Perhaps you’re the type of traveler who plots every detail of every hour of every journey. Or maybe you’re a free spirit who prefers to let the unknown road unfurl before you! No matter how you approach travel planning, here are some tips designed to help you get the most out of your Hawaiian vacation.

Schedule a few extra days for your Hawaiian adventure

Try to stay a bit longer! Why? Let’s say you’re planning a one-week visit. Upon your arrival, you might need a day or two to recover from jet lag and adjust to the time difference. A day or two for jet lag recovery, a couple more for serious relaxation, and by the time you’re ready to play, you’re boarding the plane for the trip back home! If at all possible, schedule a few extra days for your Hawaiian adventure. You’ll be glad you did!

Learn about the Hawaiian Islands and geography pre-arrival

It’s helpful to learn the names of each of the major islands and a bit about each island’s geography and attractions before arriving. Directions in Hawaii are explained in terms of the leeward side of each island (generally the south or west coast) and the windward side (generally the north or east coast). If you ask for directions and are told to walk or drive mauka, you’ll want to head toward the mountains; if you’re told to go makai, head toward the ocean.

Book and plan in advance

Make a local friend or social connection beforeyou arrive. Oahu is served by social and activity sites like And don’t forget to take advantage of’s travel deals!

Get a feel for the island community

Subscribe to an island newspaper for a month or two before your vacation, so you can get a feel for island arts, culture and politics. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser, for example, can be found on newsstands as well as online.

Connect with the locals

What sort of activities do you enjoy at home? There’s probably a group of people in Hawaii who enjoy the same thing! With a bit of research, you can connect with island societies and clubs devoted to a huge variety of interests, such as hiking.

Do your research

Even if you’re a non-planner, it’s a good idea to research some activities before you travel. Some things in Hawaii — whale-watching and big surf, for example — are seasonal, and you’ll need to schedule your trip accordingly if you want to experience them. A bit of planning can also ensure you don’t miss certain year-round activities. You don’t want to arrive at the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, for example, only to find a long queue at the entrance—or worse, to hear that no tickets are available for the day. Avoid disappointment by reserving your tickets in advance.