The following article highlighting what Hawaii visitors would stop doing was published by Kathleen Wong, Consumer Traveler Reporter for USA TODAY at 5:00 a.m. ET on October 1, 2022. The article provides some good advise to our visitors. If you are considering a visit to Waikiki, be sure to consider our accommodations when shopping for a place to stay.
Listen up, tourists: Hawaii locals share what they wish visitors would stop doing
In pre-pandemic days, over 10 million people would arrive annually to enjoy the Hawaiian Islands. That’s quite a bit of people, considering that the state’s population is about 1.4 million. The impact of the high number of tourists hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“Over a century, Hawaii has welcomed many visitors by embracing them with warmth and aloha,” Diana Su, the senior marketing manager of Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa who was raised in Honolulu, said. “However, over decades, the amount of visitors have increased and started depleting the state of its natural resources, damaging the delicate environment, and affecting traditional practices and rituals.”
About two-thirds of Hawaii residents think their “island is being run for tourists at the expense of local people,” a number that held steady for about five years, according to a 2022 state-sponsored survey asking residents about their sentiment toward tourism. They point out overcrowding, damage to the environment, higher costs and more traffic.
At the same time, tourism is a pillar of Hawaii’s economy – in fact, it represents a quarter of it, thanks to the jobs it creates in the hospitality industry and visitor spending.
It can be a tricky balancing act for people who want to visit Hawaii while minimizing any negative impact on the islands because for so long, people have treated it as their paradisiacal playground. The best people to turn to for advice on this are undeniably the ones who live in Hawaii: locals.
Read below to read Hawaii locals wish tourists would stop doing while visiting the islands:
1. Hawaii Visitors Would Stop Being Clueless
Diana Su urges people to know their stuff before departing on their trip, so take some time and learn more about Hawaii.
“Avoid coming to Hawaii without doing some research first,” she said. It’s important to know how to “avoid disrespecting sacred sites and respect boundaries and kapu (off-limit) areas.”
Take the time to learn about the companies you’re hiring for excursions or tours to make sure they support the community and environment. To make your trip to Hawaii that much better make educated choices on where to spend your money and what is considered respectful or disrespectful.
2. Do Not Taking Anything, Ever
Many visitors to Hawaii take sand, coral or lava rocks from its national parks as memorabilia of their trip to Hawaii. According to Jin Prugsawan Harlow, chief of interpretation, education and volunteers as well as public information officer for Haleakala National Park, taking items from national parks is not only illegal, it’s also culturally inappropriate.
Hawaiians view Haleakala as their ancestor, Harlow said, so taking something from the park is considered highly disrespectful.
“People come to Hawaii and (other national parks) because they’re wild, scenic and beautiful,” Harlow said. “And people can play a great role in making sure it stays that way.”
3. Stop Going During Peak Hours
Traffic in Hawaii is a sore spot, with Honolulu often ranking as one of the most congested cities in the country. With so many tourists out and about on the islands, Harlow suggests to try going to popular attractions during off-hours.
“At Haleakala, things can get crowded around the summit around sunset but from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the park is really empty,” she said. “Going to the Kipahulu District, arriving earlier in the day helps you beat crowded parking lots.”
4. Never Disturb the Wildlife
Hawaii, blessed with many beautiful creatures, some impossible to spot anywhere else in the world, like the Hawaiian monk seal. Spotting these creatures out in the wild is always a treat. However, you should keep your distance and make sure to never disturb them or their natural habitat (as in, don’t touch reefs or flip over rocks).
In certain cases, it’s illegal to get too close to animals like turtles and nursing seals. Seriously, it’s not worth it.
5. Hawaii Visitors Would Stop Being Reckless Outdoors
Hawaii has otherworldly valleys, peaks, shorelines and waterfalls to explore, and as stunning as the experience may be, it can also be dangerous if you’re not careful. A lack of preparation, bad weather conditions and going to unsafe areas that are trending online can often put people at risk.
