Creating the perfect Hawaiian itinerary for your holiday is the most important thing you can do to ensure you get the tropical vacation you deserve.
There is no controlling the weather or random challenges that may arise once you’ve landed in Hawaii. However, knowing where you want to go, what you want to see, and how you’re going to get there are the key steps you can take beforehand in order to maximize your precious time on the islands.
Whether you are visiting for 5, 7, 10, or 14+ days, these Hawaii itineraries will explain everything you need to know for planning the ultimate holiday.
This guide is a connecting point to the best 5, 7, 10, and 14 day Hawaii itineraries available. They include options for every island while accounting for preferences. This means that whether you are into the art of slow travel or ready to take on the ultimate island-hopping adventure across all 7 inhabited islands of Hawaii, you will find the one for you.
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Each Hawaiian Island at a Glance
FOUR MAIN ISLANDS: Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Big Island
Oahu: The Miami of Hawaii
Incredible white sand beaches with the best nightlife and the largest city in Hawaii. Oahu is mostly about resorts and tourist attractions, drawing people who are more about a fun, curated vacation than exploration. It is by far the most visited island in Hawaii.
Kauai: The Denver of Hawaii
Upscale accommodation and romantic restaurants exist, but the island is most known for its incredible natural beauty. Kauai is best for the hikers, adventure seekers, and nature lovers who see Hawaii as a place to explore rather than somewhere to relax.
Maui: The Los Angeles of Hawaii
Beautiful beaches with lots of high-end visitors, but also appealing to people who like to explore by car. Maui is a mix of upscale vacation, self-drive tourism, and chill-on-the-beach enthusiasts. This is the second-most popular island for tourists.
Big Island: The Seattle of Hawaii
Slow pace with the friendliest people and a lot of natural beauty to explore, but more effort is required. The Big Island is best for people who value space, seclusion, and budget over manufactured and lavish experiences.
THREE SISTER ISLANDS: Molokai, Lanai, Ni’ihau
Molokai: The Friendly Island
A mini-Kauai, Molokai hosts incredible landscapes that range from towering mountains to sublime beaches. It is the most beautiful of the Hawaiian sister islands, and also the most populated.
Lanai: The Pineapple Island
Lanai sees more tourists than any of the other sister islands, but few ever get past Shark’s Bay on a half-day trip from Maui. Those who do explore will discover some unique beaches and scenery that guarantee near-total seclusion.
Ni’ihau: The Forbidden Island
A private island that is most known for its exclusivity and one-of-a-kind precious shells. Ni’ihau was impossible to visit prior to 2021, but now a half-day tour from Kauai allows 3 hours on this mysterious island.
5-7 day Hawaiian Itineraries
Most travelers to Hawaii are looking to spend about a week on the islands. With such a short amount of time, you will most likely want to spend the entire duration on just one of the islands.
Each island has its own distinct beauty, charm, and features that speak to individuals differently. Don’t be surprised if the most popular islands are your least favorite, or if you fall in love with one that you never expected to.
The only way to know which island is best for you is to experience them all. Since that is not an option for most, the next best thing is to browse the complete 5-7 day Hawaiian island itineraries below and reflect on which one makes you feel the aloha right through your screen.
- Oahu Itinerary for 5-7 Days
- Maui Itinerary for 5-7 Days
- Kauai Itinerary for 5-7 Days
- Big Island of Hawaii Itinerary for 5-7 Days
10-Day Hawaiian Itineraries
Having more than one week in Hawaii opens up a lot of options for island hopping itineraries. Whether you prefer the art of slow travel or the thrill of adventure is something only you can decide, but rest assured that 10 days in Hawaii is the perfect amount of time for either option.
Below, you will find information on how to allocate your time and how many islands you should attempt to visit in 10 days on Hawaii.
10-Day Hawaii Itineraries for 1-2 Islands
For most travelers, we recommend using a 10-day Hawaiian itinerary to explore 2 islands, spending 5 days on each. Inter-island flights are cheap, fast, and easy to arrange. By seeing two islands, you will have a more diverse experience.
