Are you itching to hop on a plane and go on a holiday? It’s not surprising that Hawaii would be on top of your travel bucket list. The country boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, but is going to Hawaii actually worth it?
Traveling to Hawaii is usually worth it. The archipelago is great for experiencing nature at its finest and seeing rich wildlife. However, if you don’t like warm climates or the so-called island time, you might want to think twice about going.
If you’re unsure whether Hawaii is the travel destination for you, I’ve put together a quick guide below to help you decide.
How to Decide if Hawaii is for You: Top Things to Consider
Hawaii is a beautiful archipelago known for its palm trees, great weather, and crystal clear waters of its beaches. No wonder it’s such a hit among vacationers from all over the globe. But, of course, nothing is perfect.
Even a Hawaiian paradise has its drawbacks. Knowing the downsides as well as the advantages of traveling to sunny Hawaii will help you weigh whether or not it’s the travel destination for you.
Let’s go straight to the top 11 things you should consider before packing your bags to go to the Aloha state.
1. Perpetual Summer
In Hawaii, there are only two seasons: summer and winter. Summers stretch from May to October and winter from November to April. However, if you’re thinking of seeing snow in the winter months, you’ll be wrong. Though Hawaii does experience snow, it can only usually be seen on mountain peaks.
Moreover, Hawaii doesn’t get as cold as other countries that have winter seasons where temperatures drop way below zero. In Aloha state, the temperature doesn’t drop below 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Celsius)–which is still pretty warm, especially if you’re used to bitterly cold winters.
This means you can vacation in Hawaii in winter and still see plenty of sun, with the advantage of not experiencing too high temperatures. This makes Hawaii a great place for tourists because you can come any time of the year and still enjoy its lovely beaches where you can soak up the sun and get a tan.
2. Island Hopping Galore
One of the best ways to make the most of any Hawaiian vacation is to go island hopping. It’s a great way to explore the state, go on water adventures, and see lots of marine wildlife. And you’ll have plenty of islands to hop to if that’s exactly the kind of itinerary that you want.
Did you know that Hawaii has a total of 137 islands? Yep, that’s a lot of islands to explore, although there are only eight major islands that Hawaii is known for and that tourists usually go to The Island of Hawaii, Maui, Kahoʻolawe, Lānaʻi, Molokaʻi, Oʻahu, Kauaʻi, and Niʻihau.
There are three main ways to hop from one island to another: by plane, ferry, or boat. If you’re not rushed for time and you want to make the most of your summer experience, I recommend that you travel by boat.
Traveling by boat is the most fun of all three because you will be able to see whales, dolphins, and even the Hawaiian Monk Seal (which is an endangered species) as you go. However, boats tend to be expensive. Fortunately, island hopping doesn’t have to be expensive if you travel by plane. I explain in my guide on the costs of island hopping in Hawaii.
3. Beaches Everywhere
Get your beach hats and swimsuits ready when you come to Hawaii because you will spend a lot of time on the beach in this part of the globe. Hawaii has more than a hundred beaches, and that’s just counting those on the major islands.
The state is a beach country with romantic shorelines where you can have a fantastic sunrise and sunset view. Some beaches are great for surfing, such as Cove Beach Park in Maui, Diamond Beach in Honolulu, and Waimea Beach in Oahu.
If you want a more leisurely beach experience, you can go to Kauai Island, where the beaches have calm waters and shallow shores, perfect for family trips and even those who want a dip into the water but aren’t confident swimmers.
On the island of Oahu is another popular beach called Lanikai, famous for its clear, serene waters and picturesque view.
And because you’ll be spending a lot of time under the sun, you shouldn’t forget the sunscreen. However, when you’re going to Hawaii, make sure to bring the right kind of sunscreen. The country has banned the use of sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate, which are UV-absorbing chemicals that are commonly found in chemical sunscreens.
The Bill that banned the use of products containing the two chemicals took effect on January 1, 2021, to protect the country’s marine biodiversity, particularly its coral reefs. It has been found that oxybenzone and octinoxate are toxic to corals.
4. No End to Tropical Fruits
The most common and (most popular) fruit in Hawaii is the pineapple, but if you think that’s the only fruit you can have during your visit, you would be mistaken big time–and that’s a good thing!
Just like any tropical country, Hawaii is home to a wide variety of colorful and delicious fruits that are bursting with flavor.
Depending on the time of the year, you can taste dragonfruit, passionfruit, starfruit, avocado, lychee, mangosteen, star apple, pineapple, mango, jackfruit, and many more. Some resorts and restaurants offer fruit spreads or fruit bowls that you would not want to miss out on if you want to be able to enjoy these amazing tropical fruits.
However, if you want a cheaper alternative, you can drop by a farmers’ market and get your hands on these fruits for much cheaper.
5. Relaxing Atmosphere
When you’re in Hawaii, you will be on island time. That means no hurry, no tall skyscrapers, and no glum-looking corporate people trying to beat rush hour. Most tourists who come to Hawaii go for precisely that reason. Everywhere you go it’s sun, sand, and water. You can take your time, de-stress, and put aside all the pressure from work or daily life.
