A vacation to Hawaii is no small undertaking. It’s a unique place in many ways, and operates a bit differently than other vacation destinations.
Putting in the effort to plan ahead can make a huge difference in feeling truly comfortable during your stay on the islands, and helping you to truly relax in paradise.
Here we offer a handful of tips worth keeping in mind as you plan your Hawaiian vacation!
Working with an experienced travel agent is a great place to start, especially in terms of planning travel, lodging, and activities. For some general guidelines and a brief overview of each island, check out our Travel Agent’s Guide to Planning a Hawaii Vacation, but today, we’re looking at some easily overlooked tips that can help you have a fantastic trip.
Expert Tips for Hawaii Vacation Planning
Plan on Taking Your Time in Hawaii
This tip might be the most important, so it gets the top spot on our list for vacationing in Hawaii.
With so many options for things to do on each island, it’s tempting to cram as much into your Hawaiian vacation as possible. It’s understandable to want to see and experience as many things as you can to maximize the money spent. This approach, however, might quickly lead to regret.
A big part of taking a vacation – especially to a place as beautiful as Hawaii – is about relaxing and recharging. If you completely fill your itinerary with events, you’ll spend more time than expected traveling from place to place and saddle yourself with unnecessary stress trying to make it to every last stop.
Once you establish your “home base” island, take in all it has to offer! Even if you’re a die-hard scheduler, include time for simply sitting on the beach. Indulge in decadent meals and explore your surroundings. Enjoy the amenities of your resort.
Soak up the time you have in Hawaii with a carefree attitude, and pad your schedule with enough flexibility to enjoy the places you visit without rushing off to the next. After all, a vacation is not only an investment of your money, but should be an investment in yourself too!
While traveling between islands over the course of your Hawaiian vacation is possible, it isn’t necessarily easy. You can’t get from island to island by car, so that leaves some pretty limited boat travel and inter-island flights.
You can still make plans to see more than one island on your trip, but it’s important to know what you’re getting into. The flights themselves are short, but they still require all the usual steps: TSA, baggage, and so on. That means taking valuable time out of your vacation.
We recommend that you plan the bulk of your trip around one primary island, and making specific arrangements for inter-island travel well in advance – and sparingly.
Talk with your travel agent about hopping from island to island, and they’ll help you make a realistic plan that focuses on key attractions and where you want to visit most!
Car Rental in Hawaii
People often ask if they should rent a car for their Hawaiian vacation, and the answer depends on several important factors – and personal preference!
A rental car is an excellent way to explore the numerous free attractions around the islands, from waterfalls to beaches to historic landmarks, so if that sounds like your ideal vacation, then renting a car is probably the right choice for you!
If, however, you’re planning on spending your time at a resort or in the major city of Honolulu, you can likely get everywhere you need to go by shuttle or public transportation. Uber and taxis are also available across the islands, but you can’t always count on reliable access around the clock.
You can rent a car from a reputable company at the airport on each Hawaiian island, with the exception of Lanai, where Lanai Car Rental (based on Lanai City) is the only car rental company on the island.
Lanai only has about 30 miles of paved roads, and while other Hawaiian islands are more developed, rugged terrain and less-than-pristine road conditions are quite common as you get out into nature. So, if you’re planning on renting a car to do some independent exploring, you’ll likely want to consider a vehicle with 4-wheel-drive and a good amount of ground clearance.
If the big island is your “home base,” you’ll likely want a rental car simply to move around the island freely, and for less-expensive, more scenic modes of transportation, you can consider renting motorcycles, scooters or even bicycles!
There are many variables to consider here – the size of your group, if you have kids, where you’re staying, and how much exploration you plan to do. Keep in mind that gas can be pretty pricey in Hawaii, and that you won’t be able to take your rental car from island to island.
Work with your travel agent to craft your Hawaiian vacation plans, and as your overall itinerary and plans begin to take shape, you’ll have a much better idea of how important renting a car will be.
One final tip about car renting in Hawaii: be sure to inspect your rental vehicle with an agent before you drive away. Bumpy roads (especially some off-roading for scenic locations) can cause cosmetic damage, and you don’t want to be responsible for blemishes you didn’t cause!
A Travel Agent Makes it All Easier!
As you move forward with planning your vacation to Hawaii, keep these tips in mind, and communicate your preferences with your travel agent clearly.
The team at Sunset Travel & Cruise will help you sort out the fine details of your dream vacation, including which islands to visit, the activities you’ll enjoy, and whether you’ll need a rental car. Don’t forget tip number one though – be sure to plan enough time to enjoy, relax and recharge!
To start planning your Hawaiian vacation, contact Sunset Travel & Cruise today for a free consultation.