There are only two ways to get to the Hawaiian islands, and one of them is by plane. You can also take a cruise to Hawaii, but flying will get you here faster, and because there's so much to see and do in the Aloha State, making the most of your time is key. For those who really want to maximize their time on the Big Island, flying directly into Kona is the best idea. There are only two major airports on the Big Island, and the Kona International Airport is the one that accepts the most direct flights. This is of special benefit to people who plan on spending the bulk of their vacation time on the island's sunnier west side, where the top Big Island resorts and beaches can be found.
The Hilo International Airport is the other Big Island airport where incoming air travelers can land, and it is an ideal place to arrive if you plan on enjoying some of the east side attractions, such as Hilo Town, Rainbow Falls, and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The Hilo International Airport does accept a limited number of direct flights from Oakland, California, so you will have to make at least one connecting flight before you get here if you aren't flying out of Oakland itself. All major airline carriers fly into Honolulu, so unless you are flying directly into one of the Big Island airports, you will make a connecting flight in the state capital. A flight from the Honolulu International Airport to one of the airports on the Big Island will only take about 35 to 40 minutes.
If flying directly into one of the Big Island Hawaii airports is what you have in mind, you can either take the Oakland-to-Hilo flight, or you can look into the more abundant options for Kona. The Kona Airport receives direct flights from the US mainland, Canada, and Japan. US cities that offer direct flights to Kona include Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Phoenix, Denver, and Chicago. Vancouver is the departure point for direct flights from Canada, while Tokyo is the city to fly out of if you are coming from Japan. Once you arrive at one of the Big Island Hawaii airports, you can rent a car to get to your hotel or resort, which is recommended. You can also hail a taxi cab, which can be expensive, or hop on a shuttle. Renting a car on the Big Island is typically the best way to go, as it allows you more freedom to explore the island. There is a free, inter-island bus system as well, which you can depend on if you want to save some money on transportation.
Once you deplane at one of the airports on the Big Island, visitor information booths will be easy to spot if you have any questions about ground transportation, hotels, and things to do. The rental car companies have their desks within easy reach of the terminals, and you can pick up other forms of ground transportation curbside. There's not a whole lot to choose from when it comes to getting a bite to eat or doing some shopping at the Big Island Hawaii airports, though the available options should be sufficient. If you are waiting for a departing flight at one of the Big Island airports, for example, you will be able to grab some food, treat yourself to cocktails, or kick back with a cup of coffee. If you're not hungry or thirsty for something, the on-site gift shops are good places to look for souvenirs or a magazine to read. Public parking is available at the Big Island airports if you need it, and the rates are more than fair.