How To Correctly Use The Word Aloha On Your Hawaiian Vacation

Hawaii's beaches, volcanoes, and waterfalls welcomed 829,699 visitors in August of 2022, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Some seek sun, others adventure, but no matter the holiday happenings, most tourists come away with an appreciation for the culture's gracious ways. So if you're planning a trip to this tropical respite, you should do a little homework before arrival to reciprocate the sentiment of aloha.

The word aloha is often mistakenly translated as simply "hello" and "goodbye," but as Matador Network notes, it's so much more than a mere salutation. Aloha is a way of life, in fact, and translates to "love." To use the word aloha properly, it's best to keep in mind that it represents compassion for everyone (and the land) — and deep respect for all things. Along those lines, the travel experts at Just Be Out created a YouTube video with nearly 21,000 views that further explains the word's connection to love and the "breath of life."

With this understanding, your use of "aloha" will be infused with the warmth the island is known for. But you'll still need to use its varied forms properly, so here are a few tips for your next trip to Hawaii.

Aloha! Wait, what time is it?

There are four uses of the word aloha that you should memorize for your Hawaiian vacation, according to Travel and Leisure. By all means, feel free to be an overachiever and learn as many local words and phrases as possible, but these aloha basics are a good starting point.

First, there are two early daytime uses of the word that you'll want to have on hand for when you're out for some morning Kona coffee. iHula Hawaii's tutorial video on YouTube suggests that aloha kakahiaka' (a-lo-ha kah-kah-hee-yah-kah) is the best greeting between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m., whereas aloha awakea (a-loh-ha av-ah-kay-ah) is more appropriate for late-morning and early afternoon — from about 10 a.m. through 2 p.m.

Of course, after coffee, you'll likely indulge in all the island offerings featured by travel gurus, like those at Town & Country. So, you'll also need a few basics for later in the day. You can practice two easy alohas for the later afternoon and evening — aloha 'auinalā (a-loh-ha ah-wee-na-lah) and aloha ahiahi (a-loh-ha a-hee-yah-hee." In short, with a little practice, you'll be comfortable using aloha like a local!