From ‘aloha’ to Jurassic Park.

Off to Hawaii? Lucky you. Here’s what to know before you go.

Ah, Hawaii. The name alone conjures up images of being barefoot on the beach, coconut in hand, palm trees swaying overhead, your worries washing out with each receding wave. And at just a nine-hour flight from Australia’s eastern seaboard, it’s no wonder Hawaii is a favourite for every breed of traveller (here’s looking at you, honeymooners, families and outdoor enthusiasts).

If you’ve never been to Hawaii, it’s probably high-time you remedied that. And Velocity’s Partnership with Hawaiian Airlines means Velocity Frequent Flyer members can earn and redeem Velocity Points and gain Status Credits on eligible flights from Sydney   and Brisbane to Honolulu and the neighbouring islands of Maui, Kauai and The Big Island (yep, that’s the biggest island). Not only that, savvy travellers can make Hawaii a relaxing stopover on their way to the many other North American destinations serviced by Hawaiian Airlines, picking up Velocity Points and Status Credits for the whole journey. Just remember to show your Velocity membership number at check-in.

If you want to relax into the Hawaiian way of life before you even take-off, we’d suggest saying ‘aloha’ to the extra legroom, priority service and additional amenities that come with Hawaiian Airlines Extra Comfort seats. Or, even better, take ‘laidback’ literally with a lie-flat Hawaiian Airlines Business Class seat. With signature Hawaiian cuisine, local drinks and island-inspired hospitality, you’ll be feeling the spirit of Hawaii from the moment you sit down.

Here are ten other tips for first-time visitors to Hawaii.

1.   ‘Aloha’ is more than just a wordIt’s a way of life. As well as the
Hawaiian word for greetings and goodbyes, ‘aloha’ also translates to ‘love’, ‘compassion’, ‘peace’ and ‘mercy’ – and there are plenty of other interpretations. One translation means ‘joyfully sharing life’, which, funnily enough, is quite easy to do on this string of Pacific islands.

2. Most locals aren’t Hawaiian
Hawaii is one of the most culturally diverse places in the world, with strong influence from Asian, Polynesian and American cultures. That said, the term ‘Hawaiian’ is generally only used to refer to those with native Hawaiian heritage – around 10% of the population. Everyone else refers to themselves as ‘locals’. 

3. You need a visa to visit
Don’t let the tropical island vibes fool you. Hawaii is the 50th state of the USA, so visiting requires an ESTA visa, which you can easily apply for online.

4. It’s the perfect family holiday destination
Kid-friendly beaches. Volcanoes. All-inclusive resorts (often with babysitting services). Yep, Hawaii is the perfect spot for your next family getaway. And with Hawaiian Airlines, each traveller gets 2 x 32kgs of included luggage so you can take along everything you need and still have room for the shopping you’ll bring home from Honolulu’s excellent malls. Don’t forget to set up Family Points Pooling before you go to pile up your Velocity Points and Status Credits, too.

5. The best time of year to visit
Trick headline, it’s always prime time to visit Hawaii. The islands seem to live in perpetual summer, with the thermometer generally sitting somewhere between 23ºC and 27ºC during the day. School holidays and the northern hemisphere’s summer months do tend to get crowded, though.

6. Learn some lingo
Hawaii has two official languages: English and Hawaiian. While you won’t have any problems getting by on English alone, it’s always nice to learn a few key local phrases beyond ‘aloha’. For thank you, use ‘mahalo’. For pardon/excuse me, use ‘e kala mai’. And mix up a farewell ‘aloha’ with an ‘a hui hou’ – which means until we meet again.

7. There are more beaches than Waikiki
The world-famous Waikiki Beach is awesome, but it only scratches the surface when it comes to the stretches of sand and surf along Hawaii’s six visitable islands. These ten beaches on Oahu are a great place to start.

8. Hawaiian cuisine 101
Between poke and acai bowls, you’ve probably noticed that Hawaiian food is particularly on-trend right now, and for good reason. It’s fresh, tasty and generally speaking, not too bad for you. (There is a lot of Spam, though). Hawaiian food is a melting pot of the diverse cultures that call the islands home. And despite its name, Hawaiian pizza wasn’t invented there (that honour – or horror, depending on your tastebuds – goes to a Greek-Canadian from Ontario).

9. They’re not actually called Hawaiian shirts
We all know them. We’ve all owned one. Those brightly printed button-down shirts that just seem to scream ‘every day is casual Friday’. But what we in Australia call ‘Hawaiian shirts’ actually have a different name on Hawaii – they’re called ‘aloha shirts’. And yes, you should buy one.

10. Welcome to Hollywood’s backlot
Don’t worry if the surrounding scenes of Hawaii start to feel familiar, you’re not in the matrix. Plenty of Hollywood blockbusters and TV shows have been filmed using Hawaii as a backdrop, from Forgetting Sarah Marshall to 50 First Dates, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Lost and the green rolling fields of Jurassic Park. True film buffs can take in a movie sites tour. Just remember, if the dinosaurs start running, you should too.
 

Ready to make the trip to Hawaii? Of course you are. Earn Velocity Points and Status Credits when you book a Hawaiian Airlines flight through HawaiianAirlines.com. Don’t forget to show your Velocity membership card at check-in to earn Velocity Points and Status Credits.