Money Saving Hawaii Car Rental Vacation Tips

The best ways to reduce the expense and cut the cost of renting a car on your next Hawaiian vacation


Save Big Money on Car Rentals in Hawaii - Cost Cutting Tips for the Savvy Traveler

Same Drop-off time | Shop Around | Free Drivers | Underage Fee | Coupons | Free Mileage | Rent in Town | Rewards Programs | Insurance | Fuel | GPS | Upgrades | Back on Time | Damage


Finding the very best way to save money when renting cars in Hawaii can be a challenge, but getting a great deal doesn’t need to be hopeless. You can save money by finding deals and by not having to spend extra on penalties and unnecessary items. There are many factors to consider when you try to find the best deals for the money. There are more ways than one to avoid those annoying added fees, charges and penalties. First, you need to make yourself aware of them. Then you should study each of your options to see which best suits your particular situation. Always try to apprise yourself of all the opportunities available to you and take advantage of every tip you can.

Hot Tip Hawaii Car Rentals offers all these Hot Deals.

Money Saving Tips for Savvy Vacationers:

  • Return the car same time or earlier than reserved: When you make your rental car reservation, be sure to make the return time (drop-off time) the same or earlier than your pickup time - pick-up at 3 PM and drop-off at 3 PM, NOT pick-up at 3 PM and drop-off at 6 PM. Otherwise you may be charged 1/4 to 1/2 the daily rate for every hour the car is brought back later than the pickup time (not to exceed the daily rate).
  • Shop around for the best rates: Hot Tip

    Hawaii Car Rentals has pre-negotiated wholesale corporate discount rates that we pass on to our customers. No pre-payment required, no modifications fees, and no cancellation fees ot booking fees like travel agents or the giant online booking companies charge.

  • Choose a company that waives the fee for an additional driver: Hot Tip

    At Hawaii Car Rentals, all the companies we represent waive the fee for additional drivers for one or more drivers, but some only allow this if the extra driver is a spouse or domestic partner.

  • Choose a company that has a free or reduced fee for "underage" or young drivers: Hot Tip

    At Hawaii Car Rentals, some of the companies we represent have a reduced underage driver surcharge fee and charge as little as $8/day ($56/week) in underage driver fees. Others charge as much as $30/day ($210/week).

  • Choose a company that offers coupons: Hot Tip

    At Hawaii Car Rentals, if you make a reservation through us with Avis or Budget, on Kauai, Oahu, Maui and the Big Island, you can get free coupons for free admissions, gifts, food and entertainment worth hundreds of dollars. This won't specifically save you money on your rental, but it will certainly help your vacation budget and save money on activities that you might not ordinarily participate in had these coupons not been available.

  • Choose a company that offers unlimited free mileage:

    At Hawaii Car Rentals, the companies we represent all offer unlimited mileage. This is a great savings on your budget. This isn't just for certain days of the week or certain times of the year, it's all year, every day of the year. Of course traveling across state borders and wracking up mileage that way is not an option in Hawaii.

  • Rent at in-town non-airport locations:

    It Hawaii, if you rent your vehicle at in-town locations, also known as non-airport locations, you could save up to 22% or at least $48/week. Because by NOT renting at the airport, you will avoid the manditory airport taxes, fees and surcharges. There are many non-airport locations, some of which are actually at, but not in, the airport - they are located outside the actual airport property, and thus, avoid the manditory airport taxes, fees and surcharges. Please note that most non-airport (really in the city) locations have shuttle service to and from the airports and you will need to find your way to these locations via a taxi, bus or privates shuttle service. Also, higher in-town rates may offset any tax savings advantage.

