THE SOLO ADVENTURER | TRAVELING HAWAII ALONE
The first question we ask is, are you really alone or do you just want some alone time? Doesn’t matter if you are actually alone or just want to escape your family for a little bit. While most of the tips in this read will need some real alone time to accomplish, there are still some things you can do alone where no one will know you are gone until it’s too late.
Need Some Advice?
The first advice for solo travelers is to travel in the offseason. You can take advantage of the kids back in school and the families being back home. The beaches will be somewhat empty, and the trails will be open for miles. When is this time you ask? The best time to travel for these conditions will be January 15th – March 15th, April 15th – June 15th, September 1st – November 15th. During these times there will be fewer people in Hawaii. This is considered the “Off Season” in Hawaii.
Your First day in town
There are a few things that you need to attempt while you are in Hawaii. The time of your arrival is important. Take advantage of things so the rest of your vacation is not all messed up because of jet lag.
1. Morning Arrival
You have been flying all night and you, like most of us, had a horrible night sleep on the plane. You will be tired but yet, you do not know what to do since it is morning. The biggest problem is you have all this luggage and nowhere to put it. If you are staying in an Airbnb or Hotel, simply ask if there is a place you can leave your bags while you wait for your room to be ready. If they do not have a place for you to leave your bags, you will have to do something that doesn’t require you to leave your bags unattended. Hang out at a local coffee shop. Don’t hang out at the beach with all your stuff. Find somewhere relaxing and just chill and plan your trip. If you rent a car, you can drive around while you are waiting, but DO NOT leave all your bags unattended!!
2. Mid Day Arrival
This is the perfect time to arrive in Hawaii. You probably got in early and are ready to rock and roll. Go pick up the rental car and go exploring. Grab a bite to eat somewhere fun like a food truck or local restaurant. By the time you have explored and eaten some food, your place is ready to check-in. Go get a shower and head out for an early dinner and then pass out by 9:00 pm. You will now be on the best sleep schedule for Hawaii. Waking up early and going to bed early.
3. Afternoon Arrival
Another great time to arrive. We recommend heading straight to your hotel or place of stay and check-in. Take a load off and shower up. Get an early dinner and hit the hay. Get ready to wake up early and a little groggy. Make sure you get some coffee for that next day. A perfect activity for the next morning is to join a sunrise photo tour 😉
4. Night Arrival
Oh boy, this is the worst. Most flights do not get in so late but in the case you do, simply go get some food, nothing heavy, and pass out. If you attempt to stay up and get some drinks you will regret it for the rest of your trip. The worst thing you can do is start the vacation on a sleep schedule that makes you sleep in. What a waste. The goal is to go to bed early and wake up early. There is way too much stuff to do to be sleeping in!
Tips For The Solo!
Make the most out of your time- you are either going to meet people and make a crew or roll through and have interactions. What do you do in both cases?
- First thing you should do on day one, get your tour out of the way. We recommend something such as a Circle Island Tour or a tour of the North Shore. You will always want to find something that has a small group number. You may meet some interesting people that you will want to hang out with later or you will discover an amazing place shown to you by the guide that you will want to explore more.
- Where to stay? We recommend Airbnb first and for most. You can stay in a small studio apartment or a private room with some cool locals. You will save so much money by doing this and if you are lucky, your host will tell you about the island and some secret places to explore. Not to mention you can hit the local farmers market and pick up some food to cook. That alone will save you tons of cash. Or you can pay for everything with a rewards card like the Marriot Bonvoy card and get some points for a free stay.
- Want to meet people? Check out Facebook groups or Events. There are so many groups on facebook that are dedicated to traveling in Hawaii. People will give you ideas about what to do and you might be able to find some meet up for hikes, drink and water activities. Events are another great place to find more local things to do. Do not limit yourself. Try a beach clean up while you are on vacation. The experience can be very rewarding and open up doors you did not think of. Read below on where to meet people.
- Getting around. If you did not rent a car, try the local City Bus. It’s called The Bus. For $5.50, you can ride The Bus all day and pretty much go everywhere. Use Google maps to get the routes. Lyft and Uber are here as well. Make sure you use them when you arrive. The price is much better than a Taxi. If you are going to rent a car and have not found one yet, use Turo. It’s like Airbnb for people’s cars.
- Call and ask for deals for last-minute bookings. The best thing you can do is call and ask if there are any deals for last-minute solo travelers. 9 times out of 10, tour companies that have one spot left will give you a deal. What’s the worst thing that can happen? More Tours.
If you have any questions about these topics, email Contact.
Time For Adventure!
