Since Oahu is home to Honolulu, the state capital, Hawaii’s largest city, it’s easier to get here and get around than on any of the other islands.
I grew up on Oahu and in my travel experience flying to and from Oahu is not nearly as stressful as my time in New York and flying to and from John F. Kennedy International Airport.
While Hawaii has unique restrictions, such as an agricultural inspection (more on that later), it’s a simple drive to the airport, and I’ve never had to race to catch a flight because of the crowds.
To Oahu. to travel
Getting to Oahu is pretty easy: you have to take the plane. Since Honolulu is home to the state’s main flight hub, Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, there are usually a ton of flight options to choose from.
Daniel K. Inouye International Airport
This is the only one airport on Oahu, and airlines like Alaska Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Air Canada, and more all serve it with regular flights.
Because I like to support local businesses, I prefer to fly Hawaiian Airlines whenever I can. It has direct flights to and from San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Tokyo, Sydney and other major cities. Hawaiian Airlines also has regular offers on fares.
Daniel K. Inouye International Airport is located on the outskirts of Honolulu itself, and it takes between 15 and 45 minutes, depending on traffic, to get to the airport from Waikiki via ride-share, rental car, or shuttle.
GO808 Express is a locally owned and operated private airport shuttle company that serves the entire island and starts at $45 one way. If you are traveling on a budget, the public bus has two routes you can take – route 20 and route 303 – to get to Pearl City, Kalihi-Palama or Waikiki. A single bus rate for an adult costs $2.75.
Getting around in Oahu
At some point during your trip, you’ll probably want to drive to other parts of the island and experience Oahu outside of the cities.
While Waikiki is walkable, Honolulu is not. You can take the bus to different parts of the island and have fun, but it will take you a while to get around.
Instead, I recommend renting a car for at least a day or two so you can get to the North Shore of Kailua. You can try to travel entirely via rideshare, but the sand from the beach and the mud from waterfall hikes may not do your rating justice, and the cost will add up.
These are what I consider to be the best options for exploring Oahu.
The best way to see Oahu is by rental car. This gives you the freedom to drive from the North Shore to the windward side and everything in between. Plus, you can get off at one of the many scenic lookouts around Oahu, such as the Pali and Kalaniana’ole highways.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and past travel restrictions that curtailed tourism, car reservations have become all over the state difficult and expensive† So while you can browse the major rental car companies (which have airport pick-up locations), consider renting from someone else through Turo. Additionally, Lucky Owl Car Rental is an affordable small car rental company.
Remember that driving in Hawaii is not as aggressive as on the mainland, so don’t speed and be nice to other drivers. Throw a “shaka” wave if someone lets you in their lane to show appreciation and respect for the locals; kindness like this goes a long way here.
If you plan to stay at your resort for most of your trip, you can also see the island by using rideshare services such as Uber or Lyft. While Oahu certainly has the most drivers, you’ll probably still have to wait a while for each ride.
That said, there are also still traditional taxi services, such as: The taxiwhich offers 24/7 rides and can be pre-booked online.
Oahu has one form of public transportation available: The bus† It’s slow but affordable and reliable, and also covers most of the island. Go to his website to see real-time bus arrivals and public transit directions to your destination.
Check out Insider’s comprehensive guide to visiting Oahu†