Christine Hitt
Christine Hitt

Unlike the continental United States, Hawaii has two seasons: kau (summer) from May to October and hooilo (winter) from about November to April.

Hawaii's winter is known as the rainy season, but that doesn't mean it rains all the time. Yes, it is known to have more precipitation than the summer season, but you can find many sunny days in the rainy season and you can find some rainy days in the summer season.

My recommendation is to not worry too much about how the weather will affect your plans. It's impossible to predict from far out when it's going to rain, so it's anyone's guess whether or not it will rain that week you're visiting the Islands in January. 

The good news is that the rain generally doesn't last long. Most times, it usually rains on and off as the clouds pass by. There may be breaks of sun in between those clouds. Or it could be rainy in the morning and sunny by the afternoon.

Also, most of the Islands experience different weather on different sides of the island. It could be raining on the east side of an island but sunny on its west side. So don't be too bummed when you wake up to a cloudy sky because there are chances of finding pockets of sunshine on other sides of the island for that requisite beach day.

If it so happens that there is a thunderstorm arriving to the island chain the same week as you, know that they tend to pass quickly or clear within a few days. Storms will cancel helicopter tours, hikes, boat trips and some roadtrips, like the road to Hana. There are other places to go that aren't outdoors (museums, malls, spas, etc.), but how many alternative things there are to do will depend on which island you are on. For example, Oahu is very urban with places to browse and keep you busy when it's raining. On Kauai, though, most of the activities are outdoors, so the trip may become more relaxed than anticipated -- and that's not such a bad thing!

Having a flexible schedule to move things around will help alleviate any potential stress. But, if it's just a light rain, wait it out or ask the hotel staff the chances of it being sunny if you drive to a different part of the island. It is highly likely that everything will turn out fine.

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