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A trip to Hawaii is a dream getaway for many people. Hawaii consists of eight major islands, the most popular tourist destinations being Maui, Kauai, Oahu, and the Big Island. If you want to explore this gorgeous places, you’re going to need transportation. Currently, the only public transportation on the islands is via bus.

Oahu is the only island that offers a steady bus schedule, so most drivers will opt to rent a car on their Hawaiian vacation. In addition to keeping car rental mistakes in mind, there are a few other things you should know when renting a car in Hawaii.

Is it worth it?

The main concern of most drivers when renting a car in Hawaii is the cost. Rates by day will depend on what kind of car you rent, but you can expect an average of $22 a day for a small or midsize car and $33 for a larger passenger vehicle.

TheBus, Oahu’s major bus system, costs $2.50 per ride. However, since the busses have a predetermined route, you may not be able to see as much of the island as you would with your own transportation.

Besides the bus, you can also get taxis or call an Uber driver. Obviously, this will be much more pricey. You can also rent a bike or a moped at a slightly less expensive rate, but they won’t be able to get you around the more rural parts of the island like a car.

Things to know before renting

The best way to save money when renting a car is to book it as soon as you’ve locked in your travel dates. This will get you the lowest rates and you’ll be able to compare different cars to find the most reliable option. If you do it online, you’ll be able to see any discounts or specials that you can apply to your rental through sites like Priceline.

If possible, have an older traveler in your party who’s at least in their mid-20s. Hawaii rental car companies will charge a fee of $25-$75 a day to renters under the age of 25. If you’re under 21, you won’t be able to rent a car at all. 

Best cars for Hawaii

Is there a certain car that is recommended for seeing the islands? Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need the biggest car to see everything. Any size car will be able to get you around the small towns and these will cost the least amount of money. If you plan to go surfing while on the island, make sure you rent a car that can easily transport your boards.

As with most rental car companies, you will be responsible for paying for your own gas, unless you want to let them refuel it at their rate (which is always more expensive). For this reason, you may want to get a car with a good fuel economy rating. The Prius or Camry is your best option for midsize cars, and those who need more room can rent a Ford Fiesta or Subaru Crosstrek.

It should be noted that any off-roading is strictly prohibited by rental car companies, especially on the Big Island. If you happen to get in an accident or damage the car while doing this, your rental insurance instantly becomes invalid and you’ll have to pay for all the repairs.

The rental company will also check your vehicle extensively for any scrapes or scratches when you return it to the rental lot. If it makes you feel more comfortable riding in a larger vehicle, you can still rent one in the Aloha State, but just don’t expect to take it out for any adventures in the tropical rainforests.