Best Rental Car Prices In Kauai - For visitors to Kauai, a rental car is the best way to see the beautiful island, from Waimea Canyon at one end to Kea Beach at the other and everything in between. There are many things to see and do in Kauai, and they are spread across the island.
A major road connects most of the island. From the airport, a drive along the main road leads to Poipu, Hanapepe and Waimea, or north to Kapaa, Princeville, Hanalei and beyond.
Best Rental Car Prices In Kauai
Renting a car on Kauai is easy and most rentals are done at Lihue Airport. As you walk out of the baggage claim area at the airport, you'll see directions to various rental companies around the corner.
Rental Car Recommendations
It is recommended that you reserve your rental car in advance of your trip to Kauai, as shortages have been reported during peak seasons. Rental car companies at Lihue Airport include Advantage, Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz, Payless, and Thrifty Car Rentals.
There are several options for saving money on your Kauai car rental. Discount Hawaii car rentals are a popular option that we use all the time and they really save you money. We've rented everything from Jeeps, minivans, and midsize SUVs with all the major car rental companies, and Hawaii car rentals always get the best prices. Read our Hawaii discount car rental review to learn more.
Travel booking sites like Kayak can search hundreds of travel sites at once to find the best car rental deals. Costco members often find the best rental car deals at major car rental companies. Rent-A-Wreck Kauai is another option, but you get what you pay for.
Turo is a relatively new service like Airbnb where you can rent cars from locals. One of the downsides of Touro is that you may not get the comprehensive support that traditional car rental companies give you in the event of a vehicle breakdown. Also, Turo's car rental prices don't seem to be much lower than regular car rental companies.
Car Rentals In Kauai, Hi
Popular car rentals in Kauai include Jeeps and convertibles. Keep an eye on your license plate as it is common to back into a parking lot and find several identical vehicles. We recommend Jeeps and other four-wheel drive vehicles. We have seen quite a few small cars seriously struggling in muddy parking lots at junctions and beaches.
Note that driving in Kauai is a little different than driving in the states and elsewhere. Kauai drivers are generally very courteous, reflecting the relaxed island lifestyle. That being said, it's easy to speed up in places off the main road. Be careful of vehicles pulling onto the main road as they cause many Kauai traffic accidents.
Also note that rental car companies have a "no road" clause in fine print. If you find yourself stuck on a dirt road, for example, the dirt road to Polyhale Beach, you'll want to call a wrecker rather than the rental company.
The entire island of Kauai is an attraction, and the best way to experience it is with the top down or with the windows rolled down. But watch out for proselytizing. Rain is instantly visible anywhere on Kauai. We have seen quite a few tourists caught in the downpour trying to put the roof back on their car in the rain.
Hawaii Car Rental: Where To Get The Best Deals + Tips
This is the only rental car company in Lihue that we do not recommend. We reserve a Toyota 4Runner (or similar vehicle) from Herts for extended families visiting the island. Instead we got a Dodge Journey (compact SUV).
We addressed the issue with the Hertz Lihue reps at pickup and were told the Toura is in the same class as the 4Runner and they couldn't help us. Dodge describes the Dodge as a compact crossover SUV that starts around $21,000. The Toyota 4Runner is a full-size SUV that starts around $34,000. Today is April Fools Day and we usually post silly jokes, but unfortunately, this post is not that. funny As more travelers come to Hawaii, they find that rental cars are scarce and very expensive.
How much do rental cars cost now? According to the KHON segment we've embedded at the bottom of this article, they report that they can find $600 a day in rent, and some even higher! However, it gets worse as Hawaii News Now found that cars are going for $1,000 a day. Wow!
We did a quick search at Hawaii Discount Car Rentals for a rental car picked up at the Kona airport for random dates in April. It took us several dating searches to even find availability. When we finally found available cars, the "cheapest" price — $239 per day for an economy car — surprised us. Then we checked this one random date in April in Maui to find that the lowest price for a compact car was $325 per day. These daily rates are similar to weekly rates in pre-Covid times.
The Ultimate Kauai Food Truck Guide 2023 (find The Best Cheap Eats)
We also checked out cars from Costco Travel. Again, finding access was difficult. Here is a screenshot of a car inspection in Maui on April 15, 2021.
The car shortage is due to rental car companies selling 40% of their fleets as demand plummeted in 2020. Rebuilding the fleet to meet demand has been a slow process, especially given carmakers' global chip shortages.
Expedia usually offers a better deal if you book a hotel and rental car together. Of course, adding a car to a hotel is generally more expensive, but usually, combining the two will get you a better deal than booking them independently. . Well, not so much with this lack of cars! We did a quick search to book only one Maui hotel and one hotel and car rental for the same date on April 15th. For comparison purposes only, we used The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Ka'anapali for one night arriving on April 15, 2021. Here are the screenshots.
This rental car shortage may be around for a while as demand increases and rental car companies are unable to replenish their fleets quickly enough. Here is some advice:
Shipping Car To Kauai
- Book a rental car for your vacation as soon as possible. Don't wait until the last minute. Canceling rental car tickets is usually very easy. So, book your car and check back frequently for the lowest fares and best options till the time of your journey.
- Check holiday package prices with travel agencies as they have agreements/relationships with car rental companies for priority.
- If you have a Costco membership, check Costco travel prices. They have the best rates for a hotel and car package. We have personally booked many Hawaii vacation packages with them. There are friends and family members. If you remember, last week, we shared a great Costco travel package for the Fairmont Orchid on Hawaii Island. Last week we crunched the numbers for a luxury hotel stay at around $335 per night.
We thought a car rental was a bargain back then. Because of this rental car shortage/rates, it's an even bigger deal now.
Kauai Hawaii Travel Guide: Plan The Ultimate Kauai Trip
- Consider your options for public transportation in Hawaii. All four main islands are served by bus, with Oahu's bus system being the most extensive and convenient for sightseeing.
- Some hotels offer shuttle bus services to the airport, shops and restaurants. When you're choosing a hotel, it's a resource to find and consider. Some hotels that come to mind are:
On June 8, the Hawaii Tourism Authority released a page with alternative transportation options listed on the island. These other options include taxis, shuttles, bike sharing (like Uber), and bike sharing/rentals.
Sheila Beal is the founder and editor of Go Visit Hawaii. You can connect with Sheila Beale on Twitter, visit Hawaii on Facebook, or go on Instagram.
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