So you are flying to Oahu!!
And, you want to save a little bit of money on the cost of your trip to Hawaii…
So is it possible to take the Oahu bus from the Honolulu airport?!
Yes, it is!
The cheapest way to get from Honolulu Airport to Waikiki is by bus!
Is it a reasonable option?!
Yes, it can be!
Well, asterisk* it will likely be fine if you’re traveling with carry-on luggage only. More on this in a bit. Also probably better if you are less people. (Like traveling alone or if you are 2 people compared to a group of 4 or 5.)
The most important thing to know when you are planning to take the bus from the Honolulu airport to Waikiki is to have $3 in cash. There is no change given on the bus.
If you only have big bills, the best is probably to buy something at an airport store to break your change.
So there is a bus that can get you all around Oahu, and there are many top spots you can get to by bus from Waikiki.
There are also airport bus routes too.
When going from the airport, an airport shuttle might be another option to consider.
More below about what it looks like to take the bus to Waikiki from Honolulu airport!
Here's some info on Oahu trip prep!
- Things to do in Waikiki without a car (for views!)
- Hawaii packing list: THE top things to pack for Hawaii
- Swim with turtles at Turtle Canyons from Waikiki
There are affiliate links on this page.
IMPORTANT!!! If you have plans to do the Diamond Head hike, be sure to check the Hawaii State Parks website before you go. As of May 2022, you must make reservations for Diamond Head.
How to get to Waikiki by bus from the airport?!
- Arrive at Honolulu Airport!
- Collect luggage at baggage claim
- Walk to airport bus stop (departures floor)
- Wait for the bus to come
- Get on the bus! (and pay bus fare with exact change)
- Enjoy the ride to Waikiki! (maybe around an hour)
- Get off the bus in Waikiki
- Walk to your Waikiki hotel!!
- ENJOY WAIKIKI!!! (See: Things to do in Waikiki for VIEWS!)
This is somewhat how I have done it anyway!
Arrive at HNL Honolulu Airport!
Once you touch down in Honolulu and you get data…
Open up the Google Maps app on your phone.
Then check the public transportation directions for the starting point as “current location” or Honolulu Airport, and the destination as the name of your Waikiki hotel as the destination.
This can tell you the timing of the next bus to Waikiki, and how much you can take your time, or whether you should try to move a little more quickly!
You don’t NEED to check google maps, but it can be helpful to know!
👆 Map of where Honolulu Airport and Waikiki are located. Explore the map.
Collect luggage at baggage claim
Walk to airport bus stop
I honestly don’t remember if there were signs, but I’m assuming there are.
If you don’t see any signs, try to locate an airport worker, and they will likely know!
When I took the bus, I went to the bus stop that was outside the departures floor.
Wait for the bus to come!
Which bus route to take to get to Waikiki?!
Google Maps will tell you what bus number to take, but…
There’s a sign at the bus stop that will also tell you in case you are not relying on your phone.
And then when the bus comes…
Get on the bus!
When you first get on the bus, to put your mind at ease, you can ask the bus driver if the bus goes to Waikiki.
Then, it’s time to pay your bus fare immediately once you get on the bus!
How much does the bus from the airport to Waikiki cost?
If you get on a bus that doesn’t require any transfers to get you to Waikiki, then it will cost $3 per person. Confirm the prices.
You can consult Google Maps to get on a bus that will get you to Waikiki without transfers. There are direct buses to Waikiki.
Not only will this make it easier on you (not having to catch another bus, not having to carry your luggage on and off again)… whether or not you have a transfer will determine the cost of the bus fare.
With the bus, a single ride costs $3.
There are no transfer passes.
So if you’ll be making a bus transfer, you’ll need to pay another $3.
Make sure you have exact change! It’s cash only, and no change will be given to you.
So depending on the bus route you take, it will cost around $3-6 per person to get from the Honolulu Airport to Waikiki by bus.
If you will be taking the bus quite a bit during your stay in Waikiki, then there is also the HOLO card for convenience.
At the moment, it does not seem like you can buy the HOLO card at the Honolulu airport, so you will still have to pay for the bus in cash when you are taking the bus for the first time from the airport.
But once you get to Waikiki, you can buy a HOLO card at select stores.
It is basically a cash card so you don’t have to carry around cash every time you want to take the bus. You will load it with money ahead of time.
