Many hotels in Hawaii provide airport transfer services for those with reservations. However, if you don’t have this arranged or if no friend or relative is supposed to pick you up from the Honolulu International Airport, what’s your best choice to go out to the city? The answer isn’t always pretty straightforward, as it really depends on your priorities. Ultimately it boils down to two things: convenience and cost.
Also, it’s very important to note that the traffic situation in the beach paradise of Honolulu rivals the most congested areas around the United States. This means a significantly longer travel time, like spending 30 minutes to 1 hour for a 10-mile travel distance during a regular day.
Generally, the most convenient way, but not necessarily the most cost-efficient way, to go out of this Hawaiian island without the hassle of driving on your own in the middle of traffic or resorting to longer travel time via public transport is to take a taxi, which is available 24/7 within the airport premises.
All of the island’s taxi companies can pick up passengers from the airport. Uniformed dispatchers are often visible outside the baggage claim area or the airport’s center median. You will pay based on a meter-only system. Per piece of luggage, there’s a few cents of fee on top of the metered rate.
If you want a cheap ride and you have time to kill, try the city’s public transport network TheBus, which is easily accessible from the bus shelters at the arrivals area. Routes 19 and 20 from the airport both serve the nearby tourist destination of Waikiki. Taking this option means an hour or more of travel time, depending on the traffic situation in the area. However, if you have large or heavy luggage that won’t fit on your lap or under your seat, you won’t be allowed to board. This mode of transport is only meant for those traveling light.
If a taxi ride is too costly for you and a bus ride is not practical for the significantly longer travel time, or if you large or heavy luggage with you, your a good alternative is riding a private shuttle, which is available for 24-hour, door-to-door service. Uniformed attendants are often visible outside the arrivals area to guide you for your choice of transport.
This relatively affordable transit service can offer shared van rides to various visitor hotspots. There are various shuttle companies that may even bring you to any address in the island. Many companies also offer discounts for roundtrip and multiple-ticket purchases. Some of the popular ones include Roberts Hawaii Express Shuttle and SpeediShuttle. The former readily escorts you from the baggage claim area, then it services to any Waikiki hotel with guaranteed no more than five stops to your destination. The latter can bring you to any specified address at a pre-arranged rate.
If you prefer to drive your own car, make sure you’re prepared for the traffic situation in the island, as well as the hefty parking fees that come along with bringing a car. Also, have a GPS service handy to avoid getting lost and spending way too much time unnecessarily driving around. If you want to save money, it may be wise to rent a car on as-needed basis, then prioritize taking taxis or shuttles to hotels, tourist attractions, and the airport.