Drink Driving in Hawaii

Savings Guide: 2023 Hawaii Car Rentals

There’s no doubt that Hawaii still has some of the higher-priced car rentals in the US. But from what you’re about to read, the islands are doing far better overall in rental car prices.

There’s still work you need to do to get the right vehicle at the right price. See our latest price checks of Hawaii car rentals for both low and high seasons through summer 2023, followed by our tips on how to score the best deals.

Do you remember $200/day Hawaii car rentals?

We’d like to forget about those entirely. Now at least, availability is excellent and daily rates have declined tremendously. Maui and Honolulu have seen prices drop by more than 50% since their peak. Only Kauai tends to have higher rates for unknown reasons. There is an enormous lot of rental cars sitting parked just beside Lihue Airport. Not only on Kauai but statewide, inventories at the car rental companies are largely recovered after the companies sold off and relocated their fleets outside of Hawaii.

The squeeze is on Turo.

Turo took off big in Hawaii after Covid decimated the big car rental companies. Before they could re-fleeting, locals offered their cars on Turo. Now the car rental companies have been able to move into a position to control prices better and put a big squeeze on Turo and its car owners.

What is the new normal for Hawaii car rental prices through 2023?

Based on our latest checking today, it appears that, in most cases, we can continue to expect to pay at least $60 per day or more for Hawaii car rentals. And at the holidays and in the peak of summer, agencies are hoping to keep prices significantly higher. So while prices for Hawaii car rentals have moderated, it still looks like car rentals will continue to cost more than your flights to Hawaii. And that isn’t going to change.

Continue planning Hawaii car rentals early.

With car rentals now the second-largest expense for most Hawaii vacations, figure out the costs in advance and make reservations that can be changed or canceled without cost. By the way, the great expense in Hawaii travel is accommodations, and the third is now airfare to Hawaii. Below you’ll find our best suggestions, from a local Hawaii perspective.

Three companies control the entire Hawaii car rental industry.

Hawaii car rental prices were already escalating even before inventory, chip, Covid, and other issues. Nearly 95% of the car rental market is controlled by just three companies, even though they market cars through multiple brands, giving the illusion of competition. Enterprise includes National and Alamo, Hertz includes Thrifty and Dollar, and Avis includes Budget.

Steep Hawaii car rental taxes and fees.

In addition to high base rates, there are the following additional mandatory fees and taxes. General excise tax (varies by island) up to 4.71%. State motor vehicle $5/day. Vehicle registration up to $1.45/day. Customer facility charge $4.50/day. The airport concession fee is 11.1%.

Turo is still a big business.

Turo is by far the largest peer-to-peer car rental company, much like Airbnb is for vacation rentals. It has a fleet of more than a half-million vehicles and is a fast-growing multi-billion dollar company. Turo makes money by getting a share from car rental hosts and renters. Turo says hosts earn from 60-90% of bookings, depending on the insurance options they select.

Much as happened with Airbnb, Turo is no longer just about individuals renting their one extra car or vacation rental in Airbnb’s case. It has become a way for individuals to build Hawaii car rental businesses of their own. And Turo said that such fleet owners can net over $10,000 per year per car. We question whether that is still the case.

Have a look at upcoming Hawaii car rental prices below to get an idea of whether Turo may work for you. And please let us know your thoughts and plans.

With Turo, in theory, the car owner and Turo make money and the renter saves money. One big plus is that Turo offers insurance from Liberty Mutual both for the owner and the renter, providing some level of available comfort for all. You should check, however, with your insurance company regarding Turo rentals. As we pointed out when editor Jeff checked he was told that his insurance covered Turo rentals, but not Craigslist car rentals.

How to Get Discount Hawaii Car Rentals in 2023.

Estimated prices for a 7-day rental. Below are the best prices we found today when checking all of the major car rental companies and Turo. Since these prices change frequently, they best serve as a guide to approximately what prices you can expect to find.


Fall 2022 rental $344/Turo $175.

Holiday 2022 rental $575/Turo $224.

