Things Do Kauai Hawaii
Before you do Kauai, there are 9 things you need to know and do before you go on your trip.
My husband and I went on our honeymoon to Kauai and we had the time of our life.
I’m a travel blogger and I thought I planned this trip pretty well. However, there were some things we did right, and some things that we should have done before going.
So here are the essential things that you must do:
(This post contains affiliate links. Please read full disclosure.)
Best Things Do Kauai
1. Get A Hawaiian Airlines Credit Card To Get A Free Round Trip Ticket
There are 3 reasons you should do this:
- Free Roundtrip ticket – You can earn a free roundtrip ticket to Hawaii easily with their introductory bonus mile offer.
- Foodland gift cards – After you redeem your miles for your plane ticket, you can use the rest of your miles to redeem for gift cards for food at Foodland, a grocery store chain in Kauai. Food is expensive and this will save you money.
- Covers rental car insurance – When you use your Hawaiian Airlines credit card to pay your rental car, it will cover your insurance so you don’t need to get that at the rental company.
When we decided to do Kauai for our honeymoon, I immediately started researching on how to save money. I knew it would be an expensive trip, so I got a book from Amazon that was recommended by so many, and let me tell you, I was not disappointed.
One of the things mentioned is to apply for a Hawaiian Airlines credit card in order to get the bonus miles, which at the time was 40,000. That’s enough to get your roundtrip ticket. Right now their offer is 60,000 bonus miles and 0 annual fees for the first year. It changes all the time so check them out.
The caveat is that you need to charge $2,000 the first three months to get these bonus miles. This was no problem for me as I had wedding expenses.
Now, remember, you need to pay off your balance every time you get your bill or you won’t be saving money at all. Their interest rate is very high!
Needless to say, I immediately applied and got my bonus miles. Bingo, Got one roundtrip ticket out of the way, free!
UPDATE: Another great Travel Rewards Card is the Venture One credit card. You can use it for any travel you book using the card (not like the Hawaiian credit card, that’s only good for Hawaiian Airlines.) And they make it so easy! Below is a video I made to show you how easy it is to redeem your miles for any travel booked on the card.
Click this link to apply for your Venture One Credit Card. Their current offer is you can earn 50,000 bonus miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. The standard way to earn miles is for every dollar you spend you get 2 reward miles but if you book your travel through capitalonetravel.com you’ll earn 5 miles for every dollar spent.
Here’s that book. You gotta get it because it’s full of information on how to save money and do things cheaply.
Top Things Do Kauai
2. Book Activities Before Your Trip
We made a huge mistake, we didn’t book before our trip.
You have to remember that the main industry for all of Hawaii is Tourism. That means there are tourists all the time. Everywhere! They want to do the same things you want to do.
Zip Lining and Tubing at Kauai Backcountry Adventure was on the top of our Do Kauai list, but guess what? We didn’t buy our tickets before going on our trip and they were booked!
I was so bummed, to say the least. This is what we missed out on:
Another thing we wanted to do was go to the highly recommended Smith Family Luau. We went June 16 thru the 21st and they were booked all the way into the end of July! Can you believe that?
I bought an itinerary before we left, and it said, “Book early in your trip.” But let me tell you, book BEFORE your trip!
One thing we were able to book while there was a chocolate farm tour. We loved it and I think you and your family will too.
do kauai island
3. Double Check That Your Accommodations Has AC
This is not a problem if you’re staying in a resort or hotel, but if you Do Kauai in an Airbnb or book through VRBO many do not have air conditioning.
For me booking an airbnb is the best way to not only save money but also to live like a local. Many locals don’t have AC in their houses there. I almost booked one until I remembered that it’s hot and humid there, and an AC is a must!
The first thing we did when we opened the door to our vacation rental was look for the air conditioner thermostat because it was stifling!
