If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii, there are plenty of things to consider: which island (or islands) to visit, where to find the best and most scenic beaches, what restaurants serve the best box lunch for a quick bite on the go. But have you also thought about what type of vehicle you should rent for your daily excursions?
While it’s easy to fall into the laid-back island lifestyle and just kick back in one spot for your entire vacation, try to resist this urge. The islands have a lot to offer; don’t pass up the opportunity to tour as many uniquely gorgeous spots as you can. Read on for advice about what type of vehicle works best for what you have in mind, as well as tips on the best car rental rates.
Consider the size of your party
If there are only two of you, it’s okay to stick with a compact or two-seater convertible (see the next paragraph for more about open-top options). In fact, this will make navigating specific areas (such as Maui’s narrow, winding Road to Hana) much more manageable. Bigger families, of course, should opt for more space, but try not to let yourself be talked into a more substantial model than you need.
Spring for the open-top experience
Tourists and rental companies alike have long known the truth of it: Hawaii offers so many stunning vistas that it would be a shame to miss any of them. As mentioned above, go for a convertible whenever possible. If there are four or fewer in your family, check out a Jeep Wrangler or something similar (this is also the best choice if you plan to venture into rugged terrain). See the next paragraph for tips on how to make the experience more affordable.
Go for an off-site rental
While there are plenty of options available at the airport, you’ll find the best car rental rates elsewhere. If you’re lucky enough to have a friend picking you up upon arrival, arrange to have them take you to a local mom-and-pop rental agency. Rates are impressively lower, and as an added perk, the vehicles often blend in with the ones driven by locals, making you less of a target. If no one is meeting you, consider taking a taxi; the additional cost will be offset the longer you stay.
As always when planning a trip, advance preparation is crucial. Best of luck, and enjoy the islands! Aloha!