Mahalo Frommer’s: Hawaii Day by Day Review

Frommer’s new Hawaii Day by Day guide is all you will need to see the best of the islands on your next Hawaiian vacation.

Frommer’s travel guides are the bible for those of us with an incurable case of wanderlust. In particular, their pocket-sized Day by Day guides have been instrumental in helping scattered travelers organize their capers in cities across the world. For those who have been keeping their fingers crossed for Day by Day guides to larger territories, Frommer’s just released three full-sized Day by Day guides to Italy, Ireland and Hawaii, and the Hawaii guide will make the perfect travel companion while visiting the islands.

by Jeanette Foster. Wiley Publishing, Inc., 2010; $27.99

As a kid I was lucky enough to have a mother who grew up on Oahu and was well acquainted with the other islands. Between her and her friends who were scattered across Oahu, Maui and the Big Island, I got to see sides of Hawaii usually reserved for locals. Now that those days are long past and my memories of the islands have grown fuzzy, I would certainly need some help planning a trip to Hawaii. Where can I find traditional Hawaiian food? Where is the best place to take a surfing lesson? When is the cheapest time of year to go to Hawaii? These questions will no longer go unanswered now that I have Frommer’s Hawaii Day by Day Guide.


Hawaii Day by Day helps travelers plan their vacation to Hawaii based on what island they’re visiting, length of stay, and interests and activities. The majority of the guide is divided up by island, which include sections that detail topics such as lodging, restaurants, nightlife, outdoor activities, water sports, shopping, kid-friendly activities and more. Each chapter also includes a section or two on something unique to the island. For example, the Big Island chapter has a section on volcanoes in Hawaii and the Kauai chapter has a brief but fascinating section on the history of sugar plantations. For those who are strapped for time, there are also itineraries to see the best of each island in one to three days.

For those travelers lucky enough to spend a longer amount of time in Hawaii, the first part of the book is filled with one to two week itineraries for the islands that ensure you hit all of the must-see spots. One of my favorite aspects of this book is that there is a chapter on Hawaii’s history and culture. While you won’t be an expert on all things Hawaiian after reading it, it gives a nice crash course on history, food, and language—something that many travel guides leave out but is essential to any seasoned traveler.

The crowning glory of this travel guide is its photography, which was specifically commissioned for this book. Virtually every page is adorned with colorful, striking photos that put you in the heart of Hawaii. There are also 122 maps, including a full-sized pull-out map enclosed in a plastic wallet in the back of the book—especially useful if you are prone to getting lost like I am. It's also worth mentioning that unlike many travel guides, Hawaii Day by Day is not written in a dry or voiceless manner. Foster’s prose are enjoyable to read and infused with personality and a sense of authority.


The beauty of the Day by Day city guides are their size—they are lightweight and portable. However, since this is a Day by Day guide for an entire state, it’s naturally larger: not quite burdensome, but with 600 plus pages, it’ll definitely add some extra weight to your beach bag. The books is also a little pricey, but considering what you will be shelling out for a Hawaiian vacation, consider the Hawaii Day by Day guide a solid investment.

Worth Buying?

A thousand times yes. If you want one guide to bring with you to Hawaii, this is it. One look at tropical sunset on page 413 and you’ll be booking your flight to Hawaii in no time.

Destinations: Hawaii

Themes: Beach Vacations

Activities: Sightseeing, Swimming