6 expert tips for the responsible Hawaiian traveler



In tropical temperatures, world famous surf breaks, and idyllic beachesit’s easy to see why Hawaii is a top vacation destination. But the islands are much more than just a destination; they are home to approximately 1.5 million people, indigenous language and culture, fragile ecology, sacred sites, and endangered species.

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A man riding a wave on a body of water: Hawaii's tourist numbers are skyrocketing - here are expert tips on how to be a responsible traveler when planning a visit.

© Canvan Images / Getty Images
Hawaii‘s tourist numbers are skyrocketing – here are expert tips on how to be a responsible traveler when planning your visit.

As visitor numbers rise to pre-pandemic levels (an average of 30,000 arrivals per day), as well as the risk of destroying everything that makes Hawaii such a popular place.

As a traveler, your decisions have a direct impact, for better or for worse. You have the option and kuleana (Responsibility) to treat the islands – and their people and animals – with aloha. So if you planning a trip to Hawaii, take note of these expert tips for a responsible trip to the state.

1. Plan ahead.

A memorable and meaningful trip to Hawaii begins long before you arrive at the airport.

Avoid last-minute deals and plan ahead, especially while the pandemic-related restrictions still apply, says Robynne Maii, head chef at Fixed and Heyday. Some restaurants and tourist activities are not fully open, many are not yet fully occupied, and those that are may have limited capacity and therefore fill up quickly.

“These days it’s hard to get anywhere without a reservation,” said Kylie Shimada, Director of Experience at The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club.

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Some parks have also implemented reservation systems to better manage visitor numbers and protect Hawaii’s fragile nature. Sue Kanoho, executive director of the Kauai Visitors’ Bureau, says that on some popular websites like Ha’ena State Park, you cannot enter without a reservation.

The travel preparation should also include getting to know each other local laws and culturesays Ha’aheo Zablan, a native Hawaiian and general manager of Kaimana Beach Hotel. Making this effort in advance will result in a safer, more respectful, and more enjoyable experience.

2. Choose local.

Hawaii has so much to offer that you could easily be overwhelmed by hotel, activity, and dining options. Narrow your search to local businesses that prioritize indigenous knowledge and environmentally friendly practices and are mutually beneficial to visitors and locals.

“Look for culturally enriching experiences like Kualoa Ranch and the Episcopal Museum, ”Suggests Zablan. “Book with local adventure companies and buy from Farmers markets instead of big box dealers. “

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Video: 4 Tips To Get The Most Of Your Maui Vacation As More Travelers Go To Hawaii (US TODAY)

4 tips to get the most of your Maui vacation as more and more travelers head to Hawaii

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Don’t miss out on an opportunity to learn from those who know Hawaii best. Decide on activities like Lei-making or surfing, run by native Hawaiians. “Learn about Hawaiian history, trials, and trials. Don’t be afraid to speak to locals and ask questions,” says Kaleo Kenui, native Hawaiian and general manager of AC Hotel by Marriott Maui Wailea. “We love to share our culture and history as long as your interest is sincere.”

Try traditional foods like poi (crushed and fermented taro root) and lukewarm (Pork and butterfish wrapped in ti and taro sheets and steamed) in local places like Autobahn Inn, or enjoy an evening in a restaurant like Merrimanswho presented Local Hawaiian cuisine, pays attention to sustainable fishing and contains culturally significant ingredients.

3. Live Aloha.

Aloha is much more than a slogan, says Hawaiian-born “Uncle” Bruce Keaulani, CEO of Living Life Source Foundation. “It’s a way of life that our ancestors passed on through stories, songs, caring for one another, and welcoming, open arms.” And, he says, we all have a responsibility to keep it up. “The simple act of sincerely greeting yourself, strangers or friends and saying ‘Aloha’ – on the street, on the beach, in hotels, on trails, on highways – manifests that spirit and preserves the love and light of Hawaii alive in each of us, visitors and locals alike. ‘Aloha aku, Aloha mai’ (‘Love given, love received’). “

When you visit Hawaii, act just like you would if you were a guest at someone’s home. “No matter where you grew up in the world, we were all taught by our ancestors to be respectful when you visit someone’s home,” said Douglas Chang, native Hawaiian and general manager of The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach.