If your Hawaiian vacation is more about relaxation than exploration, you should browse the itineraries below and choose the 1-2 islands that appear to suit you best.
As these were designed for 5-7 days, those choosing to stay on only one island on a 10 day itinerary will simply want to stack on a few extra beach days and/or activities.
- OAHU Itinerary for 5-7 Days
- MAUI Itinerary for 5-7 Days
- KAUAI Itinerary for 5-7 Days
- BIG ISLAND Itinerary for 5-7 Days
10-Day Hawaii Itineraries for 3-4 Islands
Not everyone travels to Hawaii with sunbathing and relaxation in mind. The Hawaiian islands are a genuine paradise with unspeakable natural beauty that begs for adoration.
If you prefer “doing” to “being”, 10 days on Hawaii is enough time to see at least 3 or even all 4 major islands. This requires a lot more coordination than staying in one place, but is far less expensive and difficult than you probably imagine.
Fortunately, most of the hard work has been done for you! If you are looking for the ultimate 10-day Hawaii Island Hopping Itinerary, the travel guide below outlines literally everything you need to know.
This includes where to start and end your trip, the sequence you’ll want to follow, how to get around the islands, and the best options for spending your limited time on each.
The Ultimate 10-day Hawaii Itinerary for Island Hoppers
How to see the main 4 Hawaiian islands in 10 Days.
14+ Day Hawaiian Itineraries
Those of you fortunate enough to have two weeks or more on Hawaii truly have time enough to see it ALL.
There are 7 inhabited islands of Hawaii; the 4 major islands of Oahu, Maui, Kauai, & Big Island, and the 3 sister islands of Lanai, Molokai, and the “Forbidden Island” of Ni’ihau.
Of course, seeing so much in such a short time requires a certain personality type and a lot of planning. Most visitors will instead want to choose 2-3 major islands and spend 5-7 days on each.
Below are tips and guides for each option.
14+ Day Hawaii Itineraries for 2-3 Islands
The key to the perfect Hawaiian vacation strikes the right balance of time for relaxing and indulging, but also a bit of excitement, adventure, and discovery.
For travelers who prefer a little extra downtime, spreading a two-week holiday across two islands with 7 days on each provides just the right amount of time for everything. Those who prefer to be a little more active should consider a third island with 5 or so days on each.
- OAHU Itinerary for 5-7 Days
- MAUI Itinerary for 5-7 Days
- KAUAI Itinerary for 5-7 Days
- BIG ISLAND Itinerary for 5-7 Days
Consult the Hawaiian island itineraries above and decide how many and which islands you want to visit on your trip.
Worth knowing is that Oahu and Maui are the two most popular islands by far with about 500k monthly visitors. Kauai and Big Island are far less visited, receiving about 150k tourists monthly, but cater to tourism slightly less as a result.
14+ Day Hawaii Itineraries for 4-7 Islands
Most people have no idea that there are 7 inhabited islands of Hawaii, and as of 2021 you can actually visit them all!
Of course, so much island hopping in such a short amount of time is not for everyone. It takes a savvy traveler who enjoys planning and prefers to be on the go than to ever sit still, even on a tropical beach.
Note that despite there being so many destinations, you will still have time to see and enjoy each island!
The itinerary below will guide you through the process of booking the trip of a lifetime, which allows enough time on every inhabited Hawaiian island to briefly experience each.
The ULTIMATE 14+ day Hawaii Island Hopping Itinerary
How to see the ALL 7 Hawaiian islands in two weeks or more.
How to Island Hop in Hawaii
Getting to Hawaii can be expensive, but island hopping is much more affordable than most people realize! In fact, flights between the islands are frequently as cheap as $45.
If you are considering a Hawaiian itinerary with at least one inter-island transfer, you will want to read the guide below. This is considered the bible for Hawaii island hoppers and is the most comprehensive resource available on the topic.
The Complete Guide to Hawaii Island Hopping
Options, Prices, Tips, and Best Practices for Hawaii island hopping itineraries.
