adventure, Big Island, hawaii, honolulu, honolulu, leis, oahu, oahu, tourism, tourist, Travel

How to spot a tourist in Hawaii

Dreaming of a vacation in Paradise?

Are you headed to one of the Hawaiian islands soon?

Don’t want to stand out while you are in Waikiki, the North Shore,  Lahaina or one of the beautiful beaches of Kauai?

Here’s a less than comprehensive list of things to avoid or ways to stand out if that’s your jam.  Next to wearing an “I’m on vacation!” t-shirt, these 5 ideas will help you scream your vacation status to the world.  I promise.  We’ve got you covered.  In fact, just to make sure these are all doable and actually work as obvious giveaways we went ahead and tried them out over the years.  You’re welcome.  Sometimes a good travel blogger and her family just have to take one for the team.

Disclaimer:  Vacations are exciting.  People get carried away.  In all fairness and reality, before we lived here we did all of these things so read this with a grain of salt, take it at face value (free and funny) and enjoy your vacation in whatever way makes you happy.  xo

And now, without further ado, here are my top 5 ways to stand out as a tourist in Hawaii!

  1. Coerce every member of your travel group to wear matching clothes.  I don’t mean everyone in a bathing suit; I mean COMMIT!  Wear the same pattern of fabric all over all of your bodies.  Don’t be basic and stick to the clothes you would wear at home.  Go tropical!  Go BOLD!  This is not something you should attempt to do half way.RaaschHawaiiv1
  2. Get seriously sunburned.  Don’t wear any sunscreen.  Pretend like skin cancer is not a thing.   This look is best achieved by wearing as little clothing as possible and strategically placing an object (book, hat, sand shovel…) across your pasty white bod.  I wasn’t aware of this dead giveaway until our 10 year old recently scored some pink cheeks and shoulders from a full day in the pool with her distracted mother…er, me.  As we went out to dinner she heaved a heavy sigh and announced, “Great, now I look like a tourist!”

    No babies were sunburned!  This is just her pasty white baby-roll bod.
  3. Pretend you know how to hula and play the gift shop ukuleles every chance you get.  Strum made up chords and sing Mele Kalikimaka even if your trip falls outside the Christmas season.  (Because that’s the only Hawaiian song you know.) DSC_1497
  4. Attend a lua.  Wait, there’s more!  When the food is served stare at the poi like you’ve just been served a plate of burnt hair and chutney.  Make gagging sounds and refuse to try this sacred food of the Hawaiians.  DSC_1522
  5. Go full Hawaiian.  You are on vacation!  How many times will you be in Hawaii?  Who cares what anyone else thinks?!  Go all out and soak up every second of your island experience.  You will never see any of these people ever again.  CIMG8405


We visited Hawaii several times before our opportunity to live on Oahu finally arose.  No doubt we were some of the touristy-ist tourists to ever step off a Hawaiian Airlines flight because how can you not want to soak up every bit of the cheerful, plumeria scented awesomeness that is Hawaii?  I used to arrive in a coma of excitement and sob as I boarded the plane to fly home.  (Maybe that speaks more to my emotional imbalance than to anything about Hawaii but WHATEVER.)

The islands of Hawaii are magical.  The people are beautiful, soulful, kind and mysterious.  Can you think of more awesome characteristics for hosts?  Oahu itself is an island of fewer than 600 square miles and yet it’s quite possible to spend a lifetime and never fully understand it’s intricacies and mysteries.  It’s captivating beauty and the pull of the island are things you have to see and feel to truly understand and appreciate.  While you are going “Full Hawaiian” on your vacation, take time to thank the locals who serve, assist, coordinate and simply make your vacation possible.  Take some time to get to know them.  Appreciate their love of the aina (land) and learn how to slow down…the Hawaiian way.  (In matching clothes if that’s what floats your boat!)

Mahalo nui loa…. xoxo


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