Hawaii Car Rental Considerations

Categorized as Hawaii Vacation Information

Know Your Options
When you are renting a car in the Hawaiian Islands make sure you are informed about your different options. Before you rent a car check with your credit card company as well as your current auto insurance company to see if there is any coverage for you when you rent a car. Some credit cards offer insurance as a member benefit, and if they do you should use it.

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Knowing your options ahead of time may save you expensive daily fees for supplemental coverage, and will also help you when it comes time to choose from the often confusing insurance options that are offered to you by the rental car company when you go to pick up your car.

Where To Rent
Consider renting from a company that does not require a credit card deposit in advance. For example, Dollar rental car has been noted for their policy of not requiring a credit card or advance payment to reserve a rental car. The advantage of this is the ability to cancel the reservation without penalty at the last minute if you change your mind.

If you have already booked your car online you still may be able to negotiate a lower rate if others are getting that rate. Check what the lowest available current price is when you arrive in Hawaii, and if it is lower than your stated rate then you may renegotiate your reservation to the lower price.

Internet websites such as Hotwire and Priceline may provide some good Hawaii rental car deals, but be careful to include in all associated costs such as service fees and taxes. While the rates on these types of websites can sometimes beat all other rates, there is an added risk in that you will not be able to get a refund in the event that your plans change.

Expedia and Orbitz also provide good tools for comparing prices of Hawaii’s rental car companies. Also check the website of each of the major companies as sometimes they will offer exclusive discounts and you will also avoid any booking fees.

If you do book your rental car online then make sure and read the conditions and terms carefully. Are there any restrictions? If you are booking over the phone also inquire about any special restrictions. What is the penalty for a no-show? If you are late (e.g., due to traffic in getting to the rental car pickup), how long will they hold the car for you?

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Some other questions you may ask include: Do additional drivers need to be listed on the rental car contract, and is there a fee for these additional drivers? Are there age restrictions on additional drivers?

In general it is not good to take the option of prepaid gas when you rent a car in Hawaii. Though it seems a bit easier, you will be paying more for the gas and will likely end up paying for gas you never use. If you just plan ahead a bit you will have time to fill up the tank before you return the car, preferably at a station not very close to the airport as these stations are often more expensive.

Inquire about special features that may be offered by the rental car companies. Some rental car providers offer customers the option of a GPS navigator for a daily fee that is typically around $10. You will also be provided with a book of GPS codes for all of the most popular tourist attractions and other important places you are likely to want to visit.

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Once you enter the code for a particular location the navigator will provide voice instructions that guide you right to the site. This can be a great help in Hawaii where street names are often long and hard to pronounce, and where roads in some areas are particularly confusing (e.g., downtown Honolulu).

If you are offered a free upgrade consider that it may not actually be free since the larger car may increase your gasoline costs. This is particularly true if you plan on putting a lot of miles on the car.

Another tip is to make sure your car is thoroughly checked by the rental car attendant before you leave the lot. Walk around with the attendant and inspect the car for any dents or large scratches so you are not held responsible. When you return the car also make sure to oversee the inspection process to verify that the car has no damage.