January 2023 rental $406/Turo $175.

Summer 2023 rental $485/Turo $150.


Fall 2022 rental $376/Turo $245.

Holiday 2022 rental $771/Turo $294.

January 2023 rental $277/Turo $288.

Summer 2023 rental $676/Turo $315.


Fall 2022 rental $587/Turo $343.

Holiday 2022 rental $692/Turo $490

January 2023 rental $387/Turo $350.

Summer 2023 rental $657/Turo $315.

Big Island.

Fall 2022 rental $381/Turo $280.

Holiday 2022 rental $772/Turo $280.

January 2023 rental $545/Turo $385.

Summer 2023 rental $633/Turo $341.

Alternative car rental sources and discounts.

  • Plan to re-check and if necessary re-book your car rental, perhaps even multiple times, within the last 90 days before travel. That will be true for all but the most in-demand weeks. The current trend is for prices to be higher until the final 90 days. That’s true in the low seasons but no so in summer and during the holidays. Turo rentals may benefit most from this technique.
  • Check multiple sources to compare rates and availability before booking. Look at both airport and city locations for pickup and drop-off options, especially for Honolulu rentals. To get a feel for prices, you can try checking online travel agencies and other sites. Check the actual car rental company sites as well as those below.
  • Discount Hawaii Car Rental (a prior advertiser on our site we learned about from our readers) is an excellent resource we frequently used. We’ve found their rates can save compared with competitors. We’ve used them frequently ourselves for rentals. And they have great customer service. If you ask a question of them on this post, they may well comment.
  • Try Turo. Their rates are frequently the lowest we have found. But not always. Turo is a giant peer-to-peer car rental service that is similar to Airbnb for cars. BOH editors have tried Turo Hawaii rentals multiple times and they have been largely without a hitch. You do have to figure out where to meet the person, but other than that, it is simple. Turo is not always cheap. Check options, including premium insurance coverage, plus checking with your car insurance provider to see if they cover Turo rentals.
  • Check AutoSlash, which our readers have also recommended. They too, frequently comment here. Autoshash applies your loyalty programs to see if they can get a better deal. They also let you know when a price drop occurs. Jonathan from Autoslash follows Beat of Hawaii, and may also respond to questions.
  • Look at discounts available through AAA, AARP, and Costco.
  • For periods when there are limited car rentals, some visitors had been turning to Craigslist. Unfortunately, we still cannot recommend that route as we have heard of way too many problems, including insurance protection and breakdowns. However, we suggest checking multiple car rental sources frequently for sold-out dates that could subsequently become available.

Continue to protect yourself against damage, dirt, and other fees.

  • Damage Protection Tip: Consider using your cell phone to photograph the car before driving it off the lot. Our good friend and Beat of Hawaii reader, Colleen, take the photos with her husband standing next to the car holding that day’s paper. It’s also a good idea to do the same thing on return, such as when you drop the car before or after office hours. Dollar once accused us of not returning their car at Oakland Airport. When we got back to Hawaii, there was an urgent call from them. We had dropped the car off early that day before they opened, and it was sitting in their lot.
  • Hawaii Dirt Tip: Hawaii car rental agencies can charge a fee of $50-$100 or more for excess dirt. It is effortless in our environment to end up with mud inside or outside of the car. If this happens to you, get to a car wash before returning it to the agency. Consider having newspapers or other floor protection if you’re hiking or when it is muddy.
  • Get a Final Receipt Before Leaving: We’ve learned this one too the hard way. Be sure the contract is closed out, and you have a complete and final receipt/accounting before leaving the car rental facility at the end of your trip.

Timing is everything.

