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Why You Shouldn’t Travel To Hawaii


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Bibby Brooks



When it comes to planning a dream vacation, Hawaii often ranks high on people’s lists. With its stunning natural beauty, pristine beaches, and vibrant culture, it’s easy to see why. However, before you book your ticket and pack your bags, it’s important to consider some of the downsides of traveling to Hawaii. In this article, we will explore several reasons why you might want to think twice before embarking on a journey to the Aloha State.


While Hawaii may seem like a paradise, there are several factors that may make you reconsider your travel plans. From the lack of cultural diversity to the high cost of living, overcrowding, and environmental impact, there are various aspects that aren’t commonly talked about but can significantly impact your experience. Additionally, limited accessibility, volcanic activity, the spread of invasive species, and the risk of natural disasters are all important factors to consider before jetting off to this tropical getaway.


By delving into these topics, you will gain a more comprehensive understanding of the potential drawbacks of visiting Hawaii. It’s important to note that this article aims to provide a balanced perspective and is not meant to discourage travel altogether. Rather, it aims to highlight some aspects that may not be widely discussed, allowing you to make an informed decision and prepare accordingly for your trip.


So, before you make any travel arrangements, take a moment to explore the reasons why you might want to reconsider your plans. While Hawaii may offer many incredible experiences, it’s crucial to evaluate both the positives and negatives to ensure that it aligns with your travel preferences and expectations.


Lack of Cultural Diversity

One aspect that may surprise visitors to Hawaii is the relative lack of cultural diversity compared to other popular travel destinations. While the state boasts a rich indigenous Hawaiian culture, the dominance of tourism has somewhat diluted the presence of other cultural groups. The majority of visitors tend to stay within the tourist areas, where commercialized luaus and hula performances can overshadow the authentic traditional practices.


Due to the remote location of Hawaii, the population is primarily made up of native Hawaiians, other Pacific Islanders, and mainland Americans. This limited diversity can result in a less varied cultural experience, as visitors may find themselves primarily exposed to the commercially driven aspects of Hawaiian culture.


If immersing yourself in diverse cultures is an essential element of your travel experience, you may find Hawaii lacking in comparison to other destinations. Exploring museums, art galleries, and cultural centers can offer a deeper understanding of traditional practices and customs, but it may require more effort to seek out these experiences beyond the tourist areas.


Despite the relative lack of cultural diversity, it’s important to note that the native Hawaiian culture is still prevalent and celebrated throughout the islands. From the language to the music, dance, and cuisine, there are many opportunities to learn about and appreciate the unique heritage of Hawaii. Engaging with local communities, attending traditional ceremonies, and seeking out lesser-known cultural events can contribute to a more authentic and enriching experience.


Overall, while Hawaii may not offer the same level of cultural diversity as some other travel destinations, it still provides a valuable opportunity to learn about and appreciate the vibrant indigenous Hawaiian culture. By going beyond the tourist hotspots and seeking out genuine interactions and experiences, you can create a more immersive and meaningful travel experience in Hawaii.


High Cost of Living

One of the significant drawbacks of traveling to Hawaii is the high cost of living. As a popular tourist destination, the prices of goods and services in Hawaii can be significantly higher compared to mainland United States or other travel destinations. From accommodations to meals, transportation, and activities, visitors may find themselves spending more than they initially budgeted.


The cost of accommodations in Hawaii can be particularly steep, especially if you’re looking to stay in popular areas like Waikiki or Maui. Hotels and resorts tend to have higher rates, especially during peak travel seasons. Alternatives like vacation rentals or Airbnb may offer slightly more affordable options, but those too can still be quite expensive.


Food and dining expenses in Hawaii can also be higher than expected, especially if you prefer to eat at tourist-oriented restaurants. While there are more affordable local eateries and food trucks available, dining out can still put a dent in your budget. Additionally, grocery shopping in Hawaii can be costly, as many products need to be imported to the islands.


Transportation is another area where costs can add up quickly in Hawaii. Renting a car is a popular choice for exploring the islands, but the rental fees, gas prices, and parking costs can be quite pricey. Public transportation options, such as buses, may be available, but they may not be as convenient or extensive as in other destinations. In some cases, taxi or rideshare services may be necessary, further adding to your expenses.


