Happy Sunday guys! Finally getting the rest of my blog content on Hawaii up for you guys! We learned so much about Hawaii on the trip, I wanted to share the helpful stuff related to Covid, shopping, locations, and hotels (I dove more into the last two in my previous blog post)… things post trip we thought would have been helpful to know beforhand or we ended up doing right and we’re so glad we did. If you’re going or thinking of going, hopefully this will be super helpful! If you have any Qs, of course feel free to reach out here on Instagram!
– Covid numbers are really low in Hawaii – typically under 20 cases per day. You have to have a negative NAAT covid test from within 72 hours of landing (not the rapid) to be allowed in.
– To travel amongst the islands once allowed in, all the islands (except Oahu) still require a negative NAAT covid test within 72 hours of landing to enter. We got a Covid test in NYC the 9th, landed in Honolulu on Oahu the 11th, and needed to get a test again after landing to be allowed in to Maui on the 13th. Luckily since Oahu doesn’t require that, we didn’t need to get another to return to Honolulu.
– Tests are not free there, we ended up paying $125 for ours, which was the cheapest available as it was through the National Kidney Foundation. They have a testing station located right outside at the airport which is super convenient!
– The prices in Honolulu are similar to NYC, so for most people, it’s expensive. The economy there is interesting, everything is so expensive yet wages are very low! Even a dump of a home is around 1 million dollars!
– Designer shopping there is much cheaper than on the mainland US! Not only is the sales tax around 4% ( I think we’re at around 8% in NYC), most of the brands offer prices ranging from 10%-30% lower than the mainland stores. I spent almost 30% less than I would have buying my Balenciaga bag in Hawaii than in NYC!
– There’s lots of great snorkeling and hiking in Oahu! We liked Electric Beach best, but Hanauma Bay is a popular spot. It has a nice beach and decent snorkeling, but you have to buy a ticket and watch an informational video to be allowed to enter. With the much more limited numbers allowed due to Covid, you may have to wait up 1-2 hours if you get there mid to late morning. It’s at least a half day venture, so bring snacks/food, beach and/or snorkeling gear, and give yourself at least 4-5 hours.
– Maui is much more chill than Oahu, especially Honolulu, Oahu. Honolulu is fun and more upbeat, with lots of activities, dining, and shopping. As city dwellers, we loved the options and bustle, which was still obviously slow compared to NYC, but we like to stay busy even on vacation so it was a good fit for us for most of the trip! That said, the few days we spent in Maui in Wailea were amazing. It’s quiet, serene, has the resort life available if you walk to or stay on the beach front, and is just where you want to go if you really want to chill hard. The few days there were just the dose of peace and quiet we needed during our trip!
– In Honolulu, Kaimana Beach is where the locals go to beach and chill. It’s less crowded, and sometimes the monk seals come up onto it from the water to rest for a few hours!
– Buy snorkeling gear at a store… we bought ours for around $50 at one of the ABC convenience stores. To buy or rent from the beach front stands is so much more expensive! They’re usually around $90 to buy, and around $25 to rent per hour.
– Surfing is super fun, to save money but still get amazing lessons, check out TY Gurney Surf School… they’re a street or so back from the beach and kind of tucked away, but their prices are so much better and they’re amazing at what they do. They also give you a free hour-ish (they’re super nice and flexible) board rental any day you want after your lesson. We asked for a group lesson with the two of us and got a great package rate for it, and we both stood up on our boards during the lesson (it was my first time ever surfing!)
– If you want a truly fantastic dining experience, Michel’s at the Colony Surf was insane. Nice restaurant in NYC pricing, but a truly special experience and amazing French food!
– Uber is much more prevalent than Lyft; that said, there are some areas it’s hard to get one, so double check!
– Honolulu Coffee is out of this world! A must-try! Their croissants are pretty amazing too.
– Traveling to Hawaii from NYC is not a short or easy journey… we had a 20 hour travel day getting there and about 16 coming back… just be prepared and make sure you go for at the very least a week to make it worth it! We stayed for two weeks, originally it was 10 nights and we extended mid trip Lol… n0 regrets!!