Hawaii travel tips

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NOTE: This page is a daughter page of: Travel

So I've actually never been to Hawaii before! I'm from Australia and was living in San Francisco for many years, but in Nov 2020 (during the pandemic) I decided I should try to visit Hawaii at last. Here's any notes I find.

WARNING: This is early days, so I'm still building this article.

Tips for a Hawaii Trip

Traveling During Covid

Warning: This section was last updated Nov 23, 2020 (the day before you must get your test results before your flight), but in a world where rules change every week I can't promise it will stay current. Please use the official links in this section to see what may have changed.

From early 2020 until Oct 15, visitors had to register their flight with travel.hawaii.gov AND quarantine in a hotel (never leaving) for 2 weeks else face a ($5000 + 2 years in jail) fine. Yes they take it seriously! After Oct 15 2020, you can register and show up with a Negative COVID test result (to skip the 2 week quarantine) *BUT* it's not quite all that simple... the test has to be by an approved testing partner and within a certain time (72 hours) of your arrival. Details here:

Covid Warning: Unlike normal times, where you'd buy flights ahead of time to get a good deal, there's no obvious order of events, and always a fear that your COVID test could take more than 72 hours or even come back inconclusive or positive. If you buy flights ahead, definitely get flights that you can refund or reschedule for free. Personally, I actually waited for my ColorLab test results... and then booked a flight quickly and then filled in travel.hawaii.gov to upload my details. They also want you to have an address in Hawaii and return flights... using their interface you upload a PDF of your test results from the trusted site (like this) and then they email you a QR code you'll need at the airport (like this). It's a nervous process for sure!

Decide on an Island (or two)

I created this graphic to summarize what you need to know:

I've summarized the different islands and what they are good for (and their popularity among tourists).


  • Vacation Travel Guide | Expedia: Feel good videos which cover most islands:
    • Honolulu (Oahu Island) - big city, popular Waikiki beach, downtown, barracks, Pearl Harbor, the zoo and more.
    • Maui - the "most beautiful island" with watersports, galleries, rent a car to drive to Hana.
    • Hawaii's Big Island - feel good overview of the main island, and attractions like the volcanos, painted church, captain cook monument and more. They also have videos for:
    • Kauai island - 30 minutes from Honolulu, the garden island with stunning waterfalls and scenery. No building can be taller than a coconut tree.

Car Rental

It appears there are pretty resonable car rentals on most islands. You can use a service like Expedia to look across multile rental agencies and might get as good as ~$30 a day for a midsize SUV if you book a few days. You'll probably want a pickup and drop-off from the airport... so for instance for Maui you'd probably want Kahului Airport (OGG).


Depending on how long you stay, there can be a few good deals floating around. Instead of just using AirBnB, you should also try VRBO for Hawaii.

Acknowledgements: Zzina for sharing some of these links so I can finally get my act together and come visit! Also Natalia for seeding the idea of Hawaii in the first place. :)


Always remember to check the forecast ahead of your trip. Weather in the Hawaiian Islands very consistent and warm throughout the year. There are only two seasons in Hawaii: summer (kau) from May to Oct and winter (hooilo) from November to April. The average daytime temperature at sea level is 85° F (29.4° C) during summer and 78° (25.6° C) during winter. Temperatures at night are ~10° F lower than daytime. The wettest months are from Nov to Mar, but winter rains do not generally disrupt vacation plans, since the weather is very localized. This means that if it is raining where you are, there is almost always a sunny spot to be found around the coast. Most of the rain falls in the mountains and valleys on the windward (northeastern) side of the islands. It is this weather phenomenon that creates Hawaii’s rich, green, tropical environment.

Cutsie version of different islands.

See Also