Hawaii Trip Planning 2023 | 9 Things To Know Before You Book Your Hawaii Vacation

Planning a trip to Hawaii in 2023? Well, you’ve come to the right place! In this video by The Hawaii Vacation Guide, Jordan and Erica share nine helpful tips based on their research and past experiences. They cover topics such as choosing the right island to visit, the best times to go, the cost of a Hawaii trip, and money-saving tips. They also mention accommodations, planning activities, and even offer suggestions on exploring free options. Plus, they provide insights on airline deals, the importance of reef-safe sunscreen, ocean safety, must-see attractions on each island, and ways to support local businesses and engage in meaningful experiences. With their friendly and informative tone, Jordan and Erica offer a comprehensive guide to help you feel fully prepared for your Hawaii vacation in 2023.

So, if you’re ready to dive into the world of Hawaii trip planning, make sure to check out this video by The Hawaii Vacation Guide. Jordan and Erica provide valuable tips and insights to ensure that your trip to Hawaii in 2023 is well-organized and enjoyable. From choosing the right island and timing your visit to saving money and exploring the best attractions, this video covers it all. So, get ready to embark on a memorable adventure in the beautiful Hawaiian islands and make the most of your vacation!

Choosing the Right Hawaiian Island

When it comes to planning a trip to Hawaii, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is which island(s) to visit. With so many beautiful and diverse options to choose from, it can feel overwhelming. But fear not, because deciding on the right Hawaiian island for your vacation is easier than you think! There are a few key factors to consider that will help you narrow down your choices and ensure you have the best time possible.

Hawaii Trip Planning 2023 | 9 Things To Know Before You Book Your Hawaii Vacation

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Factors to Consider

To choose the right Hawaiian island for your trip, it’s important to consider factors such as your interests, preferred activities, and the type of experience you’re looking for. Here are some key questions to ask yourself:

  1. What do you enjoy doing on vacation? Are you more interested in relaxing on stunning beaches, exploring lush rainforests, or engaging in outdoor activities such as hiking and water sports?
  2. What type of scenery appeals to you? Do you prefer dramatic volcanic landscapes, pristine white sand beaches, or vibrant tropical gardens?
  3. Are you looking for a bustling tourist hub with plenty of dining and entertainment options, or do you prefer a quieter, more secluded destination?
  4. How much time do you have for your trip? Some islands are larger and offer more to see and do, while others can be explored in just a few days.
  5. What is your budget? The cost of accommodations, meals, and activities can vary significantly depending on the island you choose.

By taking the time to carefully consider these factors, you’ll be able to narrow down the options and find the perfect Hawaiian island for your vacation.

Popular Islands to Choose From

Hawaii is comprised of six main islands, each offering its own unique charms and attractions. Here is a brief overview of the most popular islands to help you make your decision:

  1. Oahu: Known as “The Gathering Place,” Oahu is home to the vibrant city of Honolulu and the world-famous Waikiki Beach. It offers a perfect blend of urban attractions and natural beauty.
  2. Maui: Dubbed “The Valley Isle,” Maui is famous for its stunning beaches, lush rainforests, and the iconic Road to Hana. It’s a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and those seeking ultimate relaxation.
  3. Big Island (Hawaii): As the largest and most geographically diverse island, the Big Island boasts active volcanoes, black sand beaches, and incredible stargazing opportunities. It’s a paradise for nature lovers and thrill-seekers.
  4. Kauai: Known as the “Garden Isle,” Kauai is famous for its stunning waterfalls, towering cliffs, and lush green landscapes. It’s perfect for those seeking tranquility and natural beauty.
  5. Lanai: A secluded paradise, Lanai offers luxury resorts, championship golf courses, and a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
  6. Molokai: With its untouched landscapes and deep ties to Hawaiian culture, Molokai is the perfect destination for those seeking an authentic and off-the-beaten-path experience.

Each island offers its own unique blend of attractions and experiences, so take your time to research and choose the one that speaks to your heart.

Best Times to Visit Hawaii

Now that you’ve decided on the Hawaiian island you want to visit, it’s time to consider the best time to embark on your tropical adventure. Understanding the weather patterns and the concept of peak and off-peak seasons will help you make the most of your trip.

