While all of us may not be fortunate enough to live in the Aloha State, luckily there’s plenty of residents and visitors who don’t mind sharing the beauty of the islands with us!
Over the last couple of decades, travel has not only become easier, less daunting and more accessible for everyone, but relatable and easy to share with the extent of today’s technology, often requiring no more than a smart phone and a semi-decent internet connection.
So while you may be sitting at your desk dreaming of sandy shorelines, breaching humpback whales, plumeria and kalua pork, we offer some of the best ways to instantly transport yourself to paradise, start planning your trip, and even make the most of your experience once you arrive.
Tech Tips: Making the Most of Your Hawaii Vacation
A relative newcomer to the social media scene, the Twitter-owned Periscope app allows users to watch (and film) real-time footage of locations throughout the world. Want to know what this morning’s sunrise looked like from the summit of Haleakala Volcano, or watch the waves roll in on your favorite Hawaiian beach while taking your lunch break? You can! While footage is limited to the specific users and their choice of content in any given area, users can replay videos later and even interact with whoever is making the video, should you catch it live. This is a great outlet for asking questions from people actually visiting (or living) where you want to go, and if anything, makes for a wonderful few minutes of travel inspiration.
Bonus: You do not need a Twitter account to use or watch Periscope. Follow @MauiHawaii to get started!
With the popularity of sites like Airbnb and VRBO, and the rise of interest in the tiny house movement, van life and camping, Hipcamp does an excellent job of blending all of the above into a single, easy-to-use website. Instead of renting a home or condo, travelers can now rent a patch of grass to set up camp in amazing, formerly off-limits locales. While it’s currently only been fully launched in areas of California, Hipcamp already offers an in-depth look at some of Hawaii’s best campsites, with camper-submitted photos, tips, locations and advice. If you’re passionate about exploring the outdoors on your next Hawaii adventure, this is a great starting point to begin planning your camping expedition.
Bonus: In some cases, you can book your stay directly from the Hipcamp website, and we do expect the app’s popularity to grow in Hawaii (perfect camping conditions year-round!) in the coming months and years.
Wolfram Sun Exposure
The sun in Hawaii can be brutal, and many visitors tend to overestimate their skin’s ability to tan instead of burn. While reef-safe SPF is a necessity in the land of aloha, the brilliant Wolfram Sun Exposure app is extremely useful once you arrive. By gathering information about where you are, the time of day, the local UV forecast and your skin type, Wolfram calculates the amount of time you can spend in the sun before you’re likely to get burned, and make recommendations for the SPF level you should be using. Nothing ruins a vacation like sun poisoning, so always be sure to hydrate, and don’t be afraid to take breaks in the shade!
Bonus: Voted one of the 10 Best Travel Apps of 2016.
If you’re one of those people who discovers amazing things and places when they’re traveling only to discover they don’t remember half of them by the time they get home, you’re not alone. LiveTrekker is our favorite interactive journaling app, and makes for an ideal way to remember what all you’ve seen and done while you’re traveling. Not only will it track your route, allowing you to input photos, videos, audio clips and notes as you stop at different locations, but it also keeps track of smaller details like speed, altitude and more. While this is a great tool for remembering where you’ve been (with very little work on your part), it’s also a perfect tool for discovering other travelers’ trips, must-see stops and tips along the way.
Bonus: You can even share your travels in real-time when your chosen audience is synced to your content.
Bonus Round: Tripwire
Alright, so we’ll admit that currently, there isn’t much going on in Hawaii with the Tripwire app. However, it’s new, it’s functional, well-designed and useful, so we expect that to change fairly soon (hopefully with a little help from you!). The basic premise is that travelers share their insider secrets, favorite spots and general tips with the public. Search any place, destination or ‘registered tripper’, and a list of traveler-curated locations, photos and advice will pop up, allowing you to learn more about new spots you may have missed otherwise.
Bonus: Tripwire also lets you know if your travel path will connect with other users, which could be a convenient way to meet other travelers while you’re away. Also, whoever adds more tips for Maui gets 11 cool points.
Mahalo for reading our list of the best travel apps, and please let us know any we missed in the comments below. Happy travel app’ing, and aloha!