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Hawaii vacation tips: What to do – and what to avoid
Updated:2024-05-23 12:44    Views:80
- Source: CNN " data-fave-thumbnails="{"big": { "uri": "https://media.cnn.com/api/v1/images/stellar/prod/190308144542-hawaii-aloha-travel-black-buddha.jpg?q=x_16,y_0,h_1859,w_3303,c_crop/h_540,w_960" }, "small": { "uri": "https://media.cnn.com/api/v1/images/stellar/prod/190308144542-hawaii-aloha-travel-black-buddha.jpg?q=x_16,y_0,h_1859,w_3303,c_crop/h_540,w_960" } }" data-vr-video="" data-show-html="" data-byline-html="" data-check-event-based-preview="" data-network-id="" data-publish-date="2019-03-11T14:17:39Z" data-video-section="travel" data-canonical-url="https://www.cnn.com/videos/travel-stay/2019/03/08/hawaii-meaning-of-aloha-travel-orig.cnn" data-branding-key="" data-video-slug="hawaii-meaning-of-aloha-travel-orig" data-first-publish-slug="hawaii-meaning-of-aloha-travel-orig" data-video-tags="continents and regions,the americas,north america,united states,hawaii,hawaii travel guide,belief, religion and spirituality,buddhism,minority and ethnic groups,native americans,religious groups,society" data-details=""> hawaii aloha travel black buddha Video Ad Feedback What 'aloha' means to Hawaiians 01:06 - Source: CNN Travel to escape 15 videos - Source: CNN " data-fave-thumbnails="{"big": { "uri": "https://media.cnn.com/api/v1/images/stellar/prod/190308144542-hawaii-aloha-travel-black-buddha.jpg?q=x_16,y_0,h_1859,w_3303,c_crop/h_540,w_960" }, "small": { "uri": "https://media.cnn.com/api/v1/images/stellar/prod/190308144542-hawaii-aloha-travel-black-buddha.jpg?q=x_16,y_0,h_1859,w_3303,c_crop/h_540,w_960" } }" data-vr-video="" data-show-html="" data-byline-html="" data-check-event-based-preview="" data-network-id="" data-publish-date="2019-03-11T14:17:39Z" data-video-section="travel" data-canonical-url="https://www.cnn.com/videos/travel-stay/2019/03/08/hawaii-meaning-of-aloha-travel-orig.cnn" data-branding-key="" data-video-slug="hawaii-meaning-of-aloha-travel-orig" data-first-publish-slug="hawaii-meaning-of-aloha-travel-orig" data-video-tags="continents and regions,the americas,north america,united states,hawaii,hawaii travel guide,belief, religion and spirituality,buddhism,minority and ethnic groups,native americans,religious groups,society" data-details=""> hawaii aloha travel black buddha Video Ad Feedback What 'aloha' means to Hawaiians 01:06 Now playing - Source: CNN - Source: CNN " data-fave-thumbnails="{"big": { "uri": "https://media.cnn.com/api/v1/images/stellar/prod/190705145635-vieques-puerto-rico-2019-beach-wide.jpg?q=x_16,y_0,h_2427,w_4314,c_crop/h_540,w_960" }, "small": { "uri": "https://media.cnn.com/api/v1/images/stellar/prod/190705145635-vieques-puerto-rico-2019-beach-wide.jpg?q=x_16,y_0,h_2427,w_4314,c_crop/h_540,w_960" } }" data-vr-video="false" data-show-html="" data-byline-html=" " data-check-event-based-preview="" data-network-id="" data-publish-date="2019-11-19T13:01:21Z" data-video-section="travel" data-canonical-url="https://www.cnn.com/videos/travel-stay/2019/11/18/vieques-puerto-rico-video-tour-travel-orig.cnn" data-branding-key="" data-video-slug="vieques puerto rico video tour travel orig" data-first-publish-slug="vieques puerto rico video tour travel orig" data-video-tags="animals,armed forces,beaches,bombings,caribbean,continents and regions,destinations and attractions,environment and natural resources,horses,latin america,life forms,mammals,military,north america,points of interest,puerto rico,the americas,united states,unrest, conflicts and war,wildlife" data-details=""> vieques puerto rico 2019 beach wide Video Ad Feedback A wild Caribbean escape 01:36 Now playing - Source: CNN - Source: CNN " data-fave-thumbnails="{"big": { "uri": "https://media.cnn.com/api/v1/images/stellar/prod/180614153928-03-miami-south-beach.jpg?q=x_4,y_0,h_2241,w_3983,c_crop/h_540,w_960" }, "small": { "uri": "https://media.cnn.com/api/v1/images/stellar/prod/180614153928-03-miami-south-beach.jpg?q=x_4,y_0,h_2241,w_3983,c_crop/h_540,w_960" } }" data-vr-video="false" data-show-html="" data-byline-html=" " data-check-event-based-preview="" data-network-id="" data-publish-date="2018-06-29T15:48:03Z" data-video-section="travel" data-canonical-url="https://www.cnn.com/videos/travel-stay/2018/06/29/miami-video-tour.cnn" data-branding-key="" data-video-slug="miami video tour" data-first-publish-slug="miami video tour" data-video-tags="celestial bodies and objects,florida,miami,north america,southeastern united states,space and astronomy,sun,united states,destinations and attractions,beaches,environment and natural resources,landforms and ecosystems,coastal areas" data-details=""> South Beach Miami Video Ad Feedback Miami in 60 seconds 01:04 Now playing - Source: CNN - Source: CNN " data-fave-thumbnails="{"big": { "uri": "https://media.cnn.com/api/v1/images/stellar/prod/180308115348-hotel-esencia-3.jpg?q=x_0,y_0,h_1406,w_2498,c_fill/h_540,w_960" }, "small": { "uri": "https://media.cnn.com/api/v1/images/stellar/prod/180308115348-hotel-esencia-3.jpg?q=x_0,y_0,h_1406,w_2498,c_fill/h_540,w_960" } }" data-vr-video="false" data-show-html="" data-byline-html=" " data-check-event-based-preview="" data-network-id="" data-publish-date="2018-06-14T13:49:33Z" data-video-section="travel" data-canonical-url="https://www.cnn.com/videos/travel-stay/2018/03/08/hotel-esencia.cnn" data-branding-key="" data-video-slug="hotel esencia" data-first-publish-slug="hotel esencia" data-video-tags="boutique hotels,business and industry sectors,business, economy and trade,cancun,caribbean,coastal areas,consumer products,environment and natural resources,hotels and motels,landforms and ecosystems,latin america,leisure and lifestyle,lodging,luxurious living,luxury goods,mexico,north america,resorts and spas,travel and tourism,mexico travel guide" data-details=""> hotel esencia 3 Video Ad Feedback Near Cancún, but better than Cancún 02:26 Now playing - Source: CNN - Source: CNN " data-fave-thumbnails="{"big": { "uri": "https://media.cnn.com/api/v1/images/stellar/prod/171113081431-soneva-jani-maldives-00004925.jpg?q=x_0,y_0,h_1080,w_1919,c_fill/h_540,w_960" }, "small": { "uri": "https://media.cnn.com/api/v1/images/stellar/prod/171113081431-soneva-jani-maldives-00004925.jpg?q=x_0,y_0,h_1080,w_1919,c_fill/h_540,w_960" } }" data-vr-video="false" data-show-html="" data-byline-html=" Mark Tutton " data-check-event-based-preview="" data-network-id="" data-publish-date="2017-11-13T01:23:48Z" data-video-section="travel" data-canonical-url="https://www.cnn.com/videos/travel/2017/11/13/soneva-jani-maldives.cnn" data-branding-key="elite-escapes" data-video-slug="Soneva Jani Maldives" data-first-publish-slug="Soneva Jani Maldives" data-video-tags="asia,leisure and lifestyle,luxurious living,maldives,south asia" data-details=""> Soneva Jani Maldives_00004925.jpg Video Ad Feedback Maldives' priciest resorts 02:30 Now playing - Source: CNN - Source: CNN " data-fave-thumbnails="{"big": { "uri": "https://media.cnn.com/api/v1/images/stellar/prod/171117133419-maldives-hurawalhi-undersea-restaurant-4.jpg?q=x_0,y_0,h_900,w_1599,c_fill/h_540,w_960" }, "small": { "uri": "https://media.cnn.com/api/v1/images/stellar/prod/171117133419-maldives-hurawalhi-undersea-restaurant-4.jpg?q=x_0,y_0,h_900,w_1599,c_fill/h_540,w_960" } }" data-vr-video="false" data-show-html="" data-byline-html=" " data-check-event-based-preview="" data-network-id="" data-publish-date="2017-12-14T23:45:31Z" data-video-section="travel" data-canonical-url="https://www.cnn.com/videos/travel/2017/12/13/hurawalhi-maldives-underwater-restaurant.cnn" data-branding-key="" data-video-slug="Hurawalhi