Traveling to Hawaii? Here are some thing to keep in mind!
While tourism greatly benefits the local economy, visitors should always be conscious of the culture they are stepping into and be willing to adapt. Doing this will gradually bridge the gap between locals and tourists, creating genuine relationships, and a more respectful environment for all.
Here are 5 simple ways to embrace our way of life, using our favorite motto and acronym “Always CLIMB” (Challenge, Learn, Inspire, Master, and Believe).
CHALLENGE yourself and others to keep our island clean by cleaning up after yourselves. Whether it be at the beach or on a hike, taking a trash bag with you helps eliminate the waste that would otherwise be left behind and later amongst our wildlife. Taking the initiative to pick up any other trash you see along your way is always a good habit too, so let’s challenge ourselves to do better and keep our island clean.
LEARN to drive with aloha. This isn’t the mainland and you’re on vacation, so give yourself time to enjoy the scenic views and try not to be in a rush going from place to place. Now that DOESN’T mean drive EXTRA slow to look at turtles on the beach, (pull over and let traffic flow if you’re into that sorta thing) but it DOES mean throwing a shaka out as you cross lanes, not to drive recklessly, and not to beep your horn so much. The speed limits are a lot slower on the North side of the island so again, take in the beauty of the breathtaking Ko’olau mountains and the miles of roadside beaches. You’ll be SO glad you did!
INSPIRE others to respect the wildlife in the mountains, in the water or those sleeping on the shores. Remember that you are a guest in THEIR home and the last thing anyone would want is some stranger poking them, and if you didn’t know before, touching/petting sea turtles is illegal and can harm them. We want to especially emphasize this with any endangered wildlife or other protected areas.
MASTER the art of taking off your shoes as you enter someone’s home. This might seem odd but is definitely a sign of respect to your host. Just FYI, you know there’s a good party going on if you see a million pairs of slippers outside the front door! Just remember to take home the right pair of shoes at the end of the night 😛
BELIEVE in ancient myths and sacred places and respect them. There are sacred sites called Heiaus, or places of worship, all over the island and if you’re lucky to be able to explore one, please review any specific rules that may be onsite. An obvious rule would be to not touch or take anything that would cause damage to the site or yourself. And when they say it’s bad luck to take lava rocks home with you, don’t chance it and give TSA a reason to slow down the lines even more. There are literally thousands of souvenirs you can take home with you so if you’re smart you’d listen to this one and get yourself the box of macadamia nut chocolate instead. You’ll thank me later.
No matter where you travel in the world it is important to respect the culture of a place. Sometimes you can’t avoid looking like a tourist, but by following these five simple steps you’ll be able to blend in a little better. Keep in mind that these are just a few ways to travel smart but there are many more! Aloha isn’t just a word, it’s a way of life, and we want you take this spirit with you. ALOHA!