Helpful Hawaii Hints (Part 2)

Advice Help Support Tips Assistance Guidance

Alright, it’s time for round 2 of our “Helpful Hawaii Hints” compilations. As a reminder, we post these hints weekly on our Facebook page. They are typically in response to questions that we’re frequently asked by guests. Every time we hit 10 new hints, we’ll share them here with you all. Consider it a sort of multi-part Hawaii FAQ. If you have any questions, please comment with them so we can incorporate their answers into a future “Helpful Hawaii Hint!”

  1. There are a few key Hawaiian words and phrases that you will frequently hear or see on the islands. “Wahine” means women, “Kane” means men and “Keiki” means children. “Aloha” can mean hello, goodbye or love/affection. “Mahalo” means thank you, “E Komo Mai” means welcome and “A hui hou” is until we meet again. “Ono” means delicious (as well as a very ono type of fish), and “Honu” is the word for turtle. “Pau” means finished, all done.
  2. Looking for groceries in Waikiki? You’ve got quite a few options. At the Ala Moana Center, there’s a Foodland, which has just about everything your typical supermarket would stock. Just 0.2 iles up Keeaumoku St. from the Ala Moana Center is a Walmart. This would probably be your best option for cheap groceries, but they  may not carry everything you need in terms of fresh products. Within Waikiki itself, there are two Food Pantry locations, which have almost everything that Foodland sells but their prices can be significantly higher due to their convenient proximity to the major hotels. And of course if you need something quick, there’s always the ABC stores!
  3. Did you know the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center on Kalakaua Avenue offers Hawaiian cultural programs Monday through Saturday? And the best part is, they’re FREE! You can learn how ti give Hawaiian lomilomi massages, make beautiful leis or quilts, discover your hidden ukulele or hula dancing talents or just enjoy some island entertainment. Find their schedule here:
  4. Every Friday night at 7:45 PM, the Hilton Hawaiian Village puts on a dazzling fireworks display. For this reason, some of the dinner cruise companies will either extend their cruises that night or else send out a cruise specifically to view the show. You can also view the show from the beach or some of the nearby restaurants. For dinner cruises or restaurants, you’ll want to make reservations early on in the week to ensure you get a great spot.
  5. If you or anyone in your travel party is disabled or has mobility concerns, please contact us prior to your trip! We can assist with arranging wheelchair or motorized scooter rentals, booking tours and activities that can accommodate your needs and providing information regarding transportation for the duration of your stay.
  6. Each Hawaiian island has its own unique history, personality and appeal. When planning your vacation, you may want to consider visiting more than one to make the most of your time here. There are one-day tours between the main islands, or you could island hop (spend a few days on one island, fly over to another, spend a few days there, etc.) Each island has a nickname – Oahu is “The Gathering Place,” Hawaii is “The Big Island,” Maui is “The Valley Isle,” and Kauai is “The Garden Isle.” Molokai is known as “The Friendly Isle,” Lanai as “The Pineapple Isle,” Niihau as “The Forbidden Isle” and Kahoolawe as “The Target Isle.”
  7. Book well in advance whenever possible. This is actually useful for 2 reasons – 1. You will ensure yourself a spot. Tours, activities and shows really do sell out here on a regular basis. And 2. It gives you a chance to spread out your expenditures so budgeting is easier. If you do it right, you may not even need to really pay for much once you’re here other than food, drinks and souvenirs!
  8. If you’re visiting from the mainland, it may surprise you to find that your bank probably doesn’t have a presence here on the islands. We are the only state that doesn’t have any of the popular megabanks – Bank of America, Citi, Chase, Wells Fargo, etc. Instead, we have First Hawaiian Bank and Bank of Hawaii. Just something to keep in mind! And speaking of banks, when traveling anywhere, it’s always a good idea to check in with your bank or credit card company to give them a heads up and to find out if there are any restrictions on your account in terms of how much cash you can take out from an ATM at once, or any daily spending limits.
  9. Here on the islands, we love celebrations of any kind – birthdays, weddings, honeymoons, anniversaries, bachelor/bachelorette parties, promotions, retirements, you name it! So if you’re celebrating something special, tell everyone about it – your hotel, your concierge, your tour guides, waiters and the restaurants, etc. Why? Because we want to congratulate you and go out of our way to make sure your special occasion is properly recognized with all the aloha you can handle!
  10. Even paradise has its occasional problems – here, we’ve got box jellyfish. Every month, about 9-12 days after the full moon, Oahu’s south and leeward shores get an influx of these not-so-friendly creatures. During these “invasions,” most popular beaches will post warning signs and places like Hanauma Bay may even close down. Box jellyfish stings are quite painful and may require medical attention. Our advice? Stay informed and have a plan! This website is a great resource if you’re planning a vacation to the islands and want to know when the most likely days for jellyfish will be: You could also use this site to check the day-of situations for jellyfish and beach closures:

Need advice on planning your Hawaiian vacation? Contact Elite Concierge at 808-971-1943 or


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