For example, on Kauai, the Kauai Fire Department locked the gate access to Queen’s Bath. Queen’s Bath is a large hazardous tidal pool, especially when the surf is rough. Still, people sneak in and often require rescue. Do your research about hikes or beaches and heed to warning signs – they’re there for a reason.
“One of our most important values, for example, is to respect the land and ocean that provides for us, and we ask that visitors share in this ethos to keep our home beautiful,” Wendy Tuivaioge, Director of Hawaiian Programs at the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, said. “Be mindful of your surroundings, do not venture out alone, and stay on well-marked trails.”
6. Stop Using Harmful Sunscreen
Hawaii’s ecosystems are unique and fragile, such as its coral reefs, and some sunscreens may play a role in harming the islands’ marine life.
In 2018, Hawaii Gov. David Ige passed a law that went into effect in 2021. The law made Hawaii the first state to ban sunscreens containing chemicals believed to damage coral and marine life, oxybenzone and octinoxate.
When slathering up with SPF, do your part to protect the ocean by picking reef-safe brands. Some reef-safe brands such as Raw Elements or Kokua Sun Care are right in the islands.
7. Hawaii Visitors Would Stop Geotaging Photos
It may be tempting to do it for the ‘gram and share your vacation pictures online. But that post may have consequences long after you hit upload.
The rise in social media geotagging and sharing of once hidden spots has caused many across the country to blow up and become overcrowded and overrun. Often much to the dismay of locals who have been enjoying these more secret places for a long time. If you find yourself at this crossroads, consider the impact of your post.
8. Don’t Forget You’re Visiting Someone’s Home
At the end of the day, many locals have one reminder: “It’s important for travelers to understand they are visiting someone’s home and draw on the sensibilities that come with that,” Ha’aheo Zablan, general manager of Kaimana Beach Hotel who is also Native Hawaiian, said. “We have amazing visitor-centric opportunities to take in all Hawaii has to offer without venturing into local neighborhoods or exploring too far from resort zones.” For example, people who seek out hikes with trailheads in quiet neighborhoods have been called out for disturbing residents with noise or crowded parking.
Prejean echoes the sentiment: “While Hawaii is a welcoming destination, we do ask that tourists be aware of their surroundings, reduce your ‘footprint’ by leaving the places you visit better than you found it, and to treat the local neighborhoods and people with respect and kindness.”
Travel + Leisure Magazine Honolulu Ranked #5 in U.S. Cities
Honolulu ranked #5 in top 15 cities in the U.S. by Travel + Leisure Magazine. Travel + Leisure Magazine is a top world travel media brand. The magazine’s mission is to inform and inspire passionate travelers. The magazine covers cities, tried-and-true destinations, beaches, mountains and valleys, national parks and outdoor adventures. In addition, the magazine covers fine-dining experiences and secret hole-in-the-wall establishments, and everything in between much of which you can find in Honolulu. Overall, the magazine equally offer travelers inspiration along with advice for planning trips. Additionally, the magazine offers valuable guidance once they are on the ground. To subscribe to Travel + Leisure Magazine, please click here.
Best in the U.S.
The best cities in the United States, according to Travel + Leisure readers, offer a welcoming mix of history, delicious food and drink, and attractions for the whole family. Every year Travel + Leisure asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions. First, readers rated cities on their sights and landmarks. Second, readers rated cities on their culture, cuisine, and friendliness. Finally, readers rated cities on shopping experience resulting in an overall value of 85.43. The rating ranked Honolulu #5 in top 15 cities in the U.S. according to Travel + Leisure Magazine. Readers continue to appreciate destinations like Honolulu (No. 5) with easy access to some of America’s spectacular outdoor offerings.
“So much to do and never enough time,” one reader said about this city on Oahu’s southern shore. A second reader specifically called out the “amazing local restaurants” and “lots of hiking and walking areas to explore.” Afatia Thompson, president and owner of Tihati Productions Ltd., said, “All the surveys show that the top two things that visitors want to do when they visit Hawaii is go snorkeling and attend a luau.”
