As I am planning my trip to Kona in Big Island this September 2021, I am hearing tons of comments from my friends about how expensive car rentals in Hawaii has gotten. They traveled to Maui recently and spent an unreasonable amount of cash on their vehicle. They told me to be wary of the prices and book early.

In 2019, it was common to see Hawaii car rental prices around $50 a day.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 epidemic, Hawaii saw tourism dropped dramatically. The demand for car rentals plummeted and Hawaii car rental companies sold more than 40% of their fleet to survive the epidemic. Now fast-forward to Spring 2021. As the vaccine is being distributed in the United States and tourism is steadily rising, car rental companies in Hawaii are struggling to keep up with the demand.

The shortage led to a car rental price increase to around $722 a day in Maui in March 2021. Some others mentioned that they were quoted for $600 a day during the same period of time in other islands.

This even led to customers renting out U-Hauls during their stay since it was more economically feasible to do so.

According to this source, here are the car rental prices as of June 14th, 2021:

  • Mid-June until mid-August. Honolulu starts from $1,100/week. Maui starts from $1,100/week. Big Island starts from $1117/week. Kauai starts from $1,480/week.
  • Mid-August to December (except Thanksgiving). Honolulu starts from $715/week. Maui starts from $742/week. Big Island starts from $890. Kauai starts from $845/week.
  • Christmas/New Year. Honolulu starts from $1221/week. Maui starts from $1249/week. Big Island starts from $1249/week. Kauai starts from $860/week.
  • January 2022. Honolulu starts from $682/week. Maui starts from $678/week. Big Island starts from $681/week. Kauai starts from $681/week.

Keep in mind that they found many dates that were entirely sold out. But when they did find availability, these were the cheapest prices.

When I checked my car rental prices in Kona for my September 2021 trip, I am seeing $92 a day as the lowest. Since I am staying there for 10 days, I am seeing around $1,305 total. This seems like it is a bit more expensive than the pricing stated above. It should be approximately $1,270. Still, it is only a $30 difference.

I thought I have found an okayish deal and mentioned this to my friend who was coming along. She relayed my message to her friend who is extremely savvy with coupons and deals. Her friend said that we can do better. Maybe I should recruit her to LitCoupon?

She told us to check out Turo. Turo is a car rental platform where customers can rent cars from other customers. It is pretty much the “Airbnb” of car rentals. As a side note, LitCoupon is not affiliated with Turo in any way.

I checked out the prices on Turo for the dates that we are traveling and I managed to snag a great deal:

Image source: My Turo Charge

Now if I were to compare car rental prices from Orbitz ($1,305) vs Turo ($721), that’s a $600 difference! If I remembered correctly, I was getting $75 per day with Turo and $92 per day with Orbitz.

Nevertheless, it does look like that the Turo prices are catching up to car rental prices. Here are the current prices for the same dates for my Kona trip:

Since my trip is still a couple of months away, it is possible that:

  • The car rental prices might decrease before then.
  • Turo car rental prices might increase by then.

I am suggesting that you should use Turo as an alternative if you can find a price difference between Turo and car rental companies. If you cannot, I would favor car rental companies over Turo since they are better equipped to deal with customers.

Conclusion

In order to save big on your Hawaii car rentals, I would do the following:

  1. Book something ASAP. Read below.
  2. Check Turo to see if you can find a price difference between the platform itself and car rental companies.
  3. If you can find a cheaper price difference with Turo, book a car through the platform.
  4. If you cannot, book a car from one of the car rental companies first as a backup plan. Make sure it has free cancellation!
  5. As the date for your travel approaches, periodically look for better deals on both Turo and car rental companies. You might see a price decrease from car rental companies if the car supplies are coming back or you might snag a better deal on Turo. Whether if it’s pricing or vehicle specs, book the car that best suits your needs. Just make sure to periodically do your research.
  6. Be sure to cancel existing reservations if you book a new car reservation!

I hope you find this piece informative and useful for your stay in Hawaii. Feel free to send a response on our contact page or comment on our social media accounts.

Thanks for checking LitCoupon out!