Lastly, activities and attractions in Hawaii often require fees or admission tickets. Whether it’s snorkeling, surfing lessons, zip-lining, or visiting national parks, these popular activities can come with a significant price tag. It’s essential to factor in these costs when planning your itinerary to avoid any unexpected financial strain.


While the high cost of living in Hawaii can be a deterrent for budget-conscious travelers, it’s important to note that there are still ways to enjoy the islands without breaking the bank. Researching and booking accommodations and activities in advance, seeking out affordable dining options, and exploring free or low-cost attractions can help mitigate the impact on your wallet.


By being mindful of your expenses and budgeting accordingly, you can still have a memorable and enjoyable experience in Hawaii without completely draining your bank account.



One of the unintended consequences of Hawaii’s popularity as a travel destination is the issue of overcrowding. The beautiful beaches, stunning landscapes, and popular attractions draw millions of tourists each year, leading to crowded tourist areas and limited space to enjoy the natural beauty of the islands.


Areas like Waikiki Beach in Oahu or the Road to Hana in Maui can become incredibly crowded, especially during peak travel seasons. The influx of visitors can result in long lines, crowded beaches, and congested tourist areas, which may compromise the tranquility and relaxation that many seek when visiting Hawaii.


Overcrowding can also impact the local communities and residents. As tourists flood the islands, there can be strain on resources, increased traffic congestion, and higher costs of living for the local population. The delicate balance between preserving the natural beauty and meeting the demands of a growing tourism industry can sometimes be challenging to maintain.


Aside from the crowded tourist hotspots, even popular hiking trails and nature reserves can experience significant foot traffic and congestion. Waiting in line to access certain attractions or navigating through crowded trails can diminish the overall experience and disconnect you from the tranquility and serenity that Hawaii is known for.


If you prefer a more secluded and intimate travel experience, you may find the overcrowding in Hawaii to be a deterrent. However, it’s important to note that there are still opportunities to escape the crowds and find hidden gems on the islands. Exploring lesser-known beaches, visiting off-the-beaten-path attractions, or opting for outdoor activities in less touristy areas can allow you to enjoy the natural beauty of Hawaii without the overwhelming crowds.


Ultimately, the issue of overcrowding in Hawaii highlights the importance of responsible and sustainable tourism. As travelers, it is crucial to be mindful of our impact on the destinations we visit and to support initiatives that aim to preserve the natural beauty and cultural heritage of Hawaii.


Environmental Impact

While Hawaii is known for its breathtaking landscapes and pristine natural beauty, the influx of tourists can have a significant environmental impact on the islands. The fragile ecosystems and delicate ecosystems are particularly susceptible to the effects of increased human activity and irresponsible behavior.


One of the main environmental concerns in Hawaii is the degradation of coral reefs. Snorkeling and diving are popular activities, but they can cause damage to the delicate reefs if proper precautions are not taken. Touching, standing on, or even kicking corals can cause irreparable harm, leading to the loss of these vital marine habitats and the decline of marine life that relies on them for survival.


The increase in tourism also contributes to waste management issues. The islands’ limited landfill space and lack of recycling infrastructure can result in a significant amount of waste piling up. Plastic pollution, in particular, is a significant concern, as single-use plastics often find their way into the ocean, threatening marine life and polluting the waters surrounding the islands.


The demand for water, energy, and resources to support the tourism industry also places a strain on Hawaii’s limited resources. The high water consumption for hotels, golf courses, and other tourist-related activities can deplete local water sources, impacting both the environment and local communities. Similarly, the energy demands of hotels and resorts contribute to carbon emissions and the reliance on non-renewable energy sources.


However, it’s important to note that efforts are being made to mitigate the environmental impact of tourism in Hawaii. Many organizations and businesses are implementing sustainable practices, promoting responsible tourism, and educating visitors on how they can reduce their ecological footprint while enjoying the islands’ beauty.


As a responsible traveler, there are steps you can take to minimize your own environmental impact when visiting Hawaii. Opt for eco-friendly accommodations, support local businesses that prioritize sustainability, and adhere to the principles of Leave No Trace by practicing responsible waste management and respecting the natural environment.


By being mindful of the environmental impact of tourism and making conscious choices, we can help preserve the natural beauty and ecological integrity of Hawaii for future generations to enjoy.


Limited Accessibility

One factor that may impact your decision to travel to Hawaii is the limited accessibility of some parts of the islands. While the main tourist areas are well-developed and easily accessible, reaching more remote and secluded locations can be challenging and time-consuming.


