The Hawaiian Islands are more than an archipelago of paradisiacal islands, it’s also breathtaking views and volcanic islands! If you’d like to explore some of the Hawaiian Islands, follow me to learn more about the route I took.

GUIDES - HAWAII: just down below, you can find guides of the islands that are included into the full itinerary:
Kauai: 2 days to discover Kauai
Oahu: 2 days to explore Oahu
Big Island: 3 days to go around Big Island
Expenses of my 1 week trip to the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii - Kauai - Napali Coast Hawaii - Oahu - view over Waikiki from Tantalus Lookout Hawaii - Oahu - Pearl Harbour - USS Arizona Memorial Hawaii - Big Island - Volcanoes National Park - Halemaʻumaʻu pit crater within Kilauea Caldera
Click to enlarge images.

The Hawaiian Islands are an archipelago of four major islands: Kauai, Oahu, Maui and Big Island. Moreover there are two small islands that can be visited from Maui: Lanai and Molokai. And there are two other islands that can not really be visited. On my trip, I only visited three of the four major islands. I keep Maui, Lanai and Molokai for another trip. But if you prefer, you can travel the six islands all at once!
To get from island to island, the only solution is to take domestic flights, and to get around each island, you’ll need a rental car. However, it’s important to keep in mind that it’s a pretty expensive destination.

Map - the Hawaiian Islands, itinerary

When to go?

Hawaii has a subtropical climate with two main seasons: the dry and the wet season. Therefore, the best period to go is between May and October. However try to avoid the months from December to April and from June to August because the prices are soaring!


During my trip to Hawaii, I visited three of the four major islands:

  • Kauai: the wildest island
  • Oahu: where you can find the capital Honolulu and Pearl Harbor
  • Big Island: which contains the world’s most active volcano

I spent one week on this trip, but of course you can stay longer if you want to visit each island in more depth or explore the entire archipelago.

Schedule - Hawaii - Kauai, Oahu and Big Island
Click to enlarge the image.

To get started, take a flight to go to the island of Kauai! When arriving at Lihue Airport, go to pick up the rental car you have previously booked, and you’ll then be ready to explore the island for two days. Then, it’ll be time to take a flight to go to Oahu (Daniel K. Inouye International Airport), and go to pick up your rental car in order to explore the island for another two days. And finally, take a flight that will bring you to Big Island (Kona International Airport), where you can go around the island in three days.

Tip: for the plane ticket, it’s possible to buy a multi-city instead of a round trip, that is to say that the flight arrives in one city and leaves from another, instead of arriving and leaving from the same city. To do so, you can book a flight on an online website or you can also do it in a travel agency. Here, I did Paris-Kauai / Big Island-Paris.
For Kauai / Oahu and Oahu / Big Island flights, these are domestic one-way flights.


Administrative part

To go to Hawaii which is the fiftieth state of the United States, the procedure is exactly the same as going to the U.S. EU citizens don’t need a visa, but an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) for a stay up to 90 days. It costs $14 and is valid for up to 2 years. You’ll also need a valid passport that has to be valid 6 months after the date of your return. Normally you don’t need to bring your ESTA to the airport as the request is electronically linked to your passport.
For more information about the ESTA or to find out if you are eligible to apply for an ESTA, you can go to check the website

What to bring there


Hawaii - wall socket

In Hawaii, the power outlets have 2 flat pins and look exactly like the American power outlets, so if you’ve already been to the U.S. or to Canada before then you can use the adapter you’ve brought back then! Otherwise, I recommend buying one before going on your trip, that way you’ll be able to choose it (a cheap one, a convenient one, …). By the way, I also highly recommend bringing a triple socket, otherwise you’ll only be able to plug one device at the time (or you’ll need to buy several adapters).

Tip: the best thing to do is to buy a universal adapter. That way you won’t need to buy a specific one each time you travel to a country you’ve never been to.

Last thing to know, over there the voltage is 110V, but many devices like smartphone or camera chargers can use voltage from 110V to 220V. So unless you want to bring your own hairdryer or shaver, you normally won’t need a voltage converter. However, double check what is written on each of your devices before going to buy a voltage converter.


