• Lisa Marie

13 Things You Need To Know Before Going To Hawaii

Hawaii is one of the hottest travel spots in the world. Some people save for years to enjoy a week in what has been commonly called paradise. If you're going to Hawaii for the first and only time in your lifetime, or if you're blessed to go very often ... make sure that you prepare yourself.

1. Prepare for your flight - For Floridians, a trip to Hawaii can be at least a 10 hour trip. For my husband and me, it took us 13 hours to get to Hawaii because we had a layover in Texas. The only way to make the flights enjoyable was to make arrangements to meet our comfort.

I know that trips to Hawaii can be expensive. However, please do yourself a favor and spend the extra money for first class. It is worth every penny. The extra room, food or drinks every hour, a warm blanket, and a portable iPad/movie center lets the flight go by a lot faster. Planes have come a long way over the years and first class is becoming more glamourous than ever. On most of the newer planes, if you pick a window seat, you will have an entire compartment to yourself. There is lots of leg room, you can almost lie down completely in the supine position, and you have a little counter beside you to hold your items. It felt like I brought my personal night stand. We flew on American Airlines and I was really impressed. They timed each drink, snack, and meal so that the flight attendants were always in the aisle providing us with something to eat or drink. It gets cold on the plane, for some reason they keep the temperature at 0 degrees, or at least that's what it felt like. So, use the blanket that they provide for you. My husband, the true planner, wanted me to download movies and television shows to watch on the plane. Of course, I never got around to doing it, but it didn't matter because the airline provided me with an ipad or screen that has an array of movies and television shows. Most of the movies are relatively new, so I was able to catch up with movies that I really wanted to see. Between the movies, eating, and sleep I was surprised how quickly the flight went.

Bring a cushion for your neck. No matter how much space the airline provides in first class, it's not your bed. So, bring the cushion so that your neck doesn't contort into an uncomfortable position. Nobody wants an achy neck halfway through a 13 hour trip.

Bring an eye mask. Yes, I know. I look like a diva. I'm a diva getting lots of rest. In the airplane, you cannot control the people that open their windows and all the people walking by. So, the eye mask tunes out the extra noise and helps you sleep longer. My husband likes to use ear plugs, but I don't because I still want to hear the pilot, when the flight attendant is coming with my next meal, and if a stranger is getting too close to me.

Make sure to pack compression stockings. It’s a long flight and compression stockings help with your circulation. Nobody wants to start their vacation with a DVT (blood clot in the leg) or a pulmonary embolus (blood clot in the chest). In addition, make sure to get up often and walk around.

2. Don't get disappointed when you arrive at the airport - If you're like me, you have watched a million Hawaiian movies in your lifetime and you have pictured the beautiful Hawaiian ladies singing traditional Hawaiian songs and placing a lei around your neck as soon as you get off the plane. Not only were there no Hawaiian ladies at the airport to serenade me, I didn't see a lei in sight. To make matters worse, the Honolulu airport looked a little old, and didn't provide me with the tropical theme that I was expecting. It felt like I landed in Cleveland, Ohio instead of Hawaii. Okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration, especially since I have never been to Cleveland.

3. Try to visit all of the islands - Each island has its own culture and identity. On your first trip to Hawaii, you have to visit all of the islands to truly appreciate the Hawaiian culture. There are six main Hawaiian islands which most tourists visit: Hawaii, Maui, Oahu, Lanai, Molokai and Kauai. A variety of influences have separated the islands by more than just water, and you really can’t say that you know Hawaii if you haven’t explored them all.We took the Norwegian cruise to allow time to see each island. I would definitely recommend this option, especially because you save money on commuting and dining.

4. Hawaii is expensive. The price for drinks and food are high. So, bring more cash, or prepare with your credit card/finances. Going to Hawaii is a memorable experience. So, you don't want money to hinder you from exploring everything. Save, plan, and decide what sites are important to you.

5. Bring comfortable shoes - There are a lot of walking/hiking exhibits to see in Hawaii. On my last trip, I wore my sneakers more than I do on any other trip because there are so many places to go. During my 10 day stay, we only hung out by the beach for one day. The rest of the trip involved lots of walking.

7. Protect your self from the sun. Sunglasses and sunscreen are essential. Hawaii is really hot! Sunglasses are important so that you can enjoy the sites without spending each day squinting. Dress cool and pack Sunscreen. I use "Extrashade" (a sunscreen made for rich complexions) to prevent blotchy, uneven skin. I'm from Florida and I was still sweating. It's not humid, it's just HOT.

Stay Hydrated: My husband was on water duty because I felt a like I was going to faint a few times. As you all know, I'm not the best water drinker, but I drank more water in Hawaii than I have ever had in my whole life, especially since I had my TEN alkaline spring water. ; )

8. Take a medicine kit with you. Even though Hawaii is a part of the US. There are certain islands that are very desolate, and typical over the counter medications that we find at a local pharmacy may not be accessible. Don't forget Benadryl, Aspirin/Ibuprofen, insect sprays, Pepto-Bismol/antacids, and your personal medication.

9. Not everyone is Hawaiian - This is a hard one for most people from the mainland, but you’ll sound a lot more respectful if you don't call everyone Hawaiian. The term “Hawaiian” is only used to refer to people of Hawaiian descent. Hawaiians comprise just under 10% of the state’s population. All others who were born on the islands are generally referred to as “locals.” This includes people of Asian, Caucasians, and mixed race backgrounds. Hawaii is a melting pot, so it is not uncommon to have a lot of people with many ethnicities.

10. You have to try Kona coffee and Big Island cookies/treats. I don't drink coffee at all. I even tried to force myself to like it to fit into our American culture. However, I can't deny my British roots....I'm a tea girl. However, I tried the infamous Kona coffee and I was blown away! It's incredible. It taste soooo much better than coffee in the mainland. The Big Island treats are orgasmic. These are handmade cookies dipped in chocolate, and made with the richest macadamia nuts and coconut. We brought back boxes of it and gave them away as holiday gifts. Be careful, their is another company that tries to imitate these cookies. Make sure you get the real thing!

11. Best time to visit Hawaii - The best time to visit Hawaii is during the drier seasons of May-June and September-October. Though Hawaii is a year round travel destination that is always busy with tourists, two factors are key: the weather and the peak tourist seasons.

12. Time change. There is a 5-6 hour time difference between Florida and Hawaii. On your way there, you gain time. However, on your way back you lose time. It will take at least 3 days for your body to get accustomed to the new time change.

13. There's no crying (allowed) in Hawaii. How often do you get to go to Hawaii? If you're like me, not very often. Don't let the small stuff bother you. Shake it off and try your best to enjoy your trip. You're in Hawaii!

If you have any question or comments about going to Hawaii, please email me at contactus@theflorida.com


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