Ice– A healthy ice cone alternative 
  • Sainin – A noodle soup
  • Malasada – A fried donut 
  • Manapua – A pork-filled bun
  • Hula Pie – Macadamia nut ice cream with a chocolate cookie crust, crowned with chocolate fudge, whipped cream, and extra macadamia nuts.
  • Banana Bread – You can find excellent banana bread across the islands.

Cell Service:

If you are visiting Hawaii from abroad, you may find that the phone plans are very expensive. It would be best to purchase a prepaid plan or use Wi-Fi where possible.

Carriers in the USA include Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint. T-Mobile is the best for pre-paid plans. You will need an unlocked cell phone to accept another SIM card. You can also go with a e-Sim, with carriers such as Holafly.

Travel Visa in Hawaii

The Electronic System for Travel Authorization allows people from 38 countries to visit the United States without a Visa for up to 90 days.

However, if you live outside of the US, you will need to apply for an ESTA, no matter the length of your stay. This costs around $14. 

Also, don’t forget to purchase travel insurance. I don’t leave without it and have used it more times than I would have liked.

Sea Turtle in Maui Hawaii

Weather in Hawaii

You can visit Hawaii all year long since Hawaii has tropical climates. With really only two seasons (summer and winter), the temperatures never dip lower than 78F.

  • Summer temperatures are between May – October, with an average of 85° F (29.4° C).
  • Winter’s average daytime temperature is 78° (25.6° C). Winter months in Hawaii are November – April.

During winter, you will see a lot more ocean swells, making the waters very rough, but great for surfing! 

If you are interested in whale watching, November is a great time!

Kauai, Hawaii grand canyon Waimea Canyon
Waimea Canyon, Kauai

Best Time to Visit Hawaii

You will most likely want to visit Hawaii between March and September. This is when Hawaii has its best temperatures and its lowest amount of rainfall. If you want to experience hot temperatures, you’ll want to visit in June and August. 

September to October is the cheapest time to visit. The weather does tend to get a little bit cooler during this time, but there are often fewer tourists. We loved visiting in September and had great weather the entire time.

November to January is when Hawaii is the busiest. Hotel prices tend to skyrocket during this time. Therefore, you will want to book ahead if you plan to travel then.

The best times to travel to Hawaii will be during the shoulder months of April – May and September – November.

The black sand beach on the Road to Hana in Maui

Hawaiian Experiences

Hawaii is rich in culture and traditions. Below are some Hawaiian experiences to have during your visit!

  • Attend a Luau in Maui! Maui is known to hold the best across Hawaii!
  • Take a Surf lesson! Hawaii is known as the birthplace of this sport!
  • Snorkel and scuba dive Hawaii’s pristine coral reefs! Make sure to use coral reef-safe sunscreen to help protect the ocean and its reefs!
  • Explore lava caves or visit an active Volcano on the Big Island!
  • Visit pineapple or coffee plantations!
  • Go whale watching
  • Visit Waimea Canyon State Park
  • Visit Hawai’i Tropical Bioreserve & Garden
  • Visit Rainbow Falls
  • Try a helicopter tour
  • See the sunrise at Mt. Haleakala
  • Drive the Road to Hana in Maui
  • See Perl Harbor
Kauai hawaii best things to see are waterfalls

Is Hawaii Budget-Friendly?

Honestly, Hawaii can be a pretty expensive location to visit. This is largely due to its popularity and being more remote. This was “one” of the most expensive vacations we have ever done, but you can still make it “kinda” budget-friendly. 

There are budget-friendly hotels that you can stay in. Also, if you are on a budget, if you plan correctly, you can easily explore Hawaii yourself without having to pay for tours. 

Accommodation will cost you anywhere from $200 to $500 per night. I use Booking.com for my accommodations because I like their cancellation policy and detailed reviews.

Street food will cost around $8 to $16. At the same time, eating at a restaurant may cost anywhere from $25 to $55 per person. 

For paid activities, you can expect to spend between $20-$80.

Mt. Haleakala Sunrise tips Maui Hawaii
Mt. Haleakala Sunrise

Hawaiian Background

Around 1,500 years ago, the Polynesians arrived in the  Hawaiian islands by voyaging across the ocean using only the stars to guide them.

Hawaii had been ruled by Kings and Queens before being annexed by the United States in 1898 to become the 50th state. In fact, Hawaii was sovereign from 1810 until 1893. In 1893, Americans and Europeans decided to overthrow the monarchy and were successful. 

Hawaii later went on to become an independent republic from 1894 until 1898. This is when it became US territory. Later it went on to be declared a state in 1959. 

Did you know Hawaii is located in the Oceania Pacific and is made up of 8 major islands? They are Kahoolawe, Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Molokai, Big Island, Lanai, and Niihau.

While Hawaii is a part of the United States, you can still experience a Polynesian culture on the islands! Hawaii has had a colorful history with battles, unities, and cultural changes. The locals are very friendly and live very laid-back lives. 

They are also working hard to be environmentally sustainable, with the goal of running 100% on renewable energy by 2045!

You will also notice the use of paper straws, bags, and more to help protect their environment! If you want to learn more about Hawaii’s culture and history, make sure to book at least one local tour, as they will be able to answer any questions that you have.

Napali Coast, Kauai is a must on your Itinerary with beautiful mountain and ocean views.

Hawaiian Words

While you certainly don’t need to learn the local Hawiian language, if you want to try and impress some locals, here are some phrases you can try out.

Common Hawaiian Phrases:

  • Aloha – Hello/ Goodbye
  • ʻAe – Yes
  • ʻAʻole – No
  • Mahalo – Thank you
  • He mea iki – You’re welcome
  • E kala mai iaʻu – Excuse me
  • ʻehia?– How Much?
  • ʻōlelo pelekane paha ʻoe? – Do you speak English?
  • Aia ma hea ka lumi lumi? – Where is the bathroom?
  • Puka – Exit
  • Komo – Entrance
  • Tiketike – Ticket

Hawaii Travel Guides

Below are travel guides and itineraries to help you plan your Hawaiian vacation! I have provided resources, travel tips, and more to help make your trip unforgettable!

Hawaii Travel Guide Wrap-up

This wraps up my Hawaii travel guide. If you have found it helpful, make sure to share it below to help other travelers experience Hawaii!

Other popular travel guides:

Additional Reading for Hawaii:

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Hawaii travel guide