After Six Years Of Exploring The World This Traveler Returned To Hawaii To Serve As A Guide For Other Tourists
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GAFFL
30th Sep | 5 min read

Since college Amy has lived, worked, studied, and traveled abroad for about six years in Japan, Taiwan, China, South Korea, and Thailand. She finally returned home to Hawaii in 2014 and decided to document the travels of the island state of Hawaii and that’s how Aloha With Love was born. The blog now focuses on travel and life in Hawaii as a local.

You can follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and join her Facebook group as well! You can also connect with Amy on GAFFL

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My Inspiration To Start Traveling

Hawaii is pretty small and I wanted to get off the island for college. I made some lifelong Japanese friends there and knew that exploring Japan had to be my next step. Little did I know, I was bit by the travel bug and haven’t stopped exploring since then. I love how travel broadens your mind and perspective as you learn about different cultures and lifestyles.

How I Choose Where I Want To Travel Next

Usually, it depends on my wallet and what I can afford. In Hawaii, airlines, hotels, and tours often offer discounts for locals aka kama’aina discounts. So if a good deal pops up then there’s a good chance I’m out traveling. But there’s nothing wrong with traveling to the island that I already live on Oahu.

Duration Of My Trips

Usually for the day if it’s on Oahu. The outer islands may be 2-3 days over the weekend. I try to do things I haven’t done before so I can get a feel for the entire island. I’ll do some online research, read reviews, and create my own itinerary. I’ll also ask friends and family on those islands as everybody in Hawaii knows somebody in Hawaii.

How I Pack For My Trips

Packing for Hawaii is pretty easy. A bathing suit, sunscreen, comfortable clothing, shoes, slippers (flip flops for those on the mainland) sunglasses, and a hat are a must. Unless I’m visiting Mauna Kea on the Big Island or Haleakala on Maui, I leave the heavy jackets at home.

My Favorite Memories Of Meeting New People & Exploring With Locals

Rather than meeting new people, I’m often meeting up with family and friends. I have some family on Molokai and the entire family gets together and celebrates with food, music, and kisses on the cheek.

I had several jobs working in the tourism industry. One of my favorites was on a whale-watching cruise that departed from Aloha Tower and sailed across Waikiki several times a day. We’d see whales all the time but one rainy day we saw a mother and baby whale, which our whale specialist believed to have been born just moments before. Everyone knew how special this particular sighting was and the passengers were happy to make room for the staff so we were all standing in the rain huddled together and just enjoying the rare moment of watching a newborn whale copying the mother’s every breach, bob, and tail flip.

We were all soaking wet when we went back inside, but the staff and passengers were so happy and thrilled to have witnessed something so incredible.

The Inspiration To Starting My Blog

I wanted to give visitors a source for traveling Hawaii from a local point of view. So many articles out there are purely marketing and I believed I had a different perspective to offer. When COVID-19 hit, I decided to give my blog an even more of a local perspective by including life in Hawaii, which I believe has increased the interest in my blog since it is so unique.

Countries I Have Visited So Far

  1. Japan

  2. China

  3. Taiwan

  4. South Korea

  5. Thailand

  6. The United States

  7. Germany

  8. Austria

  9. The Czech Republic

Cool Experiences That I Can Share

While I’m not a huge hiker, I do like the occasional hike and Hawaii has some beautiful ones. I definitely suggest including a hike or two if you’re visiting Hawaii.

My Inspiration To Becoming A Hawaii Travel Enthusiast

I really wanted to continue to travel even though my life choices have led to me choosing to live in Hawaii. Traveling in and out of Hawaii can be expensive so I decided to travel to Hawaii - it’s one of the most popular places to travel to in the world for everyone else, so why couldn’t I travel there, too?

Backpackers who love the outdoors should visit Kauai and the Big Island as both are loaded with plenty of outdoor activities. If you need city life, head to Oahu or Maui. But you really can’t go wrong with any of these islands. Each is beautiful and you’ll have an amazing time on all of them.

Everyone tries to squeeze in as many islands as possible into one trip. You’ll find plenty to do in just one island and you’ll discover a lot more hidden gems that way. A few of my favorite hidden gems are the Kuliouou Ridge Trail on Oahu, night diving on the Big Island with manta rays, and the view from Kula Lodge in Upcountry Maui.

How Can Backpackers Save Money While Traveling To Hawaii

On Oahu, you can save a lot of money if you’re smart with your transportation. Instead of renting a car for the entire trip, rent it just for the days when you’re exploring the farther areas. Then explore the nearby attractions via bus, bike, or rideshare. There are a few hostels in Hawaii but they fill up fast. Make your reservations as soon as possible.

Foods That Travelers Can Try In Hawaii

Shave ice with azuki bean and condensed milk, mochiko chicken plate lunch, and huli huli chicken from a roadside stand are my favorite local eats. If you want traditional Hawaiian food, try lau lau, poi, and kalua pig.

How I Evaluate GAFFL's Role In Finding Suitable Travel Companion

Hawaii can be expensive especially if you’d like to do more than just go to the beach and hiking. Guided tours and excursions are extremely fun but the expenses can add up. If you can find travel companions to get discounts and share hotel, food, and ticket prices, it’s worth it.

My Advice To Travelers Who Are Going To Hawaii For The First Time

As a first-time traveler to Hawaii, figure out what kind of vacation you want. If you want the convenience of city life and the abundant choices it offers in everyday activities, Oahu and Maui are your best bets. If you’re looking for an outdoorsy adventure and a quiet life, Kauai and the Big Island are awesome. If you’re looking for seclusion and a very quiet atmosphere, try Lanai and Molokai.

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