  • Use rewards programs, awards, club, frequent renter, frequent flyer, or loyalty program number when you rent a car:
    • Try them - Even though all the rental companies have loyalty programs, some are and some are not set up to allow your loyalty program number to be used in conjunction with Hawaii Car Rentals' already discount rates and bonuses. We've all heard the phrase, "not valid with any other offer." All we can say is to try your loyalty number and see if it works. It probably won't get you any better rate, but it may add to the miles or number of rentals you made. In a recent check, we found that our rates were better than using one of the club programs. It addition, the renter was also able to get the free additional driver as well through our website.
    • Frequent Flyer Fees? - Some companies will allow you to enter in your airline Loyalty Program, Airline Miles or Frequent Flyer number. Please note that some rental companies now charge a small service fee if you use a Frequent Flyer number. Some say: "Frequent Flyer Surcharge: When the renter chooses to receive Frequent Flyer miles, we will collect a Frequent Flyer surcharge, not to exceed $1.50 per day, at the time of rental to offset a portion of the annual cost of participation in the Frequent Flyer program."

  • Insurance - Ala' Carte car rental insurance can be expensive:

    Ala' Carte car rental insurance can be expensive. Always look for ways to save money. Check to see if your existing personal auto insurance policy will totally cover your rental car, especially for cargo vans, the large 12 passenger and 15 passenger vans. It may not. Your insurance may not cover you if this is a business rental either. If it does fully insure you in the same way, or for as much as the various auto rental company insurance protections do, then purchasing it again at the counter doesn't make financial sense. I personally inquired with my insurance agent and found that even though I was fairly well insured, and even insured for renting a car, I also needed an umbrella insurance policy, which was only about $27/yea additional.

  • Fill the tank before bringing the car back:

    The pre-paid gasoline option can be expensive unless the rental car company prices are cheaper than local pump prices. If you choose this option, it's a very convenient option if you're in a hurry, but make sure you bring the car back with an empty tank to make it really pay off for you. Save money by getting gasoline at the pump - fill 'er up!

  • Bring your own GPS:

    If you’re renting an automobile in Hawaii and don’t know how to get around, you should consider renting a GPS navigation system at the counter or when you reserve online. Bringing your own GPS is a money-saving option. Lots of cell phones have this App available for free, even ones that give you turn by turn voice directions - hey, that's an even better deal. All locations provide GPS as an added on option. So if bringing your own GPS Navigation System is not an option, then there are daily and weekly rates for GPS devices from the various rental agencies. The daily rates range from $9.95 per day to $12.95 per day.

  • Ask for a free car class upgrade:

    When you arrive at the pickup counter to get your rental car, simply ask if you can get a free upgrade. Some companies will allow this but some will want several dollars a day additional. But wait to see what kind of vehicle you're going to get before you make your request. Because if you reserved one of the popular car models, much of the time the company will be overbooked and thus sold out and they will upgrade you automatically at no additional charge.

  • Bring the car back on time:

    Some companies have a small grace period for late returns. Some as little as 29 minutes. But after their grace period, many companies charge an extra rate if you bring the car in late. You may be charged 1/2 to 1/3 the daily rate for every hour the car is late, not to exceed the daily rate. Some will even have a late return penalty in addition to the hourly late return rate. They also charge a penalty over and above the rental charge if you call in and want to keep the car another day or two. If you bring it in a day or more early, you may even be charged an early return fee.

  • Inspect the car for damage before you take it off the lot and when you return it:

    It's very important to inspect the vehicle for damage before you take it off the lot. Take pictures of every single mar, door ding, scuff, scratch or damage and also notate the locations on the checkout sheet. When you return the car, don't leave it up to the lot check-in attendant to do the return inspection. Go over the vehicle with the attendant. It'll be a lot less time consuming and possibly less expensive to dispute a damage issue right then and there than to dispute it in writing or over the phone when you get back from vacation after the fact. Once I rented a car that had one of those wind scoops under the front bumper. Well, I didn't notate a small scratch that was on it that a previous renter did by obviously hitting a curb. I knew of this possibility on this particular model so I knew never to pull all the way up to a curb when I diagonally parked, so I disputed it. The counter agent went through all the records of the car for about a year previous, one ticket after another, it was very time consuming. He finally found a couple tickets where it actually had been notated by previous renters. The vast majority of people had not notated it. I wonder if every one of them were charged for body damage.

  • Corporate Discount Rates
  • No Travel Agent Fees
  • No Pre-Payment
  • No Booking Fee
  • Cancel Anytime
  • No Obligation