Don’t: Trespass on Private Land

Some of Hawaii’s incredible natural resources are just out of reach. We’re talking about hidden waterfalls, thrilling hikes, swimming holes, etc. on private land. It can be tempting to adopt the “better to beg for forgiveness than ask permission” mindset.
Especially when you’re out in what feels like the middle of nowhere, you might wonder who you’re hurting—or who would know.

With millions and millions of visitors to Hawaii every year, you can bet that plenty of people have tried their luck. You can also envision how exhausting it can be for a private landowner to continue to try to keep their land private, while worrying what might happen if someone were to get injured on their property.

Private landowners have their reasons for keeping their land private. Respect their wishes—or get permission. There are not many in Hawaii who look kindly on trespassers.

Don’t: Park Illegally

Imagine that you’re a homeowner in Hawaii, and you come home after a long day at work to find your driveway illegally blocked by a car. Or that your mailbox was blocked all day by a beachgoer so you couldn’t receive your mail. Or, that it took you an extra 30 minutes to get home because cars illegally parked on the side of the road disrupted traffic flow.

Those are the kinds of things that people who live in popular areas in Hawaii have to deal with every day. If you want to respect the people who call these islands their home, respect the parking regulations. Don’t ignore the signs because “everyone’s doing it.”

Instead, be conscious and careful of where you park in Hawaii, and make sure you’re in a legal spot. Those who live in Hawaii will thank you.

Don’t: Expect Things in Hawaii to Be the Same as the Mainland

Daily rainbows. Whale sightings. Sunsets on the beach. You’ll have plenty of “only in Hawaii” moments in the Aloha State.

Of course, not every “only in Hawaii” moment will be a pleasant one. You’ll experience some frustrations, too. For example, you might discover that all of the stores on island are out of the one ingredient you need for the special dinner you’re cooking tomorrow. Or that one of your packages might get lost for weeks at a time, last spotted in California. Or that the credit card machines at the grocery store might all go on the fritz, and lines stretch toward the back of the store while cashiers hand-write transactions.

It’s always good to remember that Hawaii isn’t the mainland—and there’s a reason you chose to live here. The more you leave your mainland expectations behind and simply embrace the whole of Hawaii for what it is, the more you’ll enjoy island life—both its perks and its quirks.

Do: Leave Time to Talk Story

And speaking of island time, sometimes the line at Foodland grinds to a halt because the cashier is talking story with the man who used to coach her son’s baseball team.

When you’re in a hurry, it’s easy to wish that Hawaii were a more of a purely transactional place. But when you exchange a smile and aloha—and maybe even some chatter—with people while you run errands, it can make the whole endeavor more pleasant.

In other words, slow down, take your time to interact with the people around you—and enjoy.

Do: Remember That Hawaii Is “Home”

One of the best ways to respect the culture in Hawaii is to remember that these lands are sacred to its people, the native Hawaiians who birthed generation after generation before European arrival. Hawaii is their home, and if you treat it the way you’d want your home to be treated, that’s the ultimate show of respect.