Honolulu Accommodations and Excursions
Hawaii Dream Realty LLC offers a great selection of Waikiki vacation rentals for all budgets and family sizes. Our rentals are all right in the heart of Waikiki and all within walking distance to the world famous Waikiki Beach. Our vacation rental properties are privately owned and vary by amenities, building, square feet, number of guests, improvements, and views. For help with tickets and tours, we recommend Mauka Tours agency that provides a level of service and hassle free knowledge that best compliments our services to you.
We Moved Our Office
Effective April 1, 2022, we have moved our office to a new location. We relocated one block to a commercial space within the Waikiki Resort Hotel lobby. We are very excited about the new location. The location is central between many buildings we manage in the Waikiki area. The new location enables us to continue to service our customers’, clients’, guests’, and tenants’ individual needs.
All contact information (phone numbers, emails, websites and portals) shall remain the same to include our secure mailing address: PO BOX 4569, Kaneohe, HI 96744. Only our physical office location has changed to 2460 Koa Ave, Unit # F, Honolulu, HI 96815.
Hawaii COVID Restrictions Lifted
In the state of Hawaii, the Governor has declared the end of the Emergency Proclamation for COVID. Additionally, most establishments no longer require indoor masks. Likewise, the domestic Safe Travel Program ended. Also, for Oahu, the Mayor recently removed all restrictions for businesses including 50% capacity restrictions. The Mayor removed the requirement to allow entry to only those with vaccine cards or negative test results for certain establishments. Next, we anticipate that soon international travel restrictions will be lifted as well. Overall, the end of COVID restrictions is good news for Hawaii and our visitors.
Domestic Travel Restrictions Lifted
Hawaii COVID travel restrictions eased for mainland travelers to Hawaii. After screening more than 12 MILLION passengers, Hawaii lifts all restrictions for mainland arrivals. The Hawaii Safe Travels program officially ended on Saturday, March 26, 2022. Arriving into Honolulu International Airport just became much easier. No need to show your vaccination card or negative COVID test results. No wrist bands or long lines as you move from your arrival gate to baggage claim.
Mask Mandates Eased
After two year of restrictions, Hawaii has also dropped its indoor mask mandate for most places. Hawaii was the last state in the nation with an indoor mask mandate in place. Under federal guidelines, mask use on public transportation will continue until April 18. Masks must still be worn at all times while on board TheBus and while at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. You should still keep a mask nearby as some private businesses can require a mask.
Hawaii Is A Safe Destination
You now have the choice if you want to wear a mask. Some people are still wearing masks as a safety precaution. While we would love to see your smiling face, we do respect all our visitors’ choices. As of March 22, over 80 percent of the eligible population on Oahu is fully vaccinated with over 50 percent of the population having received a booster or third dose. We are still allowing our rooms to “air out” for 24 hours between guest stays and use sanitizing cleaners between guest stays.
Best Lodging Price with WaikikiStay.com
We have served Hawaii’s tourism industry since 2015. In the past, we predominately relied on third party booking partners such as Airbnb, VRBO, Booking.com and others. On Airbnb you can find hundreds of reviews on our properties and Staff. We also established an Oahu Vacation Renters Marketplace making our properties bookable at comparable rates but without all the third party booking fees. We guarantee the lowest booking costs when you book directly with us either through the WaikikiStay.com website, as a walk-in visitor, or via phone. Be confident that you are getting a great deal and that you will be safe.
Why Spring Is The Best Time of Year to Visit Hawaii
Spring is undoubtedly the best times of year to visit Hawaii. Fragrant white pikake and colorful yellow hibiscus flowers take bloom. To add to natures ambiance is the extra daylight we enjoy in spring. Additionally, while most of the rest of the nation adjusts their clocks for daylight savings time, we just take the day in stride and lounge in the extra sunshine.
