Oahu is the most populous island among the Hawaiian Islands, and as such, it is a ‘must see’, for tourists who visit Hawaii. It is also known as The Gathering Place since it is home to more than 80% of Hawaii residents. There are many ways to get around the island, but when you’re visiting, how should you decide what would be best for you?
One of the best means of movement for tourists in Oahu is rental cars. Oahu has reasonable rates for car rentals, particularly at the Honolulu International Airport. Though renting a car can be expensive, it helps tourists move around Oahu at their own schedule and convenience, which also leads to discovering places that guided tours usually don’t stop at. As with most things, there are downsides to renting a car. If you’re not familiar with the areas in Honolulu, then it can be easy to get lost, and traffic, depending on the time of day, can be very slow.
A common method of transportation by many, Oahu has a very good bus system. The bus fare is roughly $2.50 including a free transfer within a specific time window. You can easily get to and locations such as Diamond Head Crater and the beach simply by taking the bus. The route 20 buses, for example, transport people from the airport to the Waikiki Beach and Resort area, while route 22 buses, also known as the Beach Buses, move around the beaches. Buses operate daily between 4 a.m. and 10 p.m., and those who do take the bus are advised to obtain travel schedules. Bus arrival times can, on occasion, be unpredictable, so going by bus isn’t the best idea if you’ve got somewhere to be by a certain time. As buses can also get extremely crowded depending on what bus you’re taking and when, big bags and items aren’t always the best things to take. If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask the bus driver.
Tour companies are paid per session. With a tour company, everything is simplified for the tourists. The tour guides take tourists on a predetermined route, at their own schedule and convenience. Some tour guides are native residents who understand Oahu better than tourists themselves. Thus, they give tourists an easy and enjoyable tour experience. You can easily get around to popular locations and take one of the Pearl Harbor Tours and the Swap Meet in one trip.
Traveling with a tour company is more convenient compared to using either a rented car or a bus mainly because tour guides have set destinations to take people where they want to go, as opposed to other means of transport. And concerning which tour company to choose, there are many such as Discover Hawaii Tours. Unlike car rentals, tourists would not have to worry about getting lost, finding a rental car, renting the car itself, getting parking spaces or have to deal with parking fees.
Each mode of transportation has their own advantages and disadvantages, it all depends on what will meet your needs best. What is probably best for many people is to go on a tour first, then rent a car to go revisit the places you enjoyed on the tour. Alternatively, you can just take the bus to revisit the places you enjoyed, but it will take a longer to get there. The buses are normally really packed in Waikiki during rush hour, but once you get out of Waikiki, there is a lot more room on the buses. The bus system on Oahu is one of the best in the world. It’s better than Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.
Don’t forget to haggle with pricing if you are going to rent a car. They normally give at least 10% off. You won’t get it if you don’t ask!