We can all agree that vacationing in Hawaii is one of the greatest decisions you can make. But once you disembark that long flight, there are a plethora of mistakes to be made while visiting the islands. From dismissing warning signs to spending all your time at the beach, these are the 14 worst mistakes tourists make while vacationing in the Aloha State.
1. Not getting a rental car.
If you think you won’t want to leave your resort, think again. There are so many amazing places to explore in Hawaii, and you’ll definitely want a rental car. Personally, we suggest opting for a Jeep or SUV to handle the islands’ many potholes and even some dirt roads. That convertible may look cute, but it’s not necessarily practical.
2. Underestimating local food.
There are so many tourists who visit Hawaii and never try the local cuisine. Resort food is often average at best – and way overpriced. Trying the local food is of paramount importance on any vacation, but especially in Hawaii. Who would want to visit Hawaii and not eat spam musubi, loco moco and shave ice?
3. Forgetting the sunscreen.
Let’s be honest – most locals can tell if you’re a tourist simply from the redness of your skin. Make sure to pack plenty of extra sunscreen, a hat, and reapply generously as often as you can.
4. Dismissing warning signs.
Warning signs are posted throughout Hawaii for a reason, but unfortunately there are many tourists who don’t heed these cautions – especially when it comes to the ocean. Always check the surf report, and read all posted signs so you know what to expect at a certain beach. Trust us, you’ll be a lot safer.
5. Not packing appropriate attire.
There’s not much in Hawaii that would be considered inappropriate attire, unless you plan to visit the summit of Mauna Kea or Mount Haleakala – these areas, among others, do get quite chilly, and we promise you will not be comfortable in shorts and a tank top.
6. Not realizing there is more to Hawaii than beaches.
It’s true – Hawaiian beaches are among the best in the world, but there is so much more to Hawaii than just beaches. So, get away from Waikiki, or your resort’s beach, and head inland. There you will find cascading waterfalls, lush jungles and unsurpassed natural scenery.
7. Using your car horn.
Considering we try to always drive with Aloha, using our car horns is just not something drivers in Hawaii do. If you do, you’ll definitely be ousted as a tourist, and given a few dirty looks.
8. Accidentally trespassing on private land.
While some guidebooks are rock stars at explaining to tourists that a certain attraction is on private land, others aren’t neglect to include this information, and it can cause some problems. Vacationers – and locals – should be sure to do thorough research and make sure that they won’t break any laws to reach their destination.
9. Not bringing cash.
Because there are no major banks in Hawaii, you’ll be stuck using ATMs, which are notoriously high in Hawaii. There are also several mom and pop stores that only accept cash.
10. Leaving valuables in the car.
Hawaii doesn’t have much crime – but there is a fair amount of theft. And often times, criminals target rental cars, hoping you were dumb enough to leave that brand new iPhone and wallet in the car instead of bringing it to the beach with you.
11. Getting too close to sea life.
Touching an endangered green sea turtle could result in up to 30 days in jail or a fine of up to $2,000. Just give the sea turtles and monk seals some space, please.
12. Not accounting for island time.
Life moves slower in Hawaii – and no one wants to be around that one tourist who yells at the waiter because their food hasn’t come out and it’s already been 20 minutes. That’s not how life works here: take a deep breath, relax, and remember that you’re on vacation and should take things a little slower.
13. Renting snorkels.
There are snorkel rental places all over Hawaii, and while I’m sure they clean their snorkels between renters, I could never imagine using a snorkel that anyone else has also used – that thing goes in your mouth! Plus, if you want to do more than an hour or two of snorkeling (which you definitely will), it’s more economical to head to Target or Safeway to grab a cheap $20 set of your own.
14. Pocketing lava rocks or sand.
While you may think grabbing a lava rock or filling a small tube with sand is an awesome souvenir, it is extremely bad luck to do so. Nobody wants to deal with the wrath of Pele.