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Trip List by Kauai_No_Ka_Oi

How to blend in with the locals in Hawaii.

31 Aug 2007  I'm always mistaken for a local.
4.5 of 5 stars based on 9 votes

Some things just scream "I'm a TOURIST". These tips will hopefully help you blend in a little better when visiting the Hawaiian islands.

  • Category: Best of
  • Traveler type: Culture, Sightseeing, Never been before, Beachgoers
  • Appeals to: Couples/romantics, Honeymooners, Singles, Families with small children, Families with teenagers, Large groups, Seniors, Students, Budget travellers , Tourists
  • Seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
  • 1. Rent an SUV...

    or any other vehicle besides a convertible. Resist the urge to feel the wind through your hair (and the tropical sun burning your pale white skin) and get a car with a top to it. If you still insist on getting a convertible, at least figure out how to put the top up before you leave the rental lot. Few things look as silly as a couple desparately trying to put the top up within 1/2 a block of the airport as a sudden rain shower soaks them to the skin.

  • 2. Leave the new white tennis shoes at home...

    especially if you plan on visiting Kauai or doing any sort of hiking. Kauai red dirt does NOT wash out and the hiking trails are often very wet & muddy.

  • 3. What's with the Crocs...

    if you aren't gardening or washing your car, do not wear Crocs while wandering around the islands if you don't want to look like a tourist. This is not an attack on the rubber shoes, just a fashion tip. Last time I went, it looked like about 90% of the non-local population had a pair on their feet.

  • 4. Wear cheap rubber slippers to the beach...

    and leave all expensive items in the hotel safe. Crime is a fact of life everywhere on the planet. Don't bring anything to the beach that you would be upset to lose (this includes the stuff you leave in your car). $5 sunglasses work just as well as the $100 ones if you plan on leaving them on the beach when you enter the ocean.

  • 5. Drive the speed limit...

    if you're trying to read a map - pull over, if you're lost - ask for directions (this comment can be ignored by female readers - we already KNOW how to ask for directions). Sightseeing is great but driving 20 mph in a 40 mph zone while admiring the scenery is the equivalent of someone towing a trailer at 55 mph in the fast lane.

  • 6. Eat fish...

    unless you are allergic to seafood, there is no reason why you should visit an island in the middle of the ocean and eat beef and chicken at every meal. Be adventurous in your food choices - you can always get the steak and mashed potatoes at home.

  • 7. Speak English in a normal tone...

    Hawaii is part of the United States. People there can understand you even if you can't understand them. Don't even bother trying to speak pidgin to blend in. If the words find their way into your vocabulary - great! - but trying to force the words just sounds bad.

  • 8. Wear sunscreen...

    nothing ruins a vacation faster than a sunburn. Even if you don't use sunscreen at home, use it in Hawaii. The islands are closer to the equator than any state in the union - the UV rays can fry your skin in minutes if you're not careful. Plus, all that peeling skin is SO unattractive.

  • 9. Dress up for nice restaurants...

    or any activity where you would normally dress up at home. Hawaii is casual but show some respect - if you are going to church or out to eat at a nice restaurant, leave the khaki shorts & rubber slippers/hiking boots in your room and break out the "business casual" clothing.

  • 10. Know your limits in the ocean...

    or in other words - "if in doubt, don't go out". While you're at it, watch your kids too. The ocean is not Disneyland. Many visitors go out in the water and never return through sheer carelessness and ignorance. A few useful things to keep in mind: swim at beaches where there is a lifeguard present, make sure your kids are playing close enough for YOU to rescue them, never turn your back on the ocean, and don't annoy the monk seals on the beach - they're sleeping, not ill.

  • 11. Smile and be nice...

    most of the anti-tourist sentiment starts when somebody starts acting like they are better than the locals. Relax and treat people the way you would like to be treated.