Hawaii At The Crossroads With Tourism

Coping With Burgeoning Hawaii Travel Stress

A Hawaii vacation should be fun, relaxing, and even transformational. Yet, Hawaii travel stress is real, and it’s more true now than ever before. We’re seeing it clearly in your comments. Moreover, travel isn’t exactly what it used to be in a myriad of ways. So welcome to the new world.

Whether you’re headed for a regular trip to the Hawaii you love, or the trip of a lifetime to the islands, anxiety, worry, tension, and raised blood pressure are at some level hard to avoid. Here’s why and what you can do about it.

Researchers think the most frequently stressful Hawaii travel experiences are associated with pre-trip planning and your itinerary choices. Once in Hawaii, stressors include weather, traffic, flight delays, and disagreements among travel partners.

Hawaii travel anxiety is to a large degree associated with fear of the unknown. As we just return to travel in a post-Covid world, things aren’t entirely familiar any longer either. There’s more stress, too, around trip planning and what to expect when you’re here. While some of this anxiety is unavoidable, it can also ruin your vacation, and that’s the last thing anyone wants.

We look at how to manage Hawaii travel stress: causes, symptoms, treatment.

Causes of Hawaii travel stress.

It’s different from person to person, of course. Jeff has been a world-traveler his entire life, but to this day, enclosed spaces, and, too many people in close proximity, set him off. Other people may find that Hawaii travel anxiety is their norm, and it may have emanated from a bad trip or from nothing obvious. Jeff once had an extremely turbulent Delta L-1011 flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu. He hasn’t totally forgotten it in over 30 years, and when there’s extreme turbulence, it brings that right back.

1. Apprehension around flying or about long, over-water flights. This is among the most common causes of Hawaii travel anxiety. Other aspects of flight fear include the take-off and landing experience, turbulence aloft, and fear associated with being up to three hours away from the nearest place to land on a Hawaii flight. Fear of airplane crashes, and of course, claustrophobia in general, or on long flights are other factors.

2. Agoraphobia or the fear of being in public places. Who hasn’t experienced some of that because of Covid? That’s said to have increased dramatically in the past two years and we have no doubt.

3. Anxiety about returning to daily life following your Hawaii vacation.

4. Anxiety about your Hawaii travel plans. This can include concerns about costs (oh yeah!), about experiences meeting your expectations, including accommodations, car rental, restaurants, activities, and shopping, and general interactions.

5. Jet lag. The long flight to Hawaii, from 5 to 10 hours, increases the possibility of anxiety, malaise, and of course, jet lag.

6. Changes in daily routines, Hawaii culture shock, and the unexpected can exacerbate stress. Also, perceived loss of control compared with normal life.

Symptoms of Hawaii travel anxiety.

1. Difficulty focusing.
2. Being more irritable.
3. Feeling tired.
4. Upset stomach.
5. Elevated pulse or blood pressure.
6. Headaches.
7. Shortness of breath.
8. General malaise.
9. Sleep disruption.
10. Mood swings.

Coping techniques for Hawaii travel stress

1. Know what your triggers are and deal with them proactively. For example, one of yours might mean having enough food with you when traveling to not be dependent on the airline or whether a restaurant is open and available. Exhaustion before your Hawaii vacation is also a formula for trouble. So do what you can to arrive rested, prepared, and ready to enjoy Hawaii.

2. Plan well, calmly and enjoyably. Have your ducks in a row, so to speak. Review online maps before you drive to your Hawaii accommodation rather than at the last minute. Research your trip enough to have many options. Take care of things at home so that you don’t have to worry excessively about what you leave behind. Pace your trip planning, to make it nearly as much fun as the trip to Hawaii itself. Immerse yourself in YouTube videos depicting where in Hawaii you are planning to go.

3. Come to Hawaii ready. That means being in physical shape to participate in the Hawaii activities you and your travel partners desire. Don’t become a travel statistic.

4. Make flights to Hawaii enjoyable. Book as direct a flight to your destination as possible. Saving a little, but having to make multiple stops with layovers isn’t a recipe for a good Hawaii vacation.

Once on-board, do things that you enjoy to help pass the time. Listening to Hawaii music comes to mind. And by way of planning for that flight, do you know how to access entertainment on your airline’s flight to Hawaii? It wouldn’t be a bad idea to check that out before leaving home.

5. Manage your expectations in Hawaii. While planning and anticipating having a great Hawaii vacation is normal, unrealistic expectations, especially now, can lead to disappointment and increased Hawaii travel stress. Set the bar low so as to avoid this phenomenon. Don’t plan to be on one end of an island, for one thing, and immediately rush across the island for something else. Do you realize the traffic here can be as bad as anywhere on the mainland? The same is  true with changing islands mid-vacation, too. You lose a lot of time and encounter significant traffic issues changing islands, including airports, car rentals, and hotels. Plan accordingly.

6. Take time to enjoy the different pace of life in Hawaii.

We all know that time crunches are a huge stresser. So give yourself enough time and don’t rush things; it’s not the way here. Please come to Hawaii with a positive attitude and be accepting of things you find, even when they are exactly as you expected or had hoped. Get ready to enjoy people and new experiences that are different here than on the mainland.

7. Plan time to decompress on returning from your Hawaii vacation. Can you set aside a day or two off after returning to fully soak in the benefits of having been in Hawaii?

And in conclusion, if you’ve experienced Hawaii travel anxiety before, do take it seriously. We want you to enjoy your trip and return to Hawaii again.

What are your tips to have a stress-free Hawaii vacation now? Please add your comments below.

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15 thoughts on “Coping With Burgeoning Hawaii Travel Stress”

  1. This is a question that only you can really answer. Will it ruin your day / trip if you do have to deal with obnoxious locals? If the answer to that is yes then look elsewhere.

    But more useful – just ignore the locals who think the island belongs exclusively them. You will find plenty of locals who will be helpful and happy to see you and appreciate your business. Hawaii is no different than any other vacation destination from the perspective that insufferable fools can be found anywhere.

    Best of luck with whatever you decide.


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