Best Information For
Car Rentals Oahu

Car rentals Oahu is much like renting a car anywhere else in the continental US except that it is more expensive. The major companies are here such as Enterprise, Alamo, Dollar, Budget & National.

There are locations throughout Waikiki as well as the airport. Read the information below in order to make your experience as easy, cheap and hassle free as possible.

car rentals oahu

 

Car Rentals Oahu-Where & How Much

Getting The Car

None of the companies will bring the car to your hotel but some such as Enterprise will pick you up depending on the location that you are renting from.

Most Waikiki locations close at 5:30 or 6 pm and none have overnight/after hours drop off.

What that means is that you will have to pay $30-35 per night to park at your hotel. That is what 99% of the hotels are charging right now.

What some people opt to do is to return the car before the close of business which means you get your car early if you plan to spend the day exploring the island especially the north shore.

It WILL take you all day and yes the island only takes about 3 hours to drive around excluding the west side but that's WITHOUT stopping, without lunch, etc.


General Location Hours

Enterprise has a Kaiulani location in central Waikiki that opens up at 7am and closes at 8 pm. They will not pick you up but for most hotels in Waikiki it amounts to less than a 15 minute walk.

All of the companies and most locations for them (except Dollar) have a courtesy shuttle that will pick you up at your hotel. A reservation needs to be made but keep in mind most locations are within close walking distance.

Return your car no later than 15 minutes before closing because when they close is when they close. No exceptions. This is the case with all rental car locations.

The airport has much more flexible hours depending on the company. This can range from 5 or 6:00 am-12:00 midnight or 1am.

If you want to rent from the airport you will have to make your own way out there. A shuttle is the cheapest option (@ $15 one way). The bus will take about an hour. A cab will cost about $30-35 rush hour times excluded.

You can pick your car up at the aiport upon your arrival. All of the companies have a courtesy shuttle that will pick you up at the terminal and take you to their office nearby.


 

The Cheapest Car Company

Dollar is the cheapest major car company but I have a hard time getting my hands on one including trying a few days out. If you choose them book it well ahead of time and expect to stand in a long line waiting for your car at the Waikiki location.

Almost every time I pass by there's a long line of people waiting for a car. Expect 1-2 hours to get your car even with a reservation during peak season and in the mornings. It doesn't happen to everybody all the time but often enough.


Free Car For a Day

Yes, it is possible and it doesn't involve going to a timeshare presentation! How? Well, if you invest in an activity pass of at least 3 days you get a choice of a bonus activity which can be a rental car from Dollar.

Sometimes they even run a special of offering a Jeep Wrangler. Learn more here...


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Where Can I Rent a Car?

You can go to the activities/concierge desk of your hotel if you decide to wait until arrival. You can go to this link here and get it ahead of time by reserving online.

You can walk into the office of the particular agency but I don't recommend this as a first choice. You'll probably have to wait and the price quoted probably won't be the best.

Tip: During high season times such as Christmas throughNew Year's and summer prices are 30-50% higher.

Imagine trying to make a reservation for a flight by walking up to the airline counter at the airport. Probably the worst prices in town. If you call those prices are better and reserving online has the best in most cases.

The activities person in your hotel probably has a contract with the car companies so the advantage would be that the prices never change. Waiting to book might mean higher prices-probably $55-$90 taxes included.


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Car Rentals Oahu-Planning

How Much Notice Do I Need?

Minimum the day before and 5-7 during peak times-more during the Christmas to New Year's period. If you know that you want a car go ahead and book it.

I have people who come up to my desk after breakfast wanting a car right then and there. I also usually have a line of people wanting the same thing and this is happening at hotels across Waikiki. Don't wait til the last minute.

Tip: Most cruise ships come and go on Saturdays and many of those passengers want a car rental on Oahu.

 

Large groups should allow several days because during the summer months everybody wants a minivan. Larger vehicles such as 10 seaters and 15 passengers are available but there are not a lot to go around.

The airport will have more of these types of cars available as well as more flexible hours such as staying open til 1am. The airport is about 25-30 minutes away without traffic. There's almost always traffic unless it's night time or the wee hours of the morning.


 

How Long Should I Get a Car For?

1-2 days is plenty. I like to break up exploring the island into 2 days-do the east side including the Diamond Head area, Kailua and Hanauma Bay on one day and save the Dole Pineapple plantation, north shore and windward coast for another day.

One day is fine but it will be a busy day with not a lot of time to stop and smell the roses.

It takes 3 hours to circle the island (west side excluded) so factoring in time to stop, take pictures, eat, etc. It's best to break it up or focus on one part of the island-north shore circling back to Waikiki or the east side circling back to Waikiki. The east side can be done in slightly more than half a day.


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Car Rentals Oahu-Logistics

Types of Cars Available

In Waikiki-Economy, Compact, Intermediate, Standard, Full Size, Mid-SUV, Jeep, Convertible, Minivan and sometimes larger vans that can accomodate 10 or 15 passengers.

With all of the rental dealers different types of vehicles are available but no specific type of car can be promised. You will see what you get when you get there. For instance if you want to rent a convertible but wish for it to be a Mustang they can't tell you that ahead of time. You are a promised a convertible.

They don't know what they will have in stock until they are returned. Similarly, if you want to rent a jeep they can't tell you if it's a 4 door or a 2 door, a soft top or a hard top.


 

What About Insurance, GPS, Baby Seats, etc. ?

These are all available too for extra charges. The car companies discuss the insurance options with you when you pick up the car. Expect full coverage to be about $45 or so.

If you have domestic auto insurance in the US chances are your carrier will cover you in Hawaii too but doublecheck first before deciding that you don't need it. They have GPS, baby seats and other accessories too for about $10+.


 

Can I Drop It Off At The Airport?

Yes-for a fee. Expect to pay about $50 on Oahu. On the outer islands such as The Big Island the fee can be as high as $150 if you want to drop it off in Kona if you picked it up in Hilo or vice versa.

Those aiports are 2.5-3 hours apart from one another. It might be cheaper to fly from one airport to the other.


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What About Those Rentals Place on the Street?

I'm not familiar with them but I have seen them tucked into little side parking lots and alleyways in Waikiki. It's on you and it's the chance you take.

I'm not recommending it and it's not necessarily because they are bad but because I don't know. What if something goes wrong.

Ask Youself These Questions...

-Can you rely upon these people to help you out, to be upfront and honest and not blame you for something with the car?

-Will they help you out if you get stranded?

-Can you get your money back or have some type of recourse with a corporation, the hotel or booking agent you used? The hotels and major agencies generally aren't affiliated with these guys so do your homework.

-Are the cars in good working condition and clean?

-Can you trust them with your credit card information or money deposit?

Ask yourself these questions and then assess the situation. If you feel comfortable then go ahead. Everyone is probably not bad but if you can't get a rental car from a major agency the day you want then you are probably better off getting a tour guide to take you around or just waiting until you can.


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