Hawaii

10 Helpful Tips to Planning Your Hawaii Vacation

Hawaii is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world, offering sunny beaches and high adventure in a beautiful setting. Are you getting ready for a Hawaii vacation? Before you start packing your bags, consider some of these great tips to help make planning your trip easier.

Tip No. 1 -- When to Go on Your Hawaiian Vacation

Before you start planning your Hawaii vacation, you first need to decide when you will go. While your decision will likely depend on your own schedule, considering travel trends is also important. Some of the best deals and rates can often be found during the summer months, but this doesn’t mean that winter isn’t also a great time to visit the Hawaiian Islands. Since the weather is near perfect all year round, anytime is really a great time to plan a Hawaii vacation.

Also note that airfare and accommodations are typically higher during Hawaii's "high season," which runs from mid-December to mid-April. Scheduling your trip during the "low season," from April to mid-June and September to mid-December, is one way to reduce costs and avoid big crowds.

Tip No. 2 -- Finding the Best Vacation Packages in Hawaii

Another great tip is to compare the costs of different Hawaii travel packages carefully. Prices can vary greatly, so it always pays to spend some time researching your options and shopping around for the best deals. With a little work, you can literally save hundreds of dollars on your Hawaii vacation.

One of the hardest parts of planning a vacation to Hawaii is deciding which of the Hawaiian islands to visit. Oahu is known for its amazing nightlife and outstanding beaches, making it a great choice for vacationing couples. If you're planning your honeymoon, then head to Maui, which is the number one honeymoon destination in the world. For couples looking for stunning views and romantic sunsets, the island of Kauai offers astounding seaside cliffs and secluded beaches.

If you are traveling with the entire family, the Big Island offers perhaps the greatest amount of recreational options, with activities ranging from horseback riding to volcano watching. Would you prefer to be pampered during your stay? Then head to Lanai with its exclusive resorts, hotels and spas. For those looking for a unique Hawaiian experience, the traditional-minded island of Molokai, with its authentic Hawaiian food, culture and adventure, is a must.

Tip No. 3 -- Prepare for Your Hawaiian Flight

Hawaii is served by 23 major domestic carriers and 16 major international carriers, including American Airlines and Delta Airlines. Finding flights to Hawaii that work for your budget and needs is easy. Honolulu International Airport (HNL) in Oahu is the major airport in Hawaii and handles much of the traffic in and out of the island. However, there are many smaller airports located on the other five major islands, such as the Hilo International Airport and the Kona International Airport.

Take some of the hassle and stress out of flying by planning carefully. Keep your carry-on packing light, but don’t forget the essential. Remember that flights to Hawaii can be fairly long, and much of your trip might be spend over water. If you’re in for a long flight, be sure to pack a good book or your MP3 player. Another great tip is to drink plenty of fluids before your flight in order to fight jet lag.

Tip No. 4 -- Where to Stay on Your Hawaiian Vacation

There are plenty of great Hawaii hotels, but try to book rooms that are fairly close to your intended destination. Are you planning to spend plenty of time at the beach? Then look for hotels and resorts near the coastline to help cut down on travel time.

There are many outstanding hotels and resorts in Hawaii, so locating the right one is simply a matter of finding one that is right for your plans and budget. The Four Seasons hotel in Maui ($345-600) features an outstanding spa as well as unique activities such as cooking classes. On the Big Island, the Hilton Waikoloa Village ($149-$849) features an exciting dolphin exhibit that appeals to both children and adults. If you're planning a luxury golf getaway to Hawaii, consider the Princeville Resort in Kauai ($565 to $5,500) with its award-winning suites and two world-class championship golf courses.

Tip No. 5 -- Hawaiian Vacation Destinations and Activities

Before you leave for your trip, decide exactly what you want to do and see during your vacation. After all, who wants to waste valuable vacation time looking for activities and destinations? By having these details worked out beforehand, you’ll be able to concentrate on enjoying your time in Hawaii.

Snorkeling, whale watching, sunbathing, horseback riding and surfing are just a few of the great activities you can enjoy on Hawaii’s Big Island. For couples on a romantic vacation or honeymoon, watch the famous sunsets in Maui while enjoying a stroll on the beach. For the golf enthusiast, a trip to Kauai’s North Shore offers access to some of the best courses in the world. The great golf getaways in Hawaii always rank high on the lists of golf lovers. Don’t miss the mule ride tours to Molokai’s Kalaupapa Peninsula for a bit of authentic Hawaiian culture. If you want to enjoy Hawaii’s nightlife, take a trip to Honolulu’s Chinatown for great food and vibrant people.

Tip No. 6 -- Packing for Your Hawaii Vacation

What should you pack for your Hawaii vacation? Casual, comfortable clothes are must, so be sure to bring along tank tops, t-shirts, shorts and light skirts. Chances are good that you’ll spend at least some time at the beach, which is why it is important to bring along at least two swimming suits. Most importantly, don’t forget to bring sunscreen!

Tip No. 7 -- Dining Out in Hawaii

What would a great vacation be without a taste of the local cuisine? Whether you're eating on the run or making reservations for a romantic dinner, there are plenty of restaurants, cafes and eateries to choose from. In order to make things simpler during your stay, spend some time researching the available dining options near your hotel before you leave, and make a plan to visit as many of Hawaii's hottest restaurants and bars as you can. By having at least an idea of what's available in your area, you won't be left struggling to decide where to eat.

Some of the world-famous hotspots include George Mavrothalassitis’s Chef Mavro, where you can indulge with chocolate feuillantine and cherry clafouti. David Paul's Lahaina Grill, voted the best restaurant in Maui for 13 years running, offers delectable dishes such as tequila shrimp and firecracker rice. Another perennial favorite is Alan Wong’s Diamond Head Grill, consistently voted one of the best restaurants in Hawaii, with signature dishes such as seafood linguine and plum wine glazed shortribs.

Tip No. 8 -- Enjoying Your Stay in Hawaii

In order to enjoy your Hawaii vacation properly, you need to make plans to stay healthy during your stay. Remember to wear sunscreen with the appropriate level of SPF protection in order to avoid painful burns. The weather in Hawaii is sunny, bright and unfortunately, many visitors don’t realize how quickly they can become sunburned. It’s also a good idea to drink plenty of water and other fluids to avoid dehydration and stay refreshed.

Tip No. 9 -- Planning for the Unexpected on Your Hawaiian Vacation

No matter how much planning you do, unexpected problems can always arise. Keep some basic first aid supplies on hand in case of minor injuries and always keep emergency contact numbers close by. Make sure that you have backup copies of your identification and credit cards, in case your wallet or purse is lost or stolen. By preparing for potential problems beforehand, you will be able to keep your cool and continue enjoying your Hawaii vacation.

Tip No. 10 -- Getting Ready to Go Home After Your Vacation

Of course, one of the hardest parts of planning your trip is preparing for the end of your vacation. After a week of relaxation, fun and adventure, you just might not want to say goodbye to this tropical paradise. However, by making the most of your time on the islands, you’ll be able to return home refreshed and ready to start planning your next Hawaii vacation excursion.

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