“Bring your best manners,” says Ekolu Lindsey, a native Hawaiian and president of Maui cultural land. “‘Please’, ‘Thank you’ and a well-intentioned one Shaka go far. “If you live in a residential area, Lindsey recommends greeting your neighbors, keeping noise to a minimum, and offering Aloha food.

“We like to be kind and generous in Hawaii,” says Maii. “Visitors have to do their part too – it’s a one-way street.”

4. Pay attention to the signs.

It is natural to be enchanted by Hawaii’s exquisite surroundings, but it is equally important to heed the signs and local warnings, laws, and authorities. Some sites and species are protected for cultural and environmental reasons; Weather can change quickly, and terrain and sea conditions can be more dangerous than it appears. In addition to disrupting your vacation that could cause injury (or worse), tourist rescue services are a drain on local resources. Therefore, always check the weather and surf reports, stay on marked paths and in designated viewing areas and do not cross any private property.

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You have to stick to that too Pandemic logssays Kalani Ka’ana’ana, a native Hawaiian and chief brand officer of the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Although some states have relaxed their rules, hospitals in Hawaii have limited capacity and resources, and everyone is still expected to wear masks indoors – regardless of vaccination status.

5. Step lightly and lend a hand.

The concept of malama ‘aina (takes care of the land) is at the heart of Hawaiian culture, says “Aunt” Wendy Tuivaioge, a native Hawaiian and cultural ambassador at the Four Seasons Resort Maui in Wailea. Hawaiians see the country as “an extension of us,” says Zablan. And it’s all of us kuleana to protect it.

Visitors to Hawaii share this responsibility. “Everything we do affects and changes the environment in which we live,” says Chang. The islands’ ecology is fragile, natural resources are limited and several species are endangered, including the Hawaiian monk seal, Live here.

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Brett Monroe Garner

Reduce your footprint by using only what you need. Wear reef-safe sunscreenPick up rubbish you find on the beach or in the ocean, Avoidance of single-use plasticto engage in human-powered activities (such as Paddling outrigger canoe or surfing), carry a reusable water bottle and bag, leave the natural landscape as it is (do not remove lava rocks and shells, for example), and keep your distance from wildlife.

Turtles need rest; let them sleep peacefully. Sharks need space; let them swim freely. Coral reefs are home to marine life; touching them can destroy them. Hawaiian monk seals are sacred; consider them like kings and give them space that they deserve, “says Lindsey. While it is natural to be excited when you encounter these beautiful creatures, remember that “You are stepping into nature’s house and enjoying the show from a distance.”

For those looking to volunteer some time in Hawaii, there are numerous options available through organizations like that Surfrider Foundation, Sustainable coasts, and Lahaina Restoration Foundation. Many hotels can arrange for you to attend a beach clean up too, and some, such as Ko’a Kea Hotel & Resort, offer “Care of our Aina” packages. The nationwide Malama Hawaii program makes it easy for you to find a voluntourism option that suits your interests and skills, and helps you get discounted stays or a free night at partner hotels.

6. Pick up the pace.

Whether or not you choose to volunteer, Kenui says that just paying attention to your actions and being there in the moment to appreciate the beauty of Hawaii can be beneficial for you and your hosts. “We love our islands and are proud of our culture. We love to share – just take care of it so that we can all enjoy the islands together in the coming decades. “

Whether you’re cruising around the island, snorkeling among schools of fish, dining at a local restaurant, or otherwise enjoying all that Hawaii has to offer, slow down and relax to the rhythm of the islands. As Lindsey puts it, “Take your time and enjoy the view.”

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