  • Make your car reservation far in advance for travel not only during high seasons but year-round. For now, book car rentals with air and accommodation reservations. We’ll let you know if that ever changes.
  • Once you make a reservation, be sure to check back several times to see if better deals arise before your trip. Turo rentals can be canceled up to 24 hours in advance. Even now, availability and the price are moving targets. This trick has saved us untold hundreds of dollars in car rental charges. Frequently (and more so all the time), prepaid can become the best deal (but not always). We rented a car from Hertz not long ago, where the total on first checking was $1,600. In the end, we paid $600 for the same rental by checking, canceling, and rebooking the reservation, then finally asking the counter agent if they could do better (which they did). You’ve reported the same phenomenon.
  • Set a reminder to recheck car rental prices a day or two before you travel for any last-minute offers.

Know your insurance needs before you get to the car rental counter.

  • Additional coverage may or may not be necessary. Before your trip, check your insurance policy and your credit card company to determine what coverage may be offered at no cost. Don’t just blindly fork over an extra $10-$30/day when you show up unprepared at the rental counter. Agents may have a financial incentive to sell insurance and other upgrades.
  • Reader Oliver’s advice: “Many credit cards offer secondary insurance, i.e., they will pay if you don’t have any other insurance such as your own car insurance. But you may not want to use your car insurance, as a claim will likely drive the rates up. Some cards offer primary rental car insurance. Note that credit card car rental coverage is in a state of flux, resulting in frequently less or no coverage. Be sure to check and not assume.

Additional driver and underage fees add up and can be confusing.

Fees vary widely by company and rental location. If more than one driver is on the rental agreement, inquire when making the reservation. Costco rentals include a second driver. Many companies include spouses or business partners automatically. But work through this in advance to avoid a surprise of perhaps $10/day. We recently saw a couple with a 24-year-old driver assessed a $25/day fee for being under 25, so it pays to check and be prepared.

Car sizes, upgrades, and pre-payment options.

  • Car rental prices are based on demand, not size. Research different size rental cars to see what offers the best deal. Larger cars are often cheaper than smaller cars, especially now.
  • Many of us prefer somewhat smaller cars that are fuel-efficient and, equally important, are easy to maneuver in Hawaii. In Honolulu, a compact car will be far more nimble in tight parking lots and generally when getting around town.
  • Do you need GPS when you already have it on your phone?
  • Check into pre-payment options, but consider those carefully as 1) you will be locked in and 2) it doesn’t guarantee the best rate.
  • Pre-paying gas generally comes with a higher price per gallon. So check that before you drive off.

Join the rental company’s frequent renter program.

  • It doesn’t often save you money or get you an upgrade, but it will certainly save you considerable time when picking up your car. After a long flight to Hawaii, that will seem as good as cash. Many of you have reported that as well.

Determine the grace period of the contract.

  • Previously this was 59 minutes. So if the car was due back at noon and you had it in by 12:59, there was no charge. Now, however, some companies have no grace period whatsoever. So be careful with this one, as the excess rate on car rentals can be up to $15/hour plus taxes.

Is the price the total price?

  • Hawaii airport surcharges on car rentals have gone up. Often, car rental quotes don’t at first show taxes and other fees. That can add up fast, so click on through to see the total bill first. And prepare for a bit of sticker shock.

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679 thoughts on “Savings Guide: 2023 Hawaii Car Rentals”

  1. I am revisiting this article again since our trip is this coming Aug. and checked Discount Hawaii Car Rental. Happy to find at least $300 saving there. We just need to confirm if all the charges are final (we clicked through all the way already).

  2. Aloha BOH,

    We are returning to Maui in November of this year, our first trip back since 2019. We currently have a rental car booked and the suggestion on the website (Discount Hawaii) is to have one person get the car while other party waits with luggage, due to long lines. Is this still the case? Our previous trips have been in May, so I thought November would be less congested. Would appreciate your feedback.

    1. Hi Pam.

      That plan can never hurt. While Hawaii is slowing at least to some degree, it will probably still be busy. Recently on a flight back to Hawaii, we had to wait 40 minutes for luggage, which in your situation would have allowed you to get the car and be ready to roll.


  3. Well, because of high car rental costs, we decided to spend our money to visit our nation’s Capitol next spring break instead. V don’t need a car there and do many free things to see/visit. Plus, it’s Cherry Blossom season!
    Aloha, I miss you Hawaii.

