23 floors of planning can save you up to 23 hours of false starts and frustration.
I was coming down a hotel elevator with a freshly sunburned visitor (I inject already! – please bring trial size sunscreen with you, buy a bottle here and USE it up during your stay – the UV index here is the highest in the USA) on her first day here and overheard her planning her week. She lamented about how could she see sights and shop and still get some sleep.
For most, outdoor fun and dining will consume the majority of your precious hours here. But also important while in paradise is getting that something special that is uniquely Hawaiian for yourself or someone at home. How fun to say “I got it in Hawaii”! It is expensive here, but the state does have a reasonable sales tax of 4.5%. Local products abound here, which we’ll discuss in detail later. But I can’t recommend them enough for variety and quality and that touch of uniqueness that can only come from an isle in the Pacific.
But first I do suggest:
- Get a Map You can’t get there’ if you don’t know where you are. The ones found inside the little shopping guides that are all over the sidewalks are sufficient. I still have mine from my first week in Waikiki and it’s so tattered it has to be kept under glass. Then walk outside your Hawaii hotel and orient yourself and the map to the mountains and the water. It’s so simple but it works. This will get you around the beach area proper.
- Bring a GPS system. Oahu has great 3G coverage so smart phone maps will help with navigating our various one way streets if you have a car and can connect you to bus schedules so you can move beyond the Waikiki shopping area. There is so much more out there.
- Use The Bus system. I was hesitant to do this myself, but learned quickly that parking is a premium around Honolulu and navigating strange sounding streets can be challenging. Recently the city made an effort to clean up certain bus stops to make them more family friendly. A 4-day bus pass for $25 is your best bargain going, considering some shopping destinations take several transfers and of course a return trip. You can even go practically all the way around the island on it, making it even more of a deal. So let that be your first purchase at our local ABC stores, which are on most corners, and let the shopping begin!
(Photo: here I am in that elevator… taking my own picture once everyone got off)