Don’t Tell a Local That You’re From the USA
Although it doesn't feel like it, Hawaii is a US State and has been so since 1959. If someone asks you where you are from, just say the city or state where you live.
Don't Leave Any Valuables in Your Rental Car
While Hawaii is much safer than most of the USA in terms of violent crime, it does have a higher rate of property crime, and rental cars are a prime target for thieves. There are easy ways to identify rental cars in Hawaii and most locals know how to do so. Not even the trunk should be considered safe from thieves.
Don't Spend All of Your Time at Your Resort
Hawaii has some of the best beaches in the world, but there is so much more to the state than its wonderful coastline. The islands are all beautiful and quite different from each other. Get away from your hotel or resort and see the islands. In addition to the amazing natural wonders that you'll encounter, there are so many great activities to do in Hawaii. You won't regret taking those day trips!
Don't Swim Alone
It may seem like common sense, but you'd be surprised how many deaths occur when people swim alone in Hawaii. The main cause is drowning because of Hawaii's strong surf. Also, many of Hawaii's beaches don't have lifeguards and visitors often don't follow the posted warnings. Snorkeling is especially dangerous in Hawaii if you don't adhere to the rules. The surf gets rough and causes anxiety in the swimmer, so fear and panic sets in. Don't take a chance- swim or snorkel only on life-guarded beaches.
Don't Spend All of Your First Full Day in the Sun
It's tempting to spend your first day in Hawaii lying in the sun, but that's a mistake that you'll regret for the rest of your trip. The sun in Hawaii is very hot and it is very easy to get a severe sunburn. If you decide to spend time in the sun, approach it gradually and use plenty of sunscreen.
Don't Forget to Tip
Hawaii is a very expensive place to live. Locals who work in the service industry rely on tips to make ends meet. Not only does this include servers in restaurants and hotel bell and valet staff, but also the guides who run the tours you'll enjoy.
Don't Honk Your Horn
Some of us have a tendency to hit the horn when the car ahead of us doesn't move when the light turns green. In Hawaii, however, if you honk your horn for anything other than a major emergency, such as to avoid an accident, you're likely to get a pretty nasty reaction from the other driver, especially when you get outside of Honolulu. Hang loose and keep away from the horn.
Don't Take Home Lava Rocks or Sand
It's tempting to take home a small lava rock or a handful of black, green, red or white sand, but don't do it. Locals believe that doing so is bad luck, and every year many boxes of lava rocks are returned to Hawaii Visitors Bureau from people who have taken them. In fact, it's actually against the law to remove objects from a national park. In addition, the sand in Hawaii is not a limitless resource. Whether you believe in the superstition or not, it's best to leave everything in place. Enjoy the beauty of Hawaii's lava flows, lava rocks and multicolored beaches, but leave them in Hawaii.
Don't Approach a Hawaiian Monk Seal or Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle
It's very exciting when you come across the endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal or green sea turtles resting peacefully on the beach. Monk seals in Hawaii are known to be especially nasty and while Hawaiian green sea turtles are mostly docile, keep in mind that both are protected and endangered species. The Hawaiian green sea turtle has made a good recovery due to conservation efforts, but the monk seal's numbers have been declining and may become extinct within our lifetime. If you come across them, just admire from a distance and leave them alone. The same rules apply if you encounter them in the ocean.
Don't Just Visit Waikiki
So many visitors come to Hawaii, spend a week in Waikiki, and rarely leave their hotel or resort except to go out to eat or to shop. Even if your vacation brings you only to the island of Oahu, get away from Waikiki and see the rest of the island, especially the North Shore. It is beautiful and there are so many things to see and do.
If You Visit a Local, Take Off Your Shoes
Because of its large population of Asian heritage, it has become a common practice to remove your shoes before entering a person's home in Hawaii. Unless the owner specifically tells you that it's okay to keep your shoes on, be prepared to remove them.
If you rent a condo for your stay, don't be surprised to find a sign on the door from the owner requesting that you remove your shoes.
Now that you've learned the important things that you should avoid doing in Hawaii, let's talk about all the things you should and can do when you're there. I can help with your itinerary and answer all your questions about Hawaii!
Ann Jones, CTC, MCC