When you are visiting Hawaii, there are primarily two main activities: shopping and beach vacation. However, if you don’t want to carry bags of purchases and beach equipment while using public transportation, then renting a car is an excellent choice.
I highly recommend renting a car in Hawaii. Apart from Waikiki Beach, many attractions are a bit far away. Taking taxis or Uber can be quite expensive in comparison.
When you want to rent a car but don’t know what to prepare or which car rental company to choose, don’t worry. I’ll introduce you to some car rental providers on Oahu Island and let you know which car rental companies are worth recommending.
The Documents You Need
Before deciding which car rental company to choose, there is some essential information that is absolutely necessary.
Whether you want to rent a car from any local car rental company in Hawaii or obtain the legal qualifications for renting a car, you must prepare the following information in advance:
1. A Valid Domestic Driver’s License
This refers to the driver’s license you obtained in your home country. Sometimes, the rental car company’s counter staff may ask for your domestic driver’s license so that they can compare it with an international driver’s license.
Reminder: In the past, domestic driver’s licenses needed to be renewed periodically. However, since July 1, 2013, the regulations have changed. Even if the license has expired, it is still considered valid. However, if there is a discrepancy in the expiration date, it is recommended to visit the licensing authority to renew it. This will prevent the rental car center from mistakenly assuming that your domestic driver’s license has expired.
2. A Valid International Driver’s License
Since not every country recognizes the domestic driver’s license, I know some visitors who come from some countries not really recognized as an independent country. That’s fine, having an international driver’s license becomes one of the necessary requirements. The process is not difficult. You just need to prepare the following documents and pay a fee for the licensing authority:
- Original identification card or resident certificate.
- Two recent, passport-sized color photos with a plain background, taken within the last two years, showing a clear front-facing view of the face without a hat. Composite photos are not allowed.
- Original domestic driver’s license.
- Copy of the passport (used for verifying the English name).
Reminder: If someone else is applying on behalf of the license holder, the representative should also bring their own original identification card for verification by the licensing authority personnel.
3. A Credit card for reserving the vehicle
When it comes to credit cards, it is advisable to have a credit limit of around $1000 to $2000 USD. For car rental companies, credit cards function somewhat like a deposit, so they usually prohibit the use of credit cards with very low limits. Some rental car companies may even require the credit card to be registered under the primary driver’s name or ask for a pre-authorization deposit. This is done to facilitate direct deductions from the credit card in case of accidents or the need for insurance claims.
4. Vehicle pickup voucher
This refers to the confirmation letter, booking number, or any relevant information related to the car rental reservation. It is used to facilitate the counter staff in quickly locating your order details, reducing the waiting time for everyone at the rental car company.
Hawaii Car Rental Comparison
If you want to rent a car in advance on Oahu Island, you can use the Kayak for car rentals.
On Kayak, you can easily compare the prices of various rental companies and see their ratings and reviews. Each rental company has its own strengths and weaknesses, but generally, those with good ratings are preferred. Below, I will also introduce a few rental companies that I frequently use.
3 Best Car Rental in Hawaii Vacation
Due to the large number of tourists on Oahu Island, there are numerous car rental companies available. However, if you are looking for a car rental company that offers convenient and efficient pick-up and drop-off services, as well as comprehensive coverage and transparent rental agreements, here are three top car rental companies in Hawaii that provide these assurances:
Alamo is the most popular car rental service, the price is much cheaper than the other services, also they have good customer service, so you can find many of their service stores on Oahu.
You may log in to your membership on Alamo’s official website for the car reservation, then choose the car type and pickup date and return date and location. In addition, you can add some add-on services like GPS and car cleaning service, etc. Then finally you will get the final price to pay. Fill the registration form and receive their confirmation newsletter, then your reservation is complete.
If you compare prices on price comparison websites, you will find that Hertz is relatively more expensive among car rental companies. However, Hertz is also known as the largest car rental company globally, which means it has high visibility, numerous locations, excellent service, and a wide selection of vehicle types. The vehicles offered by Hertz are also relatively new.
Moreover, after booking your desired vehicle, there is a shuttle service available at the airport to take you to the car pick-up location. Additionally, it is possible to pick up the car at one location and return it to another (though an additional fee may apply). Overall, Hertz receives more positive reviews than negative ones, making it a widely recommended car rental company among internet users.
In addition to the budget-friendly option of Alamo and the quality-focused Hertz, Enterprise is also a popular and well-rated choice among car rental companies in Hawaii.
Enterprise car rental companies also allow online reservations. Of course, they offer services where you can pick up the car at one location and return it to another. During the booking process, you can choose your preferred vehicle type and refer to the displayed passenger capacity information.
If you have other needs, such as renting a child safety seat or requiring a GPS navigation system, you can also add these extras by visiting the “Add Extra” page. This allows you to customize your choices based on your specific requirements.
4 Things You Need to Know before Rent Car
After recommending the three car rental companies mentioned above, there are a few important reminders to keep in mind. Following these tips will help protect your rights, save time, and even prevent unnecessary disputes. It’s recommended to jot down these reminders in your travel notes to avoid forgetting them once you step off the plane.
When picking up the car, present your car rental number or reservation confirmation, and make sure to double-check the insurance coverage and rental agreement. Confirm that all information and prices are correct. If there are any discrepancies, address them immediately.
During the vehicle handover process, inspect the exterior, interior, and fuel tank of the car. Regardless of whether the car has pre-existing damage, take photos and videos as evidence. Confirm with the staff that any existing scratches or damages were already present, to avoid any issues during the return of the car.
Follow local traffic regulations:
You must have let these types of vehicles pass first like: pedestrians, school bus, ambulance, firetruck, and police cars. Also you must obey the rule of speed which means: 25 miles near the school, 35 miles in alley, 45 miles in downtown, 65 miles on freeway, otherwise the fines ticket would break your vacation.
Park in designated parking areas:
Due to the large number of tourists and local vehicles on Oahu Island, random parking can lead to towing. Additionally, if you are staying near Waikiki, parking spaces may be limited. When looking for accommodation, consider whether parking facilities are available or inquire about nearby parking options.
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