Episode116: First Time to Hawaii: An Unforgettable Beginner’s Guide to the Islands

by | Jan 31, 2024

Are you planning your first trip to Hawaii and feeling overwhelmed with the plethora of information out there?

Well, you’ve just struck gold! In this comprehensive podcast episode, I will be your personal guide to unraveling the mystique of Hawaii’s enchanting islands.

From the vibrant streets of Oahu to the tranquil beauty of Maui, each Hawaiian island offers an experience as rich as its culture.

Dive in as we explore the must-visit spots, immerse in local traditions, and navigate through common travel pitfalls – all to ensure your Hawaiian adventure is nothing short of spectacular.

🌺 Why Listen? Get insider tips on maximizing your island experience, embracing Hawaiian culture, and making every moment count on your first visit to this paradise.

🎧 Listen Now! Don’t miss out on making your Hawaiian journey unforgettable.

Planning a trip to Hawaii? Have any questions? Join our Hawaii’s Best Travel Facebook group here now! It’s the perfect place to ask any questions and to be inspired!

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that I may earn a commission if you use a link provided.

This post gives general info and isn’t legal or authoritative advice. It helps travelers with tips but can’t replace personal abilities, fitness, experience, or local knowledge. Marine activities have risks; assess conditions and follow local laws.

Aloha and welcome, fellow travelers! I’m Bryan Murphy, your host and guide through the magical world of Hawaii.

If you’re gearing up for your first Hawaiian adventure, you’re in for an experience of a lifetime. But, let’s face it – navigating the overwhelming sea of travel advice can be daunting.

That’s why I’m here to simplify it for you. In today’s episode, we’ll delve deep into each island’s soul, ensuring your Hawaiian escape is as seamless as it is memorable.

cheapest month to fly to maui

Main Topics Discussed

  • Vibrant Oahu and Serene Maui: The contrasting beauty of Hawaii’s popular islands.
  • Kauai and Big Island: Unveiling the adventures and natural wonders.
  • Cultural Immersion: How to truly experience Hawaiian traditions.
  • Natural Wonders: Best spots for beach lovers and hiking enthusiasts.
  • Practical Travel Tips: From packing smart to embracing the island lifestyle.

Wrapping Up: Your Hawaiian Journey Awaits

As we conclude this episode, remember that a trip to Hawaii is more than just a vacation – it’s a journey into a world rich in culture, natural beauty, and unforgettable experiences.

Whether you’re soaking up the sun on a pristine beach, exploring lush rainforests, or immersing yourself in local culture, Hawaii promises an unforgettable first-time experience.

🌺 Ready to Explore? Make sure to listen to the full episode for a deep dive into the wonders of Hawaii. Your dream Hawaiian adventure is just a play button away!

Mahalo for joining me on this journey. Until next time, keep dreaming of those Hawaiian sunsets, and here’s to stepping into your very own Hawaiian adventure. Aloha and safe travels!

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First Time to Hawaii: An Unforgettable Beginner's Guide to the Islands

[00:00:00] Bryan Murphy: Ever wonder how to make your first trip to Hawaii unforgettable? Well in today's episode we're diving into everything from the unique charm of each island to essential travel tips ensuring your Hawaiian vacation is as unforgettable as it is seamless. So stay tuned for this one. Let's go!

[00:00:18] Announcement - Hawaii's Best: Aloha. Welcome to Hava East's.

[00:00:20] Best here. You'll learn what to know before traveling as we discover Hawaiian culture, local businesses, and the experiences that make Havae one of the most incredible places in the world. And now your host Brian Murphy.

[00:00:36] Bryan Murphy: Aloha and welcome back to another episode. Today we're talking all about. What to know for your very first trip to hawaii Now if you're planning to travel to hawaii for the very first time And you're feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the choices and information out there Then my friend you have landed in the right spot and that's what we're talking about in today's episode today [00:01:00] is all about demystifying hawaii For first timers and turning what might seem like an overwhelming task into an incredible doable adventure One of the first things to know before even booking a trip to hawaii is understanding that hawaii is more than just a destination It's this blend of diverse cultures natural beauty And the kind of hospitality aloha that makes you feel like you've come home even if it's your very first visit and With that each island in hawaii has its own personality and its own rhythm and we're going to be covering that a little bit in today's Episode I dive deeper into this topic on a recent blog post that'll be linked In the description of your podcast player for this episode.

