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“My First Time in Hawaii: How to Plan a Trip to Hawaii” – Guest post by Delan Cooper, you can find him on Twitter here!
The first time I travelled to Hawaii, it was a relaxing, yet adventurous trip, full of amazing Hawaii experiences – from eating authentic local poke to snorkeling with dolphins. While I was there, I learned a few tips and tricks from the locals that made my trip even better than I could’ve expected.
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How Much Does it Cost to Go to Hawaii?
The main factor that prevents people from travelling to Hawaii is the cost. To be honest, the flights – typically the first thing people look at when booking a trip – are the most expensive part of a trip to Hawaii. It is possible to find reasonably priced accommodations, and most of the activities, like going to beaches and hiking, are completely free.
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How and When to Go to Hawaii
When my girlfriend and I visited the islands, it was in late April, which is arguably the best time to go to Hawaii. It wasn’t too hot yet, it wasn’t during the rainy season, and there weren’t an overwhelming number of tourists. To get there, we looked up round trip flights to Hawaii on Skyscanner, and booked a Hawaiian Airlines flight to Honolulu International Airport – perfect for Hawaii on a budget.
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Where to Stay in Hawaii
On the island of Oahu, there are two main areas where you can stay. Most tourists stay in Waikiki, at hotels like the Hilton Hawaii Village or the Sheraton Princes Kaiulani. However, I would recommend staying in an up-and-coming area on the west side of the island called Ko Olina. If you are looking for one of those picture-perfect Hawaii luxury vacations, stay at the Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina. Newly renovated, this resort is situated on a charming little lagoon, perfect for swimming, sun tanning, and just relaxing.
If you are looking to travel to Hawaii on a budget, I recommend staying at an Airbnb. Because it is such a small island, pretty much anywhere on the island is close to the “must-go” places, and there can be some pretty quality deals if you search for them.
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What to do in Hawaii
There are so many amazing things to do in Hawaii, but the beaches are part of the quintessential Hawaiian vacation experiences. My girlfriend and I fell in love with all of the beautiful Hawaii beaches. Kailua beach is the go-to beach for swimming, with the amazingly calm ocean. Makaha beach is perfect for snorkeling, because the ocean isn’t too wavy, and there are a lot of sea creatures to see, like turtles, dolphins, and the Hawaiian state fish, the humuhumunukunukuapua’a. For the best place to surf, head over to Waimea Bay. Even when other parts of the island don’t have any surf breaks, Waimea Bay usually pulls through.
Then, there’s the food. For some authentic Hawaiian poke, we headed over to Tanioka’s and Poke Stop. We of course wanted some local shave ice while we were there too, so we headed to Matsumoto’s on the north shore, and while we were up there, we stopped by Giovanni’s shrimp truck for the freshest garlic shrimp we’ve ever had.
Of course, there are also the amazing hikes on the island. The Diamond Head hike is a pretty easy hike to do, and who wouldn’t want to hike the iconic natural landmark of the island of Oahu? My girlfriend’s favorite hike was the Manoa Falls hike. Although the path to the falls was quite muddy, standing below the amazing waterfall at the end of the hike was absolutely worth the trek.
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The Best Place to Go in Hawaii
The absolute best place to go in Hawaii is Lanikai, a little town on the east side of Oahu. Lanikai has an amazing beach perfect for snorkeling. While tourists go to a couple other nearby beaches, the locals go to Lanikai. Just a few hundred yards away, there is a fantastic shave ice place called Island Snow. Then, of course, there is the Lanikai pillbox hike. While it’s a little more difficult than the Diamond Head and Manoa Falls hikes, the breathtaking views of the island are totally worth it.