Weather Overview

Hawaii enjoys a tropical climate, characterized by warm temperatures and relatively consistent weather year-round. However, it’s important to note that each island can have microclimates and variations in weather patterns. Generally, you can expect temperatures ranging from the high 70s to low 80s Fahrenheit (25-30 degrees Celsius) throughout the year. Trade winds provide a refreshing breeze, making even the hottest days more comfortable.

In terms of rainfall, the islands have distinct sides that experience different levels of precipitation. The windward (eastern) sides tend to be wetter, with lush rainforests and waterfalls, while the leeward (western) sides are drier and more arid. It’s always a good idea to check the weather forecast for your specific island and plan accordingly.

Peak Season vs Off-peak Season

Hawaii’s peak season typically falls during the winter months, from December to February, and summer months, from June to August. These periods coincide with school vacations and holidays, resulting in higher prices and larger crowds. However, the island’s popularity means that it can be busy year-round, so even off-peak times can still see a significant number of tourists.

If you prefer to avoid the crowds and snag some deals, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons. Spring (April and May) and fall (September and October) offer pleasant weather and fewer tourists. You’ll find more availability when it comes to accommodations, activities, and even flights.

Ultimately, the best time to visit Hawaii depends on your personal preferences. Whether you want to experience the excitement of peak season or enjoy a quieter getaway during the off-peak months, there’s no wrong time to visit the Aloha State.

Cost of a Hawaii Trip

Now that you know when to visit and which island to choose, it’s time to dive into the financial aspect of planning your dream trip to Hawaii. While it’s no secret that paradise comes at a price, there are several ways to budget and save money on your Hawaiian adventure.

Budgeting Tips

Creating a budget is an essential step in planning any trip, and Hawaii is no exception. Start by determining your overall budget for the trip, including accommodations, flights, meals, activities, and souvenirs. This will give you a clear idea of how much you’re willing to spend and help you make informed choices along the way.

Consider factors such as the cost of living in Hawaii, which can be higher than in other parts of the United States. Food, transportation, and even groceries may be more expensive than what you’re used to. Researching average prices and setting realistic expectations will help you avoid any financial surprises.

To save money, consider staying in budget accommodations such as hostels, vacation rentals, or even camping if you’re up for an adventurous experience. Look for affordable dining options like local food trucks or exploring local markets for fresh produce to cook meals in your accommodation. Take advantage of happy hour specials and look for discounts or coupons for popular attractions and activities.

Money-saving Strategies

In addition to budgeting, there are several money-saving strategies to keep in mind when planning your Hawaii trip. Here are a few ideas to help stretch your dollar:

  1. Flexible travel dates: If your schedule allows, be flexible with your travel dates. Flights and accommodations can be more affordable during weekdays or certain times of the year.
  2. Book in advance: Prices tend to rise as availability decreases, so it’s wise to book your flights and accommodations in advance to secure the best rates. Keep an eye out for any upcoming sales or promotional offers.
  3. Consider package deals: Many travel agencies and websites offer package deals that combine flights, accommodations, and activities. These bundles can save you money compared to booking separately.
  4. Use reward programs: If you’re a member of any airline or hotel loyalty programs, make sure to take advantage of any points or perks you may have. This can help offset the cost of your trip.
  5. Research free or low-cost activities: Hawaii offers a wealth of natural beauty and cultural experiences that are either free or low-cost. Take advantage of hiking trails, public beaches, and local festivals to enjoy the islands without breaking the bank.

By combining budgeting techniques with money-saving strategies, you can make your dream trip to Hawaii more affordable and accessible than you might have thought.

Accommodations in Hawaii

When it comes to choosing accommodations in Hawaii, you’ll find a wide range of options to suit every budget and preference. Whether you’re looking for luxury resorts, budget-friendly hotels, or unique vacation rentals, there’s something for everyone in the Aloha State.

