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Before Going to Hawaii - Essential Information

Hawaii Travel Planner


Map of the Hawaiian Islands


Casual is definitely the name of the game in Hawaii. You'll rarely see a necktie and even sports jackets on men are a rare sight. For more details we suggest you read our article entitled, Packing For Your Hawaii Vacation.


Hawaii uses the standard US 110-120 volt, 60 cycle AC.

Money Matters

Hawaii uses standard United States currency. All major international credit cards, including American Express, MasterCard and Visa, are acceptable at most locations. You'll find cash machines all over the islands, at banks, in hotels and in convenience stores. You may pay a surcharge for withdrawing your money, however.

Tipping works just the same way as everywhere else. A 15-20% gratuity is standard for restaurants. Other folks also appreciate a token of your appreciation including baggage porters, taxi drivers, tour guides and valet parking attendants. For more details, read our feature on tipping in Hawaii.

If you're traveling from a foreign country, instead of converting money, which can be expensive, check out to see if your ATM card is honored anywhere near your accommodations. The ATM card has gone a long way to eliminate the use of travelers checks and money exchanges.

Time Differences

Hawaii is the same day as the mainland and one day earlier than Asia. In Hawaii it's two hours earlier than in California and five hours earlier than in Philadelphia. It's ten hours earlier than London. Hawaii does not observe daylight savings time, so in the summer it's three hours earlier than in California and six hours earlier than in Philadelphia. For more details, read our feature How to Know What Time It Is In Hawaii.

Vaccinations and Pets

None are required for you and your family, but don't even think about bringing your pets. Animals are subject to a strict quarantine which is bound to be longer than your vacation. You can find out more in our feature Traveling With a Pet to Hawaii

Visas and Passports

Entry requirements for Hawaii are the same as they are for the rest of the United States. That means you don't need a passport if you're a US citizen. Canadian visitors will require a passport.


The weather is perfect almost every time of the year. There are months when the rain is heavier and months when it's a bit hotter. For detailed information take a look at our article entitled, So How's the Weather?

When to Visit

There really is no time when it's not the perfect time to visit Hawaii. There are, however, two peak tourist seasons when the islands are more crowded and prices are higher. Those seasons are June through August and December through February. There are other times when you may also encounter more tourists. Many Japanese take their vacations in late April and early May during Golden Week. During this period Waikiki is more crowded. The Merrie Monarch festival is held in Hilo on the Big Island each year during the week after Easter, so you may wish to avoid the Hilo area during the festival. We suggest you read our feature When to Visit Hawaii

Related articles:

Why Hawaii?
If you're just considering a trip to the islands and are not sure it's the place for you, this is an article that you really need to read.

How to Decide When to Visit Hawaii
Our tips for deciding when to visit Hawaii, which island(s) to visit, how to book airfare and lodging, and much more.

Romance in Paradise
Hawaii is a top world destination for weddings, honeymoons and romantic vacations. We'll help you plan your special romantic trip.

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