As I took hold of my high school diploma, looking out at my friends and family, it seemed that the entire world was about to be mine for the taking. I was excited and eager to leave high school behind. What I was most looking forward to was my “grad trip.” A traditional trip that graduates take with some of their closest friends. For me, that was Hawaii, (exotic I know), with 11 of my best friends.
While there, several excursions stand out to me as the most enjoyable and impactful. The first was a trip to Makai Pier. This remote pier is used for marine research; however, there are several tiny, sandy, secluded beaches on each side of the dock. This was a refreshing change from the multitude of other beaches we visited, the majority of them packed like sardine cans. The snorkeling off this beach was also superb, with plenty of fish and active corals observable very close to the beach. Because of the secluded nature of the beach, there are no amenities close by, so be sure to bring plenty of food and water based on your predicted length of stay. I would also suggest bringing a beach umbrella (as I did) as there is very little shade close to the water.
Another excursion that stood out to me was our hike up Koko crater railway trail. A very steep, challenging climb, however, the vistas from the top of the mountain are fantastic. It is very easy to distinguish the urban areas of Honolulu from the untouched wildlife sprawling over the rest of the island. The trail is very busy, and the terrain is very uneven, so this hike is for only the most sure-footed of people.
Something to note about both excursions mentioned above, due to their secluded locations, it is suggested that you rent a car to get to these locations. It is possible to access these places via Uber or Lift, however, expect extremely high costs and long wait times for a pickup.
One thing that I brought on my trip that is critical is travel insurance. Being from Canada, I have heard too many stories of individuals being stuck with five-figure hospital bills after a travel-related mishap. I recommend Goose Insurance, as the extremely competitive rates leave more money for exploring, and the ease of in-app insurance policy purchases simplify the pre-travel process. After that, pack the sunscreen!