One of the main aspects of limited accessibility in Hawaii is the inter-island travel. If you plan on visiting multiple islands during your trip, you will need to rely on inter-island flights or ferry services, which can add to the overall cost and logistics of your journey. Flights between islands can be expensive, and ferry services have limited schedules and capacities.


Moreover, getting around within the individual islands may require a rental car or relying on public transportation, both of which have their limitations. While rental cars are readily available, they can be expensive, especially during peak travel seasons, and parking can be a challenge in popular areas. Public transportation, such as buses, is available but may not provide the same flexibility and convenience as having your own vehicle.


In addition, the rugged terrain and inaccessible areas can make it difficult to explore certain parts of the islands. Hiking trails, for example, may be steep, uneven, or require permits to access. Navigating through dense forests or reaching remote beaches may require a certain level of physical fitness and adventurous spirit.


However, it’s important to note that limited accessibility can also be seen as an advantage for those seeking a more off-the-beaten-path experience. The less crowded and more remote areas of Hawaii offer a sense of seclusion and tranquility that may not be found in the popular tourist spots.


Overall, if you’re looking for a destination with easy accessibility and the ability to explore every nook and cranny without much hassle, Hawaii may present some challenges. However, with proper planning and a sense of adventure, you can still enjoy the beauty and unique experiences that the islands have to offer.


Volcanic Activity

One of the unique aspects of Hawaii is its active volcanic activity. While this can be a fascinating sight to behold, it also poses certain risks and considerations for travelers. The Big Island of Hawaii is known for its active volcanoes, notably Kilauea and Mauna Loa, which have the potential for eruptions and associated hazards.


Volcanic eruptions can result in the release of toxic gases, such as sulfur dioxide, which can pose risks to respiratory health, especially for individuals with pre-existing conditions. The eruption of Kilauea in 2018, for example, led to the evacuation of nearby communities due to the dangerous levels of sulfur dioxide in the air.


Another concern regarding volcanic activity is the potential for lava flows and volcanic ash. Lava flows can destroy structures and infrastructure in their path, impacting local communities and disrupting travel plans. Volcanic ash can also pose risks to air travel, as it can interfere with aircraft engines, leading to flight cancellations or delays.


It’s important to stay informed about the current volcanic activity and follow the guidance of local authorities and park rangers. They will provide up-to-date information and safety measures to mitigate the risks associated with volcanic activity.


While volcanic activity can be unpredictable, it’s worth noting that Hawaii’s volcanoes are closely monitored, and precautions are in place to ensure the safety of residents and visitors. Volcanoes National Park, for example, provides informative exhibits and educational programs that offer valuable insights into the fascinating world of volcanism.


Despite the potential risks, witnessing volcanic activity firsthand can be a remarkable and awe-inspiring experience. Understanding and respecting the power of nature is essential when visiting areas with active volcanoes. Adhering to safety guidelines, staying informed, and being prepared can help ensure a safe and enjoyable visit to Hawaii’s volcanic regions.


Spread of Invasive Species

The spread of invasive species is a significant environmental concern in Hawaii, and it is important to consider when planning a trip to the islands. Invasive species are non-native plants, animals, or microorganisms that have been introduced to an ecosystem and pose a threat to the native flora, fauna, and overall ecological balance.


Hawaii’s unique biodiversity and isolated geographical location make it particularly vulnerable to the establishment and spread of invasive species. These invasive species can outcompete native plants and animals for resources, disrupt natural ecosystems, and even drive native species to extinction.


One well-known example of an invasive species in Hawaii is the mongoose. Originally introduced to control the rat population in sugar cane fields, the mongoose quickly became a problem itself, preying on native birds, reptiles, and small mammals. Other examples include feral pigs, miconia plants, and fire ants, among others.


Invasive species can impact visitors’ experiences in Hawaii by affecting the natural beauty and biodiversity of the islands. Hiking trails and nature reserves may be affected by the spread of invasive plants, altering the landscape and diminishing the opportunity to see native plants and animals in their natural habitats.


As a visitor, it is crucial to be aware of the role you can play in preventing the spread of invasive species. Taking simple steps like cleaning your shoes, gear, and equipment before and after outdoor activities, avoiding the transport of plants or animals from one island to another, and staying on designated trails can help minimize the risk of inadvertently spreading invasive species.


