Renowned for its warm hospitality, low crime rate and paradise feel, you can expect an easy-going time when you holiday here; however, there are still a few Hawaii travel tips to keep in mind.
The general Hawaii travel advice relates to enjoying the natural beauty of the islands. Beaches can be subject to dangerous tides and rips, while the reefs so famous for snorkelling can present hazards of their own.
When it comes to personal safety, ensure you keep your valuables stowed securely, be mindful of your surroundings, and don’t take unnecessary risks.
Medical treatment can be expensive, so take out comprehensive travel insurance before you depart and make sure required vaccinations are up to date.
Eligible Australians visiting America for less than 90 days no longer require USA visas. Instead, they can take part in the Visa Waiver Program and apply for authorisation using the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). To be eligible, you must have an e-passport, a return or onwards ticket, and a passport that’s valid for six months beyond your return date.
The US currency is the US dollar, which is used in Hawaii and can be readily obtained prior to your departure from Australia, or at money changers and even banks on the islands. Credit cards are widely accepted (check with your bank about overseas charges), and major tourist destinations are also well equipped with ATMs, allowing you fast access to money without the risk of carrying large sums of cash. For more on currency, visit the currency page.
Hawaiian food is an enticing blend of Asian, Polynesian, Hawaiian and American influences that’s destined to suit all culinary desires and tastes. Traditionally, the Hawaiian diet is based heavily on available staples like fish, rice, and starchy vegetables like yams. As Hawaii is a tropical paradise, you can also enjoy a variety of fresh, locally grown fruit.
Tipping is very much a part of the American culture and this extends to Hawaii, with gratuities often expected. Generally a tip that equals 15-20 per cent of the bill total is a good figure to aim for and some places may add a suggested amount to your bill. Tipping is appropriate for services, dining and activities, so it’s a great idea to keep $1 bills on hand.
American plugs and voltage are very different to the Australian standard. An adapter is a must if you’re planning on taking electronic devices to Hawaii. The US voltage is lower than Australia, (110-120V compared to 240V here), while the plug has two parallel pins, and often a third round pin. Pick up an adapter before you depart, or at the airport.
Hawaii is the only American state to have two official languages: Hawaiian and English. There’s also an unofficial Pidgin language. This combines the culture, dialect and customs of the region in an abridged type of slang. English is pretty much the only language you’ll need however, as it’s spoken everywhere, with only street names and places written in Hawaiian.
Most visitors arriving in Hawaii come in via Honolulu International Airport on the island of Oahu. Officially named the Daniel K Inouye International Airport, it services international and inter-island flights and is one of the busiest airports in the United States. The airport is located just 20 minutes from downtown Honolulu and Waikiki Beach, and is accessible by shuttle, taxi and public bus.