Have you booked a Maui rental car lately? Have you booked one on the mainland? With the Covid rental car sell-off and the auto computer chip shortage, be prepared for some sticker shock.
Here are my tips for getting the best Maui rental car rate. In fact, I use this approach whenever I book a rental car, anywhere.
One ~ find the best ‘pay later’ deal
I am a Costco member, so I always check Costco’s travel site first. Typically this has always gotten me the best rate.
Another place I check is Discount Hawaii Car Rental. This is an aggregator site. They find the best deals and typically include the spouse drives free. Always a win, especially if you are taking turns being the designated driver, or one just wants to relax at the pool while the rest of the family is off on an adventure.
A few weeks ago I came across Autoslash on a travel forum. You tell them what kind of discount options you have and they find you the best deal. On my recent Canada trip I was looking at $1240US for a 12 day economy car rental at Vancouver airport. Prices just weren’t budging. Autoslash managed to find me a rate of $740US with Hertz for the same dates and times. Still crazy from a pre-Covid perspective, but ‘yes please’.
Two ~ monitor for better rates
Rental car rates are notorious for their fluctuations. Make a point of checking back regularly to see if there are any better deals. If you book with Autoslash, they have a setting where it will monitor this for you. Not sure if it works, it didn’t come up with a better rate for my dates ~ mind you, neither did I.
Three ~ consider playing with your pick-up and drop-off times and locations
This spring break adjusting my times by half hour resulted in different (better) rates. However, my most recent trip not so much. On Maui look at picking up a car in Kihei or, if you are staying on the west side, in Kaanapali. Airport fees can add up, you may get a better deal.
Four ~ have you looked into alternatives?
There are of course the used car rental places ~ on Maui I would definitely look at Kihei Rent a Car. They have a shuttle to and from the airport – but ask about drop off and pick up times.
This past year Turo has gotten hugely popular. Think Airbnb of rental cars. We have several friends who rent their personal vehicles, or in one case a small fleet out on Turo. I was strongly considering it on this Vancouver trip until Autoslash came through with the cheaper rate for Hertz.
Consider if you need a rental car for your entire stay. Prior to moving to Maui we would come for 3-4 weeks at a time. We would get a taxi to the condo and then rent a car as needed for a day here and there. Maui has ride-shares Holoholo, Uber and Lyft, though availability and cost varies.
Five ~ do not just wing it
We have had guests who assumed they’d be able to just walk up and rent a car on arrival. You may get lucky. But agencies do run out of cars at Christmas and around the PGA tournament early January. Do prebook your car to avoid scrambling for a ride.
Just prior to Covid I wrote a blog about the now 3 year old Maui rental car facility and tram. Yes, it includes a train video. Yes, I’m a boy mom!