Travel Tips for Oahu, Hawaii. - Be prepared so you can enjoy.
The greatest challenge to any visitor to Hawaii is what to see and what to do while they are here. With 6 islands available, some planning before coming is important in order to save you time and money.
Foreign Visitors to Hawaii
As Hawaii is part of the USA, all foreigners should check before coming to see what documents will be needed to enter the country. Your travel agent should be able to answer that question.
Flying to the Islands
Many people on their first visit to Hawaii fly into Honolulu. If your final destination is Oahu, this is just fine, however, if you are intending to visit Maui, Kauai or the Big Island, you can fly directly there as each of these islands has a major airport. This will help you avoid spending your precious time waiting in an airport rather than laying on the beach. If you are planning on visiting Lanai or Molokai you are best served by flying into Honolulu and then taking a connection to these islands.
Many visitors to Hawaii "island hop" during their stay. If you plan on visiting more than one of the islands you can book the flights between islands with your travel agent or do so when you arrive in Hawaii.
Aloha Airlines 800-367-5250
Hawaiian Airlines 800-367-5320
Island Air 800-323-3345
Tipping is considered appropriate in Hawaii. The following are generally accepted tipping percentages:
Bellhops $1 per piece of luggage
Housekeeping Staff $1 per day
Valet parking $1 per vehicle
Cab Drivers 15% of the fare
The telephone area code for Hawaiian Islands is 808.
The U.S. Dollar is the currency used in the Hawaiian Islands. You will find currency exchange is available at most hotels as well as banks. You will also find ATMs everywhere on the islands.
The American monetary system is decimal based. $1 = 100 cents. The denominations come in $1, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100 and up. Coins come in 1 cent (penny), 5 cents (nickel), 10 cents (dime), 25 cents (quarter) and 1 dollar (this is not a commonly use coin, however, they are in circulation and are roughly the size of a quarter)
The Hawaii sales tax is 4%. There is a hotel occupancy tax of 7.25%. You should check on your hotel rate and make sure whether or not the hotel occupancy tax has been added in when you are given a quote. Hotels are also allowed to add on a .1666% excise tax. With this, you should expect that about 11.42% in taxes would be added to your hotel bill. Again, check with your travel agent to see whether your rate includes these taxes or not.
You will find Hawaiian time is 2 hours behind Pacific Standard Time and 5 hours behind Eastern Standard Time in the United States. There is no daylight savings time in Hawaii. Hawaii is east of the International Date Line and is on the same day as the U.S. mainland.
When to visit Oahu and Hawaii
The high season is when you will find the rates the highest in the islands as this is when most people visit Hawaii. This season lasts from mid-December through March or mid-April. You will find the last 2 weeks of December is the busiest time to visit the islands. If you plan on visiting during these months, it is important that you make your reservations early as hotels and airlines tend to be at their maximum at these times. One of the find that it is during this time of the year that the humpback whales are in abundance in the waters around Hawaii. Many tourists come to view these giants of the seas.
The off-season is from mid-April until mid-June and from September to mid-December. In reality, these times are the best as far as weather is concerned for Hawaii. The water is warmer and clearer and the weather is more reliable.
You should also note that the last week of April is a very busy time in Hawaii as this is Golden Week in Japan and many Japanese visit the islands during this Japanese Holiday.
Hawaii lies in the tropics and has basically 2 seasons, summer and winter. There is a rainy season from November to March; however, you should note that every day of the year sees rainfall somewhere within the Hawaiian Islands. Temperatures vary no more than 15 degrees throughout the year. You will also find that the weather and associated temperatures vary depending on where you are on each island.
What to bring to Hawaii
Hawaii is very casual. If you bring shorts, t-shirts and sandals, you will feel welcome in most establishments in Hawaii. A casual dress and slacks and a polo shirt will get you in even the most expensive of dinner places. There are a select few locations that will require a dinner jacket. If in doubt, check with the location at which you are staying.
Sun protection is also very important as many tourists end up with sunburns, which can put a damper on the vacation. You should take care from the moment you arrive so as to allow yourself to enjoy your entire vacation in Hawaii.
If you have any desire to snorkel, you should consider bringing your own equipment. Although you can rent the equipment, it is as expensive to rent equipment several times as it is to buy your own. (The equipment you buy at home will probably have higher quality and you can keep it too). If you do want to rent your snorkel equipment and are going to visit several different islands, a rental company like Snorkel Bob's is a good idea. You can rent the equipment and take it from island to island. You can find them at www.snorkelbob.com. You should always snorkel with someone else in case you get in trouble.
You should bring rain gear, as it will probably rain sometime during your visit.
Other than these things, bring a desire to enjoy one of the most beautiful places on earth.
Golfing in Oahu
Golfing in Hawaii is like nowhere else in the world. With the many sights and natural beauty of the islands, your challenge will be to not spend all of your time on the golf courses. You should be aware that rates tend to be somewhat high and that you should try and make reservations in advance if possible. You should also plan on playing in wind, as there are generally winds from 10-30 mph.
Getting Married on the Islands
Hawaii is a favorite place to have a wedding as 20,000 couples a year will attest. The requirements are as follows if you intent on getting married in Hawaii:
Obtain a marriage license. Contact the Honolulu Marriage License Office. 808-586-4545.
When the couple getting married arrives in Hawaii, they must go to the marriage-licensing agent to get the license.
There is a $25 USD fee for the license, which is good for 30 days.
You must be at least 15 years of age to get married.
Couples 15-17 years of age must have proof of age, written consent from both parents and written approval of the judge from the family court.
It should be noted that gay couples haven't recieved the right to marry in Hawaii yet.