Hawaii Apps to Download Before You Visit

Hawaii might seem like a foreign country. After all, it is the most isolated chain of islands in the world sitting in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It's a six-hour flight from the West Coast, which is the same flight time across the country from Boston to Los Angeles. That means someone coming in from the East Coast is effectively flying a quarter of the way around the world to get to this tropical paradise. Without the guidance of Hawaii apps, your paradise could turn into a nightmare.

But each of the four major tourist islands -- Kauai, Oahu, Maui, and Hawaii -- have incredible tourist infrastructure. Everyone speaks English, except for a few that speak Hawaiian Pidgin, and the American dollar is tender for all debts, public and private. The point is -- you're not flying to a different country where you'll need to prepare by downloading a litany of apps and offline maps. You're flying to America with all the comforts of home.

There are a handful of Hawaii apps that will prove handy when you land. Read this list, pick out a few helpful apps and get them installed and get familiarized with them in the comfort of your own home. That way you’ll know which ones to use when you get to the islands. However, if you didn’t get them downloaded ahead of time, don’t worry. After all, your network should give you full connectivity on the islands. If not, you're just steps away from your resort which should give you free WiFi for the chance at free app downloads.

Surf ReportSurf Report

The word Pacific translates to friendly. The Pacific Ocean is supposed to be the Friendly Ocean. Now, that sparkling blue water might seem friendly, but the ocean around the Hawaiian islands can often be dangerous. That's where this streamlined app comes in. You can check the weather, the temperature of the water, the tide, and the surf of just about any Hawaiian beach on this Hawaii app. It will tell you if your favorite beach is safe for a swim during your trip.

Google MapsGoogle Maps

Almost everyone has Google Maps installed on their phones, but did you know the popular app can work without an internet connection. That little GPS signal works all over the world, but, when you open up the Google Maps app without a connection, you’re left with a blue dot on a blank screen. But you can download a detailed map of your island on the app ahead of time so that the GPS-powered map will work no matter where you find yourself on the island. Talk about a useful Hawaii app.

WiFi FinderWiFi Finder

Another great recommendation for those with slow phone service or for those with poor connectivity. This map, which works offline, will show you the exact location of the nearest WiFi hotspot. The app also allows you to filter the type of spot -- restaurant, hotel, coffee shop, etc -- while allowing you to save your favorite locations.

Shaka GuideShaka Guide ($)

The history of the islands is absolutely fascinating, but it’s hard to find the money for a personal Hawaii travel guide. But the Shaka Guide App can serve as your personal guide to your favorite island. The GPS-powered Hawaii app gives you a guided tour with interesting stories, facts, and even a little bit of humor. You can also use this app to guide you to interesting places you may not have known about between points A and B.

Gypsy GuideGypsy Guide ($)

As an alternative, you can download the Gypsy Guide. Download the version of the app that is specific to your island to receive driving itineraries, stories, historical tidbits and insider tips. Just like the Shaka Guide, Gypsy Guide will serve as your personal island tour guide in the form of a Hawaii app.

Hawaiian WordsHawaiian Words

This app allows you to decode those long and exotic Hawaiian words that you see all over the islands. The word Aloha is world-famous, but did you know it translates to "The presence of divine breath?" It's also an acronym with each letter representing a new Hawaiian word to promote peace, unity, perseverance, and positive thinking. Just imagine all the beautiful Hawaiian words that are waiting to be discovered through this Hawaii app.


Use the AirBNB app to get the best deals on home rentals on your favorite island. Even if you’ve already booked accommodation, the Hawaii app can keep you up to date on the best deals near you. Who knows, you just might score that dream home on Hawaii to make your vacation truly unforgettable.

Ukulele CompanionUkulele Companion

Many visitors love the soothing sounds of the Hawaiian ukulele, and some of those visitors buy a ukulele to take home. The Ukulele Companion app is perfect for the first-time ukulele buyer. It has a variety of helpful functions like the ukulele tuner and it will teach you how to play the small, tropical guitar. It'll even hit you with a metronome or backing drums for when you feel confident enough to play in front of your friends.

Hawaii RevealedHawaii Revealed ($)

This maps app comes loaded with thousands of unique attractions sprinkled across the islands. And, like Google Maps, the app allows you to download the most up to date Hawaiian attractions maps so that you can navigate your dream vacation without an internet connection. As an added bonus, the maps come loaded with restaurant and beach descriptions. The cost is about $8.00 per island.

Hawaii MagazineHawaii Magazine ($)

It's always good to keep up on the latest trends on the Hawaiian islands, and Hawaii Magazine does a great job of covering the shifting sands. This in-depth magazine, produced on the island of Oahu, can show you the best of the islands through food, adventures, and entertainment. And it gives you something instructive to read as you fly to the islands. Alternatively, you can order printed magazines and have them shipped to you ahead of time.  

Hawaii News NowHawaii News Now

Hawaii can feel like a foreign country, but remember -- it's America's 50th state. But the 50th state does have its own news cycle that is usually not covered on the mainland. Tap into the local culture by downloading Hawaii News Now for all the latest island news. You'll also get instant updates on road closures, weather and national news.


Taxis and airport shuttles are available on every island, but nothing beats the convenience and price of Uber. The app allows you to summon a personal driver, you can watch a GPS tracker of your ride and no cash changes hands. You simply enter your destination and the app will tell you how much the ride will cost. It’ll then charge your credit card once the ride is complete. Our recommendation is that if you plan on using this more than a couple of times on your trip, or you need to go a long distance, it is better to just rent a car instead, but if you are sticking around one area for a time, this is a great alternative. If you want to read more about if you need to rent a car, click here.

Hawaii Bus App: DaBus2Hawaii Bus App: DaBus2

his is one free Hawaii app to download that you do not want to miss out on. Many of Hawaii's 10 million visitors go right to the heart of Hawaii to stay in Honolulu. The ancient Hawaiians named Oahu "the Gathering Place" and it's a fitting modern name. This massive city is where you'll find international travelers from all over the world. This Hawaii bus app allows you to make sense out of Honolulu's tangled public transportation system by giving you bus routes, timetables, and even travel itineraries. It's a must for those staying in Honolulu without a car. If this is your situation in any way, you should strongly consider downloading this Hawaii bus app.

USA Tip CalculatorUSA Tip Calculator

Tipping is unique to the United States of America and Hawaii is the 50th state. Servers and many bartenders make below minimum wage on the islands because tips are factored into the income. But understanding the tipping culture can be difficult for those who have never done it before. USA Tip Calculator takes all of the awkward guesswork out of the equation. Simply fill in the amount of the bill to get your customary tip amount. Read over when and why to tip before you go.

Need Additional Help? 

Before you even think about the Hawaii apps to download for your dream vacation you need to stress over the planning logistics. Consider alleviating all of the planning stress with the Hawaiian Planner. Discover how the Hawaiian Planner can help you create your dream vacation with ease.