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5 Travel Tips When Visiting the Big Island to Improve Your Mental Health

Published on 05. 26. 2015

Travel Industry to Locals, Here Are the Top Travel Tips to Keep in Mind When Visiting the Big Island. Travel Tips Include the Do’s and Don’ts and Some Advice from Travel Experts.

Mauna Kea Sunset

If you want to relax, unwind and heal your mind, the Big Island is the most therapeutic place to be. From active volcanoes, vast rainforest, beautiful flowers, singing birds, gorgeous waterfalls, crystal clear beaches and wild dolphins, you wouldn’t ask for more!

The Do’s When Visiting the Big Island

Rent a car to explore the easy-to-navigate Island, straight from the airport. There are lots of car rentals near the Kona airport. They are open most of the time to wait for passenger from incoming flights. You can visit the websites of the car rental agencies like Budget, Dollar, Thrifty, Hertz and more. Book early and give your flight details.
You can’t find a public transit that can conveniently tour you around the really “Big” island. Yes, there are taxis and shuttles or tours, but they are far expensive than the car rentals. If you get down from a cruise ship, Thrifty and Hertz car rentals are also nearby.

Bring warm clothes. Do you think wearing skimpy clothes and slippers would be enough when going to the Big Island? Think again. Unless you want to spend your entire vacation on the long beaches, warm clothes would come in handy. Although the weather is usually warm at Kailua Kona, there will be times that you will see visitors huddling by the fire in coffee shops downtown because of spitting rain and wind chill.
If you are heading up to the snowy Mauna Kea Summit or to the Waimea, Volcano, get ready for the freezing rain and wind that will certainly make you cold if you are simply clad in shorts or see-through shirts. Instead, pack cotton pants, closed toe shoes, sweater and jackets while you tour the island, just to be sure you won’t catch cold or cut your trip short because you’re chilling.

Check with your doctor before climbing the Mauna Kea summit. Do you have existing health conditions? What about altitude problems? If you have heart issues, you may have problems in breathing thin air at higher altitude. This is also true to those who have panic attacks. They tend to feel lightheaded and dizzy while hiking. So, make sure that the doctor says you are clear to go; otherwise, you can simply visit other places that are equally beautiful like rainforest, beaches, theater and more.

The Don’ts

Don’t harm the endangered species. If you’ve been to the zoo, you know that you can’t feed animals there. The same rule applies when you happen to see nene, turtles, or dolphins in the Big Island. Don’t hurt them, be careful when driving so you don’t hit any of the nenes on the road and don’t pay someone to chase dolphins or whale tale just to play with them.

Stay on the paved or graveled path. While it is alright to explore off beaten paths, some of them were off-limits either because it’s a private land or there are wild animals in the area. Be sure to explore only the safe areas within the rainforests and places where tourists are allowed.

Don’t go beyond the boundary ropes in the national park’s lava viewing area. It is dangerous to move closer to the steam plumes, gases and explosions of the Volcano.

Use at least SPF 15+ sunscreen to avoid burns. You will enjoy swimming, paddle boarding or going around the island better on a warm day if you have no skin burn to worry about.

What these Experts Say

When asked what travel tips they can give to those who are planning to do it, these are what the leading professionals of the travel industry have to say:



Arabella Bowen: Airlines are consolidating and increasing fares so you have to book early 

“Travellers going abroad choose to book early. In the past few years we’ve been able to book at the last minute but it’s not the case anymore. We are back to the time of advance booking, three to six months out. Why we are very strategic about it is because the airlines are consolidating and they are making the fares more expensive. So get in early and book it”, says Arabella, the Editor-In-Chief of Fodor Travel. 

Lauren Matison: You’ll get the most ‘bang’ for your buck if you work with the locals

In destinations that you are going, guidebooks are great, travel apps are great, but nothing beats working with a local in their hometown” says Lauren Matison, the Editor and co- founder of OffMetro.com. She also adds that the locals know the off-beat hot places local restaurants and hidden beaches

David Farley: Get information from your friends or their friends who live in your chosen destination
“Meeting up with friends or friends of friends in the destination like you can have a drink or dinner with them, they can really give you great information of the place that you can never get elsewhere” says David Farley, a popular Travel writer and author. 

Brian Cox: Just buy the ticket and go
“Don’t be disappointed. You’ll never look back and say how I wished I didn’t go to this trip, I wished I have saved this money. You’ll always be happy that you went into this part of the world, met new people and know yourself more” says Brian Cox, Travel FilmMaker; The Travel Vlogger.

Hawaii Island Recovery is a substance abuse rehab facility in Kailua-Kona. It offers state of the art individualized treatment for alcohol and drug addiction and co-occurring disorders in its very intimate setting. It offers topnotch support system that promotes physical and emotional healing in its 8-bed facility.


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