Let’s continue our list with two more major points.
Plan your dining. If you stay in a rented place, you may want to consider hitting a local farmer’s market or a store and buy things like water, coffee and tea, juices, yogurts, oatmeal, milk, and fruits. It does not mean you will need to cook (it is a vacation after all!). Nevertheless, you can save time looking for a breakfast in the morning and save money by not having it at the restaurant or café. Again, we tried both. It is easier just to order your breakfast and not worry about buying groceries but we just like snacking on fruit or yogurt during a day at the beach or while exploring the island, so we usually buy groceries on the first day we arrive in Hawaii.
One more important thing for me is having water available at any moment of the day or night. While you shrug your shoulders, saying “what is wrong with buying water when you actually need it,” I can say that a small bottle of water at the beach stores usually cost 4-5 dollars. As I drink 2-3 liters of water a day (and you want to drink a lot of water spending your days in such hot conditions to avoid dehydration), it is not convenient to keep running to stores to buy a bottle or two every hour. So what we do is just buy a pack of water in a store when we arrive at our destination and simply not worry about it till the day we depart.
If you plan to rely only on restaurants, I would recommend doing a quick review of your options before you even arrive on the island. The easiest way to do so is simply go to Yelp.com search for “fine dining”, “seafood restaurants”, “vegan restaurants”, “breakfast” in the location of your stay, pick the ones with higher reviews, go through the menus, and bookmark those that you like. Job done. Now, anytime you are in doubt where to go for a bite, open your bookmarks and simply pick one of those you saved before. It is also helpful if you are allergic to something or on a special diet (vegan, vegetarian, raw, gluten free). Hawaii is super friendly to vegan/raw food so do not be afraid that you are going to starve there. Being hungry and searching for something in a rush can be disappointing. And you do not want to be disappointed on vacation, right? You can also use Opentable.com to search for dining places and make reservations. If you stay at the hotel, ask you concierge about your options.
Attractions As we stayed in Honolulu this time, the number one attraction for us was Waikiki beach. There is no doubt why this place is so popular among tourists: the long and sandy coast line with a warm sapphire ocean, restaurants, bars, shopping, and so much more. It is worth visiting and being experienced. During the day, you can enjoy the beach and at night walk a promenade of the busiest place on the island. On the beach you can rent umbrellas and chairs, get snorkeling gear, and surfboards to keep yourself busy.
The next destination I was eager to visit was Pearl Harbor. That place impressed me to my very core. It took us approximately 6 hours to complete all parts of the tour. We were definitely tired and exhausted (add to it the hottest day you can imaging) and yet there were a lot of things to think about and discuss after all.
Our next go-to stop was Laniakea, aka Turtle Beach. It is the place where Honu (Green Sea Turtles) come to lay on the beach surrounded by tourists, and volunteers have the job to make sure that nobody disturbs their peace (and, honestly, it is very easy to keep yourself under control as the fine for touching them in the water or on the land is $1,000). We have been there a couple of times and were lucky to see turtles each time.
While Waikiki may offer everything you need, do not restrict yourself from discovering other places for snorkeling, swimming, and tanning. Ko’Olina Lagoons are four man-made beaches you do not want to miss. These are the safest places to swim if you have children, and gorgeous views are guaranteed. Well, pictures speak for themselves.
Lanikai beach was our latest finding. When we stepped on this beach for a first time, I held my breath and thought that this was probably how the heaven looked like. I have never seen the water of such stunning turquoise color. It is a must-see if you visit Oahu, guys.
The best way to get a feeling of the island is simply to drive around it, stopping at all the vista points, shrimp shacks, and fresh fruit stands. Take a day and have yourself an adventure.
The above destinations I mentioned are not going to cost you much. Parking is mostly free so even being on budget you will see Oahu at its best.
If you are a big fan of a more active vacation, then consider snorkeling, diving, or taking a helicopter tour by choosing one of the many companies that work with tourists and can be easily found on Tripadvisor.com, for example. Hiking to the Diamond Head can be a great way to start your day as well as it is recommended to visit the Dole pineapple plantation, especially if you have children. It has the largest live maze in the world where you can search for hidden secrets, a plantation tour, a botanic garden, and of course, pineapple ice cream are some things you want to experience.
As you plan your vacation, first define how much money you can spend on it and how many days you can stay there. Then start searching! A well-planned vacation means less stress and frustration when you already are at your destination. Going to such a busy place as Oahu, I would suggest spending 5 to 10 days to be able to enjoy the ocean and see what Oahu is about. Do not try to pack all your days with trips and sightseeing. Give yourself a break and set aside something like 3-4 days of doing nothing (if your vacation is 10 days long). Relax, let your mind get tired of laying on the beach so when you are back home you are ready to get back to your routine! Cheers!