Types of Accommodations

  1. Hotels: Hawaii is home to a plethora of hotels catering to different budgets and needs. From luxury resorts with world-class amenities to more affordable options, you’ll find a range of choices. Consider the location, amenities, and reviews when selecting a hotel that suits your preferences.
  2. Vacation Rentals: Renting a condominium, house, or apartment can be a great option for families or larger groups. Vacation rentals often come equipped with kitchen facilities, allowing you to save money by preparing meals at home. Popular platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo offer numerous options to choose from.
  3. Hostels: If you’re traveling on a tight budget or looking to meet fellow travelers, consider staying in a hostel. Hawaii has a few hostels scattered across the islands, offering affordable dormitory-style accommodations and communal areas.
  4. Camping: For adventure seekers and nature lovers, camping is a unique and budget-friendly option. Some state parks and campgrounds in Hawaii allow camping permits for a small fee. Wake up to breathtaking sunrises and fall asleep to the soothing sounds of the ocean or the chirping of native birds.

No matter which type of accommodation you choose, it’s important to book in advance, especially during peak travel seasons, to ensure availability and secure the best rates.

Directory of Budget Hotels

  1. Waikiki Beachside Hostel – Located just steps away from the iconic Waikiki Beach on Oahu, this hostel offers affordable dormitory-style accommodations and a friendly atmosphere.
  2. Volcano Hale – Situated on the Big Island near Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, this budget guesthouse provides comfortable rooms and easy access to explore the island’s volcanic wonders.
  3. Plantation Hale Suites – Located in Kapaa on the island of Kauai, this budget-friendly hotel offers spacious suites with kitchenettes and a central location for exploring the island’s natural beauty.
  4. Napili Sunset Beachfront Resort – Situated on the stunning Napili Bay in Maui, this beachfront resort offers affordable condominium-style units with spectacular ocean views.

These are just a few examples of budget accommodations in Hawaii. Remember to read reviews, compare prices, and consider the location and amenities that are important to you when making your decision.

Planning Activities

With its incredible natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, Hawaii offers a myriad of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a combination of both, there’s something for everyone.

Must-Visit Attractions

  1. Haleakala National Park: Located on Maui, Haleakala National Park is home to the dormant Haleakala Volcano, which offers a breathtaking sunrise experience. Hike through otherworldly landscapes, explore rare flora and fauna, and immerse yourself in the beauty of this unique park.
  2. Na Pali Coast: Found along the rugged north shore of Kauai, the Na Pali Coast is a must-visit attraction. Take a boat tour, hike the Kalalau Trail, or simply admire the stunning cliffs and turquoise waters from a lookout point.
  3. Volcanoes National Park: On the Big Island, Volcanoes National Park allows you to witness the power and beauty of an active volcano. Explore lava tubes, hike through rainforests, and marvel at the ever-changing volcanic landscape.
  4. Pearl Harbor: Pay homage to the history of World War II at Pearl Harbor on Oahu. Visit the USS Arizona Memorial and explore the museums to learn about the events that shaped this significant moment in history.
  5. Waimea Canyon: Known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” Waimea Canyon on Kauai offers breathtaking vistas and excellent hiking opportunities. Take in the panoramic views of vibrant red and green cliffs as you explore the trails.

These are just a few of the many attractions that Hawaii has to offer. Whether you choose to visit iconic landmarks or seek out hidden gems, you’re sure to create memories that will last a lifetime.

Exploring Free Options

While some activities and attractions in Hawaii can be quite costly, there are also plenty of free options available for those on a budget. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Beach hopping: With its abundance of stunning beaches, Hawaii offers endless opportunities for free fun in the sun. Pack a picnic, bring a beach towel, and spend the day exploring different beaches, swimming, and soaking up the tropical vibes.
  2. Hiking trails: Lace up your hiking boots and hit the trails to experience Hawaii’s natural beauty up close. Many island trails are free to access and offer incredible views of waterfalls, lush valleys, and breathtaking vistas.
  3. Cultural festivals: Keep an eye out for local cultural festivals and events happening during your visit. These often showcase traditional music, dance, crafts, and cuisine, giving you a chance to immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture for free or at a minimal cost.
  4. Snorkeling: Grab your mask and snorkel to explore the vibrant underwater world of Hawaii’s coral reefs. Many beaches offer excellent snorkeling opportunities, allowing you to spot colorful fish and even sea turtles without spending a dime.

