As the most isolated population center on the entire planet, the Hawaiian Islands are incredibly unique in everything from our scenery and land formations to our culture and common quirks. And while not everyone is the same, there are a few
weird habits most Hawaii locals share that we will defend endlessly. These weird habits and shared experiences make us unique, and also makes it easy to spot those that don’t necessarily belong, whether they are a tourist visiting the islands, or someone who recently moved here and hasn’t quite gotten the hang of Hawaii life yet. Next time you are wondering whether someone is an impostor, check to see if they do any of these unusual things.
1. They are constantly checking the 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.
2. They are wearing shorts and a t-shirt when it’s 75 degrees.
Everyone knows that Hawaii locals are sensitive to the cold and bundle up as soon as the weather dips below 75 degrees. Imposters, on the other hand, are still touting shorts and swimsuits.
3. They refer to all locals as "Hawaiians."
Being Hawaiian isn’t the same as being a Californian — Hawaiians are a race and only those who can trace their roots back to the islands’ original Polynesian settlers. In fact, only about 10 percent of Hawaii’s population are native Hawaiians; everyone else is a Hawaii resident, or local.
4. They use their 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.
5. They dismiss 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.
6. They don’t know how to pronounce even the most common street names, like Likelike.
I’ve never met a tourist who pronounced Likelike Highway correctly on the first try. Or many other Hawaiian street or town names either, for that matter.
7. They are shopping at an ABC Store.
Everyone knows that the only people who shop at an ABC Store are vacationing in Hawaii. True locals hit up Times, Safeway and Foodland for all their day-trip and grocery needs.
8. They keep their shoes on when entering someone’s home.
How dare you wear your shoes in someone else's home. Just don’t do it — unless your host says it’s alright. Also, they’re called slippers, not flip-flops.
9. Speaking of slippers, they don’t wear them.
Tourists wear loafers, sneakers, and strappy sandals that are difficult to take on and off. Oh, and don’t forget about the tourist’s perfectly manicured toes.
10. They don’t understand the miracle that is Spam.
In Hawaii, there is perhaps only one food that is more ingrained in the island culture than pineapple — and that food is Spam. This quintessential canned ham product manufactured in Minnesota was introduced to the islands during the 1940s and has become a wildly popular staple food across the islands. Spam musubi is almost a food group in and of itself.
11. They try to speak pidgin without really understanding it.
You’ll just end up sounding even more like a haole, trust us.
12. They don’t carry cash — just in case.
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
13. They get 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.
14. They leave their 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.
15. They are wearing a Hawaiian shirt.
It’s even more obvious if a group of people is wearing matching Aloha attire. While there are some locals who still dig Hawaiian shirts, they are most popularly worn by tourists.
16. They actively avoid getting muddy while hiking.
Locals know that muddy shoes mean you’ve had a good day and that it’s all just part of the fun.
17. They call it shaved ice, not shave ice.
Let’s get one thing straight: shave ice and snow cones are not the same. The consistency of a true shave ice is that of newly fallen snow, not the granular and crunchy ice so many are used to.