Oahu is a popular destination for business travelers, as the island holds a wide variety of industries, and many different companies are based there. However, some people who wind up in Hawaii for work feel like they're being taunted with the islands' beauty sitting right outside their office window. That said, it's entirely possible to enjoy everything this tropical paradise has to offer – even if you have to do so between meetings. Here are a few tips for making the most of your business trip to Oahu:
1. Bring the right clothes
Hawaii's weather is comfortably warm all year round. However "comfortably warm" can easily become "sweaty mess" if you're wearing the wrong clothing. If you're used to dressing in a full business suit made out of a heavy material, the odds are good you're going to be a little too warm in Hawaii. Instead, shoot for jackets and pants made out of linen. This material is light and breathable, so you'll be able to take advantage of the breezes that blow past while you're outside. Make sure your Oahu condo rental or hotel room has an iron, however: Linen wrinkles easily.
Check in with your company about what's expected in the Hawaii office, also. Conventions around business attire are pretty different in some offices on the islands – in fact, a floral Hawaiian shirt might be more appropriate for your meeting than a suit and tie. Ask your co-workers or your point of contact at the office what kind of clothes most people wear on a day-to-day basis.
2. Give yourself time
It's important to make sure you avoid a jampacked schedule on any business trip – the last thing you want to do is run late for a meeting because you didn't account for commute time into the office. In Oahu, however, it's particularly important to ensure you have plenty of time for travel. Honolulu is a business hub, which means you can expect the same kind of traffic you might find in any large city. Don't let the palm trees fool you: You might not always feel totally relaxed on the road.
If you are stuck in a traffic jam, don't honk your horn. Though this is commonplace in many cities on the mainland, honking in traffic (or for any reason other than an emergency or a blind turn) is considered incredibly rude in Hawaii. Stay gracious, and plan plenty of time so busy roads don't stress you out.
3. Befriend a local
Although you can certainly explore the island on your own, one of the best ways to get a real feel for Oahu is to befriend a local. Since you're visiting the island for work, you should have an easy way to do this – try to connect with a local co-worker on your first day in the office. Even if the person is unable to actually take you out and show you the sites, he or she should at least be able to point you in the right direction. However, many Hawaiians take the "aloha spirit" to heart, and the odds are good whoever you befriend will be happy to show you, firsthand, what makes Oahu so great.
4. Make the most of free time
Just like you should schedule plenty of time to get from place to place, try to set up your business trip so you have the evenings (or some other long stretch of time) free to do as you please. Although an evening might not seem like enough time to really get to know Oahu, you might be surprised by what you can do with a few hours. You can schedule a tour, visit a park or swim at the beach – though you won't be able to dedicate an entire day to lounging, you can definitely lounge once you're off the clock.
5. Tack an extra day onto the trip
If your trip is adjacent to a weekend, talk to your boss about adding an extra day on either end you can use to explore the island a little bit. There's a good chance that, if you do this, you'll have to cover your own travel for the extra day, but it's well worth it (and way less pricey than heading out on your own time!). Giving yourself even one obligation-free day can make all the difference – add it to the end of your trip, and you'll be able to check out all the cool things you noticed while on your way to X, Y and Z. Add it to the beginning, and you'll go into your work travels refreshed and ready to make a great impression: Either way, it's a win!