For those of you only visiting 1-2 islands or who just want the highlights, here are some of the key takeaways from that guide:
- ALWAYS BOOK YOUR ARRIVAL FLIGHT TO HAWAII DIRECT (if possible)!
- Most Hawaii island hopping itineraries should begin in Oahu.
- Arrive and depart from different islands to maximize time & minimize cost.
- Flights between major islands start at $45 and are about 45 minutes long through Hawaiian Airlines.
- There are no Hawaii ferry services, except between Maui and Lanai.
- The best order for island hopping all 7 Hawaiian islands will typically be:
Oahu -> Kauai -> Ni’ihau -> Maui -> Lanai -> Molokai -> Kona
Getting Around the Hawaiian Islands
Public transportation in Hawaii is very limited and should not be relied upon as a generality, especially for airport drop-offs. On a personal note, we once took a bus to the airport and it arrived over an hour past its scheduled drop-off time. Had we not been ahead of schedule, our entire vacation would have been impacted!
The best option for getting around the Hawaiian islands will typically be to rent a car. They are surprisingly affordable and provide maximum freedom. While we recommend the professionalism and assurance that come with rental car companies, you can also use the Turo app for car rental in Hawaii.
Visitors who are not comfortable driving or are on fast-paced island hopping itineraries have some other options that may suit them better.
If spending less than 3 days on any island, as with many Hawaii itineraries above, or if you are not comfortable driving in Hawaii, consider traveling by Lyft or Uber and arranging tours that provide pick-up and drop-off service for the activities that you specifically want to do.
If you would prefer to rent a car, you can look into pricing and availability for rentals here.
If you prefer to travel by tour, you will find plenty of different tours, from single activities to day trips and multi-day trips. Browse Hawaii tours here.
Packing for Hawaii
There is a lot to think about when packing for Hawaii, and the last thing you want to do is waste time shopping for things you forgot instead of enjoying your vacation!
In addition, anyone considering a Hawaiian itinerary with island hopping involved will want to ensure they fit everything they need into carry-on luggage! This will greatly reduce time and cost for checked bags, and is also easier to travel with.
Below is a valuable resource for anyone who wants a little help figuring out what to pack (and what NOT to pack) for their Hawaiian holiday. In it, you will find a printable checklist of the essentials as well as 25 overlooked items that you may want to consider packing.
COMPLETE, PRINTABLE PACKING LIST FOR HAWAII
A checklist for essential items plus other clever items to consider bringing with you.
Traveling to Hawaii in 2022
Hawai‘i is welcoming most travelers again. However, there are some pre-travel requirements for international travelers visiting Hawai‘i.
Domestic Travel to Hawaii
As of March 26, 2022, there are no COVID-related requirements for domestic passengers arriving in Hawai‘i.
You can find current information, advice, and guidelines related to COVID and travel in Hawaii on the Hawaii Covid-19 website here.
International Travel to Hawaii
For those traveling from international destinations with direct flights to Hawaii, you will need to follow federal international requirements. There are no additional State of Hawai‘i requirements.
As of June 12, 2022, international visitors are no longer required to show a negative COVID-19 viral test or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before they board their flight. However, the CDC is still requiring proof of vaccination for international visitors to travel to the United States. Requirements are constantly changing so ensure you check the CDC website or within your airline for current guidelines.
Hawaiian Itinerary FAQs
Still have questions on planning your perfect Hawaiian itinerary? Use the drop-down boxes below to find answers to the most frequently asked questions.
How many days in Hawaii is enough?
Inter-island flights in Hawaii are only about 45 minutes or less, meaning you could technically get to every single island in the same day. For an enjoyable vacation, however, the ideal amount of days for your Hawaiian itinerary should be:
- 1 Island: 3-7 days
- 2 Islands: 7-10 days
- 3-4 islands: 10+ days
- 4-7 islands: 14+ days
How many days do you need for each Hawaiian island?
For your first visit to any Hawaiian island, you will want a minimum of 2-3 days, with 5-7 days being the ideal amount of time.
