Island Hopping

Kukio Beach, Kohala Coast

Kukio Beach, Kohala Coast

Makalawena Beach, Kona

Pololu Valley Black Sand Beach

Kailua Bay, Kona Hawaii


Island hopping means taking a short plane ride from one Hawaiian island to another.  To quote a friend of mine - “if you are going to fly all the way to Hawaii, you might as well visit more than one island!”  Many people will plan to visit more than one island on their Hawaiian vacation.  Visiting, or “hopping” from one island to another is called “island hopping” in local vernacular.  People that live in or visit the Hawaiian islands will hop on an interisland flight just as easily as someone taking a two or three our car trip back on the mainland.  For those that live in Hawaii, it may be a chance to visit family and friends on another on island, relax and get a little variety in island life.  For visitors to the islands, it is a great way to see several islands, all of which are a little different than the other.  Rates are pretty reasonable, with operators such as Hawaiian Airlines and Go! offering interisland flights between all major Hawaiian islands and to some of the outer islands as well.

Although most people that live on the mainland or abroad are turned off by the idea of commercial airline travel, inter-island flying in the Hawaiian islands is easy, quick, and relatively hassle free.  Flights depart the airports on the major Hawaiian islands nearly hourly,  leaving for all the other islands.  The inter-island terminals are connected-to or adjacent to main airport terminals and are efficient and everything is close by and easily accessible.

If you do decide to do island hopping, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to enjoy your destination.  A lot of people make the mistake of flying from Honolulu to one of the other islands, such as the Big Island, early in the morning and then planning to fly back in the evening.  This gives you at most ten hours of free time to try to explore and enjoy an entire Hawaiian Island.  Most people, when planning that type of trip, end up planning to hit a million activities in that short day, and end up overwhelming themselves.

We recommend if you island hop to at least spend one night at the second island that you visit.  Ideally, you would split your vacation and spent, say three nights on one island, and three nights on another Hawaiian Island.  Keep in mind that the islands of Kauai, Maui and the Big Island are vastly different in terms of size, public transportation, and roadways when compared to the Big Island of Hawaii.  The Big Island, for instance, has no public transportation, and it could take you up to several hours to drive to an attraction.  Give yourself plenty of time to enjoy your vacation.

Visiting Oahu?  Check out our Cheap Waikiki Hotels page for discounts.

On a recent trip to the islands, we decided to spend one week on the island of Kauai, and the second week on the Big Island.  We were lucky and were able to take two weeks off from work, and that gave us plenty of time to relax and still enjoy all the attractions that both the islands had to offer.  Remember to factor in the  transition time: the extra time it will take to get your rental car, check into and out of your hotel, and transit to and from the airport.  Also, you may want to pack a accordingly.  You may want to pack lighter and bring less since you will be moving to and from multiple hotels.  After all, in Hawaii what more do you need than a swim suit, tee-shirt, and flip flops?

If you are traveling with kids, especially young kids, and sure you factor that into your decision to island hop.  Although your kids will thoroughly enjoy the diversity of more than one Hawaiian Island, if you’re carrying numerous strollers, porta-cribs, and other assorted baby year, it may be easier stay on only one Hawaiian island this trip.

Check out the lowest rates on inter-island Hawaii flights.  For more information on what to pack on your Hawaiian vacation, check out our travel planning article.

Traveling with young kids?  Check out our article: Tips for Traveling with Kids that covers packing and the long flight to Hawaii.

Related Articles:

Related blog posts about Traveling to the Big Island with Kids:

Travel Planning Articles

Planning your Trip When to come, how long to stay, books

Vacations for Families Best family beaches, activities for youngsters, infants, teens

Hawaiian Cruise Passengers Information about port calls in Hawaii

Sample Travel Itineraries Suggested itineraries, 1-2 day, 1 week

Island Activities Guide Guide to the activities & tours

Tips for Traveling with Kids Packing and flying with kids

Island Hopping Visit more than one Hawaiian island

Regions of the Big Island Geography and climate descriptions

Big Island Transportation How to get there, plan your driving

Rent a 4-Wheel Drive SUV Off-roading on the Big Island

Top 5 Attractions (You Might Miss) You’ll never hear about these…

Packing for your Trip Big Island scenery & weather is diverse

Big Island Wedding Planner How to plan your wedding in Hawaii

Accommodations Articles

Where to Stay Three different parts of the island to stay - which is best?

Vacation Rentals Big Island Vacation rentals are a deal

Bargain or 5 Star Hotel Stay at a resort or a bargain hotel

Discount Big Island Hotels Check out the latest rates

Shopping in Hawaii

Big Island Shopping Guide Guide to the shopping destination

Hawaii Souvenirs The best souvenirs to buy in Hawaii

Gear & Equipment Articles

Gear for your Trip Get outfitted with the right gear

GPS Points of Interest (POI) GPS Coordinates for Points of Interest


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