To be in the islands of Hawaii is a treat, no matter the reason; just look at this Hawaii Sunset. . But you may choose completely different things to do on a Hawaii vacation than you would if you actually moved here. Two things have brought this to mind: online advice for first-time visitors, and my brother.

To begin in reverse, my brother lives in a rural area of eastern Colorado. I had first thought to suggest that he visit the Big Island of Hawaii when he comes to the islands. It seemed like the area most like where he lives. But as we talked by phone recently, I realized that idea was all wrong. Sure, he LIVES in a remote area. But when he and his wife plan a weekend get-away, they go to Denver for some big city activities they don’t have at home. And they like to vacation in Las Vegas. That might mean they would prefer a stay on Oahu, where they could have entertainment options, fancy meals and at least a little night life. In contrast, my daughter and her husband live in a metro area with all the excitement they can stand. They wanted nothing more than a beach and a nice breeze when they visited. We planned only one activity for their week here (with one impromptu addition) and still they thought they’d do less on the next trip. In planning a Hawaii vacation, you might think more about the types of activities you did on other recent vacations than the dizzying array of options here as a guide.

I encourage you to consider your own vacation preferences as h3ly as the advice you receive from others. This requires a caveat. It is good to ask people with experience in the area before booking blindly. It seems so easy to book online these days, and every website makes the place look wonderful. But I see two types of bad advice online. One is from tourists who have visited the islands and can’t wait to tell you about the places you must not miss. Just because they enjoyed an experience doesn’t mean you will. One post I saw recently recommended a resort with activities for children that was so wonderful they never left the property. They obviously had a great time, but that would not be the sort of Hawaii experience I would want for my children even if I could afford it. This sort of advice also leads people to create impossible lists of things they feel they have to do or somehow their Hawaii vacation was less than perfect.

The other sort of bad advice is equally well-intentioned. Several locals told their stories about moving to Hawaii. One was adamant that he/she had found the spot everyone should stay. Now, there are no places in Hawaii that are not worth seeing but this location would not be on my list of top 50 places most travelers will want to visit, much less number one. It’s a nice place to live, but difficult enough to access that you won’t have other vacation options, there are few resources for visitors nearby, and the weather is frequently less ideal than other places. Visitors with only a few days to spend in Hawaii probably would appreciate other locations, even though this is a wonderful place to live.

The best vacation advice gives you information about activities without a “should.” Hawaii has so many vacation options that you may want some help in evaluating them. But only you know how you like to spend your free time. Trust your instincts and don’t let expectations get in the way of your perfect Hawaii vacation. Relax. Slow down. Enjoy what you find here. Chill. It’s all good.


  1. Cindy, thanks for sharing your post.  You always share a a great perspective of vacationing vs living on the Islands.   Asking advice from yourself and those at Hawaii Aloha Travel is a perfect place to begin…REAL local people with a the best in travel(or living) suggestions.   Again, thanks for sharing.

  2. Good advice.  As with anything, an opinion belongs to that individual and may not translate well to other people.  We are thinking of spending at least a couple of years on Maui after retirement.  But there are many things to consider, such as nearby medical care, affordable housing within a suitable distance of activities we enjoy, etc.
    I liked your reference to the family who seemingly never left their resort.  Not my cup of tea, either, but seemed to suit them.
    Definitely will ask for advice on activities.
    Thanks.  Mary

  3. Thanks Ric! I do think it makes a difference to talk with travel professionals who are focused on your trip. They ask all the right questions to help you clarify your vacation preferences.
    I have to confess I'm a little biased by having occasional guests who seem to think that a list from a guidebook is the answer to the perfect Hawaii vacation – it's not a "one size fits all" experience.
    Mary, I do hope you're able to retire to Maui for awhile, but you are so right that those considerations are very different from what you'd do for a couple of weeks there.

Leave a Reply

Click for the BBB Business Review of this Travel Agencies & Bureaus in Honolulu HI
Travel Industry Logos