Hawaii Fails To Make 2023 Conde Nast Traveler Popular Destination List

Avoid Sold Out Signs + 12 Other Hawaii Travel Problems

Today’s post also features various Hawaii travel problems and issues you may encounter plus our advice for avoiding them. Read them below to have an easier Hawaii vacation.

Sold out signs.

As more and more flights head to the islands, a lack of willing employees on the ground to serve tourists has collided with capacity restrictions. Restaurants, car rentals, and activities are in short supply or limited by how many guests each can have. You may be surprised to learn that flowers (like beautiful Hawaii lei) are scarce too. These all need to be planned and booked in advance. Many comments this week confirm that this plan works.

Hawaii Jellyfish stings.

Don’t run into these. Instead, read our Hawaii jellyfish stings update for 2021 that includes all dates to stay current on where and when these could be a problem on your Hawaii vacation.

Tips: Check the full moon calendar when planning your vacation and add 8 days. This gives you a good approximation of when jellyfish arrive on the Hawaiian Islands’ south-facing beaches only. Expect them to be a problem for 3 days. The seriousness of the invasions varies from month to month and is not predictable.’

Driving citations.

While perhaps not an emergency, these are definitely something you’ll want to avoid, and the best way is to slow down. Hawaii is known for strict speed enforcement with expensive fines, often using laser detection. Read our 2021 Ten Safe Driving Tips for Hawaii Visitors.

Mosquito bites.

Oh yeah, we have mosquitos in Hawaii! While mosquitoes can be dangerous and transmit diseases like Zika and West Nile virus, malaria, and dengue fever, we have not recently had any of these problems here in Hawaii. The likelihood of being bitten is far worse towards sunset and when in wooded or especially wet areas. Unless you have a rare reaction, bites are usually self-resolving. To expedite that, don’t scratch no matter what. Doing so always makes the bites itch worse and/or last longer. Beyond that, breaking the skin can result in infection, and Hawaii is definitely known for nasty skin infections.

Tips: First, avoid the sting. We used to do that with Deep Woods Off, which works great in Hawaii. Also, try Natural Mosquito Repellents. Things to ease the itch include After Bite (we always have this on hand), cortisone cream, calamine lotion, or a paste made from meat tenderizer and water. Another suggestion is to apply cold papaya (save half to eat). Ice might make it feel better too.

Centipedes and scorpions.

Okay, on the subject of scorpions, yes, they are here in Hawaii. If you’ve ever seen one, please let us know. We’ve only seen one dead one, once. Centipedes – we have plenty. We’ve written about them before, and we’ve experienced them ourselves!

Ocean safety.

This is perhaps one of the greatest concerns for Hawaii visitors. Underestimating the danger of the ocean can, and frequently does lead, to injury or death. It’s always smart to read the ocean safety brochure in your hotel room on arrival. If you aren’t completely sure of the situation, swim where there is a lifeguard.

Tip: Read Daring Ocean Rescue Video Reminder of Hawaii Beach Safety.


With the ocean all around and cruising or sailing experiences abundant, avoiding seasickness is a top priority. There are so many theories on how to take precautions, but for us, being on the ocean during relatively calm conditions is always number one. Things we have tried with varying degrees of success include:

1. Scopalomine patch. This took too long to work and really should be started well in advance of rough sea conditions. However, this works, albeit with side effects.
2. Dramamine. These should be called sleeping pills, given how drowsy they make you feel.
3. Bonine. It is better than Dramamine, but still completely unacceptable in terms of how they can leave you feeling and how ineffective they can be.
4. Wrist pressure bands. The manual bands have what feels like a marble inside that presses on the inner wrist. These just did nothing in our experience.
5. Ginger candy. Tastes great but doesn’t seem to do a thing to alleviate seasickness.


Keeping out of the sun or wearing covering (and SPF protectant) clothes during the hottest part of the day is obviously the best choice. The second is a good sunscreen. I’ve been sticking with the recommendations from the Environmental Work Group.

