How to Get to North Shore, Oahu
Before making the necessary travel arrangements and packing your bags, check the visa requirements that apply to you. If you are a citizen of the United States, there is no need for a visa or a passport, unless you’re traveling to another country from Hawaii. If you are not a US citizen and you are not flying to Hawaii from the US Mainland, do check with the US Embassy in your country to apply for the appropriate visa. Some countries are covered by the Visa Waiver Program, in which their citizens may travel to the US for business or leisure for up to 90 days without a need to obtain a visa. Find out if your country is eligible for the program.
Flying to Honolulu
Planning a trip to the North Shore of the Oahu Island is not at all difficult, since Oahu’s major airport, the Honolulu International Airport, is the travel hub of the Hawaiian Islands. With an average annual traffic of more than 20 million passengers, it is one of the busiest airports in the US today. There are about 16 international carriers and 23 domestic airlines with daily flights to and from Honolulu. As the gateway to the Hawaiian archipelago, flights to and from other countries, the US Mainland, and other Hawaiian Islands land at the Honolulu International Airport, which is about 23 miles from the North Shore.
Major carriers that serve the airport include Qantas Airways, Korean Airlines, Air Canada, Japan Air Charter, American Trans Air, Air Pacific Airways, Delta Airlines, Air New Zealand, JTB Aloha Service, Rich International, Continental Air Micronesia, United Airlines, Philippine Airlines, All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines, China Airlines, American Airlines, NorthWest Airlines, and Hawaiian Airlines, the largest Hawaii-based carrier. Book and buy your tickets online to get bigger savings, and make sure that you do so at least six months before your preferred flight schedule. A plane ticket booked several months ahead can cost at least $100 less than the regular airfare.
Driving to the North Shore
The best way to travel around the North Shore or to any other destination within Oahu is to rent a car. There are plenty of car rental companies to choose from, but Frommers, Fodors, and even the Hawaii Visitor & Conventions Bureau (HVCB) give their accolades to AA Aloha Cars-R-Us. Like in booking flights, it is also advisable to make online reservations several months ahead to get better offers, although you’ll find several car rental services at the Honolulu International Airport.
To choose your vehicle or check the availability and overall rates of car rentals, you may visit www.hawaiicarrental.com. Once you confirm your booking, make sure that you and the car rental company have a clear understanding of where your pick-up point will be. If you’re staying in Waikiki before heading for the North Shore, there are also car rental companies in Waikiki and Downtown Honolulu. Keep in mind that in Hawaii, cabs are available at the airports and hotels only, and it is not standard practice to hail a cab on the streets.
The distance from the Honolulu International Airport to the North Shore is 23 miles, so it would take a 30-minute drive to get there. In the winter months (November-February), traffic is a bit slow, so it may take longer than that. Drive east from the arrivals area and then take the ramp to I-H1 heading west. Stay left at the fork, and keep your eyes peeled for I-H1/Waianae. Merge into I-H1 and drive west. Keep driving until you see the I-H1/Pearl City signs (4.9 miles). Take the 8A exit and merge into I-H2, driving North toward Wahiawa/Mililani. After an 8-mile drive, take exit 8 toward Wahiawa and then merge into HI-80/HI-99, or Kamehameha Highway. Stay on the Kamehameha Highway for about six miles, and before long, you’ll be in the North Shore.
The public transit system is called TheBus. It also takes passengers to other Oahu neighborhoods, although it is not advisable for those who don’t have much time to spare. For routes and schedule, visit www.thebus.org.