Heading to Oahu for the first time? Here are 17 important Oahu travel tips for visitors that ensure you have the best trip ever.
If you’re planning a visit to Oahu, Hawaii, today’s post is for you. For some, planning a trip to Hawaii is a bucket list destination, but it might feel entirely overwhelming. Having lived on Oahu for ten years, I can honestly say it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world, but there are definitely some tips I have for visitors, especially those coming to the Hawaiian Islands for the first time. Even if you’ve visited before, these Oahu travel tips are worth revisiting 🙂
17 Important Oahu Travel Tips For The Best Trip Ever
Be respectful of the island. This is called “malama” and it means “to take care of” in Hawaiian.
Plan at least three days on Oahu.
Learn about Hawaiian culture — and respect it.
Don’t book illegal vacation rentals. This is a big issue in Hawaii with the rise of sites like AirBnb, where very wealthy people from the mainland will come in and buy up real estate, which puts many local families out of housing. It has not only caused a housing crisis, but it changes the tempo of communities. There are very few legal rentals on each island, so please do your research when booking. Here’s what you need to know about Oahu’s short term rental laws.
Use reef-safe sunscreen – especially because the law bans the use of toxic sunscreens with oxybenzone and octinoxate.
Pack at least two swimsuits. Grab my full Hawaii packing guide if you need more packing inspiration!
Don’t trespass. There are many hikes listed online or hiking groups that involve going onto private land to access the trailhead. DO NOT DO THIS.
Rent a car to make getting around the island easier, but you don’t need anything fancy!
Traffic can be awful, so plan accordingly.
Pack a hat, sunglasses and a reusable water bottle to stay protected and hydrated. Refillable water bottles are a great way to cut back on single-use plastics!
Don’t bother the wildlife. Hawaiian green sea turtles and monk seals are protected species, but leaving all animals alone is a great approach.
Book activities in advance to ensure availability.
Try local food, such as poke, shave ice, and plate lunches, for a taste of Hawaii’s unique flavors.
Stay in Waikiki for part of your vacation.
But don’t spend all your time in Waikiki. There is so much of Oahu to explore!
Be mindful of instructions from lifeguards…and listen to them.
Don’t overbook your schedule. So much of what Hawaii has to offer involves slowing down!
I hope these tips are helpful in creating an Oahu vacation that is equal parts fun and relaxing!