Conquering the Road to Hana

Road to hana - how to for car sickness

[trip style = adventure]

Dear car sickness sufferers: If you're under the impression you'll never experience the Road to Hana's curvy coastline, you're sorely mistaken. You just have do it the RIGHT WAY {tips below}. 

Because anything in motion is my nemesis—I even get chairlift sick—I was under the FALSE notion that a trip to Maui’s modern-day Eden was a no-go for me, in addition to the route otherworldly sights: cascading waterfalls, bamboo groves, botanical gardens, and red-sand beaches.

I thought my only options were a} experience it virtually through other people's photos, or b} become BFFs with a heli pilot, and get myself there by air.

 Koki red-sand beach

Koki red-sand beach

Annoyed with my constant need to manage my motion sickness, a few weeks ago I changed my tune. After 15 or so trips to Maui, I decided it was time to overcome my fear of "ralphing roadside" halfway between the six-hour trip's 600 some-odd turns.

road to hana turns

At first, I set the bar low. If I only made it five miles, I would consider it a win. Then, with Mr. Trip Styler at the wheel, we made it to the Rainbow Eucalyptus trees at Mile Marker No. 6. At Mile Marker No. 9, I was so ecstatic with our progress, I started high-fiving bamboo branches draping over the road. At Mile Marker No. 25, I started getting used to the mist from waterfalls gushing over the cliffs just paces from our car. 

 Waterfall by the roadside

Waterfall by the roadside

At Mile Marker No. 31, I spotted the sign officially welcoming us to Hana. Now I get it. In the midst of blind corners and close to 50 one-lane bridges, the scenery is spiritual: Trees grow out of trees, fuchsia flower petals dust the road, palms erupt like fireworks.

 We came to this idyllic seascape a few miles beyond Hana in search of Uncle Troy's BBQ; we found this! 

We came to this idyllic seascape a few miles beyond Hana in search of Uncle Troy's BBQ; we found this! 

It's funny that it took me a third of a century to make it to one of Maui’s most celebrated stretches of coastline, and yet Baby Styler came along for the ride in his first six months of life.  

How to handle the Road to Hana (without getting sick)
1. Drive at a tortoise pace. To put this in perspective, we averaged 15 mph. Really, it’s hard to go much faster given the road’s hairpin turns, blind corners and one-lane bridges.

2. Coast through each turn. Pressing on the gas in a turn jolts the stomach, and is one of the main reasons passengers start to feel queasy when this motion is repeated more than 600 times in a row.

For tips 3-7, see my latest article in the Expedia Viewfinder. 

 Walking in feilds of green beside the Rainbow Eucapyptus grove

Walking in feilds of green beside the Rainbow Eucapyptus grove

[photos by @tripstyler]