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6 Steps to Plan Your Perfect First Trip to Hawaii

How to make the most of traveling through the beautiful Hawaiian islands.

Hawaii is an incredibly beautiful part of the world, apart from the hustle and bustle of the mainland. It offers a diverse landscape and unforgettable views that make it the trip of a lifetime for many travelers.

With so much to see and do, it can be hard to plan the first trip there. Here are six steps for planning your perfect first trip to Hawaii.

1. Decide Where to Go

Hawaii isn’t just one island; it’s an archipelago. That means that it’s a collection of eight main islands. Therefore, you can’t just decide to go to Hawaii and see everything; you need to plan which islands you want to see and how you’re going to get there.

The Big Island is one of the most common stopping points. It also offers colored sand beaches, snorkeling, lush rainforests, and incredible volcanoes. When you’re planning your trip, check out Luxury Retreats for amazing accommodation on Big Island and to get a better idea of the surroundings.

Kauai is the island that appeals to nature lovers, and Maui boasts some of the world’s best beaches. Oahu is known as “the Gathering Place” as it’s the most populated and is great for those with an active social life.

2. Decide When to Go

While the majority of photos that attracted you to Hawaii likely showcased incredible sunsets over a hot beach, Hawaii has fluctuating seasons. April to October tends to be the dry, sunny season, with the wet season spanning from November to March. The main tourist season is from December to April when everything (and everyone) is most active.

3. Book the Accommodations Early

As soon as you know when and where you’ll be going, start making reservations and booking accommodations as desirable areas can book up nearly a year in advance during the busy season. This is especially important if you dream of a luxury vacation, full of pampering and relaxation.

This step should also be done well ahead of flights, as you’ll want to secure your location before you’ve invested in the often pricey air travel. If you don’t book far enough in advance, you might have to change your plan; it’s far easier to change your itinerary than your flights.

4. Create a Basic Itinerary

Start to put together a basic itinerary of the specific activities you want to do, to create a rough schedule of events. As you will likely be traveling between islands and have to book extras in advance, having this in place can give you a better idea of what’s going to fit in your plan and what isn’t. It’s at this time that you’ll want to prioritize your must-see sights.

Some people hate having an itinerary and prefer unstructured travel. Don’t think of this as a document set in stone. This should just be a reminder of scheduled events so that you don’t miss out on opportunities. If some days are blocked off for laying on a beach or exploration, leave the details out.

5. Book the Flights

Keep an eye out for flight deals as you go through the first four steps of your planning efforts. Do some research to see what the average price is for flights to Hawaii from your area to get a better idea of cost-saving potential. If you see a great deal well in advance, speed up your planning timeline to take advantage of them.

If you don’t find a deal well in advance, you’ll want to book anywhere from eight to twelve weeks before your trip. Prices tend to start to rise at the six-week point.

6. Pack Wisely and Go!

Hawaii is easy to pack for! You’ll need beachwear and light clothing, as well as ample sun protection (hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, etc.) Bring a light jacket for the cooler evenings and water shoes to wear while exploring coral-rich areas. Hiking shoes are ideal for traveling through the less populated areas and bringing your own beach towel is always a wise idea.

Once everything else is handled, the only thing left to do is go and have the adventure of a lifetime!

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