It is still $3 per ride just like the cash price, but it also includes transfers for 2.5 hours. Confirm the current bus fares.
There is also a “fare cap” that makes it so you will never pay more than $7.50 a day.
The HOLO card makes it so you can take the bus cashless. See more about the HOLO card.
Can you bring luggage on the Oahu bus?
Well, official Oahu bus rules do state that anything you bring on the bus needs to fit in your personal space.
That said, if you’re traveling with a carry-on suitcase, you should be fine!
I have been on several buses headed to or away from the airport, and carry-on luggage seems to not be a problem.
There was one time I even looked ridiculous I’m sure when I had a carry-on suitcase, big plastic bag (more like garbage bag) with stuff in it, and then a backpack.
That said, since the policy does say that anything you take on the bus with you needs to fit in your personal space, there’s always a risk that you may be told you can’t take the bus with your luggage! (That’s the asterisk* part.)
From the City and County of Honolulu about luggage on the bus:
Baggage that can be stored under a passenger’s seat or on a passenger’s lap, that will not protrude to another seat or otherwise interfere with other passengers, will be admitted at no charge.
Baggage that will not be admitted on board shall include any large, bulky, dangerous or offensive article that may cause harm or discomfort to any passenger.
No baggage may be stored in the aisle or on the seats.
Your back-up plan can be Uber or the shuttle.
Enjoy the ride to Waikiki!
The bus ride from Honolulu Airport to Waikiki might be around an hour long.
If you take a private shuttle, it might be 20-30 minutes.
So the bus will take longer, but it is cheaper.
So once you are on the bus, you can check Google Maps to keep track of how close you are to Waikiki.
If you expand out Google Maps, it will also tell you the name of the bus stops that are before yours.
The names of these bus stops will be announced so this can make it easy to know when your stop is coming up.
Then, once yours is the next stop…
There’s a wire thing along the window.
This will indicate to the bus driver that someone wants to get off.
Surely there will be people who will be getting off the bus before you, so you can just watch what they do.
Then, when the bus stops and it’s safe to get off…
The door may or may not open automatically.
If it’s not opening…
There’s a spot on the door that says TOUCH.
Touch that once the green light lights up.
Then the door will open, and you can get off the bus!
And you are in Waikiki!!!
This is generally how it was for me on all my bus rides around Oahu anyway!
Walk to your Waikiki hotel!!
And if you happen to walk by a convenience store that sells floats on your way to the hotel…
Buy one immediately so you can start to feel the excitement of being in Hawaii as soon as possible! 😉
And there’s how to get to Waikiki from the airport by bus!
If you don’t mind spending a little extra money (or you’re arriving to Honolulu as a group), then also check out the pretty easy airport shuttle option too!
There is also a taxi stand at the airport with taxi drivers who would be happy to drive you privately to Waikiki.
There is also Uber.
And to explore the rest of Oahu without a car, be sure to see things to do on Oahu by bus from Waikiki!
Short on time? See how to spend 3 days on Oahu. On Oahu for longer? See ideas for how to spend 2 weeks on Oahu.
Headed to Maui?! You can take the bus on Maui, right from the airport there too!
HAPPY HONOLULU AIRPORT TO WAIKIKI BUS RIDE!
See the list:
- Things to do on Oahu (for VIEWS!)
- Things to do in Waikiki (for VIEWS!)
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Top things to pack for your Hawaii vacation!
The ultimate beach towel for travel?!Turkish towels are considered to be more absorbent and lightweight than your average beach towel. Be sure to check out turkish towels like these!
The cheapo way to waterproof your phoneYou can take underwater pictures with a simple waterproof phone case like this. Touch screen may not work well underwater - try the volume button to snap the pic instead!
Get your suitcase more organized!Packing cubes can make it so you're spending less time on your vacation looking for things! They are basically a form of drawers in your suitcase. Take a look at these packing cubes.
Wear less sunscreen by wearing a UPF swim shirt!Wearing a swim shirt means less skin that's exposed to the sun which means less sunscreen you need to apply! See about wearing swim shirts with UV protection like these when you're snorkeling.
More for your Oahu packing list
- How a cheapo waterproof phone case works
- Why wear water shoes for the beach
- Why a personal swim buoy is an essential for snorkeling and swimming in the ocean
- Essentials to pack for Hawaii
- Best shoes for Hawaii