We have much to celebrate too in March. We have Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole Day on March 26. Walk out of your accommodation and enjoy a parade right in Waikiki. Typically in late March, we start to see the southern Pacific Ocean come to life. Wax up your surfboard, schedule a surf lesson, break out your boogie board, or just sift your toes in the Waikiki Beach sand watching the waves.
Lifting of COVID Restrictions and Mandates
For our visiting guests, Hawaii has taken an abundance of precaution with respect to COVID. The state has achieved an 80 percent vaccination rate on Oahu. The hospitals are no longer inundated with COVID cases. Our governor recently announced that the mask mandate and Hawaii Safe Travel Program will cease on March 26. Guests arriving from the United States no longer have to show proof of vaccination or a negative test to avoid quarantining for five days.
Governor Ige said, “I do believe that we are the last community to release the mask mandate because we care about each other and we care about our community and we are all willing to sacrifice to keep each other healthy and safe.” The vaccination and testing as well as the mandates and lockdowns contributed to Hawaii as having the lowest rates of COVID in the country.
Come and enjoy the lovely spring sunshine and celebrate with all that Hawaii has to offer. This spring we look forward to once again frolicking in the sand and waves and we know we have much to be grateful.
Waikiki Car Rental Recommendation
In general, we advise our guests to not rent a vehicle from the airport. Instead, we suggest that our guests get settled at their accommodation on their arrival day. When you are ready to venture beyond Waikiki then you rent a ride. If you only rent for the day then you don’t need to deal with finding free parking or pay exorbitant prices. Ride wise, you can rent scouters, motorcycles, Smart Cars, and even high end sports cars. Car rental locations are throughout Waikiki.
Waikiki Parking Options
Overnight parking can be a challenge especially if you are visiting during our busy season. You can score free street parking which is limited and not easy to get. The most abundant street parking is located along the Ala Wai Canal and may mean that you need to walk a couple of blocks to get to your accommodation. Parking along the Ala Wai Canal can be restricted so be sure to read the signs so you can avoid a costly tow.
Hotel parking is an option but that is likely to set you back $50 or more per night. Each hotel has it’s own rules and pricing structure so be sure to inquire.
Another option is the Hui Car Share. With Hui, you can rent a car for an hour or day using their Hui app. All Hui stations are open 24/7 and the rental cost includes insurance, gas, unlimited mileage, roadside assistance, and parking. Hui is just a couple minutes away from hotels like the Waikiki Beach Marriott, Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel, Royal Hawaiian Hotel, and Sheraton Waikiki Beach.
Kuhio Village Parking
Your final option is public parking garages. Public parking garages, like Kuhio Village parking garage, offer less expensive rates than hotels. Public parking garages typically charge hourly or overnight rates. If you happen to be staying in one of our Kuhio Village accommodations, the parking garages are in the basement of each tower.
Kuhio Village Guest Review
The below review was from one of our Kuhio Village ocean view tower guests. Valarie provided a review with great information regarding parking in Kuhio Village parking garages.
“The best thing about this place is the location! It is literally two short blocks from the Waikiki Beach (right in front of the Duke’s statue). It has a plethora of food venues all around and a 24-hour convenience store right in the same building that was indeed very convenient.
As many other reviewers mentioned, the parking is very limited. There are two separate parking garages (one with roughly 20 slots and one with probably a few less, since 3 of them are reserved for a car rental company business located on the ground floor), each one under each tower (the two tower buildings are connected at the ground floor and it took us a while to realize there are two separate parking entrances, each facing one street). Both parking garages are actually public parking, so they are not reserved to building guests/residents. Anyone could use them by paying the park meter fare (the hourly fare is pricey, and it’s $25 for 24 hours).
We thought we were doomed to pay for parking every night of our 9-night stay, since we went for the high-season (Christmas & New Year holidays), but if you’re willing to walk 10-15 minutes – and it could be a beautiful walk along the canal – we managed to find free street parking for two thirds of our stay. So it wasn’t too bad. The building has a security office and elevators are activated only with the key fob. So this made us feel pretty safe.” Valorie, 1/1/2022
The tow trucks are relentless in Waikiki. Do not even chance trying to park in a non-designated parking area or not pay at a fee lot. The tow companies are located near the airport. You will need to pay for a ride to the tow company and then pay a hefty fee to recover the car. The entire ordeal can set you back over $300.