  4. Is Truro welcome on Maui? I don’t want to disappoint the locals if it is not a good thing. It seems that I read it somewhere. I want the very best price for the safest vehicle, but also want to respect an already over absorbed island. Thanks for any input.

    1. Hi Sandi.

      Turo is very active on ask the islands. Welcome is another matter and it depends who you are asking.


  5. Not car rental related but anyone have suggestions on the best way to get from the airport to one of the hotels in Waikiki?

    1. I’ve used a shuttle service to/from. My preferred service is Aloha Shuttle, fixed price one way to/from (i.e. one price, was $35 + tip but verify, doesn’t matter if you are a party of one or four) in a private air conditioned van. I’ve used their services a number of times. Pleasant drivers who will be assigned and positioned at HNL to pick you up. Call week in advance (google Aloha Shuttle Honolulu to get tel) to reserve.

  6. I booked a car rental through hertz for 8 days 7 nights in Honolulu at the end of Aug into Sept and it was $90.00 and some change. Was even given and up grade. Very happy with the price.

  7. My wife and I are planning a trip to Kauai in March 2023. We have been looking at car rentals and they are all going for upwards of $900 for a week rental. Taxes and fees are almost $220 alone. Will the car rental prices on Kauai go down anytime soon or are they always higher there?

    1. As Janice said, it’s worth shopping around. $900 per week sounds like a lot and based on our 12+ years of experience in the industry we expect that rates will come down eventually. You just have to be patient.

      The good news is that you don’t have to spend your time checking daily. You should just book the best pay-later rate you can find (one that doesn’t require a credit card to book) and then head over to AutoSlash to track it price drops. We’ll keep checking daily for lower rates so you can go on about your life. We’ll email you when we find a better deal.

      1. I have Autoslash tracking my two week rental from end of Jan-Feb. Sedans are $850 and minivans are $950 for a week. I have been tracking for a few months and the price hasn’t moved much. Hoping it will get a drop closer to the date.
        I need a 7 seater that can carry some baggage. Some of the rentals say the minivan fits 4 bags and some say 5. I don’t know if there is actually a difference in vehicle size or just company standards for luggage. I want the bigger vehicle in the category but Autoslash considers them the same for purposes of the rental.

        1. No real difference in vehicle size—just varying standards as you suspected. The vast majority of minivans have plenty of luggage capacity and the major rental firms usually have an assortment to choose from, and they are usually pretty accommodating if you have a preference or a specific need.

          Hopefully we can get the price down over time. Safe travels!

    2. I just booked for Feb/ March. All in, tax and fees $480 (12 day, midsized. I just returned from Kauai March 7th. $520 for 12 days, full sized.
      Discountusacarrental.com, discounthawaiicarrental.com or AAA.

  8. Being a Turo host is no longer worth it with the saturated market and huge drop in rental rates because people purchased cars they could not afford and now a 22 Jeep Rubicon can be had for under 80/100 a day and is a 75k plus jeep in hawaii. Between the high cost of vehicles, the big fees from turo, the competition and the high risk of damages is it really worth risking it buying a car you any afford to have unless it’s rented out? Do the math you have to rent your vehicle 20 plus days to even break even And before taxes and additional expenses. Very few make good $ being a turo host, most are in and out within a year. I’ve seen many of my neighbors and friends fail and get in big financial trouble trying to scale up in Turo

    1. The prices are up because the car companys need to get into DMV the state is still on covid lockdown cars cannot get safety checks. Thats what we were told. Its stupid. State govt. Still holding everything back

    2. After Kaua’i reopened, there was a huge shortage of rental vehicles which were shipped out to be used instead of sitting. Turo arrived and were charging some of the most outrageous rental fees. Turo as a company came and allowed people to rent out their vehicles to pay bills and make a living. The rental agencies fleets came back, and Turo tripled. We now have Sixt starting up. I’m a Kaua’i girl all my life, no offense but seriously?? The highways here are not made to accommodate hundreds and hundreds of extra cars. I would imagine, there is someone in the State as well as County assessing this? I’m not just referring to the traffic we’ve always had, it’s now 10 times worse. These companies need to be capped and limit on vehicles allowed

  9. Aloha-

    Any idea why the low season(late April-early June) is more expensive on Kauai then before or after? We will be there 5/9-21. I booked well in advance and got a mid-size for $1265. I can get something a bit lower($1190) now but don’t want to book and rebook a bunch of times. Any thoughts on whether it will come down at all? I continue to look at least weekly.


