We sat down with Beverly Mullee, CTC, Director, Sales at Classic Vacations to explore Hawaii from the lens of any traveler.
Q: What are the new trends for Hawaii vacations?
The Aloha Spirit doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world except Hawaii. Hawaii is a tourist-friendly, year-round destination perfect for multi-generational vacations, honeymoons and romance trips, and adventures for the more active tourist. Classic Vacations has seen an uptick in experiential travel, including activities such as visiting Pearl Harbor, taking a helicopter tour, a hiking to a volcano, ziplining, or learning to surf. Golf is also very popular on all the islands, and tee times can be pre booked through Classic Vacations. Whether you want to relax on a beautiful beach with gold, red, black and even green sand, or take part in family activities and children’s’ programs at your hotel/resort, Hawaii offers something for everyone.
Q: What’s the best way to experience Hawaiian culture?
Hawaii is a melting pot of cultures. Get out and explore! It’s safe to drive in Hawaii, and most visitors rent a car on the outer islands or for a day or two on Oahu. On Oahu, drive along the coast to North Shore. Stop along the way for “shaved ice,” or have lunch at the many shrimp/food trucks. One thing you must do is visit the Polynesian Cultural Center to learn more about the many cultures of the Hawaiian Islands. Be sure to do a city tour of Honolulu and visit Iolani Palace, the only royal palace on American soil. On the Island of Hawaii (the Big Island), visit a coffee farm or one of the orchid nurseries. Or if you prefer, pre book tours with certified guides which are available on all islands. Also be sure to partake in a luau … a Hawaiian party or feast accompanied by entertainment, dancing (including the famous hula), a Kalua pig, and the famous “poi” made from the taro root. And don’t forget to accompany your meal with a tropical Mai Tai, a Blue Hawaiian, or a Pina Colada.
Q: If travelers want to see multiple islands, what are your recommendations?
It depends on the traveler. For action and a bit more hustle and bustle, don’t miss out on Oahu. Honolulu and Waikiki have great shopping centers (i.e., The Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, and the Ala Moana Shopping Center), a variety of restaurants, nightly entertainment and bars. On the outer Island of Maui, evening excitement and entertainment is in the town of Lahaina, with great restaurants/bars and a bit more night life. On every island, travelers can find a place to relax; however, Kauai, the Big Island, and Lanai have a more laid-back atmosphere.
Q: If a traveler had to choose only one island, which do you recommend, and why?
The question that needs to be answered is what experience they’re looking for. If they want an active island, then choose Oahu. If they want more lush tropical vegetation, I suggest Kauai where you can stay down in sunny Poipu or go up to Princeville with the most spectacular views of Hanalei Bay. Travelers can go to Maui and get two different experiences – active adventure on the Kaanapali side and relaxation on the Wailea side. And the Big Island has much to be discovered with its active volcano, coffee farms, orchid farms, macadamia farms, and one of the most unique terrains in the world featuring hardened lava flows from many years ago.
Q: You should never leave Hawaii without…
…planning a return trip back to the islands to create more fond memories. But also, be sure to pick up some souvenirs and take the tastes of Hawaii back home with you – the local malasadas(donuts), Kona Coffee, chocolate-covered macadamia candy, and island cookies are all great options. Mahalo!