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Do We Really need a Rental Car in Maui?

One of the most commonly asked questions is often “do I really need a vehicle?” The answer is a definitive YES! These are our top reasons to rent a car on Maui  as well as some tips that should help you make both your decision and driving easy.

There are many locations to pick up a vehicle, whether for the duration of your stay or just for a day or two, it is much less costly than taking cabs and driving here is easy.

1 – The number one reason to rent a car on most Hawaiian islands is freedom to explore! Unless you plan to stay at your resort or rental the entire time, there is so much to see and do. When many people think of Hawaii, they do think of beaches and swaying palm trees … we have plenty of both and some of the best may not even be in your area.

You’re coming a long way (in most cases), so make the most of it! If you do a little shopping around, you can usually find the right vehicle for your needs and your budget.

2 – No Worries! While we do have some public transportation on the island, if you need to get to an activity or make a dinner reservation, this is NOT the way to get there. There is no control over how many stops a bus will be making and there will inevitably be times when you will have to arrive at your destination much earlier than needed because of the scheduled routes. Using this as a way to get back to your hotel works as long as you aren’t trying to make it back at a specific time.

3 – Believe it or not, you will usually save money when renting a car over taking taxis everywhere. Unlike Waikiki (on Oahu), everything is not necessarily walking distance from where you may be staying, especially if renting a home or cottage, and what is there can be pretty limited and pricey. It can easily cost more one way in a taxi than it would to have a car for an entire day.

In many instances, you can pay $50 or more just to get to your hotel in a taxi when you could have rented your own “wheels” starting at about $250 (or less) for about a week.

4 – Let’s not forget SHOPPING! How could anyone come to Hawaii and not want souvenirs? You may also be staying in a condo with a full kitchen and wish to visit our wonderful farmer’s markets and some local grocers. Remember, you need to taxi or take a bus each way and must haul everything with you, everywhere you go.

5 – Flexibility to decide what to do on a whim and the ability to jump in the car and get going is huge, in my opinion. You’ll often hear locals say “if you don’t like the weather where you are, jump in the car, drive for 20 minutes and you’ll find something completely different” and is it ever true! Wake up to rain in your North shore cottage? Drive to the other side of the island and you’ll likely find blue skies and the perfect beach day!

Just hear about one of those absolute must-do things from somebody? Get directions, look at your drive map and hit the road. You’ll also be more than amazed at some of the hidden gems you can happen across by allowing yourself some time to just cruise.


Tips to remember:

1 – In most cases, additional insurance is a completely unnecessary expense. Before purchasing, check with both your personal automobile coverage and even with your credit card company. Many credit cards do cover damage when using the card to rent a car and full coverage on personal vehicles will usually cover the insured driver, regardless of the vehicle.

2 – Pay attention to vehicles  around you. While you may be on vacation, many others are trying to get to work or school. This is a beautiful place and  you will often want to drive at a slower pace and see the sights. If you  happen to look in the mirror and see a line of cars behind you, it is perfectly acceptable (in many cases, expected) to pull over when you reach a safe spot to do so, and let the traffic behind you go by.

3 – Pedestrians always have the right of way, especially in a marked cross walk. If you come to one and see someone waiting, stop and let them go. Also pay attention as you approach these spots. It is very easy to miss the fact that someone is already part way across, in a wheel chair, etc.

4 – Unless there is an emergency of some kind, do not ever honk your horn at other drivers. This is considered the height of rudeness in Hawaii. Take it easy, be polite and you’ll have a great time!

5 – As much as I dislike having to add this comment, I would be remiss if I failed to do so. Do not ever leave valuables in a rental car, even if locked in the trunk. We have virtually no violent crime here; however, locals can pretty easily identify a rental car and have no trouble getting in if they wish.

Overall, the pros definitely out-weigh the cons on this topic. Check around with the little guys and the big guns, compare prices and rent in advance if planning to be here during peak seasons. There is not a car to be found state-wide during many holidays and certain models are sold out early.


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