Read our update on Hawaiian Sunscreen.

Coral scrapes.

These can be very painful and serious, with the distinct possibility of infection, and are clearly best avoided. If you get scraped, however, here are some basic suggestions:

First, clean the scrape with soap and water. Then clean with hydrogen peroxide diluted with water. Rinse again and apply an antiseptic/antibiotic ointment. If it’s at all serious or shows signs of an infection, consult a physician. Hawaii has lots of urgent care locations where these are most often treated.

Other medical emergencies.

Your Mainland health insurance “should” work here just fine. And in the event you need to seek medical attention, it’s good to know that you’re in good hands. Hawaii health care often scores near the top in the national healthcare scorecard.

Car accident.

Hawaii is a “no-fault state.” Therefore, your own vehicle insurance will pay the bills for your injuries and your passengers’ injuries. And you cannot sue or be sued unless there are serious injuries. “No-fault” applies to injuries, not to vehicles or property, so the driver-at-fault in an accident is responsible for damages to the vehicle and property.

Lost or delayed luggage.

As you know from our prior posts, we’ve experienced this more than once, and it wasn’t pretty. Nevertheless, we were so happy to have purchased trip insurance. Read about our experience in the post How Travel Insurance Just Saved Us Over $600.

Next, it’s helpful to photograph your luggage exterior and its contents in case of loss or delay. (It seems like we’re always running around at the last minute and never think to do this). If something doesn’t show up in Hawaii, the good news is that most bags are ultimately recovered and will be delivered to your hotel at no cost.

Tip: If your bag is delayed, ask about the airline’s policy for replacing things you may need in the interim. 

Baggage delays must frequently happen, as we often see the lost baggage delivery truck driving around the island. In the unlikely event your bag is truly lost and not just delayed, the maximum liability of domestic flights is $3,300 per person. This is where your knowledge and photos of what’s inside may really pay off.

Please share your tips.

So many great ones already below. We welcome and appreciate yours!

Updated 6/11/21.

28 thoughts on “Avoid Sold Out Signs + 12 Other Hawaii Travel Problems”

  1. I would add “If there is no one else swimming don’t go in”!
    Thanks for all the updates BOH. I’m feeling positive about our January visit.

  2. And Please, avoid climbing over and through fences marked no trespassing to a=.void emergency help in case of an accident,

  3. While staying in Kona we found a Cane Spider in our room. The spider was over 5 inches across. Called housekeeping and when they tried to catch it ran away lightning fast.
    We saw it run out the door or we wouldn’t have slept at all.
    They are supposedly harmless but who likes giant freaky fast spiders in their bedroom?

  4. As someone who has experienced motion sickness all my life, I’ve found the wristbands to be a godsend. You do have to wear them properly. After being on a ship or boat I often have the rocking sensation at night in bed on land afterwards. I have learned to wear my motion wristbands to bed that first night after a boat trip and it really helps.

  5. Yes, saw a very live and active scorpion in the backyard of a beachside B&B in Kailua (Oahu), since gone, thankfully, the operators were awful. . While showing us the rear gate and path to the Kailua Beach, I was surprised to see a scorpion scurrying along. (I know what they look like, seen them many times in the Southwest deserts) and when I exclaimed about it, the owner ground it under her foot and muttered “I don’t see anything….” Glad they’re no longer in business. Thanks for this helpful newsletter.

    1. So… you were OUTSIDE… and you saw a scorpion… and… what? You wanted the operator of your BnB to… kill it for you??? Outside? Why?

  6. Yes, I have encountered Centipedes. While sleeping one night a Centipede crawled from underneath my pillow and stung me on the back. Felt like a bee sting. At 2am it is quite a suprise and knowing what to do. An ice pac kept the swelling down. It got away. One rule we have always done is keep luggage zipped up tight, even when not being used to prevent critters from crawling in. As they do move around at night, especially cockroaches.

