13 Mistakes People Make When Traveling to Hawaiʻi Island

13 Mistakes People Make When Traveling to Hawaiʻi Island

Are you planning a trip to the beautiful Hawaiʻi Island? Known for its stunning beaches, lush rainforests, and majestic volcanoes, this tropical paradise offers a unique experience for travelers. However, it’s essential to be aware of common mistakes that people make when visiting the island. By avoiding these pitfalls, you can ensure a smooth and unforgettable journey. In this article, we will explore 13 mistakes that people often make when traveling to Hawaiʻi Island and provide you with valuable tips to make the most out of your trip.

Hawaiʻi Island, also known as the Big Island, offers a diverse range of attractions for visitors. From exploring the stunning beaches of Kona to hiking through the tropical rainforests of Hilo, this island has something for everyone. However, to make your trip truly enjoyable, it’s crucial to avoid certain mistakes that travelers often make. Let’s dive into these common missteps and discover how you can have an incredible vacation in Hawaiʻi Island.

Not Planning Sufficient Time

One of the biggest mistakes people make when traveling to Hawaiʻi Island is not allocating enough time for their visit. With so much to see and do, rushing through the island will only leave you feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Plan at least a week or more to explore the various regions and attractions, ensuring you have ample time to relax and soak in the island’s beauty.


When it comes to packing for your trip, resist the temptation to bring your entire wardrobe. Overpacking can be a burden, especially if you plan to move around the island. Pack lightweight and versatile clothing suitable for the tropical climate. Remember to include essentials like swimwear, comfortable footwear for hiking, and a light jacket for cooler evenings.

Ignoring Local Culture and Etiquette

Hawaiʻi has a rich and vibrant culture that deserves respect and appreciation. Familiarize yourself with the local customs and traditions before your trip. For example, it is customary to remove your shoes before entering someone’s home and to show respect towards sacred sites. Embrace the aloha spirit and be courteous to the locals, and you will be warmly welcomed.

Neglecting Sun Protection

The Hawaiian sun can be intense, and it’s crucial to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Apply sunscreen with a high SPF, wear a wide-brimmed hat, and use sunglasses to shield your eyes. Don’t forget to reapply sunscreen throughout the day, especially if you plan to spend time outdoors or engage in water activities.

Underestimating the Weather

While Hawaiʻi is known for its warm and sunny weather, it’s essential to be prepared for unexpected changes. Higher elevations can be significantly cooler, and rainfall is common in certain areas. Pack a light jacket or sweater to stay comfortable, and check the weather forecast regularly to plan your activities accordingly.

Failing to Reserve Accommodations in Advance

Hawaiʻi Island is a popular tourist destination, and last-minute accommodation options may be limited. Avoid the mistake of not booking your accommodations in advance, especially during peak travel seasons. Research different types of accommodations, such as hotels, resorts, or vacation rentals, and make your reservations well ahead of time to secure the best options.

Relying Solely on Tourist Hotspots

While popular tourist spots like Volcanoes National Park and Waipiʻo Valley are must-visit attractions, don’t limit yourself to these areas alone. Explore the lesser-known gems and hidden corners of the island to truly experience its natural beauty and authentic culture. Engage with the locals, seek their recommendations, and venture off the beaten path for a more immersive adventure.

Skipping the Local Cuisine

Hawaiian cuisine is a delightful blend of flavors influenced by different cultures. Don’t make the mistake of only eating at familiar chain restaurants or sticking to generic fast food. Embrace the local culinary scene and savor traditional dishes like poke, kalua pork, and shave ice. Try out local food trucks and dine at family-owned restaurants to experience the authentic flavors of Hawaiʻi.

Disregarding Safety Precautions

While Hawaiʻi Island is a paradise, it’s essential to prioritize your safety during your trip. Follow safety guidelines when engaging in water activities, such as snorkeling or surfing. Be cautious of currents and heed any warnings or advisories. Additionally, respect wildlife and natural habitats by observing from a distance and not disturbing the delicate ecosystem.

Overbooking Activities

It’s tempting to fill your itinerary with numerous activities and attractions, but overbooking can lead to exhaustion and limited enjoyment. Allow for some downtime to relax and truly appreciate the beauty of the island. Focus on quality experiences rather than trying to check off every item on your list. Leave room for spontaneity and embrace the relaxed pace of the Hawaiian lifestyle.

Neglecting to Rent a Car

Hawaiʻi Island is vast and offers a multitude of sights and attractions spread across its regions. While public transportation exists, renting a car is highly recommended for convenience and flexibility. Having a vehicle allows you to explore the island at your own pace, visit remote locations, and make impromptu stops along the way.

Forgetting to Explore Beyond the Coastline

While the beaches of Hawaiʻi Island are undeniably captivating, there is so much more to discover beyond the coastline. Venture inland to witness breathtaking waterfalls, hike through lush forests, or explore the unique volcanic landscapes. Embrace the island’s diverse geography and make time for inland adventures to truly appreciate its natural wonders.


Traveling to Hawaiʻi Island can be an extraordinary experience if you avoid common mistakes that visitors often make. By planning your time wisely, respecting the local culture, protecting yourself from the sun, and exploring beyond the tourist hotspots, you can have a remarkable journey filled with unforgettable memories. Embrace the spirit of aloha, immerse yourself in the island’s natural beauty, and create cherished moments that will stay with you long after your trip ends.


Q1: Is it necessary to rent a car on Hawaiʻi Island? Renting a car is highly recommended on Hawaiʻi Island as it provides convenience and flexibility to explore various attractions across the island.

Q2: How much time should I allocate for my trip to Hawaiʻi Island? It is advisable to plan at least a week or more to ensure you have enough time to experience the island’s diverse regions and attractions.

Q3: Can I rely on public transportation to get around the island? While public transportation exists, it may not provide comprehensive coverage, especially in remote areas. Renting a car offers more convenience and freedom.

Q4: What are some popular local dishes to try on Hawaiʻi Island? Some popular local dishes include poke (raw fish salad), kalua pork (slow-cooked pig), and shave ice (flavored shaved ice dessert).

Q5: Are there any safety precautions I should be aware of when visiting Hawaiʻi Island? Yes, it’s important to follow safety guidelines when engaging in water activities, respect wildlife, and be mindful of any warnings or advisories issued by local authorities.

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