My first Hawaii Vacation
Important information, about your holiday in Hawaii
You want to fly to Hawaii, but don’t know what you have to consider when planning your trip? We have helpful tips for you! Your first Hawaii vacation is always something very special, and for this reason we want to make sure that you don’t go wrong.
What you have to consider before booking your trip
Before you even start booking your trip, there are a few points you should consider. Among other things, this concerns the travel time, the visa and a Sim card for your mobile phone.
Travel time Hawaii
The weather in Hawaii is good all year round. The average temperature is between 26 and 29 degrees Celsius (78 and 84 Fahrenheit). So you can’t say exactly when the best time to travel to Hawaii is. The risk of rain increases in the winter months from otherwise seven rainy days per month to nine rainy days. Which in my opinion is still not much. The table shows you the best travel times for your planned activities and preferences.
Visa for Hawaii
For locals from the USA and Canada, the following section is relatively irrelevant. It deals with the visa that tourists need for Hawaii. It is different for Australians. They need an entry permit to enter the USA and Hawaii at all. This is the entry permit ESTA. The form costs $14 and can be applied for online. The entry permit is valid for 2 years, so you can take care of it in time. This way you can avoid unnecessary stress towards the end. Another requirement is of course a valid passport.
Of course, you have several options. On the one hand, you can ask your provider at home if he has suitable packages for the USA. On the other hand you can also order an American Sim Card at Amazon. That would be my recommendation, because you usually get off cheaper and with better services.
Flight to Hawaii
To make it a little easier, we picked out the airports New York, Los Angeles (USA), Toronto, Vancouver (Canada), and Sydney (Australia) and limited ourselves to them. Furthermore price comparison sites like Momondo or Cheapflights, offer you a good opportunity to compare prices flights from different websites and also see price differences on different days.
Flights from US mainland to Hawaii
The cheapest flight from New York is US-$547. The travel time is 34 h and you have a 21 h 5 min stopover in Los Angeles. Both of these approximately 6 h 30 min flights are operated by Alaska Airlines. The cheapest non-stop flight from Los Angeles is $368. Google Flights offers you different airlines for this price. Alaska Airlines, United Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Delta, or American Airlines will take you to Hawaii in about 6 hours.
Flights form Canada to Hawaii
In my opinion, the best flight from Toronto is US-$452, which is operated by United Airlines and will take you a total of 12 hours 50 minutes. Your stopover in Chicago lasts only 1 h 25 min. The cheapest flight from Vancouver to Hawaii with a 1h 25 min stop in Seattle is US-$404 and is operated by Delta.
Flights from Australia to Hawaii
Hawaiian Airlines brings you non-stop from Sydney to Hawaii for US-$601. This flight is also the cheapest, so a stopover makes little sense.
Accommodation in Hawaii
As for the accommodation for your Hawaii vacation, there are a variety of options. You can camp, stay in hostels, book an apartment, or stay in one of the many hotels during your first Hawaii vacation. I found my accommodation through the AirBnB portal and am very happy with it. You have several possibilities there. You can book a complete apartment or a room in a shared flat. I have a room in the apartment of a couple.
The advantage is that you get to know local people immediately after arrival, who can give you helpful tips for hikes, beaches or restaurants. Many hotels at Waikiki BeachYou can thus be much more spontaneous on your way and are not tied to meal times or anything else. A complete apartment in Waikiki is about $1,500 for a two week holiday, which is still a lot cheaper than a hotel. Also here you can get off cheaper and stay overnight in a hostel. There you can learn many international people, but compared to AirBnB you have less privacy, unless you book a private room. So if you sleep in a mixed dormitory for two weeks you will pay about $550 per person. A double room is $1,000 per person for two weeks. With the hotels you have no upper limit. One of the most expensive, the Moana Surfrider Hotel, costs about $5,200 for 2 weeks. But you can get camping sites for about $140.