maldives underwater restaurant" data-first-publish-slug="Hurawalhi maldives underwater restaurant" data-video-tags="asia,maldives,south asia,environment and natural resources,islands and reefs,landforms and ecosystems,business, economy and trade,business and industry sectors,food and beverage industry,restaurant and food service industry,restaurant industry,restaurants" data-details=""> Maldives Hurawalhi  Undersea Restaurant 4 Video Ad Feedback Building an underwater restaurant 02:52 Now playing - Source: CNN - Source: CNN " data-fave-thumbnails="{"big": { "uri": "https://media.cnn.com/api/v1/images/stellar/prod/180607191342-5-marine-four-seasons-maldives.jpg?q=x_0,y_0,h_900,w_1599,c_fill/h_540,w_960" }, "small": { "uri": "https://media.cnn.com/api/v1/images/stellar/prod/180607191342-5-marine-four-seasons-maldives.jpg?q=x_0,y_0,h_900,w_1599,c_fill/h_540,w_960" } }" data-vr-video="false" data-show-html="" data-byline-html=" " data-check-event-based-preview="" data-network-id="" data-publish-date="2018-06-08T00:04:09Z" data-video-section="travel" data-canonical-url="https://www.cnn.com/videos/travel/2018/06/07/maldives-turtles.cnn" data-branding-key="" data-video-slug="maldives turtles" data-first-publish-slug="maldives turtles" data-video-tags="animals,asia,companies,four seasons hotels ltd,life forms,lodging,maldives,reptiles and amphibians,resorts and spas,south asia,travel and tourism" data-details=""> Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru Marine Discovery Centre Video Ad Feedback Swim and save turtles 04:41 Now playing - Source: CNN - Source: CNN " data-fave-thumbnails="{"big": { "uri": "https://media.cnn.com/api/v1/images/stellar/prod/180418163431-conrad-maldives-rangali-island-underwater-villa-cmri-usv-bedroom.jpg?q=x_0,y_0,h_900,w_1599,c_fill/h_540,w_960" }, "small": { "uri": "https://media.cnn.com/api/v1/images/stellar/prod/180418163431-conrad-maldives-rangali-island-underwater-villa-cmri-usv-bedroom.jpg?q=x_0,y_0,h_900,w_1599,c_fill/h_540,w_960" } }" data-vr-video="false" data-show-html="" data-byline-html=" " data-check-event-based-preview="" data-network-id="" data-publish-date="2018-11-05T15:44:56Z" data-video-section="travel" data-canonical-url="https://www.cnn.com/videos/travel/2018/11/05/maldives-worlds-first-underwater-hotel-opens-newsource-orig.cnn" data-branding-key="" data-video-slug="maldives worlds first underwater hotel opens newsource orig" data-first-publish-slug="maldives worlds first underwater hotel opens newsource orig" data-video-tags="asia,continents and regions,maldives,south asia" data-details=""> Conrad-Maldives-Rangali-Island-underwater-villa--CMRI_USV_Bedroom Video Ad Feedback First underwater hotel residence opens 01:00 Now playing - Source: CNN - Source: CNN " data-fave-thumbnails="{"big": { "uri": "https://media.cnn.com/api/v1/images/stellar/prod/190110153132-tma-1075-1600-900.jpg?q=x_0,y_0,h_900,w_1599,c_fill/h_540,w_960" }, "small": { "uri": "https://media.cnn.com/api/v1/images/stellar/prod/190110153132-tma-1075-1600-900.jpg?q=x_0,y_0,h_900,w_1599,c_fill/h_540,w_960" } }" data-vr-video="false" data-show-html="" data-byline-html=" " data-check-event-based-preview="" data-network-id="" data-publish-date="2019-01-11T00:10:56Z" data-video-section="travel" data-canonical-url="https://www.cnn.com/videos/travel/2019/01/08/trans-maldivian-airways-pilot.cnn" data-branding-key="" data-video-slug="trans maldivian airways pilot" data-first-publish-slug="trans maldivian airways pilot" data-video-tags="asia,continents and regions,maldives,south