  7. Great issue Jeff/Rob! I am coming for a visit Sept 8-Oct 6. Hopefully I will see you! Keep up the good work-especially the Covid restrictions info.
    Kathy S

  8. I went to book a cottage with Hawaii Life Vacation, affiliated with Red Awning Inc. this month (June 20221), and at the last phase online where you enter payment information for the booking, there is a clause that one is required to check in order to activate the reservation. To my surprise it includes a sentence that obliges the renter to agree to waive one’s right to use the visa bank card’s dispute resolution mechanism in the event that becomes necessary. This seems contrary to fair business practices and I wonder if such a requirement to give up one’s right to a protective feature standard with visa credit cards is even legal under Hawaiian consumer protection laws. I have written to the broker about this and am waiting for their reply. Needless to add, I would never agree to such a demand and booked the cottage through another broker.

  9. For mosquito bites, a little thing called “Bug Bite Thing” works great! I ordered one online. It also works on bee stings, splinters

  10. Mahalo for all your handy tips! For motionsickness I take ground ginger capsules – not the candy – (find it anywhere they have supplements), it works for me and there are zero side effects.

  11. I too have tried all of the items to prevent motion sickness that you listed and had the same results. I found that Meclizine works like a wonder drug. It is sold as Rugby Motion Sickness and it is over-the-counter but behind-the-counter at your local pharmacy. No prescription required. I have this on me at all times!

  12. Why is there an unwillingness to work in Hawaii? Seem like there is plenty of demand and many good jobs available. Are people still collecting government assistance even after the jobs have returned?

  13. I have found the wrist bands for motion sickness to work very well. I first used them 20 years ago on my first trip to Hawaii. I have passed them out to family and friends and they all say they work but you have to put them in the right location on your wrist.

  14. We have some giant kick-ass centipedes out in our North Shore Kauai yard, including even at the beach dune. Never reach into thick vines or trim palm branches without protective gloves and full length clothes. picking up logs (firewood) or large rocks is a good way to uncover them.

    And you left out the drone-sized paper (and mud) wasps ….

    Skeeters not really a problem unless the trades die off.

  15. I saw a scorpion in our hotel condo in Keauhou Bay on the Big island. It was on my wrap cover up, that was hanging in the closet. Don’t know how it got on it, but I was just about to put it on when I saw that there was something that looked like a dried leaf. I was about to brush it off when I realized what it was and wrapped it all in the towel and took it outside. I was too afraid to open it luckily a housekeeping guy came by and killed it for me!

  16. Saw a live and crawling scorpion in the backyard of a Kailua (Oahu) B&B a half block from the beach. When my wife exclaimed, “Is that a scorpion?” The owner, wearing shoes, stomped on it, ground it in as much as she could and replied, “Scorpion? What scorpion?” Fortunately those proprietors are long gone. Thanks for including the warning for scorpions and centipedes (which we’ve seen on Kauai and the Big Island). A sting from either could wreck a vacation.

    1. It seems you are blaming the proprietors for the presence of a scorpion. While humans can take some preventative measures, these insects were here long before we were and will be here long after we are gone. As this article points out, be aware.

  17. Aloha, my sister and I will be traveling to Oahu from July 1-14 th from Kelowna, B.C, Canada . Any recommendations please….mahalo

    1. Hi Melody.

      From Kelowna it looks like about $700 for your dates. Vancouver is $644. If you stay with Vancouver and change dates to July 2 through 13, then $526.


  18. I would add a recommendation that folks ALWAYS wear swim shoes unless they are only wading where it is just sand and no coral or other sea life. My son decided to ditch his swim shoes on our last day there, jumped off a jetty area in Waikiki and landed on part of a sea urchin. This left tiny little spikes embedded in his big toe, very painful. We treated it ourselves by soaking in vinegar, but some were so deep, we had to see a doctor when we got home…trip expenses we weren’t planning on!

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