Christmas in Hawaii was inspired by past blog posts from Megan Shute. Megan is a professional write who resides on Oahu. She compiled photographs from social media that supports Oahu’s local attractions and features Christmas time in Hawaii.
Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, it’s officially the Christmas season. When you think of a traditional holiday season, the Hawaiian Islands are probably the last place to cross your mind. After all, you won’t find freezing temperatures or snow here, unless you head to the summit of the Big Island’s Mauna Kea, that is. However, Christmas in Hawaii is pretty incredible, and here are eleven reasons why.
Surfing Hawaiian Santa is so much cooler than regular Santa
Santa can shed his big, red suit and clunky boots in this tropical climate and don a festive Hawaiian shirt instead – or simply not zip up his suit.
Make a “snowman” on the beach.
You won’t have to worry about your sandman melting though you might have to worry about your creation being swept away with the tide…
Witness Santa arriving on an outrigger canoe
Because everyone knows that reindeer don’t thrive in a tropical climate. Santa arrives on Waikiki Beach by outrigger canoe.
Experience the beautiful lights that adorn Honolulu Hale
The beautiful light displays at the Honolulu Hale will be up through January 1 and are an absolute must-visit in the Hawaiian capital.
Drive thru a holiday wonderland at Aloha Stadium
Enjoy a leisurely drive through a Christmas landscape.
Blast the AC while drinking hot chocolate
It may be 80 degrees outside, but we can pretend we live in a winter wonderland, can’t we?
See someone surfing in a Santa hat
What’s better than a holiday trip to the beach?
See blooming poinsettias and decked out palm trees
Did you know that poinsettias can grow as tall as trees in Hawaii, and that they bloom near December 25?
You never have to worry about bad weather changing your holiday plans
There will be no blizzard that forces you to miss your annual family holiday celebration in Hawaii.
Christmas dinner is followed by a trip to the beach — wearing Santa hats and leis, of course
Because we want to be festive AND still enjoy our days off at the beach. Besides, what’s better than a holiday trip to the beach?
Telling other “Mele Kalikimaka” instead of “Merry Christmas”
Bing Crosby said it best: “Mele Kalikimaka is Hawaii’s way to say Merry Christmas to you.”
Hawaiian Christmas music is quite unique
What other states in America can say that they have completely unique Christmas tunes sung by the famous Bing Crosby?
Waikiki Budget Accommodations
We have hosted thousands of guests visiting Waikiki on a budget. Our guests value our hospitality, quality and reliability. From young to retirees, our guests come from a range of cultures and places seeking a budget stay in world famous Waikiki.
When you spend a lot of money on travel, you tends to isolate yourself. Imagine that you are staying at really exclusive resort with a pool, spa, fitness center, lounge, and restaurants. You probably don’t want to or have to ever leave the resort. If your intention is to simply relax and remain at one place and you have plenty of money then Waikiki does have ritzy resorts to suite your wants.
Our guests tend to seek adventure. Sometimes they are solo travelers out exploring the world one location at a time. Other times, they are travelers who are able to work remotely and are looking for some alternative scenery. We host families too and we do have accommodations with resort amenities. Amenities are great for when you want to just relax after a day of adventure. But most are visiting Waikiki on a budget.
Let the Adventure Begin
Traveling is an opportunity to meet and interact new people, to experience different cultures and cuisines, and to learn about a new place. Budget travel kind of forces you to get out and explore. Your travel adventures do not necessarily mean that you must plan every moment of your trip and we do not recommend that you fill each day with tours or event. However, if you know you want to visit the Arizona Memorial or attend a Luau, do not wait until you arrive to book the events. You may also consider front loading your visit with booked events but leave plenty of time for more spontaneous adventures. After all, once you get here, you are likely to find and learn about many things to do that you did not previously consider.
