Flying from SoCal to Hawaii? Here’s a Checklist of Things to Do at Honolulu Airport


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SoCal and Hawaii both offer some stunning sites and fun activities. But why bother going to the latter with the abundance of beaches and sun in the former? Aside from Hawaii’s gorgeous scenery, the islands are rich with culture and history you won’t be able to find elsewhere. Oahu alone has some fantastic offerings; whether it’s hiking at Diamond Head, sunbathing at Waikiki Beach, or even relaxing at the ​​Disney Resort & Spa, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Even the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport—also known as the Honolulu Airport—can give you a taste of life in Hawaii.

Here are some things you can do at the airport before enjoying the rest of your trip:


Arrange a lei greeting

A Hawaiian lei greeting can give you a traditional welcome experience to the islands. They’re made with a lot of love and care, symbolizing warmth, affection, and respect. The materials and color of the lei are also rooted in tradition; each main Hawaiian island has a representative color and plant, which can be seen in your lei. In Oahu, you will likely find yellow flowers called ilima in your lei. These are Oahu’s official flowers, and yellow is the island’s representative color.

Lei greetings can be arranged for yourself, your group, or a loved one before your trip, and you can receive them when you land at the airport. There are also some stores near Honolulu airport where you can purchase them. Be sure to handle them with the same respect and care that went into making them.


Get a rental car

One of the best ways to get around Oahu is by car. It gives you much freedom to choose your destinations and activities and can be more budget-friendly than tours or public transportation. Car rentals at Honolulu Airport have become much easier and more efficient, as a brand new car rental structure has recently been completed at the airport. All of the major car rental companies are now located at the new CONRAC Consolidated Car Rental Facility. Renting a car isn’t a requirement to enjoy your Hawaii trip, but If you’re planning to tour Oahu or stay on the North Shore, a car will make your life easier.

Rent a car that will suit your needs for the trip. If you’re just planning to travel to various spots on the island, a smaller car that fits your group and your luggage just right will do. If you’re going to go to the beach a lot or do activities that need a lot of gear, rent a bigger car with more room to fit your equipment. Take into consideration gas prices, your budget, and how you plan to spend your time in Hawaii before choosing a car.


Stop by the Cultural Gardens

Hawaii is known and loved for its wide array of activities, but there are many things to do and see at Honolulu Airport alone. One of its underrated gems is the Honolulu Airport Cultural Gardens, which have been a feature of the place for decades and are only improving. The gardens display the influence of Chinese, Japanese, and Hawaiian heritage.

It’s the perfect place to relax and escape the stress of travel; seeing the beautiful ponds and lush greenery is sure to put you at ease. Whether you’ve just landed or are heading back to SoCal, it’s a great stop to get a dose of the islands’ culture.

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