Honolulu, United States travel tips

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Safety tips:

There's so much to Hawaii, it's actually quite hard to put everything down into a few tips. While some people are content to simply land in Hawaii and be whisked away via shuttle to a posh hotel which may or may not have a beach view, there are others still who prefer to explore and see the islands as it was meant to be experienced. My tips deal mainly with the island of Oahu where I live, but most of these tips can be applied to any island you choose to visit.

While you can choose to remain at the calm beaches of Waikiki or Ala Moana, there is much more to see around Oahu. You can ask your hotel concierge for great locations and some hotels may even provide transportation to these different beaches. Other beaches, however require your own form of transportation. In Hawaii, beaches are all state-owned so technically, any beach is fair game to visit. However, wherever you choose to go, there are a few simple, unspoken safety rules you must know before you visit.

NEVER turn your back to the water. I cannot stress this enough. The very fact that I put this first should be testament to how important it is. Locals know to follow this rule or suffer the consequence. Aside from knocking you over and maybe embarrassing you at smaller beaches, at rougher areas of water, a large wave can knock you onto rocky edges or at the very worst, drag you into the sea. At this point, your life may be in danger, and in the past, tourist and locals alike have died simply because they weren't aware of their surroundings. Always exercise caution when going to the water's edge.

Bring sunblock. I can't help but cringe when I see people lit up bright red by sunburn while walking shirtless. Aside from preventing melanoma and other forms of skin cancer, sunblock will ensure your vacation isn't ruined by sunburn. You'll find sunblock in nearly every convenience store you visit. It is recommended you get at least 30-45 spf sunblock with UVA & UVB protection. Apply whenever you're out in the sun, and don't forget to reapply whenever you sweat or come out of the water as sunscreen loses effectiveness when wet.

Do not litter. Not only is littering extremely disrespectful, people will probably try to pick fights with you. The State of Hawaii provides trash receptacles at many of Oahu's beaches and attractions, but if there is no trash can where you are, just hold onto your trash until you can dispose of it properly later. I'm not joking, someone will try to fight you if you litter.

Alcohol! is unfortunately prohibited at beaches and for good reason. Broken bottles pose a health hazard to unaware beach-goers and impairment and the ocean don't mix very well. I know tossing back a cold one on a private beach may have been your fantasy, but you might have to keep it at the hotels. Some hotels provide areas you can drink on the beach, but don't try to take it past the designated areas. Not only will this get you in trouble with the hotel staff, but the police may also get involved since it is illegal in Hawaii.

Locals can either be the friendliest people you meet during your visit or they can be a complete nightmare. Usually the latter are outliers, but it's impossible to deny that Hawaii does have a crime rate. Mostly, the people of Hawaii are more than happy to help you with questions or directions. In fact, some would go out of their way to help you out. However, we do ask that you treat us with respect as you would in any other large city. Many locals speak in Pidgin English, and most know it's hard for foreigners to understand. For most locals, pidgin is just an accent, and it's very easy to understand. However, in different areas of the island, the lexicon can get quite colorful. Don't assume that pidgin speakers are somehow less intelligent (little known fact but Pidgin English is in fact recognized as a language).

Regarding less savory characters in Hawaii, treat it like you would any other big city. Hawaii is a safe place, and violent crimes are rare. However, that doesn't mean you should disregard common sense. Keep your items secure when you walk to avoid pickpockets. Leave your valuables in hotel safes when you go out. On hiking trails, don't leave your valuables in your car. There have been cases where thieves break your car window just to get what's inside. The running joke is that when you go hiking, leave your car doors unlocked with a six pack of Heineken inside (Don't actually do this.) Stick to well lit areas when walking the streets, and try to travel in a group if possible. While most locals are content to leave visitors alone, avoid areas where you personally feel unsafe. If someone is giving you stink-eye (staring you down), just move along.

There will be traffic. If you have a rental car, know that peak traffic hours are in the morning between 6-8a and in the later afternoon around 4-6p. Driving is relatively safe. Just be prepared for slow downs when it rains as the roads can get slippery.

Hiking is a fantastic experience in Hawaii. Many trails will either take you the ridge lines of either Koolau or Waianae mountain ranges where you'll meet a sheer cliff drop and a breathtaking view, or some hikes will lead through rain forests with colorful flora that terminates at stunning waterfalls. Most hikes can be completed with as little as a bottle of water and a good pair of shoes. However, please exercise common sense. Stick to the trails as wandering off can easily get you lost or injured. Know your limits. Some hikes are punishing even for experience hikers. Recently a friend of mine passed away after he fell of a razor ridge hike. Be aware of flash-flood warnings on lower trails. While taking a dip in the many streams of Oahu sounds enticing after a long hike, keep your eye out for health hazard signs. Some streams are contaminated with dangerous bacteria that can easily infect you if you have an open wound or accidentally swallow water. Bring your own water and stay hydrated. Because of Hawaii's humidity and high temperatures, heat stroke can set in quickly if you're not prepared.

And I'll end with this last tip. Keep an open mind. Hawaii is a melting pot of a vast array of different cultures. This benefits all who live here and who choose to visit. Try new experiences and maybe even learn more about the islands. There are many museums and historical societies that would love nothing more than to educate you on the history of Hawaii. The food here is incredible. While some things may seem strange to you, just give it a try, and you may even like it.

I hope you enjoy your stay should you choose to visit. My email is monmabryson3@gmail.com if you have any questions about things I have not covered. Mahalo and have a nice day.
idklol Posted 5 years ago by idklol - recommend - bookmark - tag


idklol 5 years ago
I'm also sorry for the long post.

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