You do not want your schedule packed with activities. You might miss out on an enticing recommendation from a local because you already filled your entire trip with activities. When unexpected things happen, you really feel alive and you feel like you are experiencing a place. You don’t feel like you are experiencing a package deal. I have nothing against going to Disney World. Disney World is very well done, but nothing unexpected happens, or if something unexpected happens, it tends to be very carefully planned by the people who work there.
To get you started with your planning process, we recommend Mauka Tours who can provide you with local information and exclusive guest offers. The Mauka Tours staff are happy to simply talk story with you even if you do not book a single tour. They are personable and do not pressure you which is why we decided to promote them. We try to meet all of our guests and provide them with useful information about their unit and the local area and are available to answer any questions. Our office is open daily so you can always stop by to talk story and get advice. We try to provide you with resources before you arrive and once you arrive so you can have a dream stay and create memories to share until you are able to visit us again. Visit our property rentals to start planning your next adventure today.
Oahu Vacationers Useful Links
You have options while visiting and below are some useful links for Oahu vacationers.
- Current Weather Conditions
- Honolulu International Airport
- Honolulu Bus Information
- Public Announcements & Events
- Shuttles & Tours
- Oahu Hiking Trails
- National Park Services
The area code for the state of Hawaii is (808).
Oahu Visitors Bureau: (808) 524-0722
Marriage License and Civil Unions: (808) 586-4545
Honolulu International Airport Visitor Information: (808) 836-6413
Camping Permits: (808) 523-4525 (county), (808) 587-0300 (state)
The City uses a multi-layered system to notify and alert residents and non-residents of disaster or emergencies. Ways the city will notify, alert, or warn you of disasters:
- Radio and television broadcasts
- Emergency Alert System (EAS) notification to radio/television/NOAA weather radio
- Outdoor siren warning system
- Responders using public address systems
- Nixle notification services
- HNL Info
Nixle keeps you up-to-date with relevant information from local public safety departments and schools.
TEXT 96815 TO 888777 TO OPT-IN TO RECEIVE NIXLE ALERTS FOR HONOLULU AND WAIKIKI
- Waikiki Elementary, 3710 Leahi Avenue, Honolulu
Why do we say Waikiki awakens? Well our occupancy is one indicator. Other indicators are a return of street entertainers, beach sun bathers and ocean enthusiasts. Additionally, business and hotels are illuminated, pedestrian and vehicle traffic increased, and luaus have reopened and are selling out fast. All support a strong rebound in Waikiki tourism that predominately focuses on domestic visitors with Hawaiian Airlines now offering direct flights from Ontario, Orlando, Long Beach, and Austin.
The average length of stay in February for all Hawaii visitors was 10.8 days according to the Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism. Most visitors opt to travel independently vice using a group tour or vacation package. Interestingly, visitors who chose to telework from Hawaii tend to consider themselves on vacation. With our beautiful summer weather and longs days, visitors have plenty of time for work, play and rest.
One contributing factor as Waikiki awakens is that Hawaii has the lowest rate of COVID-19 cases in the nation. Partially due to the fact that Hawaii has one of the highest vaccination rate in the United States. As of April 22, Hawaii was ranked seventh nationally. Almost half of the adult population in Honolulu participating in the vaccination program.
A second contributing factor is that some visitors need to break up the monotony of working from home with a change in environment. This shift in visitor demographic has fueled the awakening with a different kind of visitor. Discounted airfares and travel deals makes Hawaii a desired place to reside temporarily while teleworking.
Extended Stay Accommodations
Hawaii Dream Realty has several extended stay accommodations that are offered at a discount over our daily rental rates. Extended stays are those stays that are a minimum of 30 days and typically include kitchens. Regardless all our rentals include broadband Internet. Broadband Internet means our visitors have plenty of bandwidth for Zoom meetings and remote access to their work.