An important part of your travel planning will involve booking your airfare, both to and from Hawaii as well as your inter-island airfare. You also will need to decide if you'll need to rent a car or if you can see everything you want to see by using public transportation or taxis. You should also begin thinking about an organized tour of the island on which you're staying or even one of the other islands.
Booking Airfare to Hawaii
An important part of your travel planning will involve booking your airfare. Unless you are restricted to one airline as part of a frequent flier program, it's best to shop around for the best rates available. If you are traveling from the East Coast or the Midwest, you may actually find it cheaper to book on one airline to a West Coast portal and then book on another to fly from the West Coast to Hawaii.
Your local travel agent or tour operator can certainly help you in booking your airfare, and for many this is the easiest way to handle this task. Others prefer to go at it alone, either by calling various airlines for quotes, checking the specific airline websites on the Internet or by using one of the many on-line booking services such as Kayak.com, Orbitz.com, Expedia.com, Priceline.com or Lowestfare.com.
If you're traveling to more than one island or to an island where direct mainland service is not available from your departure point, you should also book your inter-island travel.
Inter-island airfare varies greatly in price and there are many options. Often booking through a Hawaii-based travel agent will allow you to take advantage of special discounts. Also, if you have frequent flier miles available, as little as 5000 miles can purchase you a roundtrip inter-island ticket.
Car Rental and Public Transportation in Hawaii
Once you have booked your airfare, you will still need to decide how you are going to get around once your get to your destination. If you're just visiting Oahu and plan on spending most of your time in the Honolulu/Waikiki area, then perhaps a shuttle or cab to your hotel and then public transportation will meet your needs.
If you plan to travel around the islands, a rental car is probably a necessity. The best rates for car rentals are available on a weekly basis. Renting a car for just 3-4 days can often cost you as much as a full week's rental. Rental rates vary significantly from one company to another, as do the discounts available. Once again, the key is to shop around. If you belong to an automobile club such as AAA, you can save 10-15% off the cost of your rental. Also, check with your personal automobile insurance company to see if your own insurance coverage will carry over to the rental car. If so, you won't need to pay what is often $20.00 or more a day in insurance charges.
Ground Tours and Off-Island Tours in Hawaii
If you are interested in touring an island, you can also consider one of the many ground tours available. Each of the major islands feature companies that will pick you up at your accommodation, drive you around the island, making many stops, and then return you to your home base.
Many of these companies also offer day trips to other islands. The cost of those tours includes pickup, airfare, and travel on the other island. In most instances, for a day trip, these tours are the most cost-effective way of seeing another island for a day.
Polynesian Adventure Tours is well-recommended for full day tours of neighboring islands and found the experiences to be ones we'll always treasure.
Taking a full day tour of another island is a great way to get a feel for a place to which you might wish to consider returning for a longer stay.
However you decide to make your way around the islands, you'll want to take a look at some maps to help you plan your itinerary. To get started, take a look at this Clickable Map of the Hawaiian Islands