[00:01:51] So be sure to check that out Or, you can simply just go to hawaiisbesttravel. com slash episode [00:02:00] 116. At Hawaii's Best, we help prepare those who are traveling to Hawaii, like we're talking about today for the very first time, or those who have traveled to Hawaii multiple times and want to learn more about its culture and local businesses and kind of what to do, what to not do, and even some Hawaii news.

[00:02:18] We'll throw in there from time to time. So as we dive into this topic of what to know for your very first trip to Hawaii, one of the biggest questions is how long should your first trip to Hawaii be? Well here's the thing, Hawaii is more than just a destination. It's this experience and to really soak up that experience, I 10 days.

[00:02:43] Maybe that's doable for you. Maybe longer is doable for you, but depending on your budget, right? But if you're able to. Why do 10 days? Well, it's I think the sweet spot that allows you to get over any jet lag Especially, you know traveling [00:03:00] with Hawaii's time zone differences, especially if you're traveling from the east coast of the u.

[00:03:04] s. Continent that is What is that? That's like that could be a six fives a six hour depending the time of year Uh, time difference and that takes some time to adjust in with the 10 days and adjusting to the time zone that leaves plenty of time to explore, relax, and immerse yourself into the island life.

[00:03:25] Now I know what you might be thinking, 10 days might sound like a lot, but trust me, once you're there, surrounded by the amazing. Beauty and the aloha spirit time just flies. Plus those extra days will give you a chance to really dive deep and explore the island that you're on or islands. If you plan on doing some puddle hopping, you know, going to between islands.

[00:03:50] So whether you're exploring. The streets of Honolulu, or lounging at Maui's pristine beaches, or adventuring on Kauai and its lush landscapes, [00:04:00] or the natural wonders of the Big Island of Hawaii, you'll have time to appreciate and savor each experience without feeling rushed during these 10 days. But regardless of how long you plan on staying in Hawaii, probably the best key advice that I could give is don't overstuff your itinerary.

[00:04:19] I see these itineraries and They'll post their itinerary, like on a Facebook group and every single day is, you know, doing Pearl Harbor and trying to do North shore of Oahu on the same day. And then heading over to Kailua for lunch. I'm like, that's not possible. So just try not to overstuff. I know maybe this is like a once in a lifetime trip and you feel like you got to get it all in.

[00:04:47] I know it can be tempting, but remember you're on island time now and part of the magic of Hawaii is in those unplanned moments like stumbling upon a beach or finding the local market or place to eat with the most amazing tropical [00:05:00] fruits and dishes that you'll probably have ever tasted. So what's the best approach to planning then?

[00:05:06] So I would say start by jotting down your must do activities. Maybe it's watching the sunrise at Haleakala, you know, taking a helicopter tour over Kauai to the Nepali coast or learning to surf on Oahu. Once you have your lists, spread those activities over your days, mixing in plenty of downtime, resort time, pool time, beach time, just getting lost time and, and Maybe finding the local farmer's market, you know, this way you can get the experience of the best of Hawaii without Burning out and feeling like you need a vacation from your vacation when you get home and when it comes to dining on Hawaii There's so many incredible places to choose from from food trucks to even chain Restaurants like like Cheesecake Factory for some reason that [00:06:00] is huge in Waikiki.

[00:06:02] I don't get it but Hey, people love it and that's totally fine. Maybe they don't have a cheesecake factory back where they're from. And, but there's also some locations that require reservations well in advance. And one of those popular spots is on Maui and that is Mama's Fish House. So be sure if you plan on visiting a spot like Mama's Fish House, make sure you have.

[00:06:23] Reservations, sometimes months in advance. I definitely would recommend that. There's nothing worse than showing up at a highly recommended spot like Mama's Fish House only to find there's a two hour wait or even worse, they're fully booked. So be sure to plan for that, but also plan for the unexpected.