By incorporating free activities into your itinerary, you can enjoy the beauty and experiences that Hawaii has to offer while keeping your budget intact.

Flights to Hawaii

Getting to Hawaii is an exciting part of your trip planning, and with several airlines offering flights to the islands, you have plenty of options to choose from. Consider factors such as prices, flight times, and amenities to find the best fit for your needs.

Southwest Airlines Deals

Southwest Airlines is known for its competitive prices and convenient flight options. They offer flights to several Hawaiian islands, making it a popular choice for travelers. Keep an eye out for their frequent sales and promotions, as they often offer discounted fares to Hawaii. By booking early and being flexible with your travel dates, you may be able to snag a great deal on Southwest Airlines.

Tips for Finding Cheap Flights

In addition to Southwest Airlines, there are other strategies you can use to find cheap flights to Hawaii. Here are a few tips to help you score the best deals:

  1. Flexibility is key: Being flexible with your travel dates can make a significant difference in price. Consider flying on weekdays or during off-peak seasons, as these times tend to have lower fares.
  2. Sign up for fare alerts: Subscribe to airlines’ newsletters or set fare alerts on travel websites to be notified of any price drops or special offers.
  3. Compare prices: Utilize flight comparison websites to compare prices from different airlines. Keeping an eye on multiple websites can help you find the best deal.
  4. Consider layovers: Opting for a flight with a layover can often result in savings. While it may add some extra travel time, it can be worth it if you’re on a budget.
  5. Book flights and accommodations together: Some travel agencies and websites offer discounted package deals that combine flights and accommodations. This can potentially save you money compared to booking separately.

Remember that flights to Hawaii can vary significantly in price depending on the time of year and how far in advance you book. By planning ahead and being open to different options, you can find affordable flights that fit your budget.

Viewer Tips for Hawaii Trip Planning

While researching and planning your trip to Hawaii, it’s essential to remember the value of shared insights and tips from fellow travelers. Everyone’s experiences can differ, and gathering different perspectives can help you make informed choices and discover hidden gems.

Consider joining online travel forums or social media groups focused on Hawaii travel. These platforms provide a space for people to share their itineraries, recommendations, and tips. You can ask questions, seek advice, and even connect with others who may be traveling to Hawaii around the same time.

It’s also worth reading travel blogs or watching vlogs of people who have visited Hawaii. They often provide detailed insights, firsthand experiences, and practical tips that can enhance your trip planning process. From restaurant recommendations to off-the-beaten-path attractions, you may uncover valuable information that you wouldn’t have come across otherwise.

Remember, the more you engage with other travelers and share insights, the more enriched your own journey becomes. So don’t hesitate to join the conversation, ask questions, and offer your own tips to fellow travelers who are planning their own Hawaiian adventure.

Cultural Activities in Hawaii

While Hawaii is famous for its stunning natural beauty, it also offers a rich cultural heritage that is worth exploring during your visit. Immerse yourself in the local culture by participating in traditional activities and experiencing the vibrant history of the islands.

Luau Considerations

Attending a luau is a popular cultural activity in Hawaii, allowing you to experience traditional music, dance, and cuisine. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind when choosing a luau:

  1. Research reputable luaus: With numerous luaus available in Hawaii, it’s important to research and choose one that provides an authentic experience. Look for luaus that showcase traditional dances, live music, and a delicious feast.
  2. Check online reviews: Reading reviews from previous attendees can give you an idea of the quality and authenticity of the luau. Pay attention to comments about the food, performances, and overall atmosphere.
  3. Book in advance: Luaus can quickly sell out, especially during peak travel seasons. To ensure availability, it’s recommended to book your tickets in advance.
  4. Consider transportation: Some luaus offer transportation options, while others require you to arrange your own. Take this into account when making your plans, as you want to ensure you have a safe and convenient way to get to and from the luau.

