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How to get here

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Flying from the UK to Hawaii will require at least two flights; you'll have to change planes somewhere in either the mainland USA or in Canada. To decide your route, the first decision to make is where to land in Hawaii.

Flying into Honolulu

Most flights into Hawaii land in Honolulu (HNL in airport code), on the island of Oahu. To get over to the Big Island, you will have to catch another short flight, with either Aloha airlines (really) or Hawaiian airlines. This last leg will cost about 100 pounds, but you should buy it separately - if you try to book flights all the way from say Heathrow to Hilo you'll get a massive surcharge for the very last section. Flying from Honolulu to Hilo is a fun flight that only takes an hour or so and gives you a good view of either the island chain or the Big Island, depending on which side you of the plane you sit.

Obviously, if you're coming into Honolulu then you have the opportunity to stopover for a few days in the ulitmate tropical holiday resort - with most itineraries you'll have to stop for at least one night on the way over anyway. The bulk of hotels are located in Waikiki, mostly only a few hundred yards from the famous beach. It's very busy and touristy but good fun for a day or two - with amazing shops! Unless you have a very tight itinerary don't stay at an airport hotel - these are nowhere near the beach and although the airport shuts down of a night, you'll probably still be disturbed by the noise from the nearby highway.

You can get a flight to Honolulu from several places on the mainland. San Francisco or Los Angeles are the two most typical stopovers, but with some airlines other places in the USA are possible, such as Denver, Chicago or New York. Air Canada also offer a route from Heathrow via Vancouver. Usually you can have a free stopover wherever you have to change planes if you want to explore for a few days - we would highly recommend San Francisco!

Flying into Kona

With certain flights and certain airlines you can fly directly to the Big Island, into Kona airport (KOA). This is the main tourist town on the Big Island (because it gets the best weather) and is about a 2.5 hour drive from Hilo. You can't unfortunately fly from Kona to Hilo. The drive is quite interesting as it takes you from the arid sun-drenched Kona coast, through Waimea's ranchland, down the lush Hamakua coast and into the big city (!) of Hilo. However the drive can be treacherous in bad weather, which is fairly common between Waimea and Hilo, and you need to think seriously about attempting it if you've been on planes for the past 24 hours! Kona is a resort town with some great beaches nearby so you might prefer to get at least one nights' rest there before coming to Hilo. Hire-car companies are located at the airports and are quite used to having cars picked up in Kona and dropped off in Hilo, usually with no surcharge.


Important flight routes