Do You Need A Car In Hawaii? How To Rent A Car?

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While it’s true that you can get by without a car in Hawaii, there are some definite advantages to having your own set of wheels. Do you need a car in Hawaii? We hope this article will help clear up some of the questions you may have about renting cars in Hawaii and related information!

Do you need a car in Hawaii?

There is no definitive answer to this question as it depends on individual needs and preferences, What island are you visiting? and What’s your budget?

Some people may find that they do not need a car in Hawaii, especially if they are staying in urban areas where public transportation is readily available. 

However, others may find that having a car is necessary for getting around the island and accessing all of the great attractions Hawaii has to offer. Ultimately, it is up to the individual to decide whether or not they need a car in Hawaii.

Read more: Top of 30 Best Places to Visit in Hawaii for the First Time

How much exploring do you want to do?

If you’re looking to explore all that the islands (Maui, Kona Hawaii,..) have to offer, a car is a must-have. There’s so much to see and do, and without your own set of wheels, you’ll be confined to the tourist traps and hotel areas.

But if you’re content just lounging on the beach or taking day trips to see the sights (at Waikiki, Oahu, Honolulu,…) then a car may not be necessary – most areas are easily accessible by bus or taxi.

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What island are you visiting?

There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding if you need a car in Hawaii. One of the most important is your destination. If you’re staying on one of the main islands, a car is probably not necessary. However, if you’re planning on exploring some of the smaller islands, a car is definitely recommended.

  • Maui: Most of these activities and attractions are located in different areas of the island, and are not easily accessible without a car. (For example, the Road to Hana is one of the most popular attractions in Maui, but it is located on the remote east coast of the island). Without a car, it would be difficult to get to this area and explore all that Maui has to offer.
road to hana
Road to Hana in Maui

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  • Waikiki (Oahu): There are many reasons why you may not need a car when visiting Waikiki. For starters, Waikiki is located on the island of Oahu, which is well-served by public transportation. In addition, Waikiki is a very walkable area, with plenty of shops, restaurants, and attractions within easy reach.
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One of the beaches in Waikiki
  • Molokai: You may need a car while visiting Molokai because of some above reasons. The first and most obvious reason is that Molokai is quite rural and there isn’t a lot of public transportation. Additionally, Molokai is home to some amazing beaches, many of which are only accessible by car. Finally, since Molokai is such a small island, it’s easy to get around by car and see everything there is to see in a relatively short time.
along the beach in oahu
Along the beach in Oahu

What’s your budget?

Whether you need a car in Hawaii depends on your budget. Rental cars are relatively inexpensive on most islands, but gas is more expensive than on the mainland. If you’re looking to save money, you may be able to get by without a car. However, if you plan to explore all of the islands, a car is the best way to go.

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Why you should rent a car for your trip in Hawaii?

There are many reasons why renting a car is a good idea when traveling to Hawaii.

  • Saves you money on transportation costs

A Taxi/ Uber from the airport to your hotel or the sightseeing spots can easily be expensive, but a rental car costs just a fraction of that amount.

  • Save your time

With a car, you can be proactive in everything. No need to waste time waiting for taxis or other means of transportation. You can take the initiative to go where you want to go and explore all the different islands in the state instead of being limited to just one area.

Additionally, renting a car is often more affordable than using taxis or other forms of transportation, which can add up quickly if you’re traveling for multiple days or weeks.

  • Save your energy

Having your car allows you to pack whatever you need without having to worry about space limitations or carrying heavy things. So if you’re looking for an affordable and convenient way to see all that Hawaii has to offer, consider renting a car for your next trip.

Car rental companies in Hawaii

Some qualified rental companies are listed: 

  • Enterprise Rent-A-Car
  • Lucky Owl Car Rental, Budget Car Rental
  • WeedriveTesla Car Rentals Hawaii
  • Little Hawaii Rent A Car
  • SIXT rent a car
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Photo courtesy of WeedriveTesla Car Rentals Hawaii

What kind of car should you rent in Hawaii?

  •  Economy car with good gas mileage

You could go with a smaller car like a Honda Fit or a Toyota Prius. If you’re looking for something a little bigger, you could go with a crossover like the Nissan Rogue or the Honda CR-V. These cars are still economical but offer more space for passengers and cargo.

Whichever car you choose, make sure you take into account the cost of gas in Hawaii. It can be quite expensive, so you’ll want to find a vehicle that can help you save as much money as possible at the pump.

honda fit 1024x680
Honda Fit
  • Jeep Wrangler

When you’re in Hawaii, you need something that can handle the winding roads and harsh sun, and that’s why you should rent a Jeep Wrangler. With its four-wheel drive and sturdy construction, the Wrangler can take on anything the island roads can throw at it. And with its open-air design, you’ll be able to enjoy the Hawaiian sun and breeze while you’re driving.

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Jeep Wrangler

Is it cheaper to rent a car in Hawaii?

The cost of renting a car in Hawaii can vary depending on the type of vehicle you choose, the length of time you rent it for, and the location where you pick it up. Generally, it is cheaper to rent a car from an airport than it is from a downtown or city location. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if you are planning on driving around the island and need a larger vehicle, it may be cheaper to rent from a local company rather than an airport rental agency.