The weather is unbelievable all the time in Hawaii. In the winter months (November-April) you can see more showers but that doesn’t mean your day will be lost. The summer (May-October) can be dryer and a little hotter. So be prepared and stay on top of the weather to get the most out of your vacation. Check current conditions in Hawaii.
There are so many great hikes in Hawaii but you need to be aware of what you are getting into. I know you have read about Stairway to heaven but we strongly recommend not doing this solo. If you are savvy, you can find people on IG that will take you up there. It might cost you a little but worth it. If you really want to do the stairs, message us and we will recommend a guy that can take you up.
A great hike to meet people is Koko crater and Lanikai pillbox. Both of these hikes are fairly easy and can be done within 2 hours. While up top you will run into other groups and solo travels. The best part about both of these hikes, is they have local breweries very close. Go cheers with others your accomplishments!
- #Beachxploring (made up that word just now)
You’re alone! Why waste your time at a beach everyone can go to? Get a car or bus and go find your beach. For the real adventure, take the H1 West and don’t stop. At the end of the road, you will find the most amazing beach, Yokohama Bay. If you manage to get your butt up early, you might be out there just bin time to see Dolphins jumping in the bay.
The best part about doing all this on your own is you don’t have to wait on anyone. You are free to pick and choose how long you stay at a beach and which beach you want to visit. With so many non-tourist beaches to find, you will be on a mission from day one. Do not spend too much time sitting at the beach though. There is so much more to see.
Sunset post up spot. Depending on if you are a social person and want to hang with locals or you are going to be the real solo and want to clear your mind during the sunset, we have some spots for you to pick. The most popular sunset spot for locals to hang out at for sunset is China Walls in Hawaii Kai. You will hear the music as you start to walk up. Go jump off the cliff with the locals but be aware of the swell. You can get messed up over here.
Solo sunset? Head up to the North Shore and find the Sunset Hills Pill Box above the skate park near the Banzai Pipeline. You could possibly have this spot all to your self or maybe 1 other person. This place will help you clear your mind and relax on the adventure you just had this day. If you want to hang in Waikiki, check out the Waikiki Wall for sunset.
- Other Adventure Ideas
It all depends on your skill level and what you are willing to get yourself into. How about swimming with sharks! That’s right, swim with sharks. How epic would that be! Or how about jumping out of a plane. Both are a great solo adventure for you to have under your belt. Maybe take a chill approach and do a discovery dive (if you are not certified). With no one else other than your self to hold you back, the choices are endless.
Food and Drinks For The Solo
Probably the absolute best thing about traveling solo is not having to please other peoples taste buds. You know what you like and are willing to try. You have a few types of options that we will list below.
- Food Trucks
These have become such a rave in Hawaii, you really can not drive more than one mile and not find one. Try to find something that has outside seating or is close to a beach where you can take the food. The best grouping of food trucks is at Sharks Cove on the North Shore. You can choose to sit down and eat there or take the food to go.
Best Loco Moco? Try Shore Fyre Grill!
- Sit Down
Some people think eat alone is weird. We think not. You have the best opportunity to people watch when eating solo. check out some better place in the China Town area to eat solo. No one will think you are a weirdo down there … they are already weird hahaha jk. Go get your self a bar seat at The Pig and The Lady or Opal Thai. At Opal’s, the owner will probably join you for a drink while you are waiting for the food.
The solo traveler’s sanctuary. Throughout Waikiki and Honolulu, you will find many places to grab a beer and talk with people at the bar. The best bar set up for talking with people would have to be the Waikiki Brew on Queen St. This is a local brewery that has unreal beer and food. The bar is circular so allows for good conversions. In Waikiki, check out Arnolds for the dive bar. Some real good conversations over there.
- Happy Hour
There is only one place we will recommend the solo traveler to hang out for Happy Hour and that is Duke’s on Sunday. You do not need to be hitting the bars every day you are in town but if you want to have some fun and want some people around, you need to hit up Duke’s on Sunday. Even if it is for one drink, and it better be a Mai Tai, you need to visit this classic bar on the beach.
PhotoCon Hawaii 2019 9/5-9/8
Coming up in September of 2019 is the 3rd annual PhotoCon Hawaii convention. Check out the even at https://photoconhawaii.com/
Go Forth and Explore 👊
The time for solo travel is now. The resources you have are endless and you should not be blindsided by anything if you do your research. Check out Airbnb for all kinds of deals, Facebook Groups, Instagram hashtags, it’s endless. You can even do the real backpacker thing and just tent it at beach parks if you want. Pick up one of those Hydro Flasks and stop wasting your money on bottles. Take one epic tour and then explore on your own. If you rent a car, check out Turo.