    1. Hi Jon.

      Honestly these prices don’t seem entirely related to supply and demand. It could come down, so it’s good you plan on checking until the end. Please let us know what happens.


      1. Aloha!

        Kauai car rental prices for May have spiked in the past week from about $1200 to $1600 for 12 days, a 30%+ increase. Any reason you can think of? I guess I am glad I am locked in at somewhat beter rate.


        1. Hi Jon.

          Glad to hear you got at least a somewhat better deal. We don’t see any obvious reason for that.


      2. Unfortunately, I waited too long this time and have seen prices go from $85.00 up to $120.00 per day. For 11 days in late June/early July on Kauai, I had to book a reservation at $1500 instead of the original cost I saw of around $1000. Gambled wrong this time. I will be watching prices to see if they drop, as they did for a trip we made to Maui back in February. Better luck to others!

      3. Aloha! A month after booking a car (free cancellation) for $1522 per 11 days on Kauai at end of Jun/beg of Jul, I just found a rate drop of $235 down to $1287. Patience and checking on several saved sites every day paid off. I had seen this rate a few months ago, missed out on it as they quickly rose, and was hoping it might drop back down as the dates got closer. Mahalo for the advice!

        1. Hi Dan.

          Glad to hear that worked out for you. That will definitely pay for something good while you are here.


    2. Booked three months ago on Turo, got a used car newer than mine for a $350 weekly rate. I’ve worked hard for my money and don’t to blow it on Hertz,Budget, Avis,etc…I used my savings for Mama’s Fish House in Lahaina. HaHa..!!

    3. Jon D – just an FYI but if you know the “Code” with budget, you can get a full size car (like a Camry) for $565 for your dates. 🙂

        1. ”Well if I told you then I’d have to kill you”…
          Go to the Budget forum on Flyertalk. There’s a bunch of codes floating around there.

          1. You: …”Well if I told you then I’d have to kill you”…
            R u serious? A comment like that, in this day and age?
            I would hope that you and the admins would recognize this as improper. Gawd.

          2. What Patrick is talking about is basically a discount code meant for employees of a certain company or members of a certain organization that you are probably not eligible for.

            Some folks feel comfortable using these codes, but others realize that it’s not only improper, but also that Avis/Budget have been cracking down recently on the illicit use of these codes and using them may result in being charged the “walk-up” rate which would be quite a bit higher than using a reputable site like AutoSlash, Costco, etc., or even booking with the rental company directly with their publicly available discount codes/coupons.

          3. SA,

            I think it’s still a good joke.

            No offense intended, I’m sure.

            I think you should lighten up on Patrick.

            Happy New Year!

          4. Well at least RODW has a sense of humor and knows the “history” of that saying.
            And Happy New Year to you RODW

          5. What state? The state of confusion. I hope that doesn’t offend anyone. 😉
            Missouri… but I was born in HI.. before it was a state! 🙂

  10. Over time I’ve read many comments about Turo.

    Do Turo and similar peer-to-peer rentals come with insurance? If not how do renters get full coverage?


    1. Hi Rod.

      Turo has insurance options for both parties via Liberty Mutual. We aren’t familiar with other peer rental companies.


    2. Major credit cards like Chase And Barkley/Hawaiian Airlines offer full primary coverage. Then decline any add on’s.

  11. I am an educator and I suggest anyone look into car rental discounts through NEA, up to 25%. I’m trying to book for Kauai May 27-June 3. A small SUV is about $1050 for 7-8 days.


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