What to Do and What to Bring
As you'll find in the pages of this book, there are plenty of things to do in the islands. You can pick and choose various activities and excursions yourself, or you can contact the following companies that specialize in offering tours and attractions on various islands:
Book It Hawaii 1-866-426-654 www.bookithawaii.com
Discover Hawaii Tours 1-800-946-4432 www.discoverhawaiitours.com
Hawaii Activities 1-877-877-1222 www.hawaiiactivities.com
Roberts Hawaii 1-800-831-5541 www.robertshawaii.com
Once you know what you'll be doing on your vacation, you can start to think about packing. Don't get too stressed about it. Packing for a trip to Hawaii is relatively easy, and almost anything you might forget can be readily purchased. With a climate that is predictably pleasant all year round, cotton shorts and T-shirts match the casual atmosphere. A light raincoat or windbreaker might come in handy for the occasional natural shower or if you happen to be traveling by boat. If you're planning to ascend to higher elevations, you won't regret bringing a light jacket or sweater and some long pants. You can find some great clothes in Hawaii that would be hard to find anywhere else, so one strategy is to pack light. Leave plenty of room in your suitcase and then pick up some cool T-shirts, Hawaiian shirts, skirts, and other clothes while you're there.
In Hawaii, the difference between informal and formal is sometimes as simple as tucking in your Hawaiian shirt. A pair of khaki pants and a polo shirt with or without a light jacket is often appropriate for men on more formal occasions, and a nice dress should suffice for women. Make sure your kids bring clothes for fun in the sun as well as for a cooler climate.
In Hawaii, every Friday is known as “Aloha Friday,” when the end of the workweek is unofficially celebrated. Many offices encourage the wearing of Hawaiian shirts to promote an air of informality and friendliness.
Make Sure You're Prepared
Given the climate, it's very important that you come prepared to deal with the effects of the sun. Sunscreen lotion, sunglasses, and a brimmed hat are all recommended, especially for those with fair complexions. If you like the water, bring a couple of bathing suits. That way, you can wear one while the other is drying.
Good walking footwear is important. Sandals are fine for casual walking or beach use, but comfortable shoes are important for light hiking and extended sightseeing or shopping. If you plan on doing anything other than easy trail hikes, some light but sturdy hiking boots are recommended, especially if your hike takes you through lava. (Lava can be very rough on footwear and can easily shred a pair of sandals or casual shoes.) You can also bring your own snorkel, mask, and fins, but they can be rented, as can golf clubs, scuba gear, sea kayaks, surfboards, and other sports items that are a bit bulky to carry from home.
Don't forget to bring any personal necessities, such as prescription drugs or eyewear. Although you can probably get them replaced in Hawaii, it's best to spare yourself the inconvenience. And don't forget your camera! The islands are a photographer's dream, and you can buy extra film just about anywhere.