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The Best Practical Honolulu Car Rental Alternatives

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If you’ve traveled to Honolulu recently or plan to soon, you need to be aware of the shortage of rental cars. In a space as open as Honolulu or Hawaii in General, cars are essential to get to where you’re going. 

As we know, the pandemic affected everything, even in ways that we could never imagine. Lack of employees, supplies, and materials is now an issue of the aftermath of the Covid-19 shutdown.

So how is the pandemic directly affecting rental cars in Honolulu, and how can you plan your vacation around this inconvenience? Let’s find out.

Why Is There a Shortage of Rental Cars in Honolulu?

Honolulu car rental mainstream businesses such as Hertz sent their fleet of cars to the continental U.S. during the Covid-19 travel ban. Because there would be no tourists in the area, they sent the cars to make money in other states. 

The rising issue,  chip shortage, is making it difficult for rental car companies to get new cars. Chip shortage is the lack of semiconductor microchips that carmakers use on vehicles for special features such as driving assistance and navigation features. 

The chip shortage is causing a slow down in the production of cars and raising the prices of new vehicles to an unaffordable cost and causing rental car companies to buy used cars instead.

How is the Shortage of Rental Cars Affecting Tourists in Honolulu?

Honolulu tourists are experiencing either high rental prices or not having access to a rental at all because there is limited stock of cars.

Just like everything else, price is determined by supply and demand. If there is a lack of supply and high demand, the prices increase to compensate for the lack of product. In this case, it’s the lack of available rental cars. 

With the lack of cars and supply and demand spiking, rental car companies charge upwards of $200 – $300 per day for a bottom-rung road zit.  So I decided to do some poking around and see what car rental alternatives there are that can outdo the pricy mainstream rental companies.

How Can Tourists Find Rental Cars in Honolulu?

Don’t think that there aren’t solutions to this problem. There are plenty of ways to get your way around Honolulu without traditional car rentals. So here are a few solutions that are affordable and can get you where you’re going. 

HUI

Only for Waikiki and Honolulu.

The HUI app is easily accessible through your phone to rent a car for the day or longer if necessary.  Most of the cars are nice and relatively new and some high-end.  Additionally, they have many options to choose from depending on where you are, such as trucks, sedans, minivans, and SUVs.

To benefit their customers better, they have rentals spread throughout Honolulu.  They are in reserved, marked parking spots that could possibly be close to your location.  To return the car, you must return the car to the same spot that you picked it up from. 

Some other benefits of HUI include:

Insurance Coverage
Free Gas
Free Parking at the Station
Professional cleaning
Maintenance
Customer Support
24/7 Roadside Assistance
No taxesUnlimited Mileage

When visiting Honolulu, I did notice that their cars get booked up quickly. Still, there seemed to be a lot available on a Saturday night. Typically,  I don’t plan ahead, so I can only assume that your chances will be better if you do.  

Pricing starts at around $110 per day. This includes insurance and top-tier parking spots in the area. The website mentions free gas, but I recommend double-checking.  You also have an hourly car rental option starting at around $10.95/hour, but the price tops out after 10 hours. 

Honolulu car rental alternatives HUI
HUI and Turo are great Honolulu Rental Car Alternatives – Photo by Canva

Turo

Turo, another Honolulu affordable car rental, has been around for a while and seems to work well.  If you’re not familiar with them, check out their site and app.  Turo is a car rental service, like HUI, for people who want to rent their cars out when they are not using them. 

As the renter, you can set the rates of the car insurance offered through Turo. There is a wide variety of cars to choose from that are spread out all over the area.  

How to Use Turo

The process is as simple as picking your car and a protection plan for your rental. Your host can drop the car off at your location, or you can pick it up. 

Cancelation process – you have up to 24 hours before your trip starts to cancel for free. After this period, you will be charged a small cancellation fee. 

Protection – Choose between premium, standard, or minimum. This depends on how much out-of-pocket cost you want in the event of vehicle damage or theft.

Roadside Assistance & Support – 24/7 support for your concerns and any help you may need on the road. 

Drivers license and Approval – You need a driver’s license. Age is a concern but varies between countries; 18 in the US. If others in your party want to drive the car, they need to be approved beforehand. 

My Experience with Turo

The price and process were fair, and I found it equivalent to pre-pandemic mainstream rental car prices.  You do have to check in once you get to it and take pictures all around the car BEFORE you drive anywhere and when you return the vehicle for a virtual inspection.  So do not forget the check-in and check-out process.

Regarding the car, I noticed it could be a mixed bag.  Some people take great care of their vehicles, and some do not.  The car I rented had roughly 60K miles, and I found myself thinking, ‘there must be 200K on this car’.  I am pretty sure the oil had not been changed in a while due to the engine’s noises.  The brakes were a pedal of anxiety. I was never sure exactly how well it would stop each time I needed to use them.  Nevertheless, we made the trip, and the car owner we rented from was very coordinated and communicative.  I’m sure if I paid a little more I could have got a better car.

Charley’s Taxi Service

Use a traditional taxi service to get you where you need to go. Charley’s taxi services is a three-generation women-owned taxi service. They offer a variety of services including ‘Car rental’ alternative. 

This is an excellent alternative if you want to avoid long lines at the airport, don’t need a car every day, or want to save on gas. 

This isn’t necessarily a car rental, but Charley’s Taxi Service will act as a Chauffer. This is a great affordable alternative to rental cars in Honolulu. 

Your final fare is calculated and adjusted for senior or military discounts, and any fees to enter City or State Parks are added as well. 

Additional costs are:

  • $5  for each bicycle, golf board, surfboard, or items over 80 lbs or 10 cubic feet in length
  • $5 for each additional terminal drop-off
  • A fuel charge of $0.30 will be added for each trip
  • $250-$300 charge for car damage or soiling the car.

According to their website, the best part about Charley’s, especially with the rental car shortage in Honolulu, is that they don’t participate in surge pricing. They also don’t do these types of fees: 

  • Booking Fee
  • Safe-ride fee
  • Late-fee
  • No-show fee
  • Credit Card Fee
  • Mandatory Tip (But still definitely tip your driver!)

Book a ride!

Uber Honolulu Rental car alternative
Uber is also another Honolulu rental car alternative

UBER

The modern taxi! Uber has taken over the ride-sharing taxi world, and it hasn’t stopped. The first ride was in 2010, and the app is a vital part of society today in 2021 

The business was created when the creators, Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp, couldn’t get a ride. Uber is made up of individual contractors that use their own cars to pick up App users. Because the drivers are independent with their own car, the Uber service is available virtually anywhere, including Honolulu. 

Uber Features

  • Easy ride request from your phone, any day and any time.
  • Pick the type of ride for just yourself and pick to share a ride with other users, or even hire a ride that allows pets. 
  • Background and safety checks on all drivers.
  • 24/7 assistance and emergency help right from the app. 

Uber has been a great Honolulu rental car alternative. Still, due to its popularity, it seems as though everyone is using it, which makes the wait time longer. It’s great for the drivers, but it’s not a great option if you’re on a time crunch. 

Conclusion

To summarize, I think these are great Honolulu car rental alternatives. Be sure to look at all factors such as cost, safety, and the time you need the car or ride available for you. We hope this helped you find the right ride. For some additional tips on planning a trip, check out this article.

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