10 Nov 2021

Tips for Visiting Hawaii for the First Time

Hawaii is truly one of the best vacation destinations in the United States. From the sandy beaches to the waterfall hikes to mouthwatering restaurants, Hawaii has it all!

If you’re a first-time visitor to the islands, it can be a bit overwhelming. When planning a trip to Hawaii, there are many things to consider, especially if you’re visiting Hawaii with the kids. What are some of the best activities to do on the island? What should I pack? And what is the time difference between Hawaii and the mainland United States?

First Time to Hawaii FAQs

Where should I go in Hawaii for the first time?

I usually suggest that first-timers visit Oahu as their initial destination. Oahu is the most well-known Hawaiian island, as well as the most inexpensive. There are also a lot of attractions, activities, great cuisine, and shopping to enjoy. That is why I believe it’s the finest island in Hawaii to visit for the first time.

Oahu has so much to offer, so choosing what to do for your initial trip can be challenging. Here is a list of some of my favorite activities:

• Hike Diamondhead crater – this ancient volcano is an awesome sight, and the hike up makes the views even better

• Snorkle at Hanauma Bay – this is a beautiful bay that has some great underwater sights

• Walk across the street at Waikiki Beach to visit the historic Royal Hawaiian Hotel and take a picture by the iconic pink banyan tree

This list barely scratches the surface of all there is to do and see on Oahu. But with these three activities, you’ll be able to get a great taste of what the island has to offer.

Can you Visit Hawaii on a Budget?

Do you want to save money while visiting Hawaii? You may easily arrange an inexpensive Hawaii getaway by traveling during shoulder season (mid-April to June and September to mid-December). Also, there are many activities that you can do for free on Oahu.

  • Watch the Friday sunset at Aloha Tower Marketplace (free)
  • Visit the Queen Kapiolani Park Bandstand (free)
  • Walk around Waikiki Beach (free)

How can you save more money? Consider the following tips:

  • Stay in a hostel or with friends – both of these options are much cheaper than staying in a hotel
  • Bring your own food – grocery stores are plentiful on Oahu, and there are also several farmers markets that sell local produce
  • Use public transportation – although renting a car is the best way to see the island, transportation is also available by bus and train

What should I pack for my trip to Hawaii?

When packing for your first trip to Hawaii, it’s important to consider the weather. The islands have a tropical climate, which means it’s hot and humid most of the year. Be sure to pack light clothing made of natural materials, such as cotton and linen. And don’t forget the sunscreen, swimsuit, and sandals!

Do I need a passport or visa to visit Hawaii?

U.S. citizens do not need a passport or visa to visit Hawaii. However, I always recommend bringing your passport with you just in case you decide to venture out to another island while in the state.

What’s the Hawaii time difference from the Mainland?

Hawaii does not observe daylight saving time. They are 2-3 hours behind the West Coast, 3-4 hours behind Mountain Time, 4-5 hours behind Central Time, and 5-6 hours behind the East Coast as a result of this.

Try the Local Food if You’re Visiting Hawaii for the First Time

When you visit Hawaii, you’ll want to try the local food. This delicious dish consists of tuna or another type of seafood chopped up and marinated with spices, sauces, and vegetables. You can get a variety of poke whether you’re looking for a spicy one or a sweeter poke. This tasty dish is a must-have when you visit Hawaii.

What’s the best way to get around Hawaii?

The easiest and most cost-effective way to travel in Hawaii is by using an Island Shuttle. These shuttles can take you to and from the airport, as well as to different tourist destinations on the islands. You can also use Uber or Lyft, but they will be more expensive. Renting a car is another option, but keep in mind that the roads on some of the smaller islands can be very winding and challenging to navigate.

Don’t go to a luau your first night in Hawaii.

Going to a luau is on most people’s bucket lists when they first visit Hawaii. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn more about traditional Hawaiian culture and eat delectable food. Luau tickets aren’t cheap, so make the most of your trip. Save the luau for your last night on the islands.

Is Honolulu really the best place to visit in Hawaii?

Honolulu is a wonderful city and a great place to visit if you’re looking for a major metropolitan area. But nearly every island in Hawaii has its own unique charm, so don’t decide where to go based on where people say is the “best” or “most popular” place to visit. Do some research and find the Hawaiian island that’s right for you!

Check the Weather Before Hiking in Hawaii

The Hawaiian climate is tropical. Therefore, it’s hot and humid most of the year (there isn’t any winter). However, if you plan on hiking or doing outdoor activities while you’re in Hawaii, plan your trip around the weather. The rainy season occurs between November and March; wear waterproof clothes and shoes during these months.

It’s critical to check the weather and floodplains before embarking on any hike in Hawaii. If it looks like rain, look for a floodplain or river along your route. The last thing you want to do is continue through a treacherous rainstorm on an active volcano!


Vacationing in Hawaii can be a wonderful experience. But it can also be tiring. Be sure to plan your activities wisely to make the most of your time in this beautiful state. And be sure to pack light, so you can enjoy the stunning beaches and landscapes without being weighed down. Aloha!