If you’re visiting Oahu for the first time, there are a few things you need to know before your trip so that you can make the most of your time here. For example, it’s worth knowing that most buses don’t offer change, and that despite being an island, attractions in Oahu can be hours apart. In this guide, we detail some top tips to help you make every second count in this stunning paradise. If you don’t want to miss a thing during your stay, you might want to book a helicopter tour.

At Honolulu Helicopter Tours, we’re a team of highly experienced and fully qualified pilots from around the world that’s proud to call Hawaii home, and we love nothing more than introducing new visitors to Oahu’s most incredible sights from above. Don’t hesitate to call us if you want to learn about our range of helicopter tours. Keep reading for more pointers on maximizing your time in Hawaii.

Top Tips for Visiting Oahu for the First Time

From obtaining permits for popular attractions to embarking on a full island circle tour in a helicopter, here are some key pointers to keep in mind when visiting Oahu.

Get your permits in advance

Since May 2022, visitors to Hawaii have needed to buy admission and parking permits in advance of visiting certain attractions, such as Diamond Head, Hanauma Bay, and the USS Arizona Memorial. Due to the popularity of these iconic places, permits sell out quickly, making it a good idea to reserve them as far in advance as possible.

Be liberal with sunscreen

Use Sunscreen When Visiting Oahu

Many a naïve visitor has been burned by Hawaii’s sweltering sun. We’re not complaining about the enviable climate here, but we do recommend being liberal with sunscreen instead of prioritizing your suntan. If you forget to pack some in your luggage, you won’t struggle to find sunscreen in the stores when visiting Oahu. You should also bring protective clothing and wide-brimmed hats.

Pack waterproof clothing

Hawaii’s tropical climate can be unpredictable, with sudden rain showers and strong winds being possible even on sunny days – particularly during the hurricane season from June to November (fortunately, hurricanes are fairly rare). The eastern side of Oahu tends to be wetter than the west, so make sure you have a light rain jacket and waterproof shoes when visiting Oahu attractions such as Hanauma Bay and the Koko Head Crater.

Keep change for buses

Keep Small Change When Visiting Oahu

While you can use your credit or debit card to pay for goods and services just about everywhere in Hawaii, you can’t use a card to pay for single fares on buses. Also, a one-way ride usually costs $3, and most buses don’t provide change. So, if you only have $5, that’s how much your bus fare will be. Avoid paying over the odds for public transport by keeping change in small denominations.

Be Prepared for Traffic

Many visitors assume that because Oahu is an island, there’s no need to worry about congestion on the roads. However, this stunning Hawaiian Island is larger than you think. It takes around 50 minutes to drive from Waikiki to the most famous sights near the North Shore, and you can add 30 minutes to that during rush hour. If you want to see all the highlights while visiting Oahu, you’ll need to plan travel carefully.

Book a helicopter tour

Book a Helicopter Tour When Visiting Oahu

Even with strategic planning, squeezing all Oahu’s famous sights into a single trip can be impossible – unless you book a helicopter tour. Take to the skies, and you’ll catch a glimpse of the entirety of Oahu in the space of an hour. If you’re in a rush, we offer tours that take as little as 18 minutes.

Make Visiting Oahu Your Most Unforgettable Holiday with a Helicopter Ride

When visiting Oahu for the first time, make sure to pack essentials such as rainproof clothing as well as hiking gear plus plenty of sunscreen. You might also want to reserve admission permits for attractions like Diamond Head as far in advance as possible, and don’t forget to factor in the traffic when allocating time for travel. If you want to see all the most famous attractions while visiting Oahu, book a helicopter tour with one of our expert pilots. Don’t hesitate to call us if you have any questions about our flights.