The Ultimate Guide to Island Hopping in Hawaii: How to Travel Between Islands in Hawaii

by | Oct 6, 2023

How to Travel Between Islands in Hawaii?

The most common method to travel between islands in Hawaii is boarding a flight. While there are alternatives such as helicopters, ferries, and boats, flights remain the predominant choice for inter-island journeys, ensuring a swift transition from one Hawaiian island to the next.

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Travel between islands in Hawaii (island hopping) sounds idyllic, but you might wonder about the logistics of navigating paradise. With each Hawaiian island boasting its unique charm and attractions, knowing how to travel between them is crucial.

This blog post about travel between islands in Hawaii is your ultimate guide, detailing various transport options like inter-island flights, ferries, cruises or guided day trips that will make your journey smooth and memorable.

Ready for an epic Hawaiian adventure? Read on!

Key Takeaways of How to Travel Between Islands in Hawaii

  • Flying, taking a ferry, going on a cruise, or joining guided day trips are options for traveling between Hawaiian islands.
  • Inter-island flights are the cheapest way to travel, with prices starting at just $39 each way.
  • Flight times between islands are short, ranging from 30 to 45 minutes for a direct flight.
  • Using airline miles and travel rewards programs can help save money on inter-island flights.

Options to Travel Between the Hawaiian Islands

You can choose to fly between the Hawaiian islands, take a ferry, go on a cruise, or join guided day trips.

Flying Between Islands

You can fly to get from one island to another in Hawaii. Hawaiian Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Mokulele Airlines let you do this. The big airlines are Hawaiian and Southwest. They go to Oahu, Kauai, Maui, and the Big Island.

If you want a cheap trip, pick Southwest. Want to visit Molokai or Lanai? Your only choice is Mokulele, the only airline that flies there.

Find the Cheapest Tickets Here!

Taking a Ferry

You can ride a ferry if you want to see Maui and Lanai. This is a fun way to travel between these two islands in Hawaii. But you cannot ride a ferry from Maui to Molokai because there is no service.

Take note of this as it’s essential for your trip plans.

Being on the ferry lets you check out big blue waves up close! You will love seeing the water and feeling the fresh sea air. It’s also cool being able to look at both islands at once! As soon as the boat docks, you’re all set to explore another beautiful Hawaiian island.

Cruising Between Islands

Cruising is a fun way to travel between islands in Hawaii. One good bet for this is the Norwegian Cruise Line. This cruise line leaves from Oahu, and you can see many different islands on your trip.

It’s like a moving hotel that takes you from island to island without needing to pack and unpack every time! You get great food, fun activities, and new views each day. Plus, you don’t have to handle any tricky travel plans – everything gets done for you! The boat has stops on multiple major Hawaiian Islands.

So get ready to explore Hawaii using an easy mode of transportation!

Guided Day Trips

Guided day trips are an excellent option for those who want to explore multiple Hawaiian islands conveniently and stress-free. One popular guided day trip is visiting Pearl Harbor, which allows visitors to learn about the area’s history without worrying about transportation or planning.

The flights for these guided day trips are short, usually lasting between 30 and 45 minutes, making it easy to hop from one island to another. While there is no ferry option for traveling between Maui and Molokai on guided day trips, Norwegian Cruise Line offers inter-island cruises departing from Oahu that allow travelers to visit multiple islands.

So, if you’re looking for an efficient and hassle-free way to experience different parts of Hawaii, consider taking a guided day trip!

Tips for Traveling Between Hawaiian Islands

Save money and time by considering cost and time considerations, using airline miles and travel rewards programs. Read on to learn more about how to make the most of your island-hopping adventure in Hawaii.

travel between islands in Hawaii - maui

Cost Considerations

Traveling between islands in Hawaii can be an affordable option for visitors. Inter-island flights are the cheapest way to travel, with prices starting at just $39 each way. This means you can easily hop from one island to another without breaking the bank.

It’s important to note that prices may vary depending on factors such as availability and time of year, so it’s always a good idea to book in advance and compare prices from different airlines.

By considering these cost factors and planning ahead, you can enjoy your island-hopping adventure without worrying about spending too much money.

Time Considerations

When planning your island-hopping adventure in Hawaii, it’s important to consider the time it takes to travel between islands. The good news is that flight times are short, ranging from just 30 to 45 minutes for a direct flight. However, you’ll want to make sure you plan for enough time at the airport.

This means you can easily hop from one island to another without spending too much time in transit. Whether you choose to fly, take a ferry, or go on guided day trips, you’ll have plenty of time to explore each island and make the most of your Hawaiian vacation.

So pack your bags and get ready for an exciting adventure through the beautiful Hawaiian islands!

Benefits of Using Airline Miles

Using airline miles can bring several benefits when traveling between the Hawaiian islands. First and foremost, it can help save money on inter-island flights. By redeeming your accumulated airline miles, you may be able to obtain discounted or even free flights, which can significantly reduce your travel expenses.

Additionally, accumulating airline miles through frequent travel can lead to additional perks such as upgrades and priority boarding. This means you’ll have a more comfortable and convenient journey between islands.

Moreover, using airline miles provides flexibility in your travel plans since they can be used to book flights on multiple airlines, giving you more options to choose from.

Lastly, it’s worth noting that airline miles are not limited to just flights; they can also be utilized for other travel-related expenses like hotel stays and car rentals, making your entire vacation experience more affordable.

Taking Advantage of Travel Rewards Programs

If you want to save money while travel between islands in Hawaii, consider taking advantage of travel rewards programs. Many airlines and credit card companies offer these programs, allowing you to earn points or miles for your purchases.

