You’ve probably heard that Hawaii is gorgeous. Here, we take hikes surrounded by tropical fauna. Not to mention our pristine sandy beaches and colorful sunrises that will make you actually happy to be awake so early in the morning. These are just some of the things that make Hawaii a beautiful place to stay during a vacation.
Yet, what makes Hawaii truly unique is our Hawaiian culture. When you visit, you’ll see that the people here are incredibly friendly and welcoming.
To return the welcoming attitude here, we want to help you brush up on some Hawaiian customs that will help make your trip run smoothly.
Hawaii Travel Tips: 7 Things To Know Before You Visit
1. Learn the correct pronunciation for a few Hawaiian words. You’ll probably want to know how to respond when someone says “thank you” or “hello” when you arrive on the island. So take some time to learn how to say some of the following words to get started.
- Aloha: Hello & Goodbye
- Mahalo: Thank you
- Mauka: Toward the mountain
- Makai: Toward the ocean
- Pono: Righteous
- Wahine: Women
- Kane: Men
- Pupu: Appetizer
- Auntie & Unle: What children are taught to call their elders
2. If you are visiting new family or friends, it may be a nice gesture to bring a lei for them. Here, it’s customary to give a lei to say “welcome” or “congratulations”. Also, if you are given a lei while here on the island, always accept it and remember to say “mahalo”.
3. We are all about our slippers here. You might call these flip flops but on the island we call them “slippers”. We wear them pretty much everywhere (except inside the house). So while you are making your packing list, make sure to include slippers on your list. Just remember to take them off at the door if you’re invited into someone’s home.
4. There’s almost no road rage here. Afterall, there’s no rushing or yelling in paradise. Instead, we practice aloha on the road (love or the spirit of giving). So don’t blare the horn on your rental car or shout out your window unless it’s a real emergency. Instead, expect to be waived ahead of others on the road by the courteous drivers here.
5. Learn how to make a shaka. It’s easy! All you have to do is make a fist and then stick out your thumb and pinky. The hand symbol is also sometime referred to as “hang loose.” If you’re going surfing or just hanging out on the beach, you’ll probably see a shaka a few times…or ten..
6. When you’re walking around the island, you may hear about some of the legends that encompass Hawaiian culture. For example, don’t be alarmed if someone warns you not to bring a rock with you back home. You see, the culture here is based largely around some key legends about the gods and goddesses of the island.
There are some stories that may help you understand some of the customs here. To help, it may be beneficial to read up on some of the legends about Hawaii. For now, here’s the short version: rainbows are a blessing, it’s bad luck to bring a banana on a boat, and it’s considered extremely bad luck to take lava rocks away from a volcano.
7. Finally, if you’re planning on bringing anything with you to the island there are a few items you should avoid. For example, fresh flowers, fruits, and vegetable are all harmful to the environment here. You can save yourself some time during your TSA screening by just avoiding these items all together. Instead, try bringing a lei with you or a heartfelt card to greet any of your family or friends with while on vacation.
At the end of the day, Hawaii is full of tropical beaches as well as friendly, laid back people. The combination makes many say that Hawaii is their favorite vacation spots.
Now that you know what to expect, we’d love to hear how your vacation goes! Let us know in the comments what you think of your vacation in Hawaii. Plus, if you need any activity ideas, check out how we can help make your vacation memorable and relaxing during your visit.