You’re heading to Oahu and you want to know all of the options for getting around the island. While Oahu is only 44 miles long and 30 miles wide, the different areas can feel like they’re worlds apart. And transportation isn’t always that straightforward. But as the most populated and most visited Hawaiian island, Oahu has plenty of transportation options.
And if you’re heading to Oahu, you’ll want to check out all of the information we have on our Oahu Guide page to help jumpstart your planning.
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The easiest way to get around Oahu is with a rental car. While Oahu isn’t huge, the most efficient way to see all the island has to offer is by renting your own set of wheels and exploring.
There are two main locations where you can easily pick up a rental car: Honolulu Airport (HNL) and Waikiki. In both of these areas you’ll find national rental car companies, like Avis, Budget, Hertz, and Enterprise, as well as local rental car companies.
Our favorite site for booking a rental car is Discount Hawaii Car Rental. We use them 95% of the time that we travel inter-island and it has helped us save us thousands of dollars over the years. Here’s why they’re great:
- You can rent a car from any of the major rental car companies
- No prepayment needed — book without worry and cancel anytime!
- They offer the best prices. We are continually surprised by how much we save when we use them.
The great rental car crisis of summer 2021 taught us one thing, it’s that it’s important to book your rental car early. We like to book our rental car as soon as we book our flight. When we book with Discount Hawaii Car Rental we can make a reservation and then continue to check prices as our trip gets closer. If we find a better price, we can cancel our reservation and book a new one without any penalty.
Before you book that rental car, make sure that you check for any parking fees you’ll need to pay at your hotel or vacation rental. Some hotels can charge $40 a night or more for parking. If you’re staying in Waikiki, it can often make sense to rent a car for just a day or two at a time, to avoid paying the parking fee for the entire duration of your stay.
If you’re using our Oahu itinerary, you can just book a rental car for each one of the excursion days that you plan to enjoy.
When you arrive at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu (HNL), you’re not near any of the popular resort areas where most visitors stay. If you’re not renting a car at the airport, you can take an airport shuttle to the Waikiki, Kahala, or Ko’Olina resort areas.
Two popular airport shuttle companies are:
- Roberts Hawaii: rates per person start at $21 one way to Waikiki and $34 one way to Ko’Olina for a shared shuttle.
- Speedi Shuttle: rates per person start at $18 one way to Waikiki and $25 one way to Ko’Olina for a shared shuttle.
Airport shuttles offer shared ride services. These can be cost-effective but it will also take more time to arrive at your destination as you’ll be waiting for and dropping off other passengers.
Oahu has the best public bus service of all the Hawaiian islands, and it is the cheapest way to get around. But it’s also the slowest option, so have some patience and be prepared for your journey to take a little longer than you might otherwise expect.
Currently, an adult fare costs $2.75 one way, regardless of the distance. If you’re taking more than one ride, a day pass is $5.50. You can confirm current prices on The Bus official website.
You can take The Bus to virtually any location on the island. You can check the routes, timetables, and destinations on their website.
If you’re staying in Waikiki and you want to explore that neighborhood as well as some of the sights nearby, the Waikiki Trolley offers a hop on, hop off experience that makes sightseeing a breeze.
With the Waikiki Trolley, there are three lines to choose from:
- Pink Line: This line takes you through various stops in Waikiki and to the Ala Moana shopping center.
- Red Line: Explore the city arts district with stops at Iolani Palace, the Honolulu Museum of Art, and the King Kamehameha statue.
- Blue Line: Take the coastal route with stops at Diamond Head, the Sea Life Park, and Halona Blowhole.
You can get more information about stops, timetables, and prices from the Waikiki Trolley website.
Taxi, Uber, or Lyft
If you want to go from point A to point B as quickly and efficiently as possible without a rental car, your best bet is to take a taxi or book a ride through a ride-sharing service like Uber or Lyft. This can be a great option if you’re not going too far, or you’re using a route that is frequented by taxis and rideshare services.
For example, using one of these to go from the airport to Waikiki or from Waikiki to Diamond Head will probably be easy. But you’ll probably have a difficult time finding a car to take you from Waikiki to the North Shore.
If you just want to pick up a car for the day and you don’t want to get a rental car for just one day, Drive Hui is a car-sharing service available in Waikiki and Honolulu. You can rent a car by the hour or for a full 24 hour period. And they have cars parked in a number of different locations in Waikiki and Honolulu, so you won’t have to walk too far to pick up your car.
Trade-in four wheels for two and grab a Biki Bike to tour around Waikiki and Honolulu. You can purchase a subscription online and then pick up your bike from any of the 130 locations located throughout Waikiki and downtown Honolulu.
Learn more and make your reservation on the Biki Bikes website.
Another great option for getting around Oahu is with a guided tour. You don’t have to drive, and you get to spend the day with a knowledgeable island guide who can not only show you the sights but will help you learn about the history and the culture here. We love guided tours because having someone else do the planning is relaxing and we come away with a lot of new knowledge.
Skip the huge tour bus guided tours and opt for a smaller, more intimate experience (or even a private tour!). Take a full day tour of Pearl Harbor, get a grand circle tour of Oahu, or take a biking history tour.
We have our favorite Oahu guided tours listed on our Tours and Activities page.
Want to see more about guided tours? Check out our experience doing a full day Pearl Harbor tour (from Maui) with Hawaii Tours.
Whether you are sightseeing by bus or by bike, head to our Oahu Travel Guide for the best information to help you plan your Oahu vacation.
I'm the co-founder, with my husband Jordan, of The Hawaii Vacation Guide. We live on Maui with our toddler Henry and our sweet but quirky dog Hattie. I am a planner! I love to plan island-hopping adventures, days out on Maui, and everything in-between. I spend a lot of my time on our SUP and my favorite time of year in Hawai'i is whale season!
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