To find out more on our airbnb vacation rental, read my post Best Places To Stay In Kauai On A Budget
There do Kauai
4. Plan On Hiking The North Shore? Go On A Boat Raft Tour First.
The reason I’m saying this is because you’ll learn so much information from the guides on your tour. As you go along the Napali Coast, they will point out interesting beaches only accessible by either a long hard hiking trip or by boat.
They will also point out hiking peaks, how to get there and how dangerous it is. These are great things to know before you go on your adventure.
Now notice that I said “Boat Raft Tour”, don’t take a Catamaran tour unless you’re prone to seasickness or you have a bad back or neck problems. These raft boats can slip in and out of sea caves that a Catamaran can’t do, and you’ll miss out on so much.
Here is a video to see how cool going in a sea cave is,
I do have to add that if you’re prone to seasickness, you can take Dramamine and that helps a lot. We did and we had no problems.
If you have back problems or neck problems, skip the boat raft tour. You can either take a helicopter tour or a Catamaran, as the rafting tour will go full speed on the way back. You will be bouncing up and down, HARD, all over the water.
If you don’t have back and neck issues, the ride back is so much fun!
BTW – To make the trip faster to the Napali Coast, book the boat trip from the Hanalei location, not Port Allen. Holo Holo Charters is the company we went with.
What to do at Kauai
5. Rent A Small Car From Costco
There are two things you need to know here:
- Rent from Costco – I’ve done price comparisons and they have the best deal. Plus, the 2nd driver is included in price. If prices go down before you go, you can cancel it and book it with the new price.
- Rent a small car – Parking lots and even the roads are made for small cars. You’ll have a hard time finding parking with a bigger vehicle.
Things do Kauai Island
6. Plan For At Least Ten Days
Our biggest regret about our whole honeymoon vacation in Kauai is that we couldn’t stay longer. We only had 4 full days. Booo…
There is so much to do and see in Kauai. If you stay for at least 10 days, you can fully enjoy it.
Some of the activities, while they are so much fun, are exhausting. You’ll need to plan rest days. I’d say plan one rest day to each two to three days of activities.
best things do Kauai Hawaii
7. Book Your Stay In Kapaa
I have a friend who lived in Kauai for many years told me to stay in Kapaa.
Kapaa is central enough to make it easy to get around. Whether you’re going North or South, this location makes either direction accessible for easy drive time.
It’s a great home base where it’s easy to get to shopping like grocery stores and restaurants.
Top things do Kauai Hawaii
8. Buy Reef Safe Sunscreen
Hawaii has banned the sale of sunscreens that contain coral-harming chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate.
The coral reefs in Hawaii are dying. It’s imperative that if you are going snorkeling, swimming or just dipping in the ocean that you wear reef-safe sunscreen.
The coral reef is a natural barrier to the coastline and in it is a whole habitat of animals and plants. When the coral reef dies, so does the living organisms in its community.
Be sure to check the ingredients of your sunscreen to make sure it makes the cut. Also, think about it, if these chemicals are bad for coral, what do you think it can do to you?
Here are some good options for you and your family:
Things do Kauai budget
9. Buy Waterproof Hiking Sandals And Bag
Kauai isn’t called the Garden Island for nothing. It rains a lot and it is very humid. Not to mention it is surrounded by ocean. This means you must wear waterproof hiking shoes. I’m sorry but your sneakers just won’t cut it.
I didn’t put much on our wedding gift registry but I did put these Keen sandals on there. I’ve lived in Hawaii as a teenager and I remembered how much these are needed.
You can get them on Amazon:
Next is a waterproof bag. You will need this if you plan to kayak, which is a must in Kauai. These bags are big enough to hold your towel, change of clothes, cell phone and other essentials, and it will keep them dry.
Cheap things do Kauai
So there you have it.
We cannot wait to go back to Kauai, but this time we’re staying longer. There were so many things we wanted to do that we weren’t able to do either because we weren’t there long enough or we didn’t book before our trip.
Learn from our mistakes. Happy Travels!