Hawaii: The Ohana Experience

Posted by Allison Graham on May 11, 2018 3:03:49 PM

For 15 years I've personally escorted thousands of students and their group leaders to Waikiki on the island of Oahu in my role with Director’s Choice. When my directors tell me they are ready to begin planning the “big” trip, I always suggest Hawaii as an option.  Not only is it breathtakingly beautiful, but it’s full of adventure, cultural experiences, and memorable performance options.

Across the Water

students wearing leisAlthough Hawaii seems like an exotic foreign country, it is, in fact, the 50th state. That means, no need for passports or customs agents.  Once you get through airport security and buckle up, prepare to be seated for a long flight.  For most students, this is a memorable part of the adventure, especially if they have never flown. Enjoy the ride: take a nap, watch a movie, eat some snacks.


 Approaching Honolulu from the Mainland over the ocean is quite a sight. There is nothing like seeing the islands come into view. The rugged terrain meeting the crystal waters is surreal.

A must on every Hawaii itinerary is the fresh flower lei greeting. This is true Hawaiian hospitality, and a warm “Aloha!” sets the tone for your entire Hawaiian experience. It’s a tradition you won’t want to miss!

Ohana  Culture

Picture of Hawaiian Pineapple

When you spend time on the Island, you are greeted like family. It’s no coincidence that the pineapple, synonymous with Hawaii, is the universal symbol of hospitality. The Hawaiian people are warm and friendly. In Hawaiian culture, ohana means family. You are family when you are in Hawaii.  

More than just sun and fun, there are so many opportunities to expose your students to Polynesian history and culture.  

  • Learn the basics of the Hawaiian language
  • Tell a story with your hands as you try the art of Hula
  • Make fire with Samoans
  • Try the Poi
  • Enjoy a Luau and watch the Kalua Pig come up from the Imu (Underground Oven)

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Exquisite Nature

Most of us enjoy the natural habitat near us, whether that be enormous blue skies, rolling green hills, or even exciting city lights, but I cannot express to you the majestic beauty of the Hawaiian islands.  

Diamond Head
  • Marvel at the waterfalls coming off the mountains
  • Sail the crystal clear waters on a catamaran
  • Watch the surfers on the world famous beaches  
  • Spot sea turtles and dolphins while snorkeling
  • Hike up Diamond Head for a fantastic view
  • Smell the fragrant flowers and plants
  • Catch an incredible sunset every evening
  • Experience the cool sweetness of Dole Whip

Heartrending History

pearl harbor memorialPearl Harbor brings history to life and humanizes our past.  You'll be amazed at the impact a day spent at the Valor in the Pacific, Pearl Harbor, and the Arizona Memorial has on students. Plus, understanding the attack on Pearl Harbor over 75 years ago, makes performing there more meaningful. It is a great privilege and honor to perform at Pearl Harbor. Students have an audience of hundreds of people visiting from all over the world.  

Common Pitfalls

Use a trusted and experienced tour company like Director’s Choice when you travel to Hawaii. It’s crucial that your travel company have a stable, trusted relationship with local island suppliers. Hawaii, while part of the United States, has it’s own culture and unique way of doing things. A proven company will keep your kids safe and give you the value you deserve for those hard earned trip funds.

Don’t over pack your suitcase or your itinerary! The temperature stays about the same every day of the year. The rainy season is in March, so if you are on a Spring Break trip, expect a daily quick rain shower, known locally as a blessing.

Your itinerary should have a balance of structured and unstructured time. Don’t try to overpack the itinerary as you might miss a beautiful moment. They happen all around you on the island.

Once you are there, you will quickly learn what Hawaiian time is - the local’s way of saying, "it’ll happen when it happens." So, now that you have had a small taste of paradise, I hope you will consider travel to Hawaii. Take your time to plan, "it’ll happen when it happens."


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Topics: Travel Planning, Destinations