Should You Rent a Car in Honolulu from the Airport?

Should You Rent a Car in Honolulu

Let’s begin this conversation with one clear point – renting a car when visiting Oahu is a must. There is so much to see on this wonderful island that being at the mercy of transit and ride-share availability (try getting an Uber from the North Shore to Waikiki after 9 PM) can significantly set back your itinerary. However, one question many of you have, is in regards to whether or not you should rent your vehicle from Honolulu International Airport. Today, we take a look at your concerns on the topic so that you can better capitalize on your time on Oahu.

3 Reasons Why You Will Want to Rent a Car AFTER You’ve Arrived at Your Accommodations on Oahu

1. The Traffic from HNL

At the minimum you’ve just spent six hours on an airplane and another 30 minutes getting settled at HNL and dealing with baggage claim. The last thing you want to do is tangle with the traffic leaving from the airport, no matter the direction you’re traveling in. The backup along via I-H-1 E to Waikiki during busy airport arrival times can have you sitting in a hot queue and drain whatever energy and patience you have left. Not a great way to spend your first few on Oahu. Instead, a reputable flat rate direct airport transfer service will know which routes (i.e. via HI-92 E) are experiencing better traffic flow and can better navigate through current construction and more. The same goes if you’re heading from HNL to Ko Olina via I-H-1 W or to Haleiwa via via I-H-2 N. In the end, it’s much better to leave the journey from HNL to your destination in the hands of a professional driver who knows the best routes at any given time of day. We want every minute that you spend on the island to be paradisiacal and not spent venting frustrations on the freeway.

2. More Competitive Rates in Town 

You want the best possible rates when it comes to a car rental in Honolulu. At press, there are six rental companies at HNL. While that’s not exactly a monopoly, a monopolistic rate scale is set, leaving you with little breathing room in your budget, especially when availability is tight. And yes, availability is certainly tighter when compared to what you can find in town. Reduced supply inflates demand and drives the prices up.

By waiting to rent a car in Honolulu AFTER you’ve arrived at your accommodations, you gain access to more competitive rates. There are nearly double the number of car rental companies (including the brands found at the airport) such as Thrifty and Alamo found away from the airport. In addition, there is an exponentially greater supply of vehicles, which equates more competitive pricing and thus more money in your pocket for island essentials such as shave ice and whatever else your deserving heart desires!

But there’s more. If you’ve got the constitution for it. Waikiki is chalk full of timeshare presentation opportunities. Now we’re absolutely not suggesting that you buy into any of these vacation properties, BUT you can milk the solicitors for FREE goodies in exchange for sitting through a two-hour presentation. These free goodies nearly always include the option for complementary luxury car rental (typically up to three days). And don’t worry, timeshare presentations on Oahu are way more laid back than found in other destinations (Mexico, etc.) so you will have no problem dropping a “Thanks but no thanks” (or “Mahalo but no mahalo”) and leaving the premises with piece of paper that gives you a free car rental. This opportunity only exists for those who wait to rent after they’ve arrived at their accommodations.

3. Better Selection of Vehicles in Town

The same concept from item #2 applies to vehicle selection. At the airport, you’re stuck with what they have on inventory. In town, you’ve got way more options, and you may find that you’ll be just fine with renting a moped/scooter instead, something that is not viable from HNL.

Want to drive a convertible from Waikiki to Banzai Pipeline? How about an open air jeep through the rural windward side? A luxury sedan for your nights out in Honolulu? By waiting until you’ve checked into your accommodations and gained access to all of the car rental options found in town you will have your literal pick of the litter. You won’t find that at the airport.

Remove the inconveniences of getting from HNL to your Oahu destination and free yourself up for more budget and selection friendly car rental options by allowing us to escort you to your accommodations. View our flat rates here, and simply complete the form here to book your direct no-share airport transfer.