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You arrive in Hawaii and are excited to start your trip but you need some information, and quickly! No time to post in a FB group and wait for an answer (hopefully it’s correct), you need to know now!
This is where the best Hawaii travel apps will save the day for almost any situation you can think of while visiting the islands.
Living in Hawaii all my life and being involved with travel I use several of these all the time and see other apps being asked about in forums.
Take a moment and think through your trip while reading the list, what will you need to know? How will you be getting around, is the weather important? Best restaurants? Understanding the local lingo?
Whether it’s your first time or your 100th, these are the best Hawaii travel apps you need to download on your mobile device before leaving home.
Hawaii Tour, Activity, and Guide Apps
The Shaka Guide comes up, a lot, in all the Hawaii travel groups I participate in and is always being recommended.
A self-guided travel platform and one of the most useful Hawaii travel apps according to many who have used it. Using GPS to identify where you are, it explains and educates about each area at a non-rushed pace. Perfect for driving around any of the major Hawaiian islands and taking it all in.
Available as an app and if you are gonna go old school and get a physical travel guide then this is the one to get. Updated annually with incredibly detailed reviews of all the places to visit and experience. They don’t hold back any punches and give their opinions about every attraction you can imagine. A book for every major island and an app to download.
Booking activities and experiences in Hawaii is big business and there are several apps that make it easier for you to part with your hard-earned dollars. Some are clearly easier to use then others and offer a much better user experience.
GetYourGuide has over 25 thousand reviews in the Apple app store and still maintains a 4.8-star rating. Stick with the proven winners and focus on having a great time in Hawaii.
Viator Tours & Activities
Another top-rated tour and activity app with thousands of reviews. A well-known name owned by an even more well-known name, Trip Advisor. With thousands of tours listed along with activities this a great place to get started.
Audio tours for Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island.
Hear all the best things to do as you move along your route. No Wifi? no cell service? no problem, download the guide and let it activate via GPS which is separate from wifi and cell service.
If you like to move at your own pace and learn then this is a great option.
Trip Advisor – Plan & Book Trips
In case you didn’t know Trip Advisor is more then just reviews now. With the purchase of Viator, see above, they are heavily into the hotel booking along with tours and activities.
A trusted brand that many know and use.
I am more of a hotel guy, but clearly AirBnB has filled a need in the market. A great way to experience a bit more then just the great hotels here in Hawaii. For those like me who prefer hotels, keep this one in your back pocket, many times during peak season its the only way to get a bed for the night.
I personally use this app here in Hawaii for all my hiking. Great details on the hiking path, parking, safety concerns, and more. Download your hike before heading out and access it without wifi or cellular service.
I see many referencing this app in group discussions and sharing informative screenshots as well.
Hawaii Restaurant and Food Apps
I use this app all the time. The layout is easy to use and syncs with just about any device. Booking a reservation is fairly straightforward no matter how you do it. It’s the changes, cancellations, and calendar sync that really make this a must Hawaii travel app.
I have used this app all over the United States with great success.
If you are like me and use the ride-sharing app Uber then this is a natural fit for ordering food. Several credit cards and loyalty programs give benefits when using Uber and many times Uber Eats is included. Get your food delivered directly to your hotel, beach park, or tour site.
Pick from the best restaurants in Hawaii and never worry about standing in lines or making reservations.
Hawaii Happy Hours
No reviews for over a year in the Apple app store so use this as a starting point and then call to confirm. Happy hours are everywhere in Hawaii and planning your night out is a good way to save some dollars while still having a great time.
Food is always high on my list no matter where I travel in the world. Finding hidden gems for any meal is a goal for every trip.
Instacart can deliver the same day and get you all the munchy delights you need. Here is my list of favorite local snacks, salty-sweet, that will get you started on the right track.
If this is your first time ordering from Instacart you can get $10 off your first purchase by using this link.
I don’t personally use Bitesquad but I know of others who do. The app is free to download so why not have a couple of options when ordering food in Hawaii?
Another popular food delivery app that many use here on Oahu. I know many have certain preferences when dealing with a variety of companies so consider this one when reviewing your Hawaii travel apps.
Yep, another food delivery app. I am actually surprised so many actually exist. If you are looking for options with your various Hawaii travel apps then Grubhub offers another choice in the food delivery section.
If you are vegan or looking to eat vegan while in Hawaii then this app can help. Thousands of reviews and a solid star rating show that this vegan food app has proven itself.
Eating healthy while on vacation in Hawaii can be challenging, anywhere really, so I think this is a good choice for those with strict dietary concerns.
Hawaii Weather and Surf Apps
Hawaii News Now Weather App
An app I personally have on my phone along with many other residents of Hawaii.
Set alerts, view the radar, and see the calendar for what’s ahead, a must of many “must have” Hawaii travel apps. With so many microclimates on the islands you really need an app like this to plan your stay.
MSW Surf Forecast
Offering a free and paid plan this app has quite an array of surf information. Forecasts of what is coming down the pipe and webcams to see what is happening right now. Before you wax up your board take a look at this app, it might be a snorkel day 🙁
Another well-reviewed surf app for here in Hawaii. Long-range forecasts, live cams, and current news will keep you in the know. They also have a cam rewind feature so you can watch your nose dives later in the day
If you are going to make the trek to Hawaii make sure you have an app that keeps you up to date on the weather. With so many micro climates on all the islands having a radar view is the best option.
Hawaii Transportation Apps
DaBus2 The Hawaii Bus App
This app could save you thousands of dollars between parking fees, rental car charges, and fuel if you are staying in Waikiki. Not well-reviewed but if you want to take the bus while on Oahu, this is your only app option. It’s available in English, Japanese, Korean, Simplified Chinese, and Traditional Chinese.
