Itinerary of the big island - illustration

How to best plan your trip to the Big Island

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Everybody that has once planned a big trip knows that the key to success is a good structure. Important questions to ask yourself are: “how long can you stay away?”,  “how much money can you spend?”,  “where will you sleep?”, and “how will you get around?”

Once these things are taken care off little can go wrong anymore. Sure, you might get rained out a few days or experience some bad luck, but you still have a warm place to stay in paradise!

To set up the basic structure of your trip to the Big Island the following resources might be of interest:

  1. The first step: start planning
  2. Find a good flight
  3. Decide where to spend your time
  4. Where would you like to sleep?
  5. Getting around: do you need to rent a car on the Big Island?
  6. The cherry on the cake: choosing your activities

These steps are described in more detail below.

1: Visitor information: start planning your vacation

To sketch an outline for your Hawaii trip it helps to know a thing or two about the islands. Think for example about whether you want to go during high or low season. And how many islands do you want to visit? How long do you want to stay, and what are the unmissable things that you need to do or see?

These are all questions that deserve thoughtful consideration.  Read our thoughts on these topics in our guide: The first step: how to start planning your vacation.

2: Flying to the Big Island

Because Hawaii is so far away from the mainland air travel is often the biggest expense for your vacation. This is yet another part of your vacation that can be optimized! We have no magic bullet, but do have plenty of experience buying these tickets.

Read our tips about booking your flight to Hawaii and about booking inter-island flight.

3: How much do you want to travel around?

The Big Island is BIG, and it is possible that setting up camp in a few different places on the Big Island is the best choice for your vacation to minimize transport times. For example, Kona and Volcano Village are a great combination to explore the beaches with the volcanoes!

Read more about destinations on the Big Island.

4: What is the best accommodation option for you?

Half of your time on Hawaii will be spend at one place: your chosen accommodation. You can choose between luxurious resorts, quaint bed and breakfasts, and affordable hostels. What works best for you depends on your budget and personal preferences.

Regardless, our hands-down favorites in almost every scenario are vacation rentals!

Read more about choosing the accommodation that fits your needs.

5: Getting around the Big Island with or without a car

You are almost ready to go now, the only problem is that you don’t yet have transport! No problem, getting around on the Big Island is very easy with a car. Not having a car complicates your planning a bit, but is by all means also a viable option.

Read what we think about getting around the Big Island with and without a car.

6: Bonus: this is where the fun starts!

If you have not arranged the basics yet, reading on might not be the smartest thing to do. However, who are we to deprive you from the best thing of planning your trip to Hawaii? We are talking of course about adding the most amazing activities to your trip! Besides, you have read this article all the way to the end, so you deserve a little extra.

You will never be able to “do it all” during your vacation here on the Big Island, so you should be selective. Our personal favorites are: [1] going to the beach, [2] seeing the lava, [3] doing the manta ray night dive, [4] go stargazing, and [5] taking a helicopter tour. Don’t take our word though, but see for yourself: 20+ activities and things to do on the Big Island.

You also might want to have a look of our list of itineraries to get started.