asia" data-details=""> TMA_1075_1600-900 Video Ad Feedback Flying with the barefoot pilots of the Maldives 02:31 Now playing - Source: CNN - Source: CNN " data-fave-thumbnails="{"big": { "uri": "https://media.cnn.com/api/v1/images/stellar/prod/190620112652-phuket-airport-beach.jpg?q=x_2,y_0,h_898,w_1596,c_crop/h_540,w_960" }, "small": { "uri": "https://media.cnn.com/api/v1/images/stellar/prod/190620112652-phuket-airport-beach.jpg?q=x_2,y_0,h_898,w_1596,c_crop/h_540,w_960" } }" data-vr-video="false" data-show-html="" data-byline-html=" " data-check-event-based-preview="" data-network-id="" data-publish-date="2019-06-23T00:16:25Z" data-video-section="travel" data-canonical-url="https://www.cnn.com/videos/travel/2019/06/20/phuket-plane-spotting-beach-mai-khao.cnn" data-branding-key="" data-video-slug="phuket plane spotting beach mai khao" data-first-publish-slug="phuket plane spotting beach mai khao" data-video-tags="asia,beaches,continents and regions,destinations and attractions,phuket,points of interest,southeast asia,thailand,air transportation,airports,business and industry sectors,business, economy and trade,transportation and warehousing,travel and tourism" data-details=""> Tourists pose for photographs as an airplane descends into Phuket International Airport. 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Source: CNN - Source: CNN " data-fave-thumbnails="{"big": { "uri": "https://media.cnn.com/api/v1/images/stellar/prod/190503122806-lifetime-greece-4.jpg?q=x_0,y_0,h_1080,w_1919,c_fill/h_540,w_960" }, "small": { "uri": "https://media.cnn.com/api/v1/images/stellar/prod/190503122806-lifetime-greece-4.jpg?q=x_0,y_0,h_1080,w_1919,c_fill/h_540,w_960" } }" data-vr-video="false" data-show-html="" data-byline-html=" " data-check-event-based-preview="" data-network-id="" data-publish-date="2019-05-07T09:14:30Z" data-video-section="travel" data-canonical-url="https://www.cnn.com/videos/travel/2019/05/03/lifetime-orig-olympos-greece-learning.cnn" data-branding-key="once-in-a-lifetime" data-video-slug="lifetime orig olympos greece learning" data-first-publish-slug="lifetime orig olympos greece learning" data-video-tags="" data-details=""> lifetime greece 4 Video Ad Feedback This Greek village was once run by women 04:58 Now playing - Source: CNN - Source: CNN " data-fave-thumbnails="{"big": { "uri": "https://media.cnn.com/api/v1/images/stellar/prod/190104135236-02-fort-lauderdale-photos.jpg?q=x_0,y_0,h_1406,w_2498,c_fill/h_540,w_960" }, "small": { "uri": "https://media.cnn.com/api/v1/images/stellar/prod/190104135236-02-fort-lauderdale-photos.jpg?q=x_0,y_0,h_1406,w_2498,c_fill/h_540,w_960" } }" data-vr-video="false" data-show-html="" data-byline-html=" " data-check-event-based-preview="" data-network-id="" data-publish-date="2019-01-11T15:37:04Z" data-video-section="travel" data-canonical-url="https://www.cnn.com/videos/travel-stay/2019/01/11/fort-lauderdale-things-to-do-video-tour-travel-orig.cnn" data-branding-key="" data-video-slug="fort lauderdale things to do video tour travel orig" data-first-publish-slug="fort lauderdale things to do video tour travel orig" data-video-tags="continents and regions,florida,fort lauderdale,north america,southeastern united states,the americas,united states,destinations and attractions,beaches,environment and natural resources,landforms and ecosystems,coastal areas,points of interest,amusement and theme parks,amusements and gaming,companies,disney parks,leisure and lifestyle,walt disney company" data-details=""> 02 fort lauderdale photos Video Ad Feedback Experience the beach and more in Fort Lauderdale 01:33 Now playing - 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Consider a trip to Hawaii in May or October for the best value

