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Archive for the ‘Rental Cars’ Category

A good rental car is almost essential when visiting Maui, Kauai, or the Big Island. At least if you plan to explore the islands.  Oahu has a much better bus system, so it is not as important to have a rental car there. And parking is at a premium in Honolulu, so they are much less convenient there as well. Although if you are staying at Turtle Bay, or somewhere outside of Honolulu, it would likely be much more practical to have a rental car.

I took the photo below in 2008, on the day of our trip along the Northwest Maui Coastline. We had a red impala that I thought would make for a great photo against the red dirt there…
Rental Car, Maui
The best advice I could give on rental cars in Hawaii is to make sure you have your own insurance before you get there. They charge ridiculous amounts for their optional insurance. We did not realize you can get insurance at home that will cover all of the various rental car insurances, so we ended up paying way more than we had planned.

Here in BC the ICBC RoadStar package covers rental car insurance, and I believe it only costs about thirty dollars or so.

I believe some credit card companies cover rental car insurance as well, if you pay for the rental using their card, so keep an eye out for that as well.

Of course you can always go without the extra insurance if you don’t want to pay. But it seems like a sure way to ruin a vacation if something happens to the rental car that you declined the extra insurance on.

During our wedding trip of 2008 we pretty much had to pay the extra fees. We didn’t even realize there were extra optional insurances until we got to Maui. Our flight arrived in Maui at midnight, and we did not know if we had any extra coverage or not. We did know that we did not want to have our wedding trip ruined because we didn’t buy an extra $500 worth of insurance. But of course we were quite upset about having to pay so much.

In 2008 we used Budget Rental Car at the Kahului Airport. As with all the rental car companies at the airport they have shuttle buses to take you to their car lots. Almost everyone in our group rented from Budget, and most were happy, except us of course with the extra fees. It seemed we were one of the few who didn’t know you could get insurance at home. But we would have had to pay the fees at any of the rental companies there, so it was mostly our issue and not Budget’s.

But of course we still didn’t go back to Budget on our 2009 trip. Instead we decided to try Alamo. I checked the rates for each company online quite a bit, and Alamo always seemed to have the lower rates. They were good to deal with. Their shuttle bus takes you to their main building. And once we got through the paperwork, they send you out to their lot to pick a car. They have a group of cars from your car class, and you get to pick the one you want. The even offered us a free upgrade to a convertible, since they were running low on midsize. But we figured we would just get sunburnt more in a convertible, so we kept our midsize.

But as with any rental car, you should make sure to check it over very well before you leave the lot. We even took photos of the marks and scratches we found. We ended up having to return a few of the cars from Alamo. The first had a faulty set of keys. Not a big deal, but for a ten day vacation we wanted to be able to use the auto keypad to open the doors and trunk without putting the key in the actual lock, which is always handy if you have your hands full.

The second car had a bit of a gouge in the front tire. We drove on it for a few days before we noticed it. We checked the photos we had taken before we drove the car off the lot and could clearly see it was there before we drove it. We just didn’t notice when we first got the car. They gave us a new car with no questions asked, but we were happy to have the photos in case we needed proof that we did not damage the tire. Once again we got to pick a car from the lot. I really liked Alamo for that. But of course we checked it over very well before we left. Third time was a charm though, and we had no further troubles.

The photo below shows our third rental car on our adventure of the Hana Highway and the South Coast of Maui, which you can read about here.Highway past Hana
We also rented from Budget on the Big Island, and Alamo on Kauai. Both were good to deal with and we had no complaints.

One last tip would be to check the prices online quite often. We had a car booked, but noticed the same class of car was now listed at almost half the price. So of course I canceled the original reservation and got the newer price. Not sure if that happens often, but it is something to keep an eye on if you think  you got a bad deal.

Hope this all helps, good luck with your travels…

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