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Take sunscreen and a full wallet

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A taxi from the airport to Waikiki runs $25-$30. Shuttle by minivan from the airport to any of the Waikiki hotels costs $8. Those who rent a car can expect to pay around $10/night for hotel parking; a few hotels let you park for free. Gasoline was $1.80/gallon, plus or minus, in mid-November.

Several free trolleys operate from Waikiki to various shopping plazas that are outside of the hotel zone, places such as Hilo Hattie's, Aloha Tower Marketplace and Maui Divers. The Ala Moana Shopping Center bus is $1. The island's public bus system, simply called The Bus, operates extensive routes throughout Honolulu and to every town on the rest of Oahu. Fare is $1.50.

So, you don't have to have a car to get around. But driving outside of Waikiki is a blast. You may want to compromise by renting a car only for those days you intend to explore the island on your own.

Beware the beach

Perhaps one reason Waikiki Beach is so crowded is that relatively few people go in the water. Some spots have been set aside for protected wading. But in general, Waikiki isn't an ideal swimming beach because coral reefs grow near the shore line — and waves that appear otherwise harmless can drag unsuspecting swimmers over the coral's sharp edges.

Brown bagging

The only true grocery store I found in the Waikiki hotel zone was the Food Pantry on Kuhio. Here are some regular prices (I ignored sale prices) from mid-November: one pound Orowheat 100 percent whole wheat bread $3.09; 8-ounce Oscar Mayer beef bologna $2.65; 6-ounce Kraft Singles cheese $3.15; 8-ounce French's mustard $1.79; tomatoes $1.39 a pound; iceberg lettuce 89 cents a pound; 7-ounce bag Lay's potato chips $2.68; soft drinks $1.89 per liter.

Information

Contact the Hawaii Visitor and Convention Bureau at 808-924-0266; www.gohawaii.com