Should You Pay for a Guided Hawaiian Tour?

So, you’ve decided which of the Hawaiian Islands you want to visit; now it’s time to consider how you’ll be getting around and seeing the sights on your island of choice.

It really doesn’t matter which island you choose to travel to, you’re sure to have many wonderful things to do and see. The question is, “Will you be set off exploring on your own, or will you allow the locals to show you their version of Hawaii?”

In all actuality, the choice is not that black-and-white. You certainly can have the best of both worlds by doing a little island adventuring on your own first, then hiring someone to take you to great insider-secret locations or attractions.

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Even if you do take it upon yourself to discover Hawaii, you can always learn some of the most intimate details about your chosen island by speaking with island residents, mingling with fellow tourists who have already seen a lot of the island, or following guidebooks that you’ve purchased or downloaded to your gadget of choice.

I’m not going to try to sway you one way or the other, as each traveler’s vision of the perfect Hawaiian vacation is different. However, I will attempt to give you some ideas as to what you can expect should you hook up with a tour group and what you’ll be doing if you go solo for any part of your Hawaiian vacation.

Here are some features and conveniences that you can expect when you explore Hawaii, whether traveling with a guided tour or on your own:

Guided Tours of Hawaii

As I’ve mentioned before, and as you’ve probably read plenty about by now, Hawaii is an absolutely incredible place to view some awesome natural wonders, such as waterfalls, ocean sunsets, native wildlife, volcanoes, snow-capped mountains, flowering valleys and much more.

Depending on how much you want to see, your days in Hawaii can be busy until bedtime or laid back and relaxed for all 24 hours. In addition to time spent actually seeing and doing things in Hawaii, you can easily blow through your vacation time while planning and getting the necessary details about what you want to do.

If you want to simply enjoy the experience and skip all the hassle of orchestrating it, taking a guided tour of Hawaii is your best bet. You’ll be placing an expert on your island in charge of choosing the most popular sights and experiences for you.

By making a reservation for a guided tour, you get to concentrate on the enjoyment of peering out the window on your way up to a volcanic peak, leisurely strolling through pineapple fields, listening to a local’s perspective on Pearl Harbor, snorkeling in an ocean surrounded by tropical fish or eating your way through a luau. There’s no need to figure out how to get to the rainforest edge, what time the aquarium presentation is held at, which Polynesian dance troop offers the most authentic example of Hawaiian culture or where you can find the plantations that grow the best coffee in the world.

Taking a guided tour means that you are willing to exchange your money for more convenience, more free time and, in most cases, more knowledge of Hawaii.

For travelers who are concerned about the environment, guided tours are also eco-friendly. Each tour bus takes approximately 12 cars off of Hawaiian roads.

Touring the Islands on Your Own

Although hiring a tour guide to take you on your journey through Hawaii makes things easier in many cases, there is something to be said for trekking through the Hawaiian terrain sans assistance, leaving your ultimate vacation up to your inspiration and fancy at any given moment.

Often, it’s when setting out on an adventure with nothing more than a vague idea of impending fun to be had somewhere that you can find yourself immersed in the perfect swimming spot that no bus could ever reach, or chatting with locals while dining in a hole-in-the-wall restaurant. That’s the making of a vacation that’s as unique and memorable as you are.

There are plenty of things to experience in Hawaii that you can easily enjoy without help by making your own quick phone call, taking a minute to purchase a ticket, or even hopping a local bus to get to a historic landmark. Many of the things to do are cheap and tons of them are free, such as window shopping at the Polynesian Cultural Center or hiking in a National Park.

Usually, you don’t need a guided tour to get you to the zoo or to a sunny beach for some family fun.

The choice to pay for a guided tour (or not) comes down to how you want to budget your money on your Hawaiian vacation, how you value your time, and your motivation for seeing certain locales and attractions on the island. Regardless of what you choose, make the most of your time in Hawaii.