5 Reasons You Should Be Renting a Car on Your Honolulu Trip
When you get to Oahu, the heart of Hawaii, a visit to Honolulu’s capital is a must. Tourists flock to this city where the busy streets meet palm trees and sea shores, and with good reason.
Whether you’re headed to the beach or want to explore the city, it’s important that you stay prepared and pack the essentials found in our previous list of ‘5 Things No Traveler Should Ever Forget’. But beyond making sure that you’ve prepared extra clothes, money, and charged all your devices, you also have to decide how you’ll get around the city.
Renting a car in Honolulu provides many benefits that public transportation can’t. Here are five reasons you should consider it a part of your travel checklist.
Renting a car gives you a more Flexible Honolulu itinerary
Every traveler wants to maximize every second of their limited time on a trip. Oahu may be serviced by a comprehensive bus system known as TheBus. Still, you’ll have to plan your itinerary around its offered routes and timetables—not to mention the waiting lines and the general unpredictability of using public transport. When you rent a car, you have all the freedom and flexibility to make stops whenever and wherever you want, especially if you want to visit Oahu’s best views, like the lookout point at Pu’u’ Ualaka’a. A car rental ensures you can drive up the mountainous trail just in time to watch the sunset.
You can opt for daily guided tours that pick you up from your hotel and accompany you to every destination. However, those can get wildly expensive, especially if traveling in a group or staying for an extended period. Costs can quickly rack up as you make multiple stops throughout the day. Even single-day passes can put a dent in your budget since you still have to pay for every individual in your travel group. Luckily, car rentals mean unlimited trips to Honolulu’s free attractions, like the landmark Aloha Tower and the Hawaii State Capitol. The latter offers public tours.
Stress-free arrival on the island
The hassle of not having a vehicle for a trip starts when you land. With more than 20 million tourists arriving at and departing from the Honolulu International Airport, there’s a guaranteed surge in demand and prices for cabs and ride-hailing services. Unfortunately, hotels that offer free airport transfers can also be hard to come by, so your best bet is to take advantage of the car rental services at Honolulu Airport.
Booking a rental car in advance can help you secure the lowest possible rates and the availability of the type of vehicle you want, whether it’s a convertible, a sporty SUV, or a spacious minivan. You can pick up the car at the airport’s CONRAC Consolidated Car Rental Facility.
Greater opportunities for sightseeing
Aside from comfort and convenience, renting a car allows you to explore destinations beyond walking distance or inaccessible by public transportation. For example, a quick drive to Diamond Head Beach Park opens you up to expansive seaside views and surf swells. Meanwhile, solo travelers and travel groups alike will surely enjoy a daytime road trip to Makapu’u Point, where the scenic journey pays off with a stunning ocean view at the lookout near the lighthouse.
Fewer worries for luggage and gear
After you’ve exhausted all the sights to see on land, it’s time to explore the islands and underwater gems. Among the top things to do in Honolulu are aquatic adventures like surfing, snorkeling, and kayaking, with a wide range of options from the calm and relaxing waves of Kailua Beach to the gnarly waves of Oahu’s North Shore perfect for professional surfers and adventure-seekers.
Having a rental car means you don’t have to worry about lugging around all your aquatic gear while also giving you the freedom to bring as much food and refreshments as needed.
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Have you been to Honolulu? Or other Hawaiian islands? If so, how did you enjoy your visit? Did you rent a car? Leave a comment below!
All great reasons for renting a car in when arriving in Honolulu! I have made the mistake several times at travel destinations thinking I would save money not renting a car – usually turned out to be a hassle not having a car.
Hi Stephanie. Thanks for commenting. Yes, rides and tours can add up faster than daily rental fees and gas.
While I haven’t been to Honolulu, we have been to Maui. I have to agree, renting a car is the way to go. We did not rent a car because we were with a large group, but I wish we had so we would’ve had more freedom to explore the island.
Hi Brittney. I did not rent a car in Honolulu (because it was a short stay), but did in Maui.
I have always preferred to have our own vehicle (whether we drive or rent a car) when we go on vacation. I like the flexibility but also the control I feel over our own schedule and what we do.
Good point Stephanie. That’s especially true when rideshares are not dependable.
Driving in Honolulu sounds so much fun. I will definitely rent a car on my next trip and explore more of the place.
Enjoy Alita. If there are 5 states you need to visit as a tourist, Hawaii is one!
Your blog post was an incredibly helpful guide for renting a car in Honolulu! The tips you shared were practical and informative, and your personal experiences added a personal touch. I appreciate the effort you put into researching and presenting the information. Keep up the excellent work!
Thanks you so much moni
Wow, these are some great reasons to rent a car on your trip to Honolulu! The first time we travelled to Honolulu, we stayed near the beach, and used the bus – which was easy. If I remember correctly 18 years later, we did rent a car the last few days and it was so worth it. The drive up the east coast to the north shore is my favorite. Our second trip to Oahu, we rented a car for the whole trip. Being able to have a more flexible itinerary, as it allows for spontaneous stops and the ability to explore at your own pace, is crucial to someone like me with fibromyalgia. Plus, the cost savings compared to joining a tour group is a huge bonus! The stress-free arrival on the island is also a major advantage, as having a rental car allows for a smoother and more efficient transportation experience. And of course, the opportunity to sightsee and take in all the beautiful scenery of Honolulu is a must-do activity, and renting a car is the perfect way to make the most of your time. I totally agree with your compelling reasons to rent a car on a trip to Honolulu, it’s definitely something for people to consider!
Hi Julie. I remember using the bus in 2009. I waited a LONG time.
Truly. Besides my need for utmost comfort, there is always greater opportunities for sight-seeing when you got a car on you to drive through.
Yes, especially when there’s a decent amount of open space.