The country has a lively, welcoming, and warm aloha vibe to it that you simply can’t experience anywhere else. So if you’re not big on surfing, kayaking, or other water sports and want to simply relax, you can definitely do that in Hawaii.
You can go to a luau with your friends together with some locals, eat lots of fresh seafood, or maybe go on a leisurely hike to see the mountains. After all, Hawaii is not just all about beaches. It has spectacular mountain views as well.
6. Friendly and Helpful Locals
If you’re planning to go to Hawaii on your own, no need to worry. The locals are very friendly and welcoming to tourists, and you won’t have any trouble asking for directions or getting restaurant or tour recommendations. You might even get invited to a luau or a party where you can meet other tourists and get to know the locals on a more personal level.
You will find that Hawaii is not just amazing because of its natural beauty but also because its people are some of the most welcoming in the world.
If you want to build rapport more quickly, though, you can try to learn a few words or phrases in their local language: Ōlelo Hawaiʻi. Go beyond saying “Aloha” or “Mahalo” and learn how to introduce yourself in their language, and you will see how much they appreciate it.
It will show that you are deeply interested in and respect their culture, which will help them warm up to you more easily. You can expand your knowledge of their language by asking them how to say certain words or phrases. They will be more than willing to help you.
7. Everything Is on Island Time
Remember we mentioned that being on island time is an advantage? Well, it’s true. However, at the same time, being on island time can also be a disadvantage. If you’re from New York or another city that always needs things done right now, ASAP, immediately, expect to have a tiny culture shock when you get to Hawaii.
While being on island time means being able to relax, sit back, and pause, it also means that your order will take a little too long, the appointment that you set for 2 o’clock will happen at 3, and your local friends will keep you waiting.
This can be extremely frustrating to those who have been used to doing and getting things according to schedule. Besides, what’s the point of setting a schedule in advance, right? However, that’s just the way things are in Hawaii. You need to stay in Hawaii for a while to get used to this.
The culture is laid back and relaxed to the point that most people don’t see any point in hurrying anything. And once you’ve grown accustomed to the culture, you might even find yourself enjoying the fact that you can take your time–maybe for the first time in a long time.
8. You May Get Island Fever
If there’s any place in the world where I’d prefer to be stuck in, it would be a sunny spot close to the beach, where I never have to wear a winter coat. Hawaii’s perpetual summer is one of its biggest charms, but if you’re not used to experiencing only sunny days, you might find yourself getting tired of it and wanting to go back home.
Though Hawaii does have both summer and winter, its winters still feel like summer, which is why tourists who come from countries that experience four seasons may feel bored from the monotony of Hawaii’s weather.
This phenomenon called “island fever” is not very common, perhaps because most tourists don’t stay too long, but it does happen. If you’re planning on having an extended vacation to Hawaii, you should take this into consideration.
9. Traffic Can Be a Nightmare
If you’re planning on renting a car for your Hawaiian trip, beware of the traffic. Roads here can get pretty congested depending on the island and the time of day. One of the major reasons for this is the heavy volume of commuters traveling to and from work daily.
To avoid the worst of Hawaiian traffic, you should avoid driving during morning and evening peak hours, which are usually around 7 to 8 in the morning and 5 to 7 in the evening. During these times of the day, you can expect lots of commuters clogging up the roads.
10. Places Can Get Too Crowded
Another downside to Hawaii is that because of its popularity as a tourist destination, lots of people flock here all year round, especially during the summer. If you’re hoping to go swimming on a beach with only a handful of tourists around, you will most likely be disappointed. And since tourism is one of the country’s biggest industries, it’s not surprising.
Oahu, where Waikiki Beach is located, is the most crowded island in Hawaii. Millions of tourists pass by or linger around here throughout the year. And because of the volume of people in the area, pickpockets also abound here. So be careful not to carry any valuables with you.
If you really want peace and quiet, you’ll have better chances of that on Molokai Island. Compared to Oahu and other major islands, it has a more laid-back, local feel and does not have as many establishments.
11. It Often Suddenly Rains
Especially during the rainy season, it’s common to experience sudden rainfalls that last anywhere from one to a couple of hours. This sudden weather change can be bothersome if you are walking around on foot or going on a long hike.
The good thing about it, though, is that the rains don’t last long. And you can always take a raincoat or umbrella with you.
Hawaii is a haven for those who are lovers of the outdoors. It’s a relaxed, laidback paradise where life is slow, and everyone can take their sweet time. I hope this quick list of pros and cons has helped you decide whether it’s worth taking the trip. However, if you ask me, the answer to the question “Is traveling to Hawaii worth it?” is a definite “Yes!”.
- Go Hawaii: The Hawaiian Islands
- Wikipedia: List of Islands of Hawaii
- Beachapedia: State of the Beach
- Brightly: How the Hawaii Sunscreen Ban is Helping Coral Reefs and the Planet
- Hawaii News Now: Analysis: Hawaii Is the Worst State to Drive In
- Exotic Estates: What’s Winter Really Like in Hawaii?
- Hawaii Guide: Selecting the Best Hawaiian Island