If you plan to rent a car on your Hawaii vacation, don’t wait until the last minute to book it. I’ve recently heard of rental car shortages on Kauai, Maui and the Big Island. In fact the Kauai Garden Island News says that “Visitors are facing long lines and tough times trying to find available rental cars on Kaua‘i and elsewhere in the state.” This article shares the story of visitors who weren’t able to book a rental car on Kauai, so they came up with a creative idea of renting from U-Haul. They were able to book a large moving van, but when they arrived they found that a light pickup truck was available.
So, what can you do if you find that you can’t get a rental car? Here are some strategies other than U-Haul that will keep you mobile and seeing the island sights.
1. If you cant find a rental car though the big name rental companies like Avis, Hertz, etc., check with the locally operated rental agencies. Here’s a trick to help you find those local rental car agencies. First open a browser for maps.google.com then enter the name of the island you’ll be visiting and click “search maps”. Once the map of the island is displayed, you’ll see a pop out box on the map pointing to the island. In that pop out box, click “search nearby”. Another box will open and in the search nearby field enter something like “rental car” and you’ll find results that include the locally operated companies as well as the big national companies.
2. Use the public bus system. Each island has a fairly decent and inexpensive bus system. The systems aren’t designed with sightseeing as their priority, but when you can’t get a car, they will do the trick to help you get around. Here’s are links to the island bus systems:
3. Find tour companies that will pick you up from your hotel. Let them do all the driving. Roberts Hawaii and Polynesian Adventures are two of the bigger companies in Hawaii that provide transportation from most hotels on Kauai, Maui, Oahu, and the Big Island. Other individual tours may provide their own service as well. For example when we took the Mauna Kea stargazing tour and the Big Island sunset sail, those individual tour companies provided the transportation from our resort.
Have you had trouble finding a rental car on Hawaii? What did you do?