If your itinerary allows more than 7 days, you should at least consider visiting a second island.
Is a 5 day Hawaiian itinerary enough?
5 days in Hawaii is enough time to comfortably see and experience any one Hawaiian island. Fast-paced travelers could easily fit two islands into their itinerary, but this is a seldom-recommended option.
Is a 7 day Hawaiian itinerary enough?
7 days in Hawaii is enough time to balance relaxation and exploration of any one major island.
Is a 10 day Hawaiian itinerary enough?
10 days in Hawaii is enough time to comfortably enjoy two islands, though the ambitious island hopper could easily get to all 4 major Hawaiian islands in this time while allowing 2-3 days on each.
Is a 14 day Hawaiian itinerary enough?
14 days on Hawaii is the perfect amount of time to spend on the islands. This allows the most diverse varieties of Hawaiian itineraries, ranging from slow-travel trips that include only 1-2 islands in that time to the ultimate Hawaiian island hopping itinerary which includes ALL SEVEN inhabited islands.
Is it worth island hopping in Hawaii?
The cost of getting from one island to another in Hawaii is less than most people will pay to get to the airport! It is absolutely worth island hopping in Hawaii if you have the time and desire to experience the unique vibes of each.
Hawaiian Island Travel Guides & Resources
In addition to the numerous trip planning resources provided throughout this post, we have a plethora of helpful Hawaii travel guides that you may find valuable for planning or inspiration.
Browse some of the most popular titles below and bookmark any that interest you. In addition, feel free to email us directly if we can help answer any questions.
General Hawaii Travel Guides
- Printable Hawaii Packing List
- Planning a Trip to Hawaii: The Ultimate Guide
- Hawaii Island Hopping Guide: How to See Every Island
- Best Things to Do on Hawaii: The ULTIMATE Hawaii Bucket List
- Top 25 Places to Visit in Hawaii
- Best Beaches of Hawaii: Top 5 on Each Island
- 7-Day Hawaii Itinerary
- 10-Day Hawaii Itinerary
- 14-Day Hawaii Itinerary
- Hawaii Photography Guide
Oahu Travel Guides
Maui Travel Guides
- HAWAII PACKING LIST: A printable essential packing list + 25 useful items to consider
- 5-7 DAY MAUI ITINERARY: How to see the entire island in one week or less
- WHERE TO STAY ON MAUI: The best places and areas to stay on the island
- PLANNING A TRIP TO MAUI: Step by step guide for planning your first visit to Maui
- ROAD TO HANA STOPS: The Top 25 places to visit on the Road to Hana
- ROAD TO HANA ITINERARY: How to plan for a 1-2 day self drive.
- BEST MAUI PHOTO SPOTS: 15 best places for photographing Maui
- SECRET BEACHES OF MAUI: The 10 most incredible hidden beaches on the island
- MAUI SUNSETS: The Top 10 places & activities for watching sunset in Maui
- KIHEI BEACHES GUIDE: Photos, locations, and descriptions for all 15 beaches in Kihei
- BEST SNORKELING IN MAUI: Best snorkel spots, tips, tours and more.
Kauai Travel Guides
- BEST THINGS TO DO IN KAUAI
- WHERE TO STAY ON KAUAI
- THE PERFECT 5-7 DAY KAUAI ITINERARY
- PLANNING A TRIP TO KAUAI
- KAUAI PHOTOGRAPHY GUIDE
- BEST DESTINATIONS FOR SUNSET IN KAUAI
- COMPLETE KAUAI WATERFALL GUIDE
- HIKING THE KALEPA RIDGE TRAIL: KAUAI’S BEST HIKE
Big Island Travel Guides
- BEST BIG ISLAND BEACHES
- 5-7 DAY BIG ISLAND ITINERARY
- WHERE TO STAY ON THE BIG ISLAND
- 101 BEST THINGS TO DO ON BIG ISLAND
- PLANNING A TRIP TO BIG ISLAND
- KONA BEACHES GUIDE
- BIG ISLAND PHOTOGRAPHY GUIDE