In general, a rental car in Hawaii will cost you approximately $60 per day, including insurance. However, on the islands, renting vehicles saves you money.

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Requirements when renting a car

When renting a car, there are certain requirements that you must meet.

  • Age: In most cases, you must be at least 21 years old and have a valid driver’s license.  Note that: if you are under 25 or over 70, you will likely face an extra surcharge each day that you rent the car. Some companies also require proof of insurance. You may also need to provide a credit card to cover any damages that may occur during the rental.
  • To rent a car, the driver must have a major credit card in their name. There will be an extra authorization hold of 15% on your card and give back to you if the car is undamaged
  • When renting a car, make sure you are familiar with the company’s policies on holds. Many companies will put a hold on your credit card for the estimated cost of the car rental plus an additional amount to cover any potential damage to the car. Be sure to budget for this amount when planning your trip.
  • When renting a car, you will most likely be required to provide proof of insurance. Your car insurance policy may not cover you when driving a rental car, so be sure to check with your provider. If you don’t have car insurance, you can usually purchase a policy from the rental company.

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Car rental tips in Hawaii

Car rental is a great option for getting around the islands, but it’s important to know what to expect before you hit the road. Here are a few tips for renting a car in Hawaii:

  1. Be prepared for toll roads. There are many toll roads on the islands, so make sure you have enough cash on hand to pay the tolls.
  1. Rent a car that is appropriate for the type of driving you will be doing. If you plan to do a lot of exploring on the island, consider renting a jeep or other four-wheel drive vehicle. If you will only be using the car for short distances, a smaller economy car may be more suitable.
  2. Be sure to read the terms and conditions of your rental agreement carefully before signing anything. In particular, make sure you understand what is covered by the rental agreement and what is not. This will help avoid any surprises when you return the car.
  1.  When picking up your rental car, take time to inspect it carefully for any damage that may have been done during transport. If you notice any damage, make sure to document it with the rental company before you leave.
  1. Know your driving restrictions. Most rental car companies have restrictions on where you can and can’t drive the car. Make sure you are familiar with these restrictions before you rent the car.
  1. Be aware of gas prices. Hawaii has some of the highest gas prices in the country, so be prepared to pay a lot more than you would elsewhere.
  1. Plan your route ahead of time. With all of the winding roads and narrow bridges, it’s important to plan your route ahead of time to avoid getting lost.

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How to get around without a car?

There are many ways to get around without a car. One way is to take public transportation, such as:

BUS (Maui Bus)

  • Route: 14 routes – The system serves Haiku, Kula, Central, South Maui, West Maui, and Upcounty Maui Communities. 
  • Operation: 7 days/week
  • Price: A one-way fare:$2/ a daily pass:$4 / monthly pass costs up to $45 – free for children
get around with a maui bus
Get around with a Maui bus


  • Services: relaxing seating and air-conditioned vehicles. Provide 5-6 passengers with plenty of space for gear and luggage
  • Operation: 24h/days, 7 days/week, holidays included.
  • Price: The County Board determines the cost of using a taxi in Maui County. The initial charge is $3.50 per a tenth of a mile. The first mile costs $6, while each following mile costs $3. If you wait for someone, you will be charged for each minute that passes.

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Can you park anywhere in Hawaii?

In Hawaii, you are not allowed to park at any location where your vehicle might endanger other traffic on the road.

Where can I park my car in Hawaii?

There are a variety of places where you can park your car in Hawaii, including on the street, in a parking lot, or a garage. The best place to park depends on what you are looking for. If you are looking for convenience, then a parking lot or garage is the best option. If you are looking for affordability, parking on the street is the best option.

See also: Maui Camping: The Best Way To Enjoy The Hawaiian Island

Is street parking free in Hawaii?

It depends on where you are. In Waikiki, for example, it’s not free, but there are several public parking lots available. However, in other parts of the state, such as Hilo or Kauai, street parking is generally free.


Is parking expensive in Hawaii?

In Honolulu and Waikiki, it is increasingly difficult to find parking, especially Downtown or near the beach. Private lots charge an arm and a leg for daily rates. In short, parking in Hawaii can be expensive, but there are ways to reduce the cost. For visitors who are only in town for a short time, it’s best to consider parking options in advance and plan accordingly.

And if you look around carefully enough you can still find spots with reasonable pricing or even completely free spaces.

What is the maximum rental period?

The maximum rental period for cars in Hawaii is 30 days. If you need to rent a car for longer than 30 days, you will need to make separate arrangements with the rental agency.

Do I need an international driver’s license to rent a car in Hawaii?

No, an international driver’s license is not required to rent a car in Hawaii. However, your regular driver’s license from your country of residence must be presented at the time of rental.

Are there any restrictions on who can drive the rental car in Hawaii?

Yes, only those who are listed on the rental agreement are allowed to drive the rental car. If someone else wants to drive, they must be added to the agreement and must have a valid driver’s license.


So, do you need a car in Hawaii? The answer is really up to you. If you want the freedom to explore all that the islands have to offer, then renting a car is the way to go. Just be sure to plan and book your rental well in advance of your trip. And if you’re still not sure whether or not renting a car is right for you, feel free to get in touch with our team – we’d be happy to help!

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