Tips For First-Time Visitors To Hawaii With Dave & Deb From The Planet D

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Today it is my great pleasure to interview Dave and Deb from In 2008 they signed up for the Tour d’Afrique, which is the world’s longest cycling race, and they have been hooked on turning their travels into a career ever since. They have visited all seven continents and been to over 80 countries. They are American Express Canada 2013 Ambassadors, ViewFinders, they have over 60,000 Twitter followers and over 35,000 people have them in Google Plus Circles. The Planet D travel blog receives millions of annual visitors has been featured by The Huffington Post, AOL, National Geographic, Lonely Planet, and BBC News.


Hi Dave and Deb – When you visited Lanai and Maui (which are two contrasting islands that are very close to one another) for the first time last year, I could tell that you were very impressed with these destinations and I look forward to sharing your experiences with our readers, including many who have never had the opportunity to visit Hawaii.



Do you have any tips for first-time visitors to Hawaii?

I think that first time visitors should try to keep it simple. There are several islands to
choose from and going to Hawaii may be tempting to visit all of them during your time there. But if you pick one or two islands to discover you will have a richer experience. Be open to trying anything and make sure you delve into the culture. Hawaii has a rich history and strong cultural identity, so take part in cultural activities. We loved learning about history and polynesian traditions when we took an excursion on an outrigger canoe. There is no better way to immerse yourself in culture than through music. We couldn’t believe that we got to see Bob Berryhill perform Wipe Out and to listen to a slack keys performance.
Hawaii has amazing diversity. You can be paddle boarding and surfing one day and then hiking up a volcano the next. Don’t limit yourself by staying on the beach, travel around and get to know the island. There’s local eateries, shops and bars and it’s so much fun to just chill with the locals.


What were some of your favorite sights and experiences?


We loved learning to kite surf in Maui with KSM (Kite Surfing Maui) The instructors were outstanding and so much fun. I think that the winds in Maui are some of the best in the world. We also loves SUP (Stand Up Paddle Boarding) at Napili Kai Resort in Maui. It was our first time trying it and we loved it.

In Lanai, we loved how quiet the island is. We rented a jeep and explored and tried skeet shooting at the Four Seasons Koele Lodge. We loved how that place felt like we stepped back in time to a grander age. It was beautiful. Lanai is an amazing destination to get away from it all.



What surprised you most about the Hawaiian culture?

We were surprised how strong it is. So many places are losing their culture and heritage and Hawaii seems to be going in the opposite direction and their culture is strengthening. People seem genuinely interested in their history and heritage. You would expect Hawaii to be very much like America’s mainland, but it is more like Fiji. We loved that about it.

What were your thoughts on the food?

Oh my, the food was amazing. We lived on seafood. Jumbo Shrimp, Ahi Tuna, Poke Nachos, Fresh Catch of the day at the Fish Market in Paia, Maui, decadent meals at the Four Seasons Lanai at Manele Bay, we had black truffle in our risotto! I have to say though, one of the best meals we had was at Mekena Beach Resort in Maui, their Asian seafood buffet was divine!



Do you have any packing tips?
Yes, pack as little as possible. You’ll be living in your bathing suit and you don’t have to dress up to the nines to go out. As George Clooney said in the Descendants, ‘don’t let the wardrobe fool you, some of the richest men in Hawaii look like surf bums” (I’m paraphrasing, but it’s something like that) and what he means is, everyone is laid back, you don’t have to dress up to show off, just go out and enjoy yourself. So pack light, bring some good sturdy shoes to hike in, have a smart outfit for dinner and spend the rest of your time in surf shorts and swim suits.



Is there anything about your vacation that you wished you had done differently?

Actually, Maui and Lanaii were one of the best thought out vacations we’ve done in a while. We tried a lot of different activities, we saw a lot of sights, but we also had a good amount of time to relax and take it all in. The only thing I would have done is probably only spend four days on Lanai and add extra days on Maui. We only had two nights at Napili Kai Resort in Maui and I could have stayed there longer. It felt like my vision of traditional Hawaii there. I could have skipped the two days we stayed in Lanai City at the hotel in town and just split our time at Koele and Manele hotels. But really, it was all great.

Last but not least, do you have any final thoughts that you would like to share?

Nothing but, we can’t wait to come back and explore more islands! Hawaii is a special place that’s worth many visits.


If you’d like to follow Dave & Deb on their adventures, you can subscribe to their blog The Planet D, follow them on Twitter (@theplanetd) or ‘like’ their Facebook Page.



Taylor Goldblatt

After years of research, travel, and dreams, I have created this website for people like you who want to experience the things that only America can offer. My passion is to explore and share America's greatest destinations and attractions. Follow me on Twitter @USCityTraveler for additional travel tips and ideas.

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