A condo rental offers more flexibility than a hotel and often is more affordable

Hopping to every island is pricey and time-consuming; consider focusing on one or two

CNN  — 

Looking to get to Hawaii without blowing your child’s college fund? Want to experience the islands but not sure when to go?

Here’s how to avoid costly and exhausting mistakes during your Hawaiian vacation.

Don’t travel to Hawaii during school holidays.

Tourists crowd Hawaii’s stunning beaches in summer and winter. During school holidays, flight and hotel rates are off the charts – between Christmas and New Years, condos and vacation rentals can run three times as much as rates in early December.

Do visit Hawaii in the off-season. Hawaii's natural allure is intoxicating. But resist this level of ocean going unless you really know what you're doing. Respect the ocean's power. Hawaii's natural allure is intoxicating. But resist this level of ocean going unless you really know what you're doing. Respect the ocean's power. Kelly Cestari/ASP via Getty Images The ancient art of hula tells a story. Consider a lesson to get a better sense of its meaning as you sway to the music. The ancient art of hula tells a story. Consider a lesson to get a better sense of its meaning as you sway to the music. Shutterstock Take off your watch, and leave your cell phone at the hotel. This is the kind of encounter you're after. Take off your watch, and leave your cell phone at the hotel. This is the kind of encounter you're after. Shutterstock Spike your drink, Hawaiian style. Just add rum for a seriously fresh cocktail. Spike your drink, Hawaiian style. Just add rum for a seriously fresh cocktail. Shutterstock Incorporate the Aloha Spirit into your day. Aloha's a state of mind, a series of actions, not merely a word. At its core, it means treating the world and others like they are a part of you. Incorporate the Aloha Spirit into your day. Aloha's a state of mind, a series of actions, not merely a word. At its core, it means treating the world and others like they are a part of you. Getty Images/File Lounging on the beach is lovely. Island traffic is not. Tune into local radio stations while you're inching along with the locals. Lounging on the beach is lovely. Island traffic is not. Tune into local radio stations while you're inching along with the locals. ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images/File There's no way around it: Food in Hawaii is expensive. But getting out of the resort zone for local eats will ease the pain. There's no way around it: Food in Hawaii is expensive. But getting out of the resort zone for local eats will ease the pain. Shutterstock Before you soak up the beauty of the islands, learn a few words of the Hawaiian language. Before you soak up the beauty of the islands, learn a few words of the Hawaiian language. Shutterstock Embracing the aloha spirit Prev Next

Hands down the best values on visiting Hawaii can be found in May and October. With prices reasonably low and the weather at its peak – not too hot, not too rainy – take advantage of the perks of off-season travel to jet off to the islands. Current spring and fall flight deals from the West Coast are half of July rates.

Additionally, hotels and condos generally slash their prices off-season, rewarding visitors with oceanfront accommodations that typically sell out in peak months.

Don’t blow your whole budget on a luxury resort.

While staying in a luxurious Hawaiian resort where birds flutter through the open-air lobby and fresh papaya is served at the swim-up bar is nice, it is likely to cost between $400-$600 a night in high season. Instead, fork over the cash for a lomilomi massage and gourmet seafood dinner, and make your own poolside Mai Tai at a rental condo.

Do consider staying in a condo.

Repeat visitors know to rent a condo. Kitchens, ample square footage, washing machines and privacy afford travelers a more authentic (and often less costly) vacation experience.

It’s common for numerous companies to manage individual units in the same complex, meaning one property may be decked out by a globetrotting interior decorator, while another may be awash in wicker. Be sure to see photos of the particular condo you’re interested in and get specifics on the number and configuration of beds.

Don’t try to see everything.

While each island has its own personality, it is too expensive (and exhausting) to island-hop the entire archipelago on one vacation. Inter-island flights generally run between $70-$140 each way and most travel to Oahu, so if you want to get from Kauai to the Big Island, you might have to stop in Honolulu and basically pay the equivalent of two inter-island flights each way.

Do stick to one or two islands.

Each region on each island has its own flavor. The north and east sides of the islands are more tropical, while the south and west regions offer sunnier skies and a more arid landscape.

Instead of island hopping, break your trip up by staying in a plush hotel within walking distance of a sunny south shore beach and then cozy up in a rental house near the more tropical (read: rainy) north shore. If you want to island-hop on the cheap, Maui offers ferry service to Lanai and Molokai.

Don’t fall for the luau.

Most luaus are overpriced and far from the real thing (usually family events on a beach for a first birthday). While they seem like an authentic experience, you can actually piece together the highlights of a luau yourself.

Grab a picnic of poke, lomi lomi, fresh pineapple, and poi from a local market. In the evenings at most malls on Kauai and Maui, and at sunset at Waikiki Beach, you can watch free hula shows featuring some of Hawaii’s best dancers.

Do splurge on an adventure. Skimboarding originated in Southern California, but it's a popular activity to try out here in Maui. Skimboarding originated in Southern California, but it's a popular activity to try out here in Maui. Shutterstock

Whether you fancy diving deep into the sea, soaring over waterfalls on a helicopter tour, or a kayak trip along the Na Pali Coast, treat yourself to at least one adventure. Be sure to book early in your trip in case of bad weather.

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And lastly, do not forget to relax on the beach.

No need to be on a boat, or a horse, or a helicopter, or a zip line the whole time. Save time to enjoy Hawaii’s world-class beaches. From the shore, you can walk right out into the sea and snorkel with sea turtles, angelfish and monk seals basically for free.

As the sun descends over the Pacific, unwind under a coconut palm and watch the sky burst with color as surfers ride the last sunlit waves onto the white sand.

Michele Bigley is the author of “Great Destinations, Kauai” (Countryman Press) and the upcoming “Backroads and Byways of Hawaii” (Countryman Press).This article was originally published in May 2012.