Tip #1. Price shop
There are many car rental companies based out of Oahu. With today’s technology, it is easy to browse the internet and compare prices. Try using companies that offer online bookings so you can easily check rates. National companies like Hertz, Avis, Budget, Alamo, Dollar, and Thrifty are mostly owned by one company but offer various rates. They use algorithms to price their fleet so booking with them may not offer the best pricing. You should check with smaller privately-owned companies since they are not as advanced on technology and their price is usually less due to less overhead.
Tip #2. Avoid additional charges after you return home
Like any car-sharing platform, you want to take pictures of your rental car after you return it. Use your phone to document the car before and after your trip. Secondly, take interior and exterior photos, and attention to detail is important. Most car rental companies today require you to return the car with a full tank of gas. Always remember that even 1/8 of a tank could cost you two to three times that of a normal price per gallon of gas if left for the agency to handle. Be sure to leave yourself plenty of time to do so.
Tip #3. Ask for discounts
Most car rental places offer discounts if you belong to companies like AAA or AARP. Check their website for discount codes. Another source would be companies like:
Tip #4. Check again
Most car rental companies do not charge for canceling a reservation early so it’s always a good habit to go back and check for changes in pricing once you have your initial reservation. Often times, this is where you will find your best deals. If you booked over a month in advance, then check back once every couple of weeks or so, and as the price drops cancel your existing booking and rebook a new one. Remember there is no cancelation fee with good solid companies.
You can still cancel the existing reservation and rebook immediately with the same company without being penalized. This is a great tactic if the price of the car drops. On the other hand, if the price of the cars goes up then you are locked in and have nothing to worry about. Be sure to avoid booking with any company that tries to lock you in with a cancelation fee.
Tip #5. Additional driver fee for spouse
Most car rental companies charge an additional fee to add your spouse to the rental car agreement. This fee ranges from $10.00 to as much as $30.00 per day. To avoid this fee, shop around for companies that waive this fee. You can also ask to have this fee removed. If you and your spouse both live under the same roof and your personal insurance covers you both, then you may be able to save that additional fee. Remember everything is negotiable.
Tip #6. Airport fees
Never rent a car directly at any airport. Honolulu Airport, like all other airports, offers its land up for lease. Every car rental company at the airport must bid on the land, sometimes as much as 5 to 10 years in advance. This is done to create a bidding war between the various car rental companies. This type of bidding is designed to drive the price up. This cost is then passed down to you, the renter.
To save money, book with a local company that is reasonably close to the airport and Uber over. The cost savings are generally substantial and well worth the Uber ride. Top rental car companies like Tripio offer delivery and pick up at Honolulu Airport as well as delivery and pickup directly to your hotel if needed.
Tip #7. Paying extra for insurance?
Most of the time paying extra for insurance is a waste of money. When shopping around, you will find that car rental companies typically charge anywhere from $8.00 to $35.00 a day for extra coverage. Most of these companies are paying $7.50 for a 24-hour temporary policy which means they are making a huge markup.
How is paying for this insurance a savings to you? Well, if you shop around and book with a company that offers you coverage for as little as $20.00 a day and your vacation is a 5-day trip, then your additional cost is only $100.00, right? However, should something happen and you end up in an accident, without this coverage your personal policy will increase significantly due to the damages. That $100.00 investment may turn out to be the best savings you made all year. I guess it’s all about risk vs. reward.
Tip #8. Pre-paid fuel, do I do it or not?
Pre-paid fuel is a convenient decision. Just as charging an electric car is time-consuming, filling up the tank is often a hassle. The average tank of gas is $70.00 at this moment. The prepaid full price might be slightly higher than that, however, most renters never return the car on zero so the saving is going back to the rental car company and not you.
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