As one of the biggest island in Hawaii, Oahu have a lot of tourist attraction. This makes you wonder do you need to rent a car in Oahu. To answer this question there are a few things that you need to know.
Do You Need To Rent a Car in Oahu?
Even though the island is the 3rd largest in Hawaii but it is actually not that big. It is only a little bit more than 500 square miles in size. So you actually do not really need a car if you just want to explore this area.
Furthermore, there are a lot of public transportation even Uber or taxi that you can use to go around. This is true especially when you only plan to stay around Honolulu area. There are a lot of buses or shuttle that provided by the hotels. You can use the free shuttle to go from your resort to Honolulu shopping area. From there you can go around by bus, walking, Ubers or taxis.
However if you want to go outside the area then you can either go by bus or join group tour. However, renting a car actually have its own advantage. You will be more flexible in planning your schedule since you would not wasting your time waiting for the bus to arrive.
Renting Cost in Oahu
You should know that renting cost in Oahu is very expensive. In fact for an economic car you are expected to spend $80 on average for one day. Of course the exact price can vary depends on the driver’s age, duration, pick-up location, insurance, and season.
But since there are a lot of visitors in the island, it is very easy for you to find car to rent almost everywhere. You can find it on major car rental platform to local rental companies even P2P car rental. If you want to save on your budget then it is best to book the car in advance to get discount. Choosing pick-up location outside the airport might also help to lower the rental cost a little.
Things to Consider When Renting
However, renting in Hawaii is not only just about the rental cost itself as there are still other cost that you need to consider such as:
You should know that to get gas in this island is actually more expansive compared to the mainland price. So, it is suggested for you to get economic car with good gas mileage so you do not need to spend too much money
Be careful when you go to the beach or other places with a lot of dirt. Make sure you do not take the dirt into the car. You do not need to drop-off the car in prime condition. But it should at least acceptable enough for them to not charge you with extra cleaning fee.
Parking space itself is very hard to find especially in the heart of Waikiki area. Although roadside parking also available but it is usually packed so it will be hard for you to find available space. Thus, most of the time you will need to walk for miles from the parking lot to reach your condo or hotel.
Not to mention the parking cost is not that cheap. For overnight parking you will need to spend at least $35 each day if you use valet. Then for a more premium parking you will need to spend at least $50. If you calculate this, then the parking cost itself can be higher than the car rental cost.
So, if you rent a car then it is better to find accommodation that offer free parking. You can rent a condo instead of hotel since you will get free parking spot when you stay in the condo.
Another option is to only rent the car on the day you plan to go out from the area. That way, you do not even need to leave the car park anywhere. Instead you can just pick up the car in the morning and drop it off in the evening then you can go back to your hotel using public transport.
Do You Need To Rent a Car in Oahu? Driving Around Oahu
If you want to drive around then you can start by going out east from Waikiki without going into the interstate H2 highway. Instead go up to following the coast to the north shore. Then you can go back to the central area by taking the interstate H2 highway.
One thing to note that Oahu traffic is terrible especially in the interstate H1 highway which will lead you in or out from Waikiki. The worse traffic usually happen during the day of the week and can start around 5am and go on during work hours.
Alternative Transportation to Take
1. Uber and taxi
These service can be easily found on the center of the island in Waikiki area. But if you go to the North Shore then it will be harder to find Uber and taxi in those area. So it is recommended that you only rent a car when you plan to go to the North Shore.
2. Public transport
Honolulu have a lot of public transportations that you can use such as shuttle, trolley and bus. If you want to travel around on the Waikiki area then you can use those public transportation since they are more public friendly. But remember that public transport also only limited to the central area.
3. Tour bus
If you only stay in Oahu for 3 to 4 days then it is better for you to take tour bos instead. That way you do not need to take multiple trips around the island. This bus will take you around the island to visit most popular destinations. Each tour can last up to 7 hours and it will take you to various surfing spots, cultural sites, shopping areas, and natural wonders around the island.
Do you need to rent a car in Oahu? You can see that most of the time you do not need to rent a car so only rent it when necessary.