Additionally, supporting local conservation initiatives and organizations that work to control and eradicate invasive species can make a positive impact. By learning about Hawaii’s unique ecosystems and the importance of protecting them, you can contribute to the preservation of the islands’ natural beauty and ecological integrity.


While the spread of invasive species is an ongoing concern, there are efforts being made to control and mitigate their impact. By being informed and taking responsible actions, visitors can help protect Hawaii’s fragile ecosystems and ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy the diverse and remarkable flora and fauna that the islands have to offer.


Risk of Natural Disasters

When planning a trip to Hawaii, it’s important to be aware of the risks associated with natural disasters. Due to its unique geographical location, Hawaii is susceptible to various natural hazards, including hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, and flash floods.


Hurricanes are a prevalent concern in Hawaii, especially during the hurricane season, which typically runs from June to November. While the state has well-established evacuation plans and monitoring systems for hurricanes, it’s crucial to stay informed about weather conditions and follow the guidance of local authorities in the event of a hurricane warning.


Tsunamis are another natural disaster that can impact Hawaii due to its location in the Pacific Ocean. These large ocean waves can be triggered by undersea earthquakes or landslides, and can cause significant destruction along coastal areas. It’s important to familiarize yourself with evacuation routes and tsunami warning signs, and to follow the instructions of local authorities during tsunami warnings.


Earthquakes are also a risk in Hawaii, as the islands are located in a tectonically active region. While most earthquakes in Hawaii are minor and go unnoticed, occasionally a larger earthquake can occur. It’s important to be prepared by knowing the appropriate safety measures to take during an earthquake and following any instructions from local emergency management agencies.


Flash floods are a concern in Hawaii, particularly in areas with steep terrain and heavy rainfall. The islands’ lush landscapes and frequent rain showers can contribute to rapid runoff and the potential for flash flooding. It’s important to be mindful of weather conditions and avoid hiking or driving in areas prone to flash flooding during periods of intense rainfall.


When visiting Hawaii, it’s crucial to stay informed about potential natural hazards and have a plan in place for emergency situations. Keeping an eye on weather updates, heeding the advice of local authorities, and being prepared with emergency supplies can help ensure your safety in the event of a natural disaster.


Despite the risks, it’s important to remember that millions of visitors travel to Hawaii each year without incident. The islands have comprehensive emergency management systems in place, and many precautions are taken to ensure the safety of residents and visitors alike.


By staying informed, practicing caution, and being prepared, you can still enjoy a safe and unforgettable experience in Hawaii while minimizing the risks associated with natural disasters.



While Hawaii is undeniably a beautiful and enticing travel destination, it’s important to consider some of the potential drawbacks before embarking on your journey. From the lack of cultural diversity to the high cost of living, overcrowding, environmental impact, limited accessibility, volcanic activity, spread of invasive species, and the risk of natural disasters, there are various factors that may influence your decision to travel to the Aloha State.


However, it’s important to note that this article aims to provide a balanced perspective and is not meant to discourage travel to Hawaii altogether. By being aware of these factors and planning accordingly, you can still have an enjoyable and memorable experience in Hawaii.


If cultural immersion and diversity are significant priorities for your trip, you may find Hawaii lacking compared to other destinations. However, the vibrant native Hawaiian culture is still prevalent and celebrated throughout the islands, and there are opportunities to engage with and learn about the local heritage.


The high cost of living in Hawaii can present financial challenges, but with careful planning, budgeting, and seeking out affordable options, you can still have a fulfilling experience without breaking the bank.


Overcrowding in popular tourist areas can compromise the serenity and tranquility that many seek. However, by going off the beaten path and exploring lesser-known areas, you can find hidden gems and enjoy a more secluded experience.


The environmental impact and the spread of invasive species are valid concerns for conscientious travelers. By practicing responsible tourism, being mindful of your ecological footprint, and supporting local conservation efforts, you can contribute to the preservation of Hawaii’s natural beauty and biodiversity.


The limited accessibility of certain areas and the potential risks associated with volcanic activity and natural disasters require careful planning and staying informed. By taking necessary precautions, following safety guidelines, and heeding the advice of local authorities, you can mitigate the risks and ensure your safety.


Ultimately, the decision to travel to Hawaii depends on your personal preferences and priorities. By considering these factors and taking them into account during your trip planning, you can make an informed decision and have a fulfilling experience in the beautiful and unique islands of Hawaii.