You’re moving to Hawaii – and it feels like a dream come true. You have visions of white sand beaches, towering tropical mountains, and beautiful ocean life. You can hardly wait for your shipping containers to be packed and sent to your new home, and you’ve drafted a long list of sites you want to visit when you arrive.
One thing you’ve told yourself you don’t want to do in Hawaii is look like a tourist. You’ll be living and working on these amazing islands, so you want to adapt to the local customs right away. Try these six tips.
1. Learn the Local Lingo
Many people who live in Hawaii understand these basic terms. Don’t be shy about using them:
- Aloha – a greeting and parting word that you can use casually with everyone. But if you drag out the “lo” you might sound like a tour guide.
- Mahalo – the Hawaiian word for “thank you”
- Mauka – a directional term that means “inland” or “towards the mountains”
- Makai – another directional term that means “towards the ocean”
You’ll pick up plenty of other common words in your daily interactions. For example, you’ll likely learn to ask for shave ice, not a snow cone, the first time you try this popular sweet treat. One more vital tip – learn to pronounce “Hawaii” the correct way.
2. Feel Comfortable Wearing Slippers
The footwear you may be referring to as flip-flops are slippers to anyone who calls Hawaii home.
Okay, maybe you don’t have to don this laid-back form of footwear every time you leave your house. You’ll probably wear dressier shoes to work, and sneakers when you go jogging or hiking. But it’s perfectly normal for locals to step into a pair of slippers for everyday errands.
3. Treat the Beach With Respect
Hawaii has miles and miles of beautiful beaches, and locals are dedicated to keeping them that way. Follow these rules whenever you spend time near or in the ocean:
- Avoid disturbing coral reefs. You can easily damage these delicate life forms.
- Leave black sand, volcanic rocks, and other natural treasures where you found them.
- Don’t try to pet or swim with wild animals, particularly sea turtles, dolphins, whales, and monk seals.
- Pick up all your garbage, and make sure it gets thrown away properly.
You can follow similar rules to show respect to nature when you go hiking on Hawaii’s many beautiful peaks.
4. Attend Local Festivals
Hawaii’s beauty attracts plenty of tourists throughout the year, and they often head for destinations marketed specifically to visitors. To feel more like a local, head to events that other locals attend. You can learn about these happenings from radio stations, magazines, island newspapers, and websites or blogs maintained by island dwellers.
5. Try Cuisine at Non-Chain Restaurants
You can still find well-known fast food places and casual dining options in Hawaii, but you’ll discover plenty of delicious cuisine if you branch out from the brands you already know. Look for food trucks that dish up meals inspired by many destinations around the Pacific, or get recommendations for a sit-down restaurant from a neighbor or coworker.
6. Ask Locals About Sites to See Off the Beaten Path
Speaking of referrals, you can also get suggestions of truly Hawaiian sites to see from locals. For example, you can ask your movers what spots you can visit that tourists don’t frequent. They can point you towards lesser-known wonders (Hawaii has plenty), or offer insider tips on when and how to check out the more touristy places.
As you prepare to become a local in Hawaii, don’t be afraid to embrace the laid-back lifestyle right away. Hire a professional moving company to handle the transporting and lifting of your possessions into your new home so you have more time to enjoy the beauty around you.