Whether island hopping or staying put, you’ve got lots of travel options in Hawaii. Short interisland flights let you easily jump from island to island, while car rentals are among the easiest ways to sightsee once you’re on land.
Travel from island to island
Flying between islands is relatively quick and easy — most flights take around 30 to 45 minutes. One ferry system also runs to the more remote island of Lanai.
Daily flights connect all six of the major Hawaiian islands, with flights running nearly every hour from early morning until evening. Interisland airlines include Hawaiian Airlines, Ohana by Hawaiian, Mokulele Airlines and Makani Kai Air.
These are the major airports on each island:
Hawaii (The Big Island)
Kona International Airport
Hilo International Airport
Honolulu International Airport
Boats and ferries
There’s only one ferry system that travels between the Hawaiian islands.
The Maui-Lanai Expeditions Ferry travels between Maui and Lanai and runs five times daily. It takes about 45 minutes each way.
Some cruise ships also travel between the Hawaiian islands, including Pride of America, Grand Princess and Radiance of the Seas.
Public transportation in Hawaii
Buses, taxis, shuttles and rideshare services are available in Hawaii, although your options are limited to planes and ferries on less-populated Molokai and Lanai.
Public bus systems run on The Big Island, Oahu, Maui and Kauai. Oahu has the most extensive public transportation system, with more than 100 routes throughout the island.
Tour group. Group tours by bus and cruise ship are available throughout the Hawaiian islands. Helicopter tours are also available for areas that are difficult or impossible to reach by other means of transportation.
Livery services. Limo and private car services are available on the larger Hawaiian islands. Call in advance to reserve a driver.
Taxi. Taxis can be found at taxi stands, major shopping malls, the airport and business centers. Hailing a taxi from the side of the road is not the norm in Hawaii — call in advance to book.
Rideshare. Both Uber and Lyft operate in Hawaii, though it may be difficult to find a ride on the smaller islands.
Car rentals in Hawaii
For the ultimate experience of the islands’ lava deserts, jungles, beaches and mountains, rent a car. After all, some of Hawaii’s most stunning sights aren’t within walking distance of a bus stop.
Car rentals in Hawaii start around $30 per day, but depend on the vehicle size and service you use. You can usually get a deal if you rent for at least a week or two. And take a look at our car rental deals to save even more.
Avis, Budget, Hertz, Enterprise, National and Advantage all service Honolulu International Airport.
Driving in Hawaii
Like in the rest of the country, drive on the right side of the road in Hawaii and follow the same traffic laws. The roads are generally well-maintained and signs are easy to read. Locals tend to be laid-back drivers, and using your horn could be considered rude — unless you need to do so for safety reasons. Foreign travelers can drive in Hawaii as long as they have a valid international driver’s license or a foreign driver’s license written in English.
Find a cheap car rental
Car rentals from $5 per day
Available select dates in cities like San Diego, Chicago, Seattle, Toronto, Washington, Miami, Boston, Honolulu, San Antonio, Cancun, Las Vegas and San Juan. T&Cs apply.
Transfers to and from all major airports in Hawaii are available in both shared and private vehicles. You can book in advance with Viator and Jayride.
TheBus has three routes numbered 19, 20 and 31 that service the Honolulu International Airport. Buses are located on the second-level roadway by the center median strip and run every 30 minutes. An on-demand, door-to-door SpeediShuttle is also available from Honolulu, Kahului, Kona and Lihue airports and can be booked online ahead of time.
Book an airport transfer
Shared transfers: Kahului Airport airport to hotel
Getting around Hawaii is fairly easy and straightforward, although it pays to arrange travel plans in advance so you can make the most of your time on the islands. Don’t forget to check for car rental deals to help you save while touring Hawaii’s more remote destinations.
Frequently asked questions
If you’re traveling on a budget, you may want to stick to one island and take advantage of public transportation like buses, taxis and shuttles. Or rent a car for a day or two when sightseeing.
No. Buses, taxis and rideshare services are the only means of public transportation.
Yes. The cost of gasoline tends to be higher in Hawaii than on the mainland.
Gabrielle Pastorek is a staff writer at Finder, helping readers to round up the best deals, coupons, retailers, products and services to make sound financial decisions. She's written more than 800 articles on the site and is a quoted expert in Best Company and DealNews. She earned an MFA from the University of Pittsburgh, with essays and short stories published in The Collagist, Blue Monday Review, Blotterature and others. When she’s not writing, Gabrielle can be found out in the barn with her horse, Lucy.
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