Your editors are heading out to the Big Island this week, and you’ll be hearing more about that soon enough. But right now, these exorbitant prices on Hawaii car rentals are killing us. We devised some strategies to save money now and want to share what we did with you. Also, see our savings guide to 2023 Hawaii car rentals.
Here’s how the savings happened.
We began looking at car rentals for this trip months ago. The best deal we could ultimately find was over $370 (including taxes) for a 4-day compact car rental from a major company. We tried them all, starting with the companies themselves, then, Kayak, Priceline, Discount Hawaii Car Rental, Costco Travel, and Autoslash. We booked through Autoslash and ended up selecting a premium category Hertz rental for $422 for four days. Ouch. The only reason that we went with the premium car rather than a mid-size was that they were virtually the same price.
So Jeff, our Arthur Frommer of Hawaii, if you will, went back to all the sources to see what was out there yesterday. He makes this a big game, for those who don’t know him. Something akin to looking to see which cup contains the prize. He’s absolutely tenacious about the pursuit of value in Hawaii travel.
He didn’t find anything much better, and actually, most prices were even worse. But he didn’t give up. Jeff went back to Discount Hawaii Car Rental, Costco Travel and to Autoslash and Kayak. There was nothing really workable. Not giving up, however, he decided to pull yet another quote from Autoslash. And here’s what happened:
The confirmed reservation price above is for the same Hertz premium car that Jeff had previously gotten via Autoslash for $424. And notice that this is not a prepaid reservation either. Just pay on arrival. That’s a great deal at $59 a day plus taxes. Honestly, not even much more than that same car would have cost years ago.
What about Costco Travel?
The the price of a comparable car on Costco Travel never can’t down. It still fits at $432 today. No deal!
Autoslash failed to notify Jeff of the possible price reduction.
Autoslash says on their website, and the owner has commented on Beat of Hawaii posts, that they track rental car prices and will let you know when they go down. Apparently not, or at least not automatically. We received no email about a 25% reduction in cost.
Not only that, but Jeff requested two Autoslash price quotes within ten minutes of each other, and the first one didn’t list the discounted price. We’re not sure what that is about.
Takeaways for savings on Hawaii car rentals.
Don’t trust anyone. Even if they tell you they’ll let you know if the price drops. Balderdash. Don’t believe what Kayak said which is that cars are running out for your dates. Nonsense. Or that any one source always has the best deal on your Hawaii car rental.
Start the car rental process at the same time as booking air and accommodations. Book a refundable car to start.
Keep checking offers, and that’s especially true in the last week leading up to the rental. We never prepay far in advance for obvious reasons. If we are going to prepay, which we loathe, we will wait until within the last week to do so.
Check all possible sources. Not just one or two. You just never know where the best deals are lurking. And even that can change from day to day and week to week. Consider it a moving target.