Posted in Car Rental

Deciding if we Need to Rent a Car in Oahu Hawaii

As I prepare for our trip to Hawaii this fall I need to decide if we will rent a car or not.  Normally, I would say that renting a car when we fly to a destination is a given.  But some places make the decision a little harder because of lack of public parking and huge fees at hotels for parking in their garages.  For our trip to Waikiki in October, I am trying to determine what the best course of action is.  Rent a car or set a transit budget.


To Rent or Not to Rent…..That is the Question!


I have heard several people describe Waikiki to be like the Las Vegas Strip but with no casinos.  Well I NEVER rent a car in Vegas.  When we go to Vegas I walk, take a shuttle or even ride the bus.  It’s way easier than navigating the crazy traffic and the parking.  I actually think it comes out way cheaper too.  So I have been researching my transportation options for Oahu.


Renting A Car

  • First there is the cost of renting the car.  Even using Autoslash the best rate I found was around $200.
  • Most of the Waikiki beach hotels have onsite parking that costs an average of $45 a night.  We will be there 6 nights so that would come to $270.
  • Let’s estimate $60 in gas for a week

You are looking at an Estimated Total Cost of $530.  We could take a lot of public transportation for that!

Another option would be a one day car rental on a weekday to use for a full day of exploration. Using Autoslash I found a rate of $50 from Alamo through Priceline for a mini cooper convertible which sounds super fun.


Options if Not Renting A Car

  • Round trip airport shuttles. There are a lot of companies to choose from and I have seen prices ranging between $12-$20 pp each way.  I will split the difference and say $16 per person each way for a total of $64 round trip for 2.
  • Waikiki Trolley .  This option includes unlimited access to all lines for four days and you can Use any four days within a seven-day period! Not having to use them for consecutive days is nice because we could pick and choose which days we want to hang out on the beach and which days we prefer to adventure out. The four day ticket is $62 per person for a total of $124 for 2 or you can scale that price down for individual days and lines.  You can get to a lot of the main tourist attractions from the trolleys.
  • There are also a lot of tour companies on the island that offer a variety of day trips.  One I found that looks pretty cool is the Royal Circle Oahu Island Tour. This 11 hour tour packs in a lot of spots we would want to visit into a 1 day adventure.  Including a stop for lunch at Fumi’s Northshore Garlic Shrimp truck, Waimea Falls, the Dole Plantation, the Halona Blow Hole, a stop at a Macadamia nut Farm, Diamond Head Crater, and more.  All for $115 per person or a total of $230.
  • I love to walk! I’d say we often walk around 5 miles a day when we are exploring. We have visited many places like Las Vegas, Florence, Rome, Vienna, Paris, London etc. where we walked everywhere.
  • Of course there are Taxis, buses and Ubers to fill in any gaps.


Those of you who have been to Oahu, please take a minute to share your experiences by leaving a Comment/Reply to this Post.  

We will be in Oahu for 6 nights.  During that time we would like to see Pearl Harbor and a few other island attractions. I would either like to hike Diamond Head or the Waimea Waterfalls. We definitely want to do at least 1 Luau or Polynesian Culture Show.  The rest of the time we want to spend relaxing on the beach and trying all the best local food and drinks.   With that in mind we could use your advice………..

Did you Rent a car? Did you feel like you needed it?

What were your thoughts on the Trolley or any other Public Transportation?

Did you take an airport shuttle to your hotel?  If so, which one and how were they?

Have You used any particular Tour companies that you would recommend?  Is there a particular Island Tour that was really awesome?

What was the best thing you did on the island that we should not miss?

We are foodies and love a good drink.  What restaurant, bar, brewery, food or drink did you really love?


Thanks again for taking a minute to leave some feedback! 


Dream, PLAN, Save, Adventure!





Just an Art and History Nerd from MI Who Loves to Travel, Explore, Save Money, Share Tips, Enjoy the Best Foods & Adult Beverages🍷🥂🍸 Then Blog About It!

6 thoughts on “Deciding if we Need to Rent a Car in Oahu Hawaii

  1. You can just rent a car for a day or two, to tour the island on your own. (Airport car rentals cost more — search for cheaper options.) North Shore is a must, but not so much on the weekend, due to traffic. Cafe Haleiwa YUMMY destination, and beaches up there, Mokuleia, fantastic and usually pretty empty. Kailua is beautiful, great small town destination — Lani Kai beach and driving around the island past Waimanalo. But beware, rental cars get broken into often — as they say in Hawaiian, “No leave valuables in vehicle! Mo bettah watch yo-self!” Enjoy your trip :)) Dawn

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