The best way to get a true feeling of all Oahu has to offer is to rent a car. Then head away from Honolulu. You can rent a compact car for as little as $116 a week. This is a great rate compared to other cities. HNL is serviced by all the major rental companies. Traffic can be a bear in the city so do be careful. With 3 major highways on Oahu getting around is pretty easy just be sure to get an up to date map
The "Aloha Maps of Hawai'i" is a great free publication that I picked up from a kiosk in the airport terminal. It has road maps that are much more detailed than what you would get from a car rental agency, a nice map of Waikiki, maps of the state's major airports, a listing of beaches with life guards, and driving directions and detailed maps of the resort areas of the islands showing hotel and beach locations. I'd recommend picking one up (especially because its free)!
Hands down, the best way to get around Oahu is with a Jeep!
When the sun is out, the top is down. When the rain comes, the top goes up!
Just enough trunk space for beach necessities & snorkel gear.
You will kick yourself if you do not have a convertible - there is so much to see, and it is best taken in with the top down!
I rented through Thrifty Car Rental - the experience was good, price was fair, and I would use them again!
Car Rentals are reasonably economical in Hawaii though gas (petrol) prices are higher than the national average. Budget-Rent-A-Car is one of the best to rent from since they give out a booklet on every rental which contains numerous coupons for '2 for 1' offer. This could add up to considerable savings.
There are also buses that are convenient to see Oahu. Some of these buses serve the local attractions quite well and the frequency is reasonable. The Oahu bus system is called TheBus and the only restriction is that the buses dont allow you to carry heavy luggage.
When I usually come to Hawaii I rent a car. Even though my husband has all his family here I dont like depending on anyone for rides. I like getting ready and taking off to wherever I want whenever I want.
I find it very easy to drive in Hawaii and I dont usually get lost. If I do there is always someone there to help me find my way.
Being from LA we drive fast and they really dont in Hawaii. I always have to slow myself down and be at the island pace.
There is traffic here especially during rush hour so just expect it and enjoy the ride.
Also remember to make reservations for a car ahead of time to be on the safe side. I didnt think I would need a car the whole time I was on the island. I rented a car for a few days and made a reservation. When I got to Oahu I realized I would like the car soon and tried to call to get the car sooner. It wasnt available and they had NOTHING available. This is also during summer time.
I found a place around the corner from my hotel and rented a jeep there. It was a shady looking place and the name wasnt a well known reputable company. It was called VIP on Kuhio. They have a few locations around, I dont know if they are all the same. I needed a car desperately so I took the jeel they were offering. I totally regret it. First of all the rag top was a peice of crap. I thought it was going to fly away when we drove on the highway. We literally had to hold on to it as we drove. There was no radio, the car looked like it should have been retired a long time ago. When I went to put gas in it, it didnt even have a gas cap, they had stuffed paper in there. Then to top it off they told me that if there was sand in the car there would be an extra $25 cleaning fee. I didnt notice that in back of the back seat there was already sand. And not my sand by the way. I lasted a few hours with that car and returned it. It had started to rain and the top would not stay on. We got soaked on the Palui lookout area.
So the moral of the story is go ahead rent a car but go with a reputable company and reserve ahead of time.
If you want to go around Oahu and you are really short of time, then you have to rent a car. We rent a compact and it turned to be a Ford Focus. Remember that Hawaii is United States, so compacts are not like in Europe.
On a whole day you can drive all around Oahu and visit the major beaches of the North Shore.
You do not necessarily need to rent a car on Oahu, at least for the majority of your visit. The Waikiki area is easily accessible on foot, and most island attractions, including the USS Arizona Memorial and the Polynesian Cultural Center can be reached via public bus or a hotel shuttle.
I do recommend renting a car for at least one day of your stay so that you can drive up to the North Shore of Oahu. You really must see this area while you're on the island and the best way to do it is by car. Then, you'll have the freedom to stop when and where you want to and set your own pace.
Rental cars are readily available at the airport. There is also a Hertz rental car desk at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.
THE CONGESTED TRAFFIC WILL BE IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION IN THE EARLY MORNING.. SO YOU ARE OK..MOST OF THE TRAFFIC WILL BE COMING INTO HONOLULU ( TO GO WORK )..BUT YOU WILL BE HEADED AWAY FROM HONOLULU ..SO IT SHOULD ONLY TAKE YOU THAT 44 OR MORE MINUTES TO THE EWA SIDE...
If you'd like to head up to North Shore for a day of surfing and what not, be aware that you will probably need to rent a car for the day. If you decide to take the transit system, the ride can take 3-4 hours what with all the stopping to pick up and drop off passengers. If you don't want to rent a car, see if your hotel has some type of non-stop shuttle that goes straight ot North Shore.
I am adventurous. But I will say that driving in Oahu was more trouble than driving in China, Thailand, New York, Paris, Rome. Not that it is scary in the sense that people drive fast and out of control, or that it is the opposite side of the road if you are from North America. It is because people are not conscious when they drive.
The street signs change randomly, and they will close off the highways randomly if a leaf falls the wrong way, and it will take you all night to find your way back to your destination. If you are staying in Waikiki or Honolulu there is no parking WHATSOEVER.
If you are in town to go surfing on the North shore in the winter or to travel around the island as a family, meet people or take a tour bus.
When you ask directions, people will give Hawaiian directions. If you want to know what this means ask me and I will try to explain it.
Honestly, I came to the Island to visit friends and family. I got lost. Multiple times. And downtown parking is expensive and almost impossible.
Take a tour or hire a guide or find people to drive you around. In the long run it will save you time and money.
4 Reviews and 753 Opinions Upon arrival to the Halekulani you are greeted at the desk and assigned a staff member to tour you...