Okay so, firstly I’ve been to Hawai’i or to be more accurate the Hawaiian Islands (“Hawai’i” is in fact one of the islands, often called the Big Island to save confusion) three times. I don’t say that to boast, just trying to illustrate how much both myself and my wife love the islands and their charm. I’ve stayed on 3 of the islands on my visits. Today i will try to give you many reasons to pick such an exotic and distant land for your next holiday. You will notice i don’t provide any pricing on anything other than to say it is cheap, or expensive. The reason for this is because lets face it, even the prices in your local supermarket change every day, and offers come and go all the time. So don’t want to disappoint anyone! The information below is purely an overview and just touching the surface.
So, lets start with logistics. From Ireland or Europe you are talking about travelling across 11 time zones and flying 17 hours in order to arrive in Hawaii. And in case it is not clear, flying via the US ie., Westbound is the quickest way to get there. When I travel there i tend to fly as direct as possible to one of the west coast hub airports eg., San Francisco, or Los Angeles. Las Vegas, Seattle, San Diego or Vancouver are also popular jumping points. What might surprise you is that flights from the US mainland take about 5 and a half hours. The Hawaiian Islands are after all among the most remote island chains in the world. My advice, plan to stop and stay in one of the west coast cities as part of your trip. There are some great cities to see, plus with all the flying, breaking up the journey is always a good thing.
Another interesting option is to cruise to the islands. Some cruise lines offer return 12/13 day trips to the islands, which can be a great way to get a taste of what the islands have to offer, but my advice if you are thinking about exploring the Pacific Ocean is to get the one way trip (11 days including 5 days at sea). It means that you can then stay on the islands for a few days to relax. All the major cruise lines such as those listed in the further information section of this blog offer great options. Only downside is that 5 days at sea enroute to the islands can be a sizeable chunk of anyone’s holidays.
Getting around the islands is very straightforward. There are essentially no seaborne ferry services between the islands. This might surprise you, but i believe this is an attempt to protect the wonderful and precious wildlife in the waters around the islands. Hawaiian Airlines is the main carrier, but there are other carriers that provide transport between the islands. Most flights are 45 minutes or less and usually inexpensive and regular.
The dreaded cost of a trip to these remote islands. They are remote. Therefore, quite a lot of the produce, building materials, and items you see in the shops and restaurants have to be shipped in. So yes the islands can be expensive, but certainly given the rate of inflation in Ireland not extraordinarily so. So, don’t worry you won’t be paying 15 euro for a cold beer, or 30 euro for a Big Mac meal, its all fairly square. A good example is that in ireland my standard order in McDonalds would cost 15 euro (for my family!) whereas in Hawai’i when i was last there ie., 2016, it cost 20 euro (equivalent). So equates to about 25% extra. Most of that was down to the exchange rate at the time though.
Things to do
Hawai’i is an outdoorsy kind of place. There is an endless amount of things to do on the islands from exploring Volcanos, Rainforests, Coral Reefs, to surfing of all kinds/types, snorkelling/diving and laying out on the beach and top up the tan while people watching. You can be surrounded by people, party in clubs, bars and restaurants, or stroll along remote beaches and paths. The adventures can be frenetic, or relaxed, or a combination of everything.
I’ve been in the islands at Christmas in May and in November. From what i can see the islands are great to visit at any time. Temperature is always very comfortable with lots of sunshine. Hawai’I is not on any Hurricane paths, although occasionally does experience them. Tsunami are a risk, but the islands normally receive lots of warning due to their geographic position. There is lots of high ground in the islands so there should be good time and opportunity to evacuate. There are Volcanos on the islands, but the only active ones are on the Big Island. The main risk from these volcanos is Volcanic Fog (VOG), so this shouldn’t cause too much trouble apart from maybe spoiling the clarity of some of your landscape photos.
* For those perhaps living under a rock, the Hawaiian Islands are classed one of the United States of America, so you will find the US influence to be all over with all shops and chains that you would find in any US state. Obviously, then the US Dollar is the currency of choice.
* The islands are developed, but apart from some key regions are not over developed. It is very possible to get away from it all, even on the most populous island Oahu
Thats it from me for now in relation to a guide on travelling to the Hawaiian Islands. I’ll create more detailed information on each of the islands I’ve been to ie.., Hawai’i (The Big Island), Maui, and Oahu.
Some Cruise lines travelling to and around Hawaiian Islands. There are others by the way, but I’ve travelled with these cruise lines before