It can cost quite a bit of money to enjoy a fantastic Hawaii vacation — and, it typically requires a long plane ride, too. So, when you arrive, you want to be absolutely sure you get the most out of your time in the islands.
That’s where an experienced tour guide comes in handy. Here are our top 5 reasons a good tour guide in Hawaii is critical:
1. A Good Tour Guide Can Provide a “Local” Experience: Sure, there are lots of visitors who prefer to stick to the “tried-and-true” side of a vacation, venturing only to places that are frequented by other visitors. However, most visitors to Hawaii are looking for a more “local” experience. Instead of trekking to the most popular waterfall on the island, what if your tour guide were able to take you to an equally-beautiful waterfall frequented by a few locals? What if you visited the local “shrimp shack,” like that featured in Hawaii Aloha Travel’s Aloha Plate Food Tour, instead of the same big-name restaurant where tourists hang out? For many, having a local guide who can take them to local hang-outs is much preferred to a bus tour that only stops at the most popular tourist traps.
2. Safety, Safety, Safety: You would be shocked if you heard about every rescue our firefighters and ocean safety officials make every day, which is why only a few of them make the national news. One of the reasons so many visitors get lost during hikes and get overwhelmed when swimming in the ocean is because they don’t know how to stay safe when out-and-about in Hawaii. A good tour guide will take you to the best venues and most picturesque hikes in the state, and they will ALSO tell you how to stay safe. As an extra precaution, many tour guides will accompany you on your excursion, so they can keep you safe and sound. In all my years in Hawaii, I’ve never heard of a rescue performed because a tour guide put an unsuspecting tourist in harms way.
3. Discounted Rates: If the first two reasons don’t inspire you to hire an experienced tour guide, then this one should! Oftentimes, tour guides who work for reputable companies like Hawaii Aloha Travel and Secret Hawaii Tours can get their hands on special discounted rates only available to them. For example, some attractions reserve a certain amount of tickets for group tours and tour operators and offer them special prices on admission. In return, tour guides can offer these special discounts to guests, who may choose that venue for an excursion. Many tour operators have special relationships with venues, such as Sea Life Park and may be able to offer discounts on packages, such as the Dolphin Encounter.
4. Knowledge Is Key: Second to ensuring safety, the most important part of being a tour guide is imparting knowledge on the guests. A truly experienced and knowledgable tour guide will know all the ins-and-outs of a particular place, adventure, or cultural site. A good tour guide will know the historical significance of some of the most important and cultural venues in Hawaii. And, they will be able to share some “insider” knowledge about each place you visit. Also important, your tour guide will know which times to visit which places, so their guests can get the most out of their island experience. For example, if you choose to take a Circle Island Tour, your tour guide will make sure you avoid the heavy crowds when visiting certain venues.
5. Support the Local Economy: More often than not, I hear that our visitors want to give-back to Hawaii and support the local economy, so our state can be a visitor destination for years to come. One way to do that is to support our local economy by employing hard-working tour guides during your stay and supporting local tour operators. The vast majority of tour operators in Hawaii are locally-owned and operated, so every time you hire a tour guide to enhance your vacation, you’re supporting an industry that has, in large, resisted the influx of large, corporate involvement.
By hiring a good tour guide in Hawaii, you’ll often get more out of your vacation and more for your money. That’s because you’ll have a partner who knows all the best places to go — and when to visit them. In addition, a good tour guide will make sure you stay safe and save money. Now, THAT’S a good person to know!