Staying Safe in Paradise: 4 Tips for Enjoying Your Hawaii Vacation

By Karen Rose

First, a Message from the Hawaii Tourism Authority

Hawaiʻi is known for its beautiful landscapes and friendly people, but it’s important to recognize things may not always go as planned – even in paradise. To ensure your vacation is safe and fulfilling, keep these safety tips in mind when out exploring the natural wonders.

1. Ocean and Water Safety Tips

Man with selfie stick gets taken out by a wave at Makena Beach, Maui.  "Never turn your back to the ocean."  Photo:  blese.

Man with selfie stick gets taken out by a wave at Makena Beach, Maui. “Never turn your back to the ocean.” Photo: blese.

Hawaiʻi’s waters are warm and inviting, however nature is also very powerful so remember to pack your common sense along with your sunscreen when enjoying the beautiful ocean. Never swim alone and only swim at lifeguard-protected beaches. Water conditions vary according to season and location so heed warning signs. Every surfer will tell you to never turn your back on the waves or you could get an unwelcomed surprise. If you get stuck in a strong current, stay calm and wave for assistance. Remember, ‘If in doubt, don’t go out.’

2. Sun Protection Safety Tips

visitor safety tips sunscreen

He might need a little more sunscreen. Photo: hjl.

It’s tempting to spend your first day in Hawaiʻi lounging on a beautiful sandy beach, but it could be a regretful mistake. The sun’s rays are very strong in Hawaiʻi, and severe sunburns are common. Limit your time in direct sunlight and use plenty of sunscreen with a rating of 30 or higher. Even on a cloudy day, the sun can give you a nasty burn. A wide brimmed hat and sunglasses are also a great idea.

3. Coral Reefs and Jellyfish Safety Tips

visitor safety tips reef

Local girl sweetening up the water with the smell of fresh picked plumerias. Watch out for the coral! Photo: Micah Camara.

Approximately 8 to 12 days after the full moon, the tides carry box jellyfish into Hawaiʻi’s waters. Although beautiful, these creatures can pack a nasty sting that can be dangerous to those who have allergies. Also beautiful are Hawaii’s coral reefs. The coral reefs are home to millions of living creatures and, if stepped on, not only kill the delicate coral but also leave cuts and abrasions that can become easily infected.

4. Personal Safety Tips

visitor safety tips haleakala rental cars

A ring of rental cars at Haleakala summit overlook. Photo: Anson Chappell.

Hawaiʻi is known for being safer than many places in the United States, however we do have a relatively high property crime rate. That being said, it’s important to not leave valuables in your rental car, even in the trunk. Rental cars are pretty easy to identify and are often targeted by local criminals. Keep your valuables locked in your hotel room safe and always keep an eye on your valuables when at the beach. Don’t carry large amounts of cash and divide your money and credit cards.

Visitor Assistance

Even during the fun and relaxation of vacations, unfortunate events can happen. Hawaiʻi is a beautiful place to visit but even in paradise unpleasant experiences occur. If you experience any adversity such as an accident, medical emergency, or serious illness or become a victim of a crime and have a police report, please call the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii (VASH). They may be able to assist.

Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii (Oahu)
(808) 926-8274

Visitor Aloha Society of Kauai
(808) 482-0111

Maui Visitors Bureau (Maui County)
(808) 244-3530

Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii Island
Kona (808) 756-0785
Hilo (808) 756-1472

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