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The island state of Hawaii is the tourist destination for more than 8 million people on average every year, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority. With that many people trying to get around, traffic can take a toll on the environment, especially given that rental cars are the transportation of choice. Fortunately, Hawaii offers valid transportation options other than just rental cars, so vacationers who want to do their part to maintain Hawaii’s pristine environment can still find a way to get around. Here is a quick look at a few of the environmentally friendly transportation choices you can make while vacationing in Hawaii.
The primary benefit of renting a car to tour Hawaii is the freedom it offers. There is no need to schedule a taxi or wait for a bus and, unlike with a bus, you can pull up directly to your destination without having to walk any significant distance. Of course, the biggest disadvantage to renting a car is the expense and potential for liability should you be involved in a car accident. Additionally, renting a car is significantly more expensive and has more of a negative environmental impact than taking a bus (since buses hold more passengers), and you must contend with the added expense of gas and insurance. Still, if you prefer the mobility and convenience that comes with renting a car, consider renting a hybrid vehicle, as many agencies now offer them.
The state of Hawaii, particular in the larger cities, has a fairly expansive bus system. It is the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly motorized way to get around Hawaii, too. A one-way ticket in Honolulu is currently $2.50 for adults and is valid for two connections. Children five and under are free, and even an unlimited monthly pass, currently $60, won’t set you back too much.
Of course, the downside is that the bus may not take you exactly where you want to go, and you will need to find and wait at the correct stop to ensure you don’t get on the wrong bus. Given that the buses operate in the busiest areas, however, chances are that if you do choose to take the bus, you will be able to get close enough to your desired destination without having to walk too far.
If you will be visiting Hawaii for an extended period of time, taking a taxi everywhere could get prohibitively expensive. But, they are available 24 hours a day and, as with a rental car, you will be taken directly to your destination. An additional benefit of hiring a taxi over renting a car is that, with a taxi, you don’t have to worry about finding a place to park or paying parking fees. As a passenger in a taxi, you will also bear no liability should you be involved in an accident. Taxi fees are set by law in Hawaii, as is the case in other states. But, those fares do not include tips. So, if you only plan on traveling short distances and you’ll be doing it sparingly, a taxi could be economically and environmentally feasible.
A number of bicycle rental services can be found in Hawaii. The rentals average about $15 for a half day, and $25 for 24 hours. They usually include the use of a helmet, pouch, rear rack, and bungee cords (all for storage), as well as a lock, map and water bottle holder. For traveling fair distances in Hawaii, you can’t get any more environmentally friendly than renting a bicycle.
Alternate forms of transportation are available as well, including shuttle service to and from hotels to various major sites, and trolley service, which is available in limited areas. However you choose to get around when you visit Hawaii, do your part to preserve the state’s natural beauty, and consider the most environmentally friendly option for your travel needs.