Traveling Between The Hawaiian Island Is Relatively Quick And Easy
Part of Hawaii’s charm is its archipelagic land mass. Many tourists feel that they are able to travel to many places by just going to one state. Traveling in Hawaii is easy: there are a lot of airlines that offer direct flight to the main cities and entry points of the state. However, what others find tricky is travelling interstate—to and from the different islands within the state.
Of the eight major islands of Hawaii, six are openly accessible to tourists. However, only four are most frequented by most visitors of the state, namely Maui, Kauai, Oahu, and Hawaii—the big island.
Although public transportation is not just bus and taxis just like any other places, guests should not be intimidated and overwhelmed. In fact, it is relatively quick and easy to travel between the islands. There are two public transportation options for travelers who would want to transfer to another island: planes and ferries, though the ferries only run between Maui and Lanai / Molokai.
Guests that want to see more of the state will need to plan their trip accordingly, and take short 35-45 minute flights between islands.
The easiest and most convenient way of traveling inter-island in this amazing tropical paradise is via flights carried by local airlines such as Hawaiian Airlines, Mokulele. These trips are just short but sweet flights. Inter-island flights generally run between $70-$140 each way. But check the airline website for deals, they tend to be cheaper than booking through 3rd party companies online.
Oahu’s major airport is in Honolulu with the airport code of HNL. It’s by far Hawaii’s largest airport. Most transpacific flights fly into Oahu. Majority of inter-island flights are required to fly into Oahu first—making it the main hub of the island state flight system. From Oahu’s HNL, you can easily connect to any other island in Hawaii. This would be a great place to start your vacation, then venture out to the other islands.
Maui’s major airport is in Kahului with the airport code of OGG. There are a limited number of flights from the US Mainland that fly directly into OGG, but most visitors connect in Oahu’s Honolulu (HNL) airport first.
Kauai’s major airport is centrally located in East Kauai in Lihue with the airport code of LIH.
- West Kona Side
The major airport on this side of the island is north of Konain Keahole with the code of
- East Hilo Side
The major airport on this side of the island is with the code of ITO.
Make sure you book the correct flight to the airport you want when flying to big island, as the drive from one side to the other is long.
Lanai’s major airport is near Lanai City with the airport code of LNY. To fly into Lanai, you must connect in Oahu’s Honolulu (HNL) airport or at Maui’s OGG airport.
Molokai’s major airport is Kaunakakai in with the airport code of MKK.
Tips when island hopping through plane:
- Opt for the bigger names
When you plan travelling in Hawaii, another thing to note is that some islands have more than one airport, hosting many small and budget airlines. Though it may be tempting to hop on cheaper flights, authorities advise that you go for the bigger names. For one, there’s many more flights and airlines servicing the major airports providing you more options to suit your time schedule. Add to that the fact that they utilize larger planes fly into the major island airports, meaning you are less likely to fly on a propeller-type aircraft.
- Explore your options
However, if you are more familiar with the system and would like to save some bucks, check out the cheapest rates on the airlines’ websites itself. They usually offer better rates if you book directly with them online.
- Get the best deals
Some travel companies in Hawaii offer 1-day tours outer island that includes transport to airports and tours to another island. You can plan your whole itinerary depending on their tour packages that include inter-island transfers. Availing such promos will save you the hassle and stress of figuring out how to enjoy your visit.
- Keep these reminders in mind:
- Tourists who will be riding an inter-island flight should be at the airport at least 1 hour prior to their flight schedule. Most inter-island flights require are 1 hour check in.
- Inter-island airlines usually allow 1 check in bags and 1 or 2 carry-ons to the cabin.
- There are also car rental companies on every island that can be booked online. You can arrange with them so that they can pick up from any airport.
If you want your island hopping to be more scenic and ‘traditional’, the other option is to board ferry boats. However, of the Hawaiian Islands, there is only two ferry services currently in operation. The Ferry service is only available between the islands of Maui and Lanai. The other ferry runs between Maui and Molokai only. Usually, one-way rides last around 90 minutes.
Boarding this ferry system is also the choice for tourists on a budget because it definitely costs a tad less than booking your flight.
How to do it right?
Each region on each island has its own flavor—the north and east sides of the islands are more tropical, while the south and west regions offer sunnier skies and a more arid landscape. Though it is ideal to see and experience all of Hawaii in one go, it can take a toll on your resources—both budget and time.
At a maximum, visit at least two main islands in one stay. Just make sure that upon planning your itinerary, consider the fact that travel time between islands can eat up at least half of the day.