Great for searching for the nearest stop location, routes, and times so you can plan your day as you get around the island.
It makes our list of best Hawaii apps but it’s really only for the island of Oahu.
Uber is my preferred go-to ride-share app in Hawaii and when traveling within the United States. I know everyone has their favorite but it does seem that in Hawaii, Uber has a larger presence.
I have never used Lyft and unless it is just significantly cheaper or provides more coverage in a particular area then I probably never will. With that said I know many people have a preference for one over the other. Choose away.
A new player in the rideshare marketplace and boy has it made its presence known.
During peak periods here in Hawaii finding rental cars can be next to impossible, especially if you are booking a last-minute trip.
This is where Turo can really shine.
Connecting you directly with local car owners can possibly save you money but make sure to review the process carefully as each owner will be different.
The reviews are a bit rough with this company but Charley’s Taxi has been around for a very long time. If you can’t get an Uber then maybe this would be a great backup.
Being stuck in front of the hotel on a sunny day is one thing but at 3 am in the morning, you may reconsider.
Another well-known cab company here in Hawaii that also struggles with the reviews. The legendary phone number is easy to remember in case you need to dial direct.
I haven’t used this app but boy it looks interesting.
They give you the option to rent by the hour if that’s all you need, something fairly unique in the Hawaii car rental market. With several locations throughout Oahu, you use your phone to make the reservation AND to unlock the car, no key is needed.
Let me know in the comments below if you have used this service.
This is the major bike-sharing platform in Hawaii so if you like to bike then this is the travel app for you. I see them all over on Oahu (sorry other islands) in multiple locations. Having a solid footprint in a location means lots of pick up and drop off locations, ideal.
Don’t confuse this one with the Hawaii News Now Weather App, they are different. Use this one if you just want to stay up to date on the local news. It has a weather section but I recommend you get the other app for that.
Hawaiian Culture and Language Apps
Learn the history of a place through audio stories told by local people and I guarantee your experience will be a lot more fulfilling. If you are looking for a Hawaii travel app that will provide that then start here.
Hawaiian Words – Translation and Dictionary
Currently only available through the Apple app store this app can help you understand the myriad of Hawaiian words you are sure to encounter while in Hawaii. Understanding those words will lead to a much more fulfilling travel experience.
Hawaii has 2 official languages, English and Hawaiian, so when considering some of the best Hawaii apps to download keep that in mind.
Street names and locations are mostly in Hawaiian and the meaning behind the words can be quite interesting. My article reviewing the Halekulani Hotel has some interesting language-related facts that you may be interested in.
If you are looking to learn the Hawaiian language in a fun and entertaining way then the Drops app should be high on your list. Let you kids play with this on the flight over and they will be learning without even knowing about it.
Hawaii Review Apps
You really should download this app before you even begin planning your Hawaii trip. Start your research here, and on my website of course :), and you will be deluged with opinions. Filter out the loudest ones and see what people in general say about a place.
Keep it on your phone for on-the-go reviews and bookings of last-minute activities.
I fell out of love with Yelp after discovering their strong-arm tactics when dealing with businesses and reviews. They are still used extensively in Hawaii and as a travel app, you may want to consider this carefully. Not just restaurants but activities and locations are discussed by visitors and locals alike.
Vacation Budgeting & Finance Apps
Tip Calculator & Bill Split
Most restaurants have the recommended tip amount built into the receipt but not all. A handy free app to have when you run into some complicated post-meal math.
The bill splitter is probably the one you will most appreciate, especially if you have one of those (cough cough) in your group.
Who wants to do the math and stand behind it after a couple of Mai Tais?, use the app.
Currency Converter Plus
If you are coming from overseas to Hawaii and want to see your euros or pounds in US dollars then this app is a great option. Perfect for seeing the “real” cost of Hawaii and avoiding cost overruns.
Hawaii Travel Planning Apps
I personally use this app for all my travels.
It Syncs with your email provider so when you book your hotel or air and automatically get an email confirmation, boom, it’s in the app. I can share my trip with another email so they can monitor all the flights and bookings in case of delays or cancellations. If they are traveling with me I can give them access to edit so we both can keep on top of updates.
Allows me to see airport maps and additional aircraft information for the aviation geek that lives inside me. One of the most useful Hawaii travel apps I have and use.
Just saying “TSA” puts me in a bad mood, the only other 3-letter combo to do that was SAT during my high school years…..same letters, conspiracy brother unite!
This app allows you to quickly see what you can bring through checkpoints, delays, how busy an airport is likely to be and to request live assistance. Wait, what? Live assistance?
If anyone has used the live assistance please leave a comment, I seriously don’t think this exists.
I could only find this one on the Apple app store, let me know if it pops up on Google for you.
Access lounges on a day pass at a multitude of airports around the world. Great if you don’t have access as an elite loyalty member or just don’t travel that often to justify the annual expense.
For aviation geeks or showing the kids there is so much going on during the flight over.
Did you know you can use the 3D view and see what the pilots see when tracking flights? Very cool.
You can also point your device into the sky and see what flights are near you and flying. Wow! In addition you of course get all the flight tracking details you would expect in a flight tracker app
Bounce Luggage Storage
So you arrive at 6 am and check-in is at 3 pm and you don’t want to drive all the way to the hotel yet? or maybe you check out at 11 am and your flight leaves at Midnight, what to do with all that luggage?
This app shows you all the available places to store your luggage for daily or hourly rates. Many I did not know even existed here in Hawaii, quite an eye-opener for me.
There it is, my complete list of the best Hawaii travel apps. I know there are more out there so leave me a comment below if you think one needs to be added to the list.