Hawaii has a serious shortage of rental cars. Here’s what you can do instead.

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By now you’ve probably heard of Hawaii’s rental car shortage, which has prompted visitors to hire U-Hauls and other unorthodox vehicles. The shortage of rentals has also pushed up the prices of the few options available at traditional agencies like Hertz and Avis. But there are more reasonable and affordable alternatives, especially for those who want to combine several while on vacation.

The first is to challenge the misconception that you will need a car for the duration of your stay. Depending on which island you are visiting, where you are staying, and what you plan to do, you can get by without a vehicle most or all of the time.

If you’re traveling to Oahu, for example, and you’re used to taking public transportation from home, TheBus offers relatively convenient service from nearby Waikiki and downtown Ala Moana to major attractions for $ 2.75. the one-way trip. In Kauai, Maui, and the Island of Hawaii, however, bus routes and schedules primarily benefit local commuters. But even on these islands, consider that you are unlikely to explore much on the day you arrive or depart, and a beachfront resort will provide its own entertainment; you may find that you only need your own wheels for a few days.



In Kauai, the large, relatively flat South Rim Poipu Beach Resort, neighboring Kukuiula, and the historic town of Koloa are easy to navigate on foot or by scooter, moped, e-bike, or cruise ship. speed road to the highway. Start by booking an airport shuttle from Roberts Hawaii; Boutique Koa Kea Hotel & Resort rates, for example, are $ 46 per person for a shared ride, with a minimum of two people.

Or, take a ride to your hotel from the island’s new and growing local alternative to Uber and Lyft, Holoholo, which also serves Oahu, Maui, the Island of Hawaii, and Lanai. The carpooling service allows you to book trips at the airport in advance or use the app when you land; the estimated fare for a four-person ride from Lihue Airport to Koa Kea is $ 64 ($ 69 for “low-emission alternative,” $ 84 for a luxury ride.)


Once in Poipu, you can walk or bike to three shopping malls, including the boutiques of Kukuiula and the Poipu Shopping Village, which includes many restaurants and shops, three grocery stores and outfitters offering scuba diving, snorkelling equipment, zip lines and other activities. Pedego Poipu offers premium e-bikes starting at $ 109 per day, while Kauai Mopeds will deliver free mopeds and scooters that can accommodate two riders to your hotel with a minimum two-day rental, starting at $ 190.

If that seems too expensive, Polynesian Adventure offers two new Aloha all-day shuttles with loop routes. The first stops at the Grand Hyatt Kauai, Sheraton Kauai, Kukuiula Shops and Koloa Old Town, 9 am to 9 pm Monday to Saturday and 9 am to 4 pm Sunday; the cost is $ 24. The other shuttles between Koloa and several resorts on the Coconut Coast of Kapaa, with additional stops at the Kilohana plantation (which has shops, restaurants, a cane train and a rum tasting) and Anchor Cove shopping malls (walking distance to Kalapaki beach) and Kukui Grove. It costs $ 35 and runs from 8:30 a.m. to 8:15 p.m. Monday through Saturday and until 5:15 p.m. on Sunday.

Biking is one of the best ways to explore Hanalei Bay on the North Kauai Coast.

Brigitte Thériault / Getty Images / iStockphoto

Kapaa vacation hotels and condos also have easy access to several vendors renting beach cruisers ($ 15 to $ 18 for half a day) to use on the 8 miles of Ke Ala Hele Makamae, a multi-use coastal trail in near beach parks, shops and restaurants. On the north coast, Hanalei is easy to cycle through, especially with limited access to the valley due to pavement repairs. Pedal ‘n Paddle offers beach cruiser rentals starting at $ 15 per day. While the North Shore Shuttle to Haena isn’t expected to reopen anytime soon, the Hanalei Colony Resort in Haena offers guests free shuttle service to various North Coast destinations.

On the island of Hawaii, the large, flat resorts of Mauna Lani and Waikoloa Beach offer the same option of walking, using a rental bike, or taking a shuttle to sites such as beaches, restaurants, shops and the trail to Puako Petroglyph Archaeological Reserve. In Maui, Lahaina and the Kaanapali Beach Resort, with its miles of beach boardwalks, are also easy to navigate on foot or by bike; guests of the Westin Maui and its sister properties can take a free shuttle to Lahaina (which also saves the headache of looking for parking).

To add a getaway to a more remote area, fly to the Hana-Maui Resort via its new private 10-passenger Cessna service from Kahului and Kapalua airports in Maui, Lanai City or Honolulu, or on one of nine passengers. Regular Mokulele flights from Kahului. Once at the old Travaasa Hana, which was part of the Hyatt’s Destination Hotels brand last fall, the resort’s 8-minute shuttle bus will take you to famous Hamoa Beach. On secluded Lanai, the two Four Seasons resorts shuttle from the airport or ferry to their accommodation over Lanai City or Manele Bay, and then to all off-site activities like horseback riding, day trips. electric biking or snorkeling, as well as shopping or dining in Lanai within walking distance. City.

Don't want to get stuck in traffic on the highway to Hana?  The Hana-Maui Resort offers direct flights on a 10-passenger Cessna.

Don’t want to get stuck in traffic on the highway to Hana? The Hana-Maui Resort offers direct flights on a 10-passenger Cessna.

Courtesy of Hana-Maui Resort

Going without a car doesn’t mean you have to stay in urbanized or resort areas. With snorkeling and seasonal whale-watching tours departing from the beaches in front of the resorts, such as those offered by Trilogy Kaanapali, you won’t have to worry about driving to a port. Hawaii Forest & Trail, the premier operator of nature hikes and tours on the island of Hawaii, including stargazing on Mauna Kea, also offers pickup from most major resorts .

Still, some travelers will find that it makes the most financial sense and facilitates the logistics of getting behind the wheel themselves. Then rest assured: so many islanders flock to list their cars on Turo that some more experienced owners on the carsharing platform are now complaining on a Facebook group for Hawaii Turo owners. that the market is flooded with new listings, and their profits fall with the prices.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority has compiled its own list of alternative ground transportation for the six islands open to visitors (Oahu, Kauai, Maui, Hawaii, Molokai, and Lanai) on a webpage that notes the rental car fleet has shrunk further. 40% because of the pandemic. But just in case you’re still considering the U-Haul option, it also states, “The Hawaii Tourism Authority does not tolerate visitors who rent moving trucks and vans for recreation.”




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