Contact Street Smarts
Making travel plans when you travel
When you plan your vacation, you look for the best transportation option to get you there and back again. But do you spend as much time looking at ways to get around once you reach your travel destination? Two weeks ago, I spent five days on Oahu in Hawaii. It was my second trip, so I knew there were many ways to get around the island without renting a car, including riding the bus, booking tours where transportation to the attractions are included, jumping on a trolley service that targeted shopping centers or renting a moped. Taxi and limo services also were available. Another option, of course, footing it. Each transportation option bore different costs, time versus money. For example, while the most time efficient way of getting around Oahu would have been an automobile rental, it wasn't the most cost effective. By the time you factor in the price of the rental itself, plus gas, parking fees at the hotel, as well as at each venue, we easily could have racked up $200 in rental costs. For my trip, my vacation-mate and I spent a total of $31 each on ground transportation for the entire time we were there. Much better than spending $200 for a car. We used the money we saved to buy gifts for our loved-ones at home. Before we touched down in Honolulu, my friend and I knew we were going to use our feet and TheBus, the island's public transportation service, to get around the Waikiki-Honolulu areas, as well as the rest of the island. On Monday, Nov. 15, we stayed in Waikiki, perusing the shops by foot and strolling down to the beach. Travel cost: $0. Tuesday, we jumped on a trolley that took us to Ala Moana Center in Honolulu. Travel cost: $2 each way. Come Wednesday, we jumped on a tour bus that showed us points of interest island-wide. The cost of this full day of sight-seeing: $23 each. And Thursday was our most adventurous day, as we used TheBus to travel to the northeast side of the island to go ATV riding at Kualoa Ranch, where a number of big films, including Jurassic Park and TV series, such as Lost, were shot. Total time on the bus, both ways, was about five hours – surely longer than if we drove. But the ride took us through neighborhoods and towns we would not have seen had we rented a car. Total cost: $5 each, as each $2.50 fair yielded one free transfer to another bus. We needed two buses to get us from our hotel to the ranch and then back again. That Friday, we did nothing in anticipation of the airport shuttle coming to whisk us to the plane that would fly us back reality. The next time you take a vacation, study the transportation methods available in the area you're visiting and make your decision based on what's important to you. When making my transportation choice, I had two things in mind: I live a fairly fast-paced life where I drive a lot and time is not on my side. When planning my trip, I knew that, 1) I was tired of driving and wanted someone else to take the driver's seat, and 2) time was not important because, on vacation, time is not of the essence.