By incorporating a luau into your itinerary, you’ll have the opportunity to witness the beauty of traditional Hawaiian dance, music, and customs, providing a deeper understanding and appreciation for the local culture.

Museums and Canoeing

In addition to luaus, there are other cultural activities that you can explore in Hawaii. Consider visiting local museums and historical sites to gain insight into the islands’ rich heritage. Here are a few recommendations:

  1. Bishop Museum, Oahu: The Bishop Museum is Hawaii’s largest museum dedicated to the preservation and study of the history, culture, and natural sciences of the Pacific. Learn about the Polynesian voyagers, ancient Hawaiian artifacts, and the fascinating history of Hawaii.
  2. Iolani Palace, Oahu: Explore the only royal palace in the United States and immerse yourself in Hawaii’s royal history. Take a guided tour to learn about the monarchy era and admire the opulent furnishings and beautiful architecture.
  3. Hawaiian Canoe Paddling: Take part in a traditional Hawaiian canoe paddle experience to learn about the ancient Polynesian voyagers who first settled the islands. Join a guided tour or participate in an outrigger canoe race, where you can experience the thrill of paddling.

Participating in these cultural activities will not only enrich your Hawaii experience but also provide a deeper understanding of the islands’ heritage and traditions.

Reef Safety and Snorkeling

Hawaii is renowned for its incredible underwater landscapes and vibrant coral reefs, making snorkeling a popular activity for visitors. To ensure you have a safe and enjoyable snorkeling experience, it’s essential to be aware of reef safety and practice responsible snorkeling techniques.

Using Reef Safe Sunscreen

When snorkeling in Hawaii, it’s vital to use reef-safe sunscreen to protect both your skin and the fragile marine ecosystem. Traditional sunscreens often contain harmful chemicals that can damage coral reefs and harm marine life. Opt for a sunscreen that is labeled as “reef safe” or “biodegradable.”

Reef-safe sunscreens are formulated without oxybenzone and octinoxate, two chemicals that have been shown to contribute to coral bleaching and damage. Instead, they use mineral-based UV filters like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which are less harmful to the environment.

By choosing reef-safe sunscreen, you can enjoy the beauty of Hawaii’s underwater world while minimizing your impact on the delicate coral reefs.

Ocean Safety Tips

Snorkeling in Hawaii’s crystal-clear waters is an incredible experience, but it’s important to prioritize your safety. Here are some essential ocean safety tips to keep in mind:

  1. Check weather and surf conditions: Before heading out for a snorkeling excursion, check the weather forecast and ocean conditions. Avoid snorkeling in rough surf or during periods of high waves or strong currents.
  2. Snorkel with a buddy: Snorkeling is always safer when done with a partner. Find someone to snorkel with, and keep an eye on each other while exploring the underwater world to ensure everyone’s safety.
  3. Know your limits: Snorkeling can be physically demanding, especially if you’re not used to swimming in open water. Swim at a pace that is comfortable for you, and avoid pushing yourself beyond your limits.
  4. Respect wildlife and their habitats: While snorkeling, it’s important to keep a respectful distance from marine life and avoid touching or harassing them. Be aware of your surroundings and be mindful of the fragile coral reefs and its inhabitants.
  5. Follow local guidelines: Be sure to familiarize yourself with any specific snorkeling guidelines or regulations for the area you plan to visit. Some areas may have restricted or protected zones that require additional caution.

By following these ocean safety tips and practicing responsible snorkeling, you can have a safe and enjoyable experience exploring Hawaii’s vibrant underwater world.


Congratulations! You’ve reached the end of this comprehensive guide to planning your dream trip to Hawaii. By considering factors such as the right Hawaiian island, the best time to visit, budgeting tips, and accommodations, you’re well on your way to creating a memorable vacation.

Remember to take advantage of the wealth of activities and attractions Hawaii has to offer, from must-visit landmarks to free options that allow you to immerse yourself in nature and culture.

As you plan your trip, be open to sharing insights and tips with fellow travelers, as their experiences can provide valuable insights and enhance your own journey. Embrace the Aloha spirit and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in the beautiful paradise that is Hawaii.