How to Island Hop in Hawaii

Hawaii Aloha Travel > Podcast > How to Island Hop in Hawaii

If you’re considering visiting multiple islands during your vacation, here are some tips to help you plan how to island hop in Hawaii effectively.

Visiting more than one island in Hawaii offers a rich tapestry of experiences, each island presenting its own unique charms and landscapes. From the vibrant energy of Oahu’s Waikiki Beach and the historical sites of Pearl Harbor to the tranquil beauty of Maui’s sunrise atop Haleakalā and the dramatic cliffs of the Na Pali Coast in Kauai, each island beckons with its own allure. Island hopping allows travelers to delve into Hawaii’s diverse cultures, cuisines, and natural wonders, creating a journey filled with unforgettable moments and a deeper appreciation for the aloha spirit that unites these enchanting islands.

How to get between the Islands

  • By Air – The most common and convenient way to island hop in Hawaii is by taking inter-island flights. Most of the planes are modern jets. Southwest uses MAX 737s. Several airlines, such as Hawaiian Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Mokulele Airlines, offer frequent flights between the major islands. The flight duration between islands is usually short, ranging from 20 minutes to an hour depending on the distance.
  • By Ferry – Since the pandemic, there’s only a ferry between Maui and Lanai. Therefore, it’s not suited for inter-island travel unless you want to go for a day trip. The ferry service connecting Lanai and Maui is managed by Expeditions. They offer dependable and budget-friendly transportation, operating seven days a week with multiple daily trips. The journey lasts approximately an hour, crossing the picturesque Auau Channel. Passengers are treated to stunning vistas of Maui County, encompassing the islands of Maui, Lanai, Molokai, and Kahoolawe. On days of clear skies, lucky travelers may even catch sight of the distant Big Island of Hawaii.
  • Private Charter– Unless you have big bucks, this is likely not an option. You can also charter private planes or boats to hop between islands. This gives you more flexibility in terms of scheduling and allows you to explore less-visited destinations.
  • Cruise Ship – The NCL Pride of America is a great choice for traveling between the islands and it’s like a floating hotel, so you only have to pack and unpack once. While this won’t give you as much time on each island compared to staying there, it can be a relaxing and enjoyable way to experience the beauty of the islands.

Hawaii Inter-Island Planning Tips

Traveling between the islands gives you the opportunity to see more of what each island has to offer. Typically, you need at least three or four nights to get a fully immersive experience, so depending on how long you plan to visit, it probably makes sense to choose islands that contrast each other nicely. For example, choosing Oahu and Hawaii Island would be contrasting.

  • Book in Advance – For most people, this must be done in advance because there is a lot involved. It’s pretty much a travel day, and you have to have a hotel reservation and transportation reservation for many of the best attractions well in advance. More and more county-maintained parks and attractions require reservations. You also want to make sure you have preferred flights that align with your schedule.
  • Pack light – Less is better when it comes to luggage. Not only does it help avoid baggage fees, but it also allows you to move quicker between the islands because you’ll have less to lug around with you. Additionally, if you are traveling with more than three or four people, you’ll need room for luggage in your rental car! Also be aware that things like Hiking poles, Spear guns, Surfboards, and guns may be prohibited or have restrictions.
  • Flight timing—Check-in is typically at 3 or 4 PM for most hotels, so if you wish to travel to another island and check in immediately, it may not be possible. Consider traveling earlier and engaging in an activity before checking into your hotel.
  • Arrive Early—Give yourself at least 2 hours for an interisland flight, especially if you’re flying out of Honolulubeucse, which is a lot busier. Most of the airports are small and have food courts, but they are expensive, so eat before you go. Make sure you check your flight status.
  • Plane seating – If you want the best views from the air, make sure you sit on the side of the airplane with the best scenery. That will depend on which island you’re traveling to and from, but typically, if you’re heading south, choose the left side of the plane, and if heading north, opt for the right side.

By following these tips, you can make your inter-island travel in Hawaii smoother and more enjoyable. For more information or to book your multi-island vacation to Hawaii just give us call at 1-800-843-8771 or fill out our Trip Planner.