[00:06:40] Maybe you're driving along and you see a, um, a spot that you, that looks great. Just do it. And it could be your favorite spot. That could be like the moment you just never know when you're in Hawaii, that could be the moment that makes the trip. If you strike up a conversation with maybe the local owner there at a, at a local spot, uh, so just be open [00:07:00] to that, be open to the spontaneity, leave room in your schedule for those.

[00:07:04] Unexpected adventures, maybe you'll hear about a local festival or can't miss hike from, uh, you know, someone else who's traveling or a friendly local, those spontaneous experiences often end up being the highlights of your trip. And that's something that myself and my family have experienced as well.

[00:07:24] All right. So let's just go ahead and give a brief overview of each. Of the main islands. So first there is Oahu or known as the gathering place, a blend of urban and peaceful country landscapes. So imagine transitioning from the vibrant streets of Honolulu to the relaxed North shore, which is famous for its surfing, like at pipe been along that stretch of coast.

[00:07:48] O'ahu is also a mix of modern city and historic sites like Pearl Harbor, which is a living piece of U. S. history. And the next is Maui or the Valley Isle, [00:08:00] a top pick for many first timers. Both Maui and O'ahu are Kind of the top picks for first timers, but, uh, Maui beautifully balances modern comforts with island magic, if you will.

[00:08:12] It's incredible beaches and vibrant food scene are complement to its natural wonders like Haleakala National Park, which offers, like I mentioned, breathtaking sunrises. and sunsets also if you're able to do that. Kaua'i or the Garden Isle is an adventure's paradise with lush rainforests, dramatic cliffs, and stunning trails.

[00:08:36] It's less developed, so Kaua'i is rich in unspoiled natural beauty, perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. There's a couple small towns across the island, um, so there isn't a large Uh, nightlife scene at the town is pretty sleepy. It it'll close pretty early. So just be aware of that. If you're looking to, to go out late at night and great [00:09:00] for if, you know, if you're retiring and want to celebrate that it's a great island for just being able to unwind and unplug, and especially maybe if you're getting married, it's also a great island to just kind of get lost together and start that new adventure together.

[00:09:19] And then lastly, the big island of Hawaii Island is just huge. It offers everything from black sand beaches to volcanoes at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. It's diverse landscape provides a sense of space and variety. And I think you'll notice that each island offers its own vibe and experiences from.

[00:09:38] Urban and beach relaxation to adventure and tranquility. So when choosing think about what you want from your trip But also think about those that are going with you too, right? So think about your group your family whomever you're going with think about their want their needs Uh for the island that you're choosing.

[00:09:56] I would recommend if you're a young family, maybe look [00:10:00] at Oahu there's Lots of diversity on Oahu, on the different sides of the islands, especially if you're staying in the Colina Resort area where Alani and uh, Marriott are over there. It's out of Waikiki, out of Honolulu. Um, it's a great launching pad into going to the North Shore, visiting Honolulu, making your way all the way, all the way over to the east side in Kailua Town.

[00:10:25] We love staying in the Colina area, but if you're staying in Waikiki and um, just. You know, have some time in Waikiki is, it's cool to get that experience and see Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach and the whole thing, but also plan for some time out of Waikiki as well, especially getting up to the North shore and getting some country in is also a good refresh.

[00:10:48] So as a young family, I would highly recommend Oahu. Really you can't go wrong in any of the islands. I mean, you're, you're in Hawaii. Come on. It's amazing. [00:11:00] Delving into the heart of Hawaiian vacation also means. Embracing and respecting its rich culture, which can transform your trip into a truly unforgettable experience.

[00:11:09] Hawaii is deeply rooted in vibrant traditions and customs, offering a unique blend of history and culture. Engaging with this culture enriches your experience and shows respect for the local community. So before your visit, take some time with yourself to learn about Hawaiian and Polynesian culture, history, and some basic.

[00:11:29] Hawaiian phrases on this podcast. We've had some of those and we've had some Hawaiian teachers on. So you go back and listen to those as well. I'll link those in the episode description, but also, uh, just take some time. Like a simple Aloha Mahalo can make a significant impact. and throwing up the shaka and just taking time and not using your horn and just letting the island time do its thing, uh, can go a long way and experiencing Hawaiian culture through its music and [00:12:00] dance and art, especially at a luau is also a recommendation.

