Kauai Travel Tips
Getting to Kauai
Kauai’s main airport is Lihue Airport (LIH) in southeastern Lihue. Many airlines now offer non-stop service to Kauai. There is also the option of flying into Honolulu International Airport (HNL) on Oahu first and then heading to Kauai.
Airport travel tips
• Check-in baggage is limited to 2 pieces per person.
• Carry-on baggage is limited to one piece, along with one personal item such as a laptop computer bag, purse, briefcase, camera etc.
• Be careful not to have overweight baggage; US weight restrictions when flying domestically are 22.5 kilograms, or 31 kilograms when flying internationally. The flight from the continental US to Hawaii is a domestic flight.
• Hang identification tags on your baggage and attach an identifying label to your laptop.
• When departing from Hawaii, all baggage must first pass through Agriculture Quarantine before proceeding to the airline counter for check-in. It is best not to bring fruit or other plants, unless you show proof that you are allowed to export them. Without proof, fruits, vegetables and plants will not clear Customs and will be confiscated.
• Once you check-in for your flight, you must go through a security scan. You must have your boarding pass and identification or passport ready.
• Follow the recommended airport arrival and boarding time given by your airline or travel agency. It’s always best to arrive at the airport early.
Staying on Kauai
There is a variety of accommodation to meet your needs. You’ll find everything from budget hotels to luxury resorts in the areas of North Shore (Princeville), East Side (Coconut Coast), Lihue (Kalapaki), South Shore (Poipu), West Side (Waimea). Kauai is also known for its charming bed and breakfasts and guest cottages. You can also rent a condominium (apartment) or home, which is great for on-the-go families.
Any time of year is a good time to visit Kauai with average yearly temperatures ranging between 28.8 and 20.5 degrees C. Ocean temperatures are also perfect, ranging from 21 to 27 degrees C. Trade winds keep things comfortable year-round.
Shuttles and tours are available in Kauai. You may also want to rent a car. This will allow you the flexibility to tour Waimea Canyon one day then spend the next in Hanalei Town.
Some of the lush interior of the island is only accessible by air, so you may find yourself taking a sightseeing sky adventure by helicopter or small plane. Don’t miss the chance to travel by foot on Kauai’s magnificent hiking trails or vast, trackless beaches.
Hawaii’s currency is the US dollar. You can exchange currency at Lihue Airport (LIH), at the other major neighbouring island airports and at resort destinations. Major credit cards are widely accepted and ATM machines are plentiful. Travellers cheques are accepted at many businesses.
What to pack
It's warm in Hawaii, so pack your summer attire. You may want to bring a jacket or jumper for the evenings and a light rain jacket for hiking. Suits and ties are very rarely worn here. Bring some casual dress clothes or resort wear if you plan on experiencing Kauai’s nightlife. You can buy an aloha shirt and thongs (or slippers, as the locals call them) when you get here.
US standards on tipping apply:
Restaurants: 15-20%. Check to see if “gratuity” is included for large parties.
Bar: $0.50-$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
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.
Internet and electricity
Internet access is readily available 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.
The US Department of Agriculture enforces strict rules regarding the exportation of uninspected plants and animals and requires a declaration form for each person arriving in Hawaii. When departing, your luggage must pass a pre-flight screening for uninspected fruits and plants. You are welcome to take inspected fresh flowers and fruits home. Items purchased at the airport or mailed home from local vendors are inspected for you.
Useful Phone Numbers and Links:
New Zealand Consulate: 808 595-2200
Ambulance/Police/Fire Department: 911
Lihue Airport Visitor Information: (808) 246-1448
Kauai Visitor Information: (800) 262-1400
Kauai Visitors Bureau: (808) 245-3971
Marriage License and Civil Unions: (808) 586-4545
Agricultural Inspection: (808) 245-2831
Camping Permits: (808) 241-4463 (county), (808) 274-3444 (state)
Wilcox Memorial Hospital: (808) 245-1100
Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital: (808) 338-9431
Learn More: Special Needs Travelers