Traveling to Hawaii for the vacation of a lifetime? We’ve put together a go-to guide packed with information for getting around Oahu and beyond, including getting to and from the airport.
There are plenty of great public transportation options that make it easy to travel around the main areas of Oahu, like the bustling downtown area and popular tourist attractions. But like all of the Hawaiian islands, there’s more to Oahu than meets the eye. Those looking to travel further distances – meaning outside the town and into the country or surround islands – may prefer to rent a car.
Whether you’re a first-time tourist or a frequent visitor of the tropical paradise, this guide will provide you with great tips and tricks for navigating.
Planning to see lots of Oahu attractions? Check out the Go Oahu Card—the more you do, the more you save.
Renting a car is the most popular option for travelers in Oahu. The island is rather spread out, and there’s ton to do in the surrounding Honolulu towns. If you’re an adventure-seeker who loves to explore and get outdoors, having your own car to get you to and from lesser-known locations is a must.
Driving in Oahu is relatively easy, although traffic can sometimes be an issue during the busy months of the tourist season. Be aware that speed limits in Oahu are generally lower than those in the continental United States and are strictly enforced.
You can rent cars directly at the airport or look into Jeep or 4×4 rentals that will allow to you to explore all terrain. Please note, some rental services require drivers to be 25 years of age or older.
If you’re planning to visit Oahu with a large group, it may be more cost efficient to hire a personal driver for the duration of your trip.
Chartering a private shuttle is a great way to make sure you’re able to get around to all of your must-see spots. While it tends to be a pricier option, it does make getting around with a group very convenient and easy.
Insider tip: if you’re traveling to Oahu with a large group, you may qualify for a Group Discount on Go Oahu Card.
As you would expect of any city, parking in Honolulu and Waikiki can be tricky. There’s a lot of traffic and public parking garages can be crowded and occasionally expensive.
Inquire at your hotel concierge for the best place to park while exploring, or if your hotel does not offer parking services in house. Be advised than many of the state parks charge small fees for parking if you’re heading out to hike or swim in places like Hanauma Bay or Diamond Head.
There’s an excellent local bus system called The Bus, that mostly services Honolulu and Waikiki, but has lines extending out to just about every major town on the island (Kapolei, Kailua, etc.).
Catching a ride on The Bus is as easy as finding the nearest bus stop sign, standing in front of it, and waiting to be picked up. Once on board, make sure to pay attention to each stop, as you’ll have to pull the cord to request yours. All buses require exact fare per rider.
Fares are reasonable, transfers are allowed, and seniors, children, and disabled individuals are offered half price rates.
Consult TheBus website for info on departure times, system maps, ticket prices, and more.
Taxis are abundant in Waikiki and Honolulu but can be a bit more difficult to find in outlying areas.
The fares can be costly once you start traveling outside of the city, so you’re much better off renting a car if you want to explore outside of the major metropolitan area.
Be aware, waving a taxi’s down is frowned upon in Hawaii. The easiest way to get a taxi is to do it from any hotel. An easy number to remember for a taxi is 322-2222. You can coordinate your ride in advance.
Ride-sharing services, like Uber and Lyft, are now available in Hawaii as well. These may be cheaper than hailing a taxi, so make sure to download your preferred service to your phone and compare prices.
Walking & Biking
Walking is mostly an option in the major urban centers like Honolulu and Waikiki. These are very pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods and you’ll find plenty of restaurants, attractions, tours, and other exciting sights just by exploring on foot.
Of course, you’ll want to do some walking on Oahu’s beautiful beaches, too! But don’t expect to be able to walk between towns –that’s definitely a car-worthy activity.
Biking is an excellent way to explore Honolulu and Waikiki as well. You’ll get great exercise and you’ll have the freedom to stop and go whenever and wherever you please.
Bike rentals are readily available, as are the sportier moped rentals. If you’re heading further afield, you’ll want to be sure that everyone in your party is committed to some serious bike riding, as some destinations are miles and miles away.
Getting in: Hawaiian Style Moped and Bike Rentals are included on Go Oahu Card.
Flying To and From Oahu
The largest airport in all of Hawaii is located right in downtown Honolulu – Honolulu International Airport. There are plenty of ways to get to and from the airport upon arrival or departure.
You can get between terminals on the Wiki Wiki Shuttle, or to downtown Waikiki via The Bus route #20. If you’re staying in Waikiki, you could also take a taxi to your hotel for a relatively low fare. If you’ve rented a car, it’ll be easy to pick it up right from the airport.