Hawaii – Tips Pt. 3

The Big IslandThese are just a few tips that have nothing to do with budgeting, but still might be a help to someone traveling to the islands.


First Things First:  When you first arrive at the airport on the islands, pick up the coupon books for the islands you’re visiting.  This allows time early in your trip to look for coupons/discounts you can use. While waiting at the airport for our flight to the next island, I thumbed through the coupon book for that island.   ONE NOTE:  Remember, a coupon only saves you money if it’s for something you were always planning to do/buy.  To spend money you weren’t planning to spend just because you have a coupon is ‘spending’ money, not ‘saving’ it.

Handling the Time Change and Jet Lag:  A friend gave us a VERY good idea.  She suggested that we NOT adjust to the time change– but instead, stay on Central Standard Time.  It was some of the best advice we got. It was not difficult at all that first night. We were exhausted after a sleepless night the night before and long day of flying!  Hawaiians thought it was 3:30 in the afternoon, but our bodies told us it was 8:30 pm.  We checked into our accommodations, went to get groceries and grab $1 burgers at McDonald’s and by 7:30 Hawaiian time (midnight to us) we fell into bed!  About 8 hours later, we woke up bright-eyed and ready for the day…. It was 4 am!!!  ha! 🙂  We decided to go ahead and get up.  Kona sunsetWe had a nice breakfast  and coffee provided by our hostess out on the veranda at sunrise, and by 6:30 we were ready to begin seeing Hawaii!  Though the locals were out going to work et al. the tourists were not…we got the prime parking places at tourist sites/beaches.  That was all it took to sell us on the idea!!!

Since our bodies were on that schedule and we’d seen the benefits of it, we continued to do this every night…to bed by 7:30 or 8 and up by 4 am.  We saw some wonderful sunrises, ALWAYS had time for coffee with the birds while watching the fog (vog) over the mountains, and were leaving by 6…or 6:30 to see Hawaii (and get the parking places) before the crowds.

Added Advantage:  We NEVER experienced jet lag – either when we arrived or when we returned home.  We were tired after a day of flying (of course), but did NOT lose a day when we first arrived on the islands, nor struggle with going back to our regular routine when we arrived home.  I LOVE this idea.

Note Hawaii does not observe Daylight Savings Time.

ABC Stores:  These are everywhere…in case you’ve forgotten something. Finding and getting to a Walmart can be a little challenging (they aren’t that plentiful in Hawaii) but these little stores have all the basics and the prices are typically “Hawaiian prices”…not cheap, but not highly inflated over other ‘Hawaiian prices’ either.  There’s probably one within a few blocks of your hotel…or your activity that day…or wherever you happen to be.    🙂

Agricultural Customs:  Before you check your bags for the return flight (and before you board the plane with your carry on bag)   you and your bags will have to go through agricultural customs.  No plant material (fruit, vegetables or flowers) can leave the islands…or go from one island to another,  without inspection.  ONLY those items that have gone through inspection, (either purchased AT THE AIRPORT or have ‘proof’ of inspection from their place of origin) can be taken on board the airplane.  They sell many of these items at the airport…for outrageous prices (pineapples 3/$28).  You also have the option of shipping previously inspected items, for a hefty price (pineapples 3/$53).  We enjoyed many of the Hawaiian fruits while on the islands, but chose to NOT pay those shipping fees or purchase prices to bring them home.  If you DO want to do this, budget accordingly.    {prices quoted as of spring 2013}


Photo Credit: Wiki Commons: [[File:Pineappleslicer.jpg|Pineappleslicer]]

A Word About Pineapples:  Several years ago, I purchased a pineapple peeler/slicer at Bed Bath and Beyond.  Because I knew we’d be eating a LOT of pineapple (probably 4-5 during our 12 day stay) and because this peeler/slicer is very small and lightweight, I took it with me.  It made those meals of tropical fruits MUCH easier to prepare.  I will do this on all subsequent trips to the islands…DEFINITELY worth it!!!

