It's Travel Tips Tuesday! Don't forget to link up your favorite travel tips at the end of this post!
Researching our recent trip to Oahu has reaffirmed my suspicion that there are a lot of really stupid people using the internet. Shocking, I know. For several evenings prior to our trip, if I was found chortling on the couch, it was certain that I had found another real question asked by a real tourist that was completely unfounded in reality.
What kind of money do you need in Hawaii?
What language do they speak in Hawaii?
Can I drop off a rental car on a different island?
How do they keep the islands from floating away?
Although those are truly funny, they represent a general feeling that Hawaii is really a mysterious, foreign place that is much less American than advertised. In many ways, the feeling in Hawaii is distinctly different from the contiguous US, but this was really obvious at the airport. This airport just did not have quite the same feel of the typical American airport and much of it caught me off guard. These tips for navigating the Honolulu International Airport will ensure that you arrive and depart with your Aloha spirit intact.
- This is an open air terminal (read: no air conditioning or awnings in some areas). Luckily, there are plenty of areas where you can retreat inside if the weather is not cooperative, but you should be prepared to spend some of your time waiting in line or connecting to terminals out of doors. Plan your wardrobe accordingly.
- Have you ever heard of “Island Time?” Well, it applies at the airport on an island, as well. Expect everything to run just a little slower than normal and arrive with some extra time to spare.
- Speaking of extra time, if you are returning to the US, you will have to pass through Agricultural Screening. Again, plan for some extra time. Also note that for some airlines there will be only one Agricultural screening station and many, many people to filter through that station. For example, American Airlines only flies out of HNL once or twice a day, so all the passengers will need to be processed at the same time and those lines will only open just before the flight. If you are in a hurry, look for an agricultural screening line with more personnel at another airline.
- If you are flying out of the terminal for Hawaiian airlines, there are many, many dining options available. If you are flying out of any other terminal, the dining options are slim, BUT….
- You will want to plan carefully if you expect to grab a bite to eat at the airport. The food is extremely expensive, with counter service averaging $15 per person and table service averaging $25 per person. If at all possible, grab a snack or sandwich before you get to the airport.
- The airport stores offer pineapples, macadamia nuts, coffee, and other Made in Hawaii items if you are only happy purchasing them at ridiculous prices. In other words, buy your souvenirs before you get to the airport.