Shopping in Hawaii
Your first Hawaii vacation should of course not fail because of the catering. If you don’t want to go to one of Waikiki’s good but also expensive restaurants every evening, you can go shopping yourself. The supermarket Safeway is one of the cheapest in Honolulu. I recommend you to get a Club-Card. You can get it at the checkout and it’s free. This gives you many price advantages and you can save a lot of money when shopping. Another alternative is the supermarket Whole Foods.Whole Foods Market. The products are usually a bit more expensive, but there are also fresh dishes that are great for a short lunch. Snacks for in between can be bought in the ABC stores, which are located in many corners, especially in Waikiki. You can buy vegetables well and cheaply in Chinatown. Because of the fact that about 85% of all products have to be imported, the prices are higher than we are used to from Germany. Thus also the food will go to a more expensive pleasure. Don’t forget that taxes and 15-20% tips are added to your food.
Locomotion on Hawaii
The island Oahu is very well developed in the topic locomotion in Hawaii. With the public transportation you can reach everything super. But you can also get a rental car.
Bus in Hawaii
The first thought of course falls on public transport. But only the bus traffic is really well developed on O’ahu. So you can easily buy a bus ticket when getting on the bus. A single trip costs $2.75 and a day ticket $5.50 (December 2018). IMPORTANT: Try to have the money suitable, often the bus drivers have no change!
For longer stays you can also consider buying a monthly ticket. This costs $70 (December 2018) and you can buy it in several shops. Tip: Consider beforehand whether you will really use the bus so often. Also, don’t forget that the bus really does stop a lot and that it takes about an hour to cover a distance of about 30 minutes by car. Nevertheless, you have the opportunity to drive over the whole island and always find a bus stop near you. This will assure you that your individual holiday in Hawaii remains casual and that you are not constantly looking for stops.
To make your first Hawaii vacation even more unique, you can of course also get a rental car. You can get a normal small car for about 30€ a day (December 2018) and rent it in advance on the Internet. For travellers under the age of 26, however, the rental cars are much more expensive due to insurance reasons. But don’t forget, Honolulu isn’t a small city and especially during rush hour times it’s not always pleasant to travel by car. In addition, you have to pay parking fees and fuel costs, which can make the rental car in total even more expensive.
Cycling in Hawaii
An other option, which I think makes sense, is the bicycle rental Biki. So you are super fast on your way and you don’t need to look for a cheap parking place. You can simply rent a bike at one of the 130 stations, and park it at any station. I recommend you to choose the offer with the 300 minutes, because you can ride through Honolulu without stress and time pressure. You can read more about how the Biki works in our article “Cheap parking in Waikiki”.
Uber in Hawaii
A further possibility is about. Uber is similar to a taxi, but is usually a bit cheaper. All you have to do is download the Uber app and register. Afterwards you can order a Uber from wherever you are and enter your destination. The app will find drivers in your area and show you a price for your route. After confirmation your driver will pick you up and take you to your destination. The pre-determined amount will automatically be debited from your credit card after the trip. It is advantageous that the trip always stays at the same price, so it doesn’t matter if you are stuck in a traffic jam, taking a detour or anything else. You will be able to see the prices in advance, so you can’t be fooled, as with some taxi rides.
Activities in Hawaii
Hawaii offers you unique opportunities to make your first Hawaii vacation an unforgettable experience. Thanks to the numerous activities in Hawaii, you will never get bored.
You can explore lots of beautiful beaches away from the famous Waikiki Beach, do breathtaking hikes or take a private tour. The price can vary depending on how many activities you want to do. In my experience, 300€ for 2 weeks is a good guide.
Costs Hawaii Vacation
Your first Hawaii vacation doesn’t always have to be expensive. There are of course no upper limits. I have now only started from my personal experiences. It also depends on whether you are a backpacker without a lot of expectations regarding comfort, as a couple or as a family. I’d like to show you the cheapest way to spend a two-week holiday in Hawaii for less than $1,500!
- Flight: $450-$600
- Accommodation: $140
- Refreshments: $300
- Activities: $300
- Locomotion: $70
-> Total: approx. $1,200-$,1400
If you keep some of my information in mind, you can easily plan your first Hawaii vacation. Even if a holiday in Hawaii is not quite cheap, it is still worth it. You can observe a lot of untouched nature and always have good weather. Hawaii is ideal for outdoor activities! Start early enough with your planning and think in advance what you want to do. But don’t plan it too carefully, it often happens differently than planned.
You will find detailed information on each topic in our further articles: Preparations Hawaii, flight to Hawaii, accommodation in Hawaii, shopping in Hawaii, transport in Hawaii, activities in Hawaii.