The Things You Should Definitely Do (And Not Do) In Hawaii

Attn: Triple M Breakfast Show

The Things You Should Definitely Do (And Not Do) In Hawaii Pixabay

Next week, Triple M Rocks Hawaii.

Given the…ummm….reputation of our breakfast team, we thought we should do a bit of research and get some advice from our mates at Hawaii Tourism, Jetstar and Outrigger Resorts, who are looking after us, on the pointers for our trip.


DO Go beneath the surface. Besides the sun and beaches, Hawaii is a rich place full of beautiful, proud people who love telling stories and having fun. It won’t be hard to make friends. Try something new. Whether the rich cuisine and flavours, fresh pineapple, trying out surfing or jet-skiing, or visiting the other islands rather than staying on Waikiki Beach and thinking you’ve seen Hawaii.

DON’T Match. Aloha attire (Hawaiian shirts and shorts) is pretty common, especially on “Aloha Friday”, but don’t wear the same thing as your family or fellow travelers. It screams tourists, rather than “I’m here to learn and enjoy the culture” Board shorts and singlets are ubiquitous. Probs better to stick to those. 

DO Give directions using either ma uka (toward the mountains) or ma kai (toward the sea). Everything is in either one of those directions. So you’ll never get lost… (famous last words).

DON’T Take rocks home. Hawaiian culture states that taking lava rocks out of their state will incur the wrath of the Gods. Same goes for sand. Even if you’re skeptical, what are you going to do with a handful of rock at home? Exactly. Just leave it.

DO Bring gifts. It’s common to bring gifts, ideally from your homeland, for business meetings or when invited to locals homes. We’d better pack some jars of vegemite – who doesn’t like that?

DON’T Make “lei” jokes. The traditional floral garland is highly valued and a part of everyday life. Everyone in Hawaii has been asked by foreigners if they “want a lei” a thousand times. And it wasn’t funny the first time.

DO Butchering the local lingo isn’t to be advised and getting it right will go a long way. Tip: Kaua’i rhymes with Hawaii rather than Maui.

DON’T Just stay at the resort. As brilliant as the Outrigger Resorts are, you need to get out and experience everything you can.

DO Embrace the Aloha Spirit – kisses on the cheeks, hugs for men – and don’t wipe your face after a kiss. Like spraying your hands with disinfectant after a handshake.

DON’T Swim alone. Make sure you’re safe in the water by sticking to lifeguard protected areas or scuba diving tour companies.

DO Sing and dance. Many of the famous Hawaiian stories are musically based and locals love to crack out the ukulele and other instruments and bust some shapes. Join in!

DO Bring a bag. Maui, Lanai and Molokai have banned plastic bags and other places will follow soon. Good excuse to pick up a tote that you can take back for the family as a souvenir after the trip. Respect for the land is called mālama ʻāina and it’s taken very seriously.

DON’T Annoy the turtles or seals. There’s a good chance you’ll see Hawaiian monk seals or green sea turtles on the beaches. Both are endangered and therefore protected. Just let them get on with their lives and do the same yourself. This is also considered mālama ʻāina.

DO Tip. 20% of your bill is about right – be aware that your wait staff rely on this to get by. It’s not a lot to you but a lot to them.

DON’T Be afraid of adventure. Deep sea diving, helicopter rides, kayaking, or going down a zipline. If you ever wanted to try one of them, there’s nowhere better than Hawaii.

DO Get underwater. The snorkeling is incredible.

DO Pau hana. This means to finish work and enjoy food and a few drinks with co-workers. That’s practically an Australian institution, so no excuses there.