Sorry this is so late but life started happening again when I returned from paradise!
Our flights arrived within 5 minutes of each other in separate terminals but had no problem finding each other. It is an easy airport to navigate through terminals and gates although we were in separate terminals which were not too far apart.
We stepped out of the terminal and caught the bus with no problem. We travel light with only carry on so it was no problem. The bus picked up lots of other tourists along the way and an elderly local found out we were tourists (gee - how did she know! LOL!) and started giving us a "tour" and answering questions, giving suggestions and helping us all find our stops. She was terrific and a lot of fun!
Our hotel was the Ala Moana which was very close to the bus stop. Beautiful lobby and no problem checking in...cute little shops. The room was on the small size but we did not plan to be in the room much. The carpet was stained and was filthy! There was only enough coffee for one cup per person. The refrigerator made it easy to keep some fruit and juice in the room and some beer for the evenings. It is just a short walk over to the Ala Moana Park and Beach - beautiful and not crowded! Perfect sunsets! The Ala Moana Mall parking lot is connected by a skywalk to the hotel. There are some very nice restaurants in addition to the food court which is not your typical "mall food". One night we ate at a very nice restaurant with a Japanese buffet with tons of sushi, soup, seafood and I think steak in the back but we never got past the crab legs and shrimp. We were about the only tourist there that night.
Waikiki was a short bus ride away. - TIP - if you are going to be riding the buses which are very efficient and easy/safe/clean buy a $25 bus 4 day bus card for $25 at any of the ABC Stores in the mall or on Waikiki. ABCs are literally on every corner!
One day we ate at Duke's on the beach and opted for the buffet. The Kailua Pork and the fresh fruit were outstanding! Another favorite was Me's Korean BBQ (nothing fancy but good food and cheap!) and the shaved ice shop just down from it. One day I ate a quick lunch at the International Market. Not sure which one to choice in the food court, I watched to see which one the local workers were all going to then went and ordered and it was great!
The International Market and the small alley nearby have great souvenir shopping. The first price they quote you just say no. If you like negotiating for a final price, you will LOVE shopping here. You will buy stuff and pay for it before you realize what you are doing! These ladies are sweet but great horsetraders! I had bought things that did not even remember buying when I unpacked! Everyone gets pearls this Christmas - white, black, pink, chocolate!
ABC Stores are great for picking up almost anything from juice, toiletries etc., but don't forget them for getting macadamia nuts and chocolate covered macadamia nuts for gifts. No problem finding one. Just look up and there will be at least 2 ABC stores within sight at all times.
I took an island tour so I could easily go all over the island. It was worth it. If you go to Dole, get the Dole Whip which is soft serve pineapple ice cream. You can get to the Punch Bowl and to Pearl Harbor on your own via bus but go EARLY to Pearl Harbor so you can get a (free) ticket to the movie and to the Arizona.
If you are taking the bus back to the airport, there is limited bus service on Sundays. Ask when you get on the bus if it actually goes to the airport. My companion did not ask and found out that that bus did not return to the airport but had come FROM the airport. It almost caused a missed flight by the time it was discovered and a taxi was caught. I had no problem. There are also shuttle services that can arranged in advance through the hotel.
Wonderful trip - beautiful island and fabulous locals!