These points can be redeemed for discounted or free flights between the islands. By being strategic with your spending and choosing the right program, you can minimize travel expenses and maximize your Hawaiian vacation.

Planning Your Island-Hopping Adventure

When planning to travel between islands in Hawaii, you’ll need to choose which islands to visit, explore the must-see attractions on each island, and figure out the best ways to get around.

Choosing Which Islands to Visit

Here are some tips for choosing which islands to visit in Hawaii:

  • Consider your interests: Each island offers a unique experience, so think about what you want to see and do. Are you interested in hiking, snorkeling, or exploring volcanoes? Different islands have different attractions.
  • Research the attractions: Look into the must-see attractions on each island. For example, Maui is known for its beautiful beaches and the Road to Hana, while the Big Island is famous for its active volcano.
  • Consider accessibility: Some islands have larger airports with more flight options, while others may require smaller inter-island flights. Consider how easy it is to travel between the islands you want to visit.
  • Plan your itinerary: Determine how much time you want to spend on each island. Keep in mind that traveling between islands takes time, so factor that into your schedule.

Must-See Attractions on Each Island

To make the most of your island-hopping adventure in Hawaii, be sure to visit these must-see attractions on each island:



Big Island (Hawai’i)

  • Volcanoes National Park
  • Mauna Kea Summit and Observatory
  • Akaka Falls State Park
  • Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park


  • Napali Coast State Wilderness Park
  • Waimea Canyon State Park
  • Hanalei Bay
  • Wailua Falls

Getting around on each island

Getting around on each island in Hawaii is convenient and easy. Here are some options for transportation:


  • Rental Car: Renting a car is popular among visitors as it provides flexibility and the freedom to explore at your own pace. There are rental car agencies available at major airports on each island.
  • Public Transportation: Some islands, like Oahu, have a reliable public bus system called “TheBus,” which can take you to popular attractions and towns. However, public transportation might be limited on other islands.
  • Shuttle Services: Many hotels and resorts offer shuttle services to nearby attractions and beaches. This can be a convenient option if you don’t want to drive or rent a car.
  • Taxis and Rideshares: Taxis are available at airports and in busy tourist areas. Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft are available on most Hawaiian islands.
  • Bike Rentals: On islands like Maui and Kauai, renting a bike can be a fun way to explore scenic areas.
  • Walking: If you’re staying in a central location with access to shops, restaurants, and beaches, walking can be a great way to get around, especially for short distances.
How to Travel Between Islands in Hawaii - cruise

Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Cameron Brooks

FAQs for How To Travel Between Islands In Hawaii

1. What is island hopping in Hawaii?

Island hopping in Hawaii refers to the practice of traveling between the Hawaiian Islands during a vacation. It allows travelers to explore multiple islands and experience the unique attractions and beauty of each.

2. How can I travel between the Hawaiian Islands?

There are several options for travel between islands in Hawaii. You can fly on interisland flights, take a ferry, or rent a car and drive between islands.

3. Which airlines offer interisland flights in Hawaii?

Hawaiian Airlines is the main airline that offers interisland flights in Hawaii. They provide daily flights between the islands, making it convenient for travelers to hop from one island to another.

4. Can I take a ferry between the islands in Hawaii?

While there used to be a ferry that operated between some of the islands, it is no longer in service. Currently, the only ferry option available is the ferry between Maui and Lanai or Maui and Molokai.

5. How much does it cost to island hop in Hawaii?

The cost to travel between islands in Hawaii depends on various factors such as the airline, time of travel, and the number of islands you plan to visit. Generally, interisland flights can range from $75 to $200 per person, while the ferry between Maui and Lanai or Molokai costs around $30 to $40 per trip.

6. Is it necessary to rent a car to island hop in Hawaii?

Renting a car is not necessary for island hopping in Hawaii, especially if you plan to use interisland flights. However, if you prefer to have more flexibility and explore the islands at your own pace, renting a car can be a convenient option.

7. How much time should I spend on each island while island hopping in Hawaii?

The amount of time you spend on each island while island hopping in Hawaii depends on your preferences and the number of islands you plan to visit. It is recommended to spend at least 3-4 days on each major island to fully appreciate its attractions and experiences.

8. What are the major islands in Hawaii that I can visit?

The four major islands in Hawaii that are popular for tourism are Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and Hawaii Island (also known as the Big Island). Each island offers its own unique landscapes, activities, and attractions.

9. Are there smaller airports on the islands for inter-island travel?

Yes, besides the major airports, there are smaller airports on the islands that cater to inter-island flights. These airports provide convenient access to different parts of each island and can be used for island hopping purposes.

10. What is the cheapest option for island hopping in Hawaii?

Interisland flights are generally the most affordable option for island hopping in Hawaii. They offer frequent flights between the islands and often have competitive pricing compared to other modes of transportation.

travel between islands in hawaii - helicopter

Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Ben Ono

Wrap-Up for How to Travel Between Islands in Hawaii

To wrap things up for how to travel between islands in Hawaii, there are several options for traveling between the Hawaiian islands. Flying is the most popular and affordable choice, with short flight times. Taking a ferry or going on a cruise are other ways to island hop.

Remember to consider cost and time when planning your adventure. So get ready to explore and enjoy the beauty of each unique island!

Bryan Murphy

Bryan Murphy

Bryan Murphy is the owner of Hawaii’s Best Travel and is a recognized authority on responsible travel to Hawaii. Combining years of on-ground experience with insights from the top-rated podcast, Hawaii’s Best, he connects with a broad online community, offering a richer, more responsible way to experience Hawaii.