A Complete Guide to Visiting Hawaii for the First Time Story

We’ve visited Hawaii dozens of times over the years (and written many Hawaii travel articles for U.S. and Canadian magazines and newspapers).

We’re here to help you decide which island is ideal for you, where to stay and what to see and do – and we share helpful tips on things like car rentals and the best time to visit.

Entry rules for visiting Hawaii:

For international travelers, the rules for entering Hawaii are the same as the rules for entering the United States.

First, don’t rent at the airport. That’s the most expensive place to pick up your vehicle. Check the Gas Buddy app to find the cheapest gas locations.

Renting a car in Hawaii:

Budgeting for your first time to Hawaii:

To go mid-range, prepare to spend $200 to $350 a day. Budget hotels start at $150. You can find something mid-range starting at around $200 but don’t expect anything fancy at that price.

How long to stay in Hawaii?

These days, most people spend 9 to 10 days in Hawaii. That gives you enough time to get over jet lag, explore the island you’re on and still have some time to kick back and relax.

10 Days in Hawaii (or more)

For a first-time Hawaii itinerary, you might want to hit two islands, say Oahu and Maui (or Oahu and Kauai).

As Honolulu on Oahu is the state capital, you’ll find more direct flights to Honolulu from more places than to the other Hawaiian islands.

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