When travelling to Hawaii from the UK, it is important to limit the stress as the journey will take a while. Firstly, check that you have all your travel documents to hand, including your passport and boarding pass. Before driving to the airport, make sure you have booked your airport parking – for instance if you’re travelling from Birmingham, book your parking at Birmingham airport in advance online. Also, check to see if your flight isn’t delayed or cancelled and leave plenty of time to get to the airport!
Hawaii is made up of a chain of eight main islands and your adventure in Hawaii begins with Honolulu, Oahu. To simplify this intro to Oahu, I will break it down into the South, North, East and West sides. I recommend that you rent a car for the duration of your stay on Oahu as public buses will not allow you to make multiple road side stops for photo ops and to gawk at the majesty of the island. Plus, a circle-island drive is a big must.
Most tourists end up on lodging somewhere along the famed Waikiki beach down South. With a world-class shopping belt, combination of top-notch and hole-in-the-wall eateries and bars, and scenic vistas of Diamond Head (ancient volcanic crater), Waikiki certainly is a good place to start. As Waikiki Beach offers perfectly sized waves for beginners, begin working your way up to the ranks of Hawaiian surf legends Duke Kahanamoku and Eddie Aikau here.
If you overhear a local saying, “I’m heading up country,” it means they are making a trip to the North Shore. Boasting world famous surf spots like Banzai Pipeline and Waimea Bay, the best surfers in the world flock upon these surf havens to partake in the big-wave surf contests that only happen in winter. On a big day, waves can reach up to more than 40 feet in height so acting cute and splashing around in the surf is not an option. Do what I do best and get comfortable on the beach to openly gawk at all the hot surfer dudes.
If you head East, you have to stop at Kailua Bay, Makapu’u Beach and Sandy Beach. Locals love BBQ-ing, kite-flying, sun bathing, kayaking, body boarding and surfing on these beaches so ensure you load up on sunscreen and beer. Who knows, you may even meet a local who will share his world-famous Hawaiian reefer with you.
Head West for more beach time. Throw in a BBQ and a night of camping at one of the many campsites and you have the epitome of a typical local weekend on Oahu. Do not forget to make some time for several hikes. With its perfect year-round weather, Oahu boasts breathtaking trails that will lead you to hidden waterfalls, indigenous flora and fauna, and what I can only describe as the best views in the world.
Despite all the human activity that takes place on Oahu’s beaches, they are usually pristine. Locals have a strong sense of ownership when it comes to being one with the land and it is best for you to keep that in mind. Everyone is friendly and laid-back and you can’t help but wonder if it is because they are stoned out of their minds, or that they simply appreciate the fact that they live in paradise. After a few days on Oahu, even the most cynical and jaded of people will be scrambling for a pen to apply for the ever vacant position of “Hawaiian beach bum”.
On returning to the UK from Hawaii, be sure that you have checked your flight isn’t cancelled or delayed ,because you could be waiting a long time at the airport if so! It’s also important to check that you haven’t bought anything while you were away which may be prohibited in the UK. Also, check you haven’t gone over your baggage weight limit. When you land in the UK, your next step will depend on which parking service you had chosen. For example, if you lived in Edinburgh, Scotland you may have selected the Edinburgh airport parking meet and greet service and would await your car at the terminal. If not, hail a taxi from outside the terminal or locate the train station.