[00:12:03] It's not just about the entertainment of the luau. It's a journey into Hawaii and it's a journey into Hawaiian cuisine and mix of traditional dishes influenced by diverse cultures. So try dishes like poke, kalua pig to connect with the culture and support local businesses. You know, the food is culture and culture is food.

[00:12:25] So be sure to try some of those dishes. Maybe that you haven't tried yet or don't have at home. And also remember that Hawaii is more than just a tourist destination. So respect the land. It's one of the sayings is malama aina, care for the land by caring for the environment and leaving no trace wherever you go, whether whatever hike you do, wherever you go, just leave no trace, pick up, you know, trash rubbish along the way.

[00:12:51] This approach ensures that the islands remain pristine for future generations, for your children, your, your children's children. [00:13:00] These islands are better than we found it. So that's a huge topic right now, as I'm sure as you have done any research on traveling to Hawaii is making sure that responsible travel is at the forefront.

[00:13:15] Uh, everything and anything that we do now, I was going to cover some of the things to do on each island, but I just think that's just going to get a huge episode and too much info. I'll have to do separate episodes about what to do on certain islands and especially what to do with certain. You know, months of the year, I want to talk a little bit about some mistakes to avoid.

[00:13:40] And one of those key mistakes to avoid is like I mentioned, overstuffing your itinerary. It's tempting to fill every day with activities, but remember the essence of Hawaii is in the experience, not just in the doing. So rushing from one activity to another can be overwhelming. So slow down, savor each moment.

[00:13:59] Go a little [00:14:00] bit easier on your budget, whether it's relaxing at a beach, hiking, enjoying a simple meal, these things can help you to avoid overstuffing your itinerary. Regarding weather, don't let unpredictable forecasts deter your plans. Hawaii's weather can change. Rather quickly in a brief shower can often be followed by sunshine.

[00:14:21] So also leads me to the next point kind of goes together, but also never underestimate the Hawaiian sun. It's closer to the equator and even on cloudy days, be sure to protect yourself with reef safe sunscreen. So stay hydrated, wear protective gear like hats and sunglasses. And if you're looking for a list of some reef safe, protective sunscreen, we also did a post on that.

[00:14:44] And I'll be sure to link that. In the episode description on your podcast player, wherever you're listening to this. And finally, avoid making the mistake of not planning ahead. I know I mentioned about restaurants can book up fast, but also some of the tours can book up [00:15:00] quickly. So if you have dates on the calendar that you're going to be Go into Hawaii, get those down, get your, your accommodations and get your flights booked.

[00:15:09] And then immediately as quickly as you can try to get a list together of what you want to do, what your group wants to do, book those tours, book those luau's just so they don't book up. Or you have. Some FOMO like I wish I would have done that but be sure to book in advance as best as you can So there you have it a high level overview of what to know for your very first trip to Hawaii and to dive deeper into What to know for your very first trip go to Hawaii's best travel comm slash episode 116 that's Six and there you'll find the show notes, the summary of this episode, and also links to the articles I mentioned, such as a blog post that goes into deeper what to know, uh, for your, for your very first trip to [00:16:00] Hawaii.

[00:16:00] You can find all of that. They're at Hawaii's best travel. com slash episode one 16. And as I'm gearing up to do more episodes this year for 2024, I want to hear from you about if there's any episode topics that you would like for me to cover or if there's any businesses or local businesses that you would like.

[00:16:21] for me to have on the podcast, you can go to hawaiisbesttravel. com slash aloha, and there you'll be able to find a form that you can just quickly give some suggestions and I would love to hear from you. All right. And until next time, be well, aloha,

[00:16:45] Announcement - Hawaii's Best: mahalo for listening to this episode of Hawaii's Best.

[00:16:48] To stay up to date on future episodes, please subscribe and visit us at Hawaii's Best. BestTravel.

[00:16:56] Bryan Murphy: com[00:17:00]