Tips for Planning a Honeymoon in Hawaii

Hawaii and honeymoons go hand-in-hand, so it’s no surprise this destination continues to be one of the top choices for couples looking to jet set somewhere after their wedding.

If you’re gearing up for the big wedding day yourself and wondering how to plan a honeymoon in Hawaii, read on for my top tips that I use when coordinating my client’s dream Hawaiian getaways.

Choose the Right Island(s) for You

You’ve probably heard plenty of locations thrown around when talking about Hawaii, but how do you know which ones will be the best fit for your honeymoon?

While I’ve written an entire guide on How to Pick the Best Hawaiian Island for You, I’ll do a quick overview of each one here:

  • Maui – this is the first island that comes to the mind of soon-to-be-honeymooners. Why? Well, first, I give credit to the abundance of adult-only accommodations – something that’s not easy to find on other islands. Second, you have a little bit of everything here. Incredible beaches? Check. Romantic resorts? Check. Opportunities for adventure? Maui’s got waterfalls, whale-watching, jungle drives (Road to Hana!), and more.
  • The Big Island – also known as Hawaii Island, it is – surprise! – the biggest of the Hawaiian islands and also the most diverse. The western side of the island will be much more touristy and has plenty of luxe accommodations, while over on the east you’ll find a greater abundance of local flavor, along with more natural beauty. This island is also home to Kilauea – an active volcano and unforgettable place to explore.
  • Oahu – if you’re looking to experience the best of Hawaii’s dining and nightlife, head to Oahu. While there are some more remote parts of the island, expect to be around a decent amount of people during your stay. Honolulu, the state’s capital, is on Oahu, as well as world-famous Waikiki Beach. This is a great island for history and cultural experiences, with Pearl Harbor and the Polynesian Cultural Center being two outstanding examples.
  • Kauai – those craving nature and seclusion should without a doubt consider spending time in Kauai. Known as “The Garden Isle” this is where you’ll find the spectacular Napali Coast – a verdant coastal wilderness of hiking trails, waterfalls, and sea cliffs. Both adventure and relaxation opportunities are endless on this island, but expect things to move at a slower pace here.
  • Lanai – located just a short ferry ride away from Maui, Lanai is easily visited during a day trip. However, those looking for true seclusion should consider a longer stay. Because of its remote location and low population, the island has stayed “unspoiled” and there are plenty of outdoor adventure opportunities. There are a handful of luxurious accommodations here as well.

As you can see, each island has its own unique vibe and offerings, so it’s important to think about where priorities lie for the two of you, and select your destination(s) accordingly.

Oh, and notice how I put an optional “s” on “destination(s)”? That’s because many people want to visit more than one island when they’re honeymooning in Hawaii. Which leads me to my next tip…

Don’t Try to Hit Too Many Islands

There’s so much to see and you’ve come all this way! I get it – I do! But the last thing you want is to be spending your precious vacation days sitting at the airport.

So, how many Hawaiian islands should you visit on your honeymoon? Well, before we can answer that question, we really need to ask – how much time do you have?

If you’ll just be visiting for the week, I recommend sticking to one island.

However, if you have a little more time (I’d say 7 or more nights), adding in another island can be a great way to change it up. I think it’s always a fun idea when couples want to spend part of their time on a very active island (like Oahu) and the other part on one that’s more chill and nature-oriented (such as Kauai).

It’s helpful to keep in mind the reason why you chose to come to here in the first place. While most will want to spend at least some time exploring, a large reason that couples pick Hawaii for their honeymoon is the laid-back luxury that the islands offer – something that’s very welcome after all the stress of wedding planning. You’ll want to leave plenty of time in your schedule for sleeping in and lounging by the pool or beach. Packing up your bags to head to a different island will definitely cut into this time.

Consider the Climate

Although it’s bright sunny days on the beach that typically come to mind when envisioning a Hawaiian getaway, the reality is that the climates vary dramatically depending on where you are. One part of the island may see plenty of sun, while the other gets frequently drenched with rain (which is why certain areas are so spectacularly green!).

This is an important factor to consider when choosing where you book your accommodations. If you’re seeking to wake up surrounded by lush jungle, then it’s best to avoid the areas where rain doesn’t fall often. On the other hand, if you pictured soaking up the sun right outside your hotel room, then selecting a place on the rainy side will lead to disappointment.

Each Hawaiian island has a wet and a dry side and the good news is that you can easily see both! Having a rental car (or booking an excursion) will allow you to choose your preferred side and then make a day trip to experience the other one.

It’s also worth noting that time of year makes a difference as well. Generally speaking, Hawaii has great weather year-round, however, there is a hurricane season that runs June through November (July through September are the worst). Thankfully, there is rarely a direct hit. Easterly trade winds and the deep water surrounding the islands are in part to thank for this, though there’s a chance you’ll experience some less extreme effects such as rain, wind and high surf during this time.

Think About Flight Preferences

Flights heading from the mainland U.S. to Hawaii typically depart in the morning, and flights returning back to the mainland from Hawaii typically depart in the evening.

Because Hawaii is located in the Hawaii-Aleutian Time Zone, it is three hours behind the West Coast, five hours behind the Midwest, and six hours behind the East Coast.

This means that your flight to Hawaii will be during daylight hours and you’ll arrive to the islands that same day. Your flight home will be overnight, so you’ll arrive the next day.

Why am I bringing this up? Because the flight to Hawaii is long, and many couples on their honeymoon choose to treat themselves to a more comfortable seat – maybe even First Class.

Since round-trip First Class tickets don’t come cheap, it’s common for my clients to choose to purchase First Class going one direction, but not the other. Here’s where you have to really think, though. Knowing that your flight to Hawaii is during the day, do you need the extra comforts (such as a fully reclining seat) on the way there, or would you prefer to have that on the way back home when you’ll be wanting to sleep?

It all comes down to personal preference. While it’s nice to have that comfy seat on the overnight flight, you’re obviously excited about kicking off your honeymoon on the departure flight, so booking a seat with extra perks on the way there may be more enticing. Something to consider!

Budget Accordingly

And my final tip for booking a honeymoon in Hawaii is to budget accordingly. Ugh, I know.

But the reality is that Hawaii is not an inexpensive destination. Accommodations, dining, and activities do not come cheap, and it’s important to keep this in mind when considering Hawaii. Planning travel during shoulder season (March-May, September-November) instead of peak season (December-February), may help alleviate some costs, however.

Despite its price, this is a truly spectacular destination and a perfect spot to spend some quality time together after your wedding.

Want to maximize your dollar and get a custom Hawaiian honeymoon put together for the two of you? JLJ Travel is a travel design agency that specializes in personalized, one-of-a-kind getaways, and we love taking the stress away from couples planning their honeymoons. Click here to learn more.

February 3, 2023