borderLava viewing on Hawaii's Big Island Lava viewing on Hawaii's Big Island

Hawaii’s Big Island FAQs

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  • What is the time difference from New Zealand?

    • Hawaii is at GMT-10 hours, the same as French Polynesia. New Zealand is at GMT+12 hours. So 12 Noon on Monday in New Zealand is 1 pm Sunday in Hawaii. Hawaii does not observe Daylight Savings Time so add +1 hour during this period each summer.
  • Where is the main airport on Hawaii’s Big Island?

    • Travel to Kona International Airport (KOA) in Kona to the west, or Hilo International Airport (ITO) in Hilo to the east. Most visitors arrive in Kona. There is also the option of flying into Honolulu International Airport (HNL) on Oahu first and then taking a short, 35-40 minute flight to Hawaii’s Big Island.
  • Do I need a car to get around Hawaii’s Big Island?

    • Many visitors enjoy taking guided bus tours to conveniently explore the island. Shuttles, taxis and public transport are also available. We recommend a rental car for flexibility and ease, and we strongly suggest booking before you arrive because quantities can be limited during busy seasons. All the major rental companies are found on the Big Island.
  • Do I need my passport to get to Hawaii’s Big Island?

    • You will need a passport to get to Hawaii, unless you are a US citizen (Hawaii is the 50th state of the United States). Learn more about entry requirements here.
  • What should I pack on my trip to Hawaii’s Big Island?

    • It’s warm on Hawaii’s Big Island, so pack your summer clothes. Pack a light, waterproof jacket for hiking or exploring the tropical rainforests of Hilo and the Hamakua Coast and warmer clothes if you plan to visit the uplands of Waimea and the higher elevations of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Bring casual dress clothes or resort wear if you plan on experiencing some fine dining. You can buy an Aloha Shirt and jandals (or slippers, as the locals call them) when you get here. Suits and ties are rarely worn here.
  • What currency does Hawaii use?

    • Hawaii's currency is the US dollar. Traveller's cheques aren't necessary since credit cards are widely accepted and ATM machines are plentiful. Don't worry if you forget something. Hawaii's retail stores and malls have everything you need, including plenty of sunscreen.
  • When is a good time to visit Hawaii’s Big Island?

    • Any time of year is a good time to visit Hawaii’s Big Island. At sea level, the average summer temperature is 29 degrees Celsius, 25.5 degrees Celsius in the winter. Trade winds keep things comfortable year-round.  Whale watching season runs from December through to May, with peak whale watching months between January and early April.
  • What language do they speak in Hawaii?

    • The official languages of Hawaii are English and Hawaiian, although Hawaiian is not commonly spoken. Major resort areas often have customer service representatives who speak Japanese.
  • What are Hawaii’s tipping rates?

    • US standards on tipping apply:
      Restaurants: 15-20%. Check to see if “gratuity” is included for large parties.
      Bar: $.50-$1 US per drink
      Housekeeping: $1 US per bed, per night
      Luggage porters: $1 US per bag
      Doorman: $1 US for calling a taxi
      Room Service: 10-15% of the total bill
      Taxi: 15% of fare
  • What is the US area code for Hawaii?

    • The area code for the state of Hawaii is (808).
  • How can I make international calls?

    • You can use phone calling cards or credit cards to make international calls. International calling cards are sold in local convenience stores.
  • Is there Internet access in Hawaii?

    • Internet access is readily available in Hawaii. Most resorts and hotels have Internet access.
  • What is the electrical voltage in Hawaii?

    • Electricity in the US is 115/120 volts at 60 cycles (60 Hz) per second. If your device does not accept this voltage, you may need to purchase a voltage converter.