Friday, August 13, 2010

Hawaii: What You Need To Know (Part 2)

In my previous post, I started a short series devoted to traveling to the State of Hawaii. Hawaii is still one of the most popular destinations for tourists worldwide. As I stated in my previous post, Hawaii can seem like a foreign destination due to its distance from the US mainland as well as the diversity of scenery and culture that it offers.

In part 1, we started discussing some things you need to know as you start the vacation planning process such as the length of the flight and the overall time it takes to get from most major airport hubs (minus those located on the West coast).

In this installment, I want to discuss some of the logistics of getting around once you arrive you on any of the Hawaiian islands. I get this question a lot, “will I need a car in Hawaii?” Well the answer depends entirely on which island(s) you will be visiting. If you plan on visiting Oahu and plan on staying mainly in Honolulu and the Waikiki area, the resounding answer is will not need a car. The traffic in and around Honolulu is horrid to put it mildly. Driving can be a nightmare and that is not what we are seeking when we are on vacation. You also need to be aware that parking at most of the hotels in Honolulu can get very pricey (over $20 per day). The easiest and least expensive way to get around Honolulu is by public transportation such as shuttle buses or taxis. Most major tourist sites can be accessed by hoping on a shuttle bus near your hotel. So again, if you plan on visiting Honolulu and Waikiki, I would not recommend renting a car.

But if you plan on visiting one of the other islands such as Maui or Kauai, then you will want to consider renting a car. Driving and getting around is much easier and there are a lot of things to see and do that can be quite a distance from the resort and hotel areas. Having a car will give you more freedom to drive around and see some of the sites that are easier seen by yourself than in some form of shuttled tour group. But do keep in mind the cost of parking your vehicle at whatever hotel you decide on and make sure you budget accordingly.

So in conclusion, your decision to rent a car or not should depend solely on which area you will be visiting and staying in. A good travel agent will be able to guide you in the right direction and help you understand the cost differences of the various transportation options. Sometimes the option that seems the cheapest is not always the best.