Having fun is always a number one priority when going on vacations. Fun can be described in a lot of different activities for different tastes, whether it be hiking to experience the wonderful environment, experiencing the local cuisine, or basking in pristine blue waters. In Kauai, you will experience all sorts of fun and get a ton of memories. There are various areas of interest that suit both the young and old.
Kauai’s rich culture, majestic sceneries, luscious terrain, surfing activities, and beautiful beaches make it one of the top destinations to check out from your travel bucket list. To get the best experience from this beautiful island, take note of a few tips and be aware of these precautions to avoid any mishap.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Book flights early
Before heading out to that big vacation, it’s always best to book your flights at least eight (8) weeks before you intend to fly out. Airlines usually offer great discounts to early bird travelers due to a number of reasons. One of the most popular ones is the availability of seats months before the flight date.
If you have free mileage points or airline gift cards lying around, gather them up too and use them to save even more money. When you have free mileage points, use them scarcely, especially if you’re a frequent flyer. You may want to save it for the really expensive flights. Also remember that these points usually expire in a year, so use them up before then.
2. Visit multiple areas
If your budget allows, it is always best to plan your vacation with two or three separate locations in mind. A great way to experience Kauai is to discover more than just its beaches and resorts. The island is divided into four major areas – North Shore, South Shore, East Shore, and West Shore.
The South Shore is usually the most popular as most of the resorts and hotels are in this area. A bit crowded, but it’s where you can get the finest food, greatest parties, nice beaches.
If you want peace and serenity, the North and West Shores usually offer the best sceneries with uninterrupted views of Kauai’s luscious greens and breathtaking panoramas. With 75% of the island uninhabited, expect to be able to leave your car by the road and take long hikes or kayaks to these wonderful areas. With all of these different spots to visit, it is best to book cheaper accommodations so you can stay in multiple areas.
Quick tip – rent a car rather than taking public transport as this will give you more freedom to visit the different and more hidden parts of the island.
3. Pack essentials
When on vacation, tourists usually flock to resorts and restaurants to grab a bite or get drinks. If you’re going on a limited budget, packed essentials will be total lifesavers. Bring a water bottle when going on a hike or sunbathing by the beach. If you have a portable grill, hosting a cook-off by the shore will save you quite an amount, and it’s undeniably more fun. Lastly, before leaving for a road trip, you might want to prepare packed meals to save you not only money, but also time from dropping by restaurants to eat.
4. Stock up on supplies
Other than packed lunch and water bottles, stock up on other vacation essentials like sunscreen, bug repellents, and any gear you use for activities. It will save you a lot of money if you pack your own snorkeling equipment, water shoes, and a waterproof dry bag. When you unfortunately forget to, you can drop by Walmart for cheap, temporary gears. It’s only two miles from Lihue Airport and accepts coupons.
5. Casual is the unofficial dress code
And of course, dress for the occasion. Unless you are there for a wedding, bring only casual clothes. You can never go wrong with an Aloha shirt and pair of shorts. Also, don’t worry about wearing bikinis or other bathing suits as it is pretty common on the island. When you want to try the amazing hiking trails, it is best to bring your comfortable hiking shoes and lightweight rain jacket. And if you like hiking, just stop cleaning your shoes. The red mud will make it dirty again.
6. Only Get the Cues
Being in another place can be a very fulfilling moment in your life. Immersing yourself can be even better. But when you’re a Haole (local term for tourists), trying to speak their Pidgin language and not knowing how to speak it properly can be disrespectful for the Kama’aina (locals). Remember that you are in someone else’s home. Instead, learn the common terms so that you can easily understand what they are trying to say. Aloha means hello; Mahalo means thank you; Kapu means danger or keep out; Pali means cliff. Surf doesn’t mean surfs up but it is when water breaks on the shoreline. So, when they say it’s a strong surf, they mean well and you should be careful out there.
7. Swim with a buddy
As the island is mostly uninhabited, it is best to swim out with a buddy. With a swimming buddy, you can better avoid stepping on live corals. The locals take pride in protecting the marine animals and their habitat as a form of respect for the gods in the island. With a swimming buddy you’ll have some help spotting the occasional sharks or box-type jelly fishes for you and your buddy to avoid.
8. Don’t bring or take food from the island
The Garden Isle, as it’s locally called, produces an abundance of food as nutrition for all of its inhabitants including the local people and wildlife. The people respect the island so much that they strictly prohibit any contraband of food in and out of the island. Bringing in or taking food from the island is closely watched by local law enforcement and airport authorities. Expect a hard slap on the wrist when trying to do this.
9. Don’t bother the animals
The island is the home to hundreds of species of birds, insects, animals, and different types of fish. They roam free across the island and the surrounding waters. As much as you want to pet them or give them treats, the locals highly advise to keep a distance and observe them as they interact peacefully with the environment. Remember that the locals are not the only ones living on the island. They all respect each other in harmony with nature. If the animals want to touch you, well good for you. Give this harmony the respect it deserves.
10. Respect the locals
People in Kauai are very friendly people. They will accommodate you with anything you need and will sometimes go the extra mile to help you out in sticky situations. Even in normal traffic conditions, no one is honking their horns and shouting at each other. A simple overtake can be an amazing experience. No need to honk your horn. Just slowly overtake him and wave. They will wave back at you with a smile. A quick tip when renting a car, follow the one-lane bridge rule. When going to one of the few roads connected by one-lane bridges, let 5-7 cars pass you first before you attempt to cross. No need for a guy to tell you that you’re next or anything. When getting inside someone’s house, remember to take off your shoes before entering. It is considered rude to come in with them.
11. Respect the beach
The locals implement the guidelines within the entire beach. If you are packing lunch, make sure to clean up after you are done. If you get caught, you will answer to either the authorities or the wrath of the locals. You are also not allowed to smoke at public places especially at the beach. And lastly, never ever take sand from the beach. Although there are people who are accustomed to bringing even a tiny bottle of sand from the beaches they’ve visited, grabbing a few grains from the beaches of Kauai will not only enrage the locals but also the gods as it will curse you for the rest of your days.
Every adventure starts off a bit scary. But if you are readily prepared to be respectful, you will enjoy all the wonderful things the island of Kauai has to offer. The environment, the wildlife, the locals, and even the gods will be there to help you enjoy the beautiful things life has to offer.