Updated September 8, 2018
So you finally found your way to the Hawaiian islands. Now that you’re here, you need to find your way around the islands. You have many different options for travel around the islands. And the island of Oahu is going to be the most easiest.
Oahu is the third largest island in Hawaii. The capital city of Honolulu is located here. And about two-thirds of the population of the state is on this island. In Hawaiian, it is known as “The Gathering Place.” It’s the island that most people go to first when coming to Hawaii. It’s also the island that most people end up staying due to the conveniences of the city life and it being more industrialized than the rest of the islands.
There are different options for getting around Oahu, depending on where you want to go, when, and how long you want to take to get there.
The local bus system, simply called TheBus, is going to be your cheapest option. If you plan to stay around the city for the most part and only travel out to other parts of the island on occasion, then the bus is going to be your best option. It’s easy to get around on the bus and they go all over the island. However, it does take a while to get from one end of the island to the other. For example, to go to North Shore from Honolulu takes around two hours or more.
The buses run quite frequently in the city. The cost is
$2.50 [$2.75] to board the bus [for a one-way ticket. Or you can purchase an all-day pass for $5.50.] and you get a free transfer ticket that’s good for two hours. The transfer ticket can be used twice to board your next bus for free. There is no day pass. However, there is a 4-day pass called the Discover Passport that you can purchase at any ABC Store for $35.00.
If you want a bit more freedom to go when you want to go, then a car rental is going to be your next option. However, car rentals are not cheap. You’ll pay an average of $70/day including insurance. And if you’re under the age of 25, you might pay more. But I guess there’s a price to pay to have a ride at your disposal anytime you want to go.
Here are a few tips to minimize your costs on car rentals. Try not to rent at the airport. Those are more expensive. Check out this place called VIP Car Rentals in Waikiki. They’re a local company that rents second-hand cars and usually have more reasonable prices. Also, go online and check out www.enterprise.com. [They have special weekend rates]
There’s a link at the bottom of their site for a $9.99 [starting at $12.99]/day. special. [Just scroll down a bit and look for the link that says “Great Weekend Rates…] But that’s only good for a 3-day weekend, picking up on a Friday and returning on a Monday, and only at the Ala Moana location on Kapiolani Blvd.
If you want some fun, grab a moped. You don’t need any special kind of drivers license; just a normal license that you would use to drive a car. Mopeds can be fun if you just want to cruise around the city or maybe take them around the coastline and stop at a few of the beaches. Just remember, mopeds don’t go that fast. So you can’t take them on the interstate and it’s not recommended going through the center of the island as there are many hills and mountains you’ll have to climb.
There’s a great moped place just down the road from the hostel called Hawaiian Style Rentals. They have very knowledgeable staff who will teach you what you need to know if you’re a first-time rider. They’ll provide you a map and tell you the best place to ride. And if mopeds are not your thing, they have bicycles for rent too.
Taxis are pretty much everywhere in Waikiki and the rest of Honolulu. They’ll take you anywhere in the city and to and from the airport too. But they can be quite expensive. A one-way between airport and Waikiki usually averages around $50. The only way taxis can be affordable is if you have a group of 4 or more people traveling together.
There are also shuttles. But the shuttles are mainly used to travel to/from the airport. If you need transportation between the airport and Waikiki, then the shuttles are going to be your best and most affordable option. Of course, you can take the bus for only
$2.50 [$2.75 one-way or $5.50 for an all-day pass], but you can’t take your luggage on the bus with you. If you have luggage, then take a shuttle. They usually range in price from $12-$16 one-way and have round trip options too. If you’re at the airport, you’ll find all the shuttles on the lower level. If you’re already in Waikiki, then talk to the front desk staff and they’ll be able to help you out.
Lastly, another fun way to get around is the Waikiki Trolley. They have
four [five] different lines to choose from depending on where you want to go: [Pearl Harbor], Panoramic, Scenic [Diamond Head], Historic, and Shopping. The current pricing at the time of this writing is $20 [$25] per line. There are also specials if you want to get a multi-line pass or a multi-day pass. Go to www.waikikitrolley.com to find out more information and to purchase your tickets online. But keep in mind if you do purchase tickets online, they need to be purchased at least 5 days in advance. Otherwise, you can go to the Royal Hawaiian Center [T Galleria by DFS on the corner of Royal Hawaiian Ave and Kalakaua Ave] and purchase tickets there that you can use right away. [You can also purchase tickets onboard the trolley.]