During my trips to Hawaii, I’ve rented convertible cars and soft-top Jeeps. I have to say it was fun to do, but not as ideal as I thought it would be. In this article I’ll share some of the reasons you might want to rethink renting a convertible car or soft-top Jeep. Before you reserve your rental, consider these points:
1. Convertibles cost considerably more to rent than compact and midsize cars. For example, I just searched Expedia.com and compared the rates. The daily rate for a convertible car was $52 while the rate for a mid-sized car cost $37. The daily rate for a Jeep Wrangler was a whopping $90!
2. Convertibles tend to be more bug infested. You really need to keep the top closed when you aren’t in the vehicle. Miiko Mentz recently shared that her family had rented a convertible in Hawaii. They left the top down for a few hours and when they returned, her daughter said, “Mommy, why is the floor moving?” While they had been gone, the car became infested with roaches. (All together now, eww!) My husband and I rented a convertible in Kauai, it was completely roach infested. As soon as we’d open doors at night and the interior lights came on, roaches would scatter for cover. (Be sure to see my article on Hawaii roach mobiles)
Just one more word on roaches – I am a big chicken when it comes to bugs. I know that in a tropical environment like Hawaii’s has, there are bound to be roaches. I have never let this stop me from returning to a place I love so much.
3. We found that we didn’t have the top down nearly as much as we anticipated. Sometimes we were happy to have the top up and the air conditioning on to escape the hot sun. Bear in mind, too, that sometimes a rain shower can sneak up on you with little warning.
4. The soft tops can make it easier for a thief to access your valuables. Cheryl recently shared a concerning incident in a comment on my article advising you to secure your valuables. Here’s an excerpt from that comment, “I just had a mainland customer last week who told me that they were on their honeymoon last month on the Big Island and pulled over to take a picture of the beach. When they got back a few minutes later, someone had cut the tarp to their rental Jeep and stolen all of their things. They had to spend the rest of the day at the Hilo police station instead of going to see the Volcano as planned.”
5. There is very little room to store luggage in a Jeep Wrangler. In fact, Jeep Wranglers barely have enough room for one carry-on or two. I like to travel light but not that light.
6. Renting a 4WD is a big waste of money. Why? Any off-roading is considered a violation of most rental contracts. Pick up the maps that the rental car companies offer. Turn to the page that shows the entire island. Take note of the areas usually marked in red. Look at the notes. Yep, it tells you where you can’t drive. Even some paved roads are forbidden. So, save your money and just rent a regular 2WD car.
I didn’t write this article to scare you. In fact, I hesitated on writing this article, but I eventually decided that it was important to share it with you. The information I’ve shared is something that I would have wanted to know before I selected a rental car for my first few trips to Hawaii. I think it’s important for you to know all the factors to consider before you commit to a convertible or Jeep. Again, I enjoyed some aspects of my soft top rentals, but knowing what I know now, I doubt I’ll ever rent one again.