Lock Your Car…or better yet, Leave Valuables in the Room:  The vegetation of Hawaii (close to the road/parking) provides a prime hiding place for thieves waiting for unsuspecting tourists at scenic turn outs along less populated roads/areas or at less populated beaches.  This seems to particularly be a problem on Oahu’s North and West shores… Be advised, a locked door is not a huge deterrent to a determined thief if you have an expensive camera or electronics laying in the back seat.  Either take it with you when you get out of the car or leave it in your hotel/condo.  😦

Word about the beaches/water:  Hawaii is not like Florida or California or Myrtle

on Road to Hana


Beach.  It’s in the middle of the ocean. Currents, waves, etc… are very different from the Gulf or continental shores.  Even if you are very familiar with beaches around the continental USA, don’t be foolish.  Read and obey all warning signs on the beaches, and if you don’t see anyone else swimming on a beach, STOP…and ask yourself “Why is this BEAUTIFUL beach deserted?”

Early in our trip, I developed some whelps and bumps on the bottom of both feet.  The itch was almost unbearable!  Because it was only on feet and we had only walked on the beach that day, I assumed it came from either the sand or water.  Online research gave me several options – sea lice, sand fleas, stinging seaweed, swimmer’s itch, but I could never officially diagnose or find a treatment.  Thankfully, we had packed Hydrocortisone and Benadryl crèmes so I used them both and it eventually went away (5-6 days later).   {If you experience a rash accompanied by fever, see a doctor.}   Just be cautious of deserted beaches…  If it’s a beautiful beach and no one’s there, THERE’S A REASON!

Last Note:  Always rinse off when you get out of the water or are leaving the beach.  Most public beaches in Hawaii have areas near the restrooms with water spouts for this purpose.  It’s not only great to get the sand off before getting back in your rental car (which will incur cleaning fees if it’s overly dirty) but it can also remove anything you’ve encountered in the sand or water and reduce chances of having a reaction in a few hours.


  1. Hydrocortisone crème & Benadryl crème  (note above! 🙂  )  Of course, it goes without saying that you always need to take basic pain relievers of choice (Tylenol,  Advil, etc….)
  2. Band aids and antibiotic crème:  especially if you will be doing any walking/hiking on the volcanic rocks.  These rocks are like glass and can inflict quite a cut.
  3. Thick-soled walking shoes: — for walking/hiking on the volcanic rocks.  Don’t try to walk on it in sandals or flip-flops!!
  4. Refillable water bottles –  I particularly like the ones with filters in the lids. These can be filled with tap water and they filter the water as you drink.
  5. Ziploc bags-  You never know when these will come in handy for multiple things…bring 2-3 of each size.
  6. Insulated lunch bag –  Collapsable insulated lunch bagWe used this every day for our lunches (with the re-freezable ice packs (#7 below).  On the flight home, I packed breakable souvenirs  in it.



7.  Re-freezable blue ice packs.

ice packs

I got mine at the Dollar Tree – my favorite dollar store

Pack this in your checked luggage (can’t take liquids past security at airports).  Put it in the freezer each night (if you have a mini-fridge in your hotel room).  This is so much easier than dealing with ice cubes for the lunch bag and makes it possible to take sandwiches for lunch each day.)

8.  Scarf and gloves (Surprised??) if you plan to go up Haleakala (Maui) to see the sunrise.  It’s cold and windy at the summit before daybreak.  These items will be much appreciated at the top of ANY of Hawaii’s volcanoes/mountains.

9. Waterproof camera – (those single use ones…)  Not only will this come in handy if you decide to snorkel, but just having it at the beach is better than worrying about your phone, tablet or expensive camera.

10.  Neck pillow:  This is great for long flights (especially over-night flights)  One that inflates would work best as you can deflate it when not in use.  An eye mask may come in handy for sleeping on a red-eye flight as well.  Get one at the Dollar Tree – for $1!

11.  Sunscreen:  This seems obvious, right?  – But be advised, the tropical sun is much more intense than sun further from the equator. With continued exposure day after day it’s possible to get quite a burn…. which could really ruin a Hawaiian dream vacation!!

Other articles on Hawaii:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s