You’ve made it to Hawaii after a long flight, or several long flights, you’ve waited to disembark the plane, then to for your luggage to appear on the carrousel, then waited some more for a cab or for the keys to your rental car. You’ve found your way to your hotel or vacation rental, went through the check in process, and dropped your bags in the room. Finally!! You just can’t wait to get the real vacation started and do all the wonderful things you’ve planned for so long.
But first things first! You’re not in Kansas anymore, you’re on an island, and a very special one at that, so here are a few things you should definitely do on your first day so you can get on “island time” and make the most of your stay on the Valley Isle.
1. Go to the beach
I know this one sounds obvious, but I can’t tell you how many guests I’ve picked up to go on a full day excursion, who had been on island for several days and still had not put their feet in the sand and the crystal clear waters, even if it was right in front of their hotel.
You don’t necessarily have to spend all day or even an hour, but do yourself a favor and take a few minutes to take your shoes off, walk in the sand, get your feet in the water. You will feel the “mana” of Maui almost immediately come up your legs while you easily wash off the long trip you’ve just gone through.
2. Take a deep breath
Maybe this sounds like woo-woo stuff to you. But seriously, take a moment to breathe and pay attention to your breath. Take it all in. The smell of the ocean, the plumerias and jasmine, the sweet fresh air that you can only get on an island surrounded by 2,500 of ocean in every direction.
If it’s your thing, sign up for an outdoor yoga class, or do your own yoga or meditation session in the early morning-since you’ll probably be jetlagged! Or just take a moment to savor this moment that you’ve been looking forward to for so long.
3. Get a massage or spa treatment
You were stuck for hours on end in a tight seat with no leg room, and even if you were traveling first class, let’s face it your body is sore from this trip and needs some TLC. Getting a spa treatment, wether it’s a massage, facial, mani/pedi, or thermal baths, is a great way for you to slow down, relax, and get into the vacation mood.
4. Turn off your phone
This is going to be difficult to some people, but I definitely recommend you try it, even if it’s only for a few hours. Maybe just leave it in the room while you go down to explore your hotel grounds and walk on the beach. Turning off your phone and your connection to your everyday life back home will help you to connect with the island, the people around you, and yourself. And isn’t it what a vacation is all about? Give it a try, you might end up enjoying it more than you think!
5. Learn a few Hawaiian words
A guest once told me that upon arriving at Kahului airport, she observed that all the trash cans were marked “mahalo,” and so she had logically inferred that “mahalo” meant “trash.” That created a hilarious, if slightly embarrassing situation later on when she later asked a hotel employee “where is your mahalo?” and was met with a very puzzled expression on his face! For those of you not familiar yet with Hawaiian, “mahalo” means “thank you”!
Look, I’m not saying you should learn to speak fluent Hawaiian-very few people do-but there are a few words that will be helpful in your understanding of Hawaiian culture and for pleasant interactions with local residents.
Here are a few examples: mahalo, mauka/makai, pau hana, kuleana, kokua, kapu, mana…
There… now that you have properly slowed down and left your worries back home, go out there and enjoy all that Maui has to offer! Aloha!