American dollars

When going to Hawaii, in order to get American dollars, I think that the best solution is to change money before leaving. Because on the island, finding a currency exchange office won’t be easy and withdrawing cash will make you pay taxes and fees. And it’s the same thing for payments by credit card.

Note: throughout the Hawaiian Islands you’ll only find Hawaiian banks, there are no American banks over there.



In Hawaii, like in the U.S., all stores display prices without tax. The tax is approximately 4% in Hawaii. So you just need to know that prices will be higher at checkout. However there is an exception on all unprocessed food because the tax doesn’t apply.


If you are planning on going to the restaurant, be aware that the bill can quickly become very expensive because on top of the price of the meal is added the 4% tax and you also have to add 15% tip.


In the Hawaiian Islands, you’ll see « Foodland » supermarkets almost everywhere, you’ll find everything there. In particular they have a « catering » section, where you can create your own poke bowls. They have various marinated tuna recipes, but also octopus, scallops, mussels… They put the seafood in a small plastic pot and in addition, you can also order small pots of rice. So that will make a good meal to take away! Just remember to bring cooler bags.

Tip: I also recommend getting a loyalty card at Foodland because it’ll save you a bit of money. Some products are on sale, but only for cardholders. The first hotel where I stayed gave a loyalty card to all hotel guests. But you can also request one at the front desk of any store.


First, I recommend booking hotel rooms located close to airports, especially for Kauai and Oahu because if you have flights to catch early in the morning, you won’t have to get up too early. You’ll not only be able to optimize your time but in addition, your hotel night will also be cheaper than if you had booked it in a tourist area.
Warning: does not apply to Big Island as you’ll have to go around the island.

Second, try booking hotels that offer complimentary breakfast because that way you won’t have to worry about figuring out where and how to have breakfast.


Plane tickets

When going to Hawaii, it’s interesting to at least visit two islands, therefore, you have to consider buying a multi-city plane ticket in order to arrive on one island and leave from another, instead of arriving and leaving from the same island. That way you’ll save a one-way plane ticket in order to reach your starting point. And to move from island to island, you’ll need to take domestic one-way flights.


In order to visit the Hawaiian Islands you’ll need a car, except maybe for Oahu because the bus network is pretty well developed. However it’s quite restrictive, so renting a car on each of the different islands from the airport is the best solution. Moreover, you won’t need an international drivers licence for a trip up to 3 months. Just remember to take out CDW (included into Gold Mastercards and Visa Premier cards) and LIS insurance when renting a car.

Tip: for car rentals in Hawaii airports, you’ll always need to take shuttle buses in order to reach the car rental agency whom you made your booking with, because they are all located outside the airports. There is a shuttle for each company, so don’t get the wrong one in order to avoid being yelled at.


To be able to find your way when driving the car, there are several options available:

  • Google MAPS: it works even without any connection, it’s just that there won’t be traffic information. All you have to do is to save the maps before going or even once there, as long as you have an internet connection. To do so, on your smartphone, in the application, click on your profile picture at the top right of the screen, then click on « offline maps ». And then click on « select your own map » and zoom out the map until you see the area you want to save. You have to repeat the operation several times if the area to be saved is too large.
  • GPS rental from the rental car company: you can rent an optional GPS from the rental car company, but it’s pretty expensive and you won’t have traffic information either. In my opinion, this is not an option to consider. However, if you are renting a high-end car, there is frequently a GPS already available in the car, so without extra charge. But you won’t know it until you get on board, because no one will tell you, either at booking or when getting the keys.

Shopping, what to bring back home?

During a trip to the Hawaiian Islands, you should buy some souvenirs:

  • chocolate covered macadamia nuts: you can go to buy some directly from the Mauna Loa factory which is located in Hilo on Big Island, otherwise you can also easily find some at Foodland
  • a Hawaiian shirt: you can find some at ABC stores
  • common souvenirs: key-rings, magnets, mugs, t-shirts …

Thanks for reading :)