Rental Car vs Uber in Oahu, Hawaii – Which Is Best?

One of the most significant decisions I had to make on my first trip to Oahu was whether to hire a car or take an Uber.

The cost of renting a car in Oahu and parking in Waikiki is high. So, is it worth it?

If you plan to explore the island of Oahu, you should rent a car. However, if you plan to stay in Waikiki for most of your vacation, Uber or Lyft are best.

During my seven-night trip to Oahu, I used a combination of a hire car and rideshares. I took an Uber from the airport to Waikiki and then to Walmart to stock up on supplies. However, after a few days in Waikiki, I hired a car to explore the island.

I spent $381.88 renting a car for four days in Oahu ($95.47 daily). 

This includes the rental, insurance, and gas. However, it doesn’t include parking, as I had a parking permit with the Waikiki condo I was renting. This was a big money saver, as self-parking in Waikiki can often cost between $30 and $50 a night.

I spent $97.88 on Uber and Lyft during my remaining three days in Oahu.

This includes travelling to and from Daniel K. Inouye International Airport to Waikiki. I also took one trip from my condo in Waikiki (Waikiki Banyan) to Walmart and back.

If I had wanted to use Uber for my entire trip to Oahu, I wouldn’t have been able to travel to the North Shore. That’s because Uber and Lyft availability is centred around Honolulu.

It’s rare to find rideshare services on the North Shore.

Even if I had found an Uber or Lyft, the one-way cost from Waikiki to the North Shore would be $150 before a tip. So you’d be looking at around $300 return, which is $80 less than the cost of my three-day rental car.

Either way, I avoided the situation for fear of being left stranded and stressed on the North Shore. Especially since public transport back to Waikiki is non-existent.

If you really don’t want to hire a car while in Oahu but still want to explore the North Shore, you can go on a group tour. This option doesn’t offer the flexibility of a hire car, but it does mean you get to explore more of Oahu.

I decided against taking a group tour to the North Shore while in Oahu and instead hired a car. That’s because I was travelling with my wife and our 14-month-old son, and we figured he’d struggle to cope with spending the entire day on a bus.

Oahu Travel Planning Guide

🏥 Should I Buy Travel Insurance for a Trip to Oahu?

Yes, you should definitely buy travel insurance for any vacation to Oahu. Basic travel insurance coverage with Safety Wing averages between $5 – $10 per day and offers peace of mind.

🚘 Do I Need to Rent a Car for a Trip to Oahu?

I would recommend hiring a car for a trip to Oahu. Even if it’s only for a couple of days of your vacation. I personally use Discover Cars to find the best car rental deals.

However, if you are on a tight budget or you don’t plan to explore much of the island then you, then you may want to consider comparing the cost and convenience of Uber and rental cars in Oahu instead.

🏨 Where to Stay in Oahu?

The vast majority of accommodation in Oahu is located in Waikiki. If you enjoy shopping, then you may want to stay further north by the Ala Moana Shopping Mall.

Alternatively, if you’re looking to spend your vacation at the beach, then consider staying as close to Waikiki Beach as possible.

When booking accommodation in Oahu, I use either or However, for large families and groups, VRBO is my number one choice.


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