Picture this: It’s winter. You live somewhere snowy. But instead, you fly to Hawaii and spend four months soaking up the sun beachside.
That’s the situation that a Clark Howard podcast listener finds himself facing.
Sounds wonderful. The only problem? Figuring out how to get around the island for that long.
What do you do if renting a car is expensive and leases seem nonexistent?
I Want To Rent a Car in Hawaii But It’s Too Expensive. What Should I Do?
Renting or leasing a car in Hawaii during an extended stay seems expensive or implausible. What should I do?
That’s what a listener recently asked Clark.
Asked Doug in New York: “We plan to winter in Hawaii for January to April. Renting a car would be very expensive. I have looked for leases to no avail. How can we do this the most cost-effective way?”
Spending four months in Hawaii will probably be expensive no matter what you do. But paying for a rental car for four months can be wildly expensive, as I’ll look at later in this article.
Taking Uber or Lyft every day also seems to be a great way to drain your bank account in a hurry.
Clark recommends a creative solution.
“Call me crazy. [But] you might consider buying a much older used car,” Clark says.
“Seasonal people will do this. Buy a very old used car. And then sell it four months later. It may end up being net much cheaper than any kind of alternative rental you might do.”
How Much Does It Cost To Rent a Car In Hawaii?
Just for fun, I looked up the cost to rent an economy car from Enterprise Rent-A-Car at the Honolulu International Airport location for one week starting Jan. 3, 2024. I turned down all add-ons. The cost: $513.08 including taxes and fees.
That’s not cheap. And that’s just one week. Let’s say John and his family plan to stay in Hawaii for 16 weeks. He’d be paying $8,208 for a rental car during his stay at this weekly rate.
Alternatives to Renting a Car From a Traditional Company
If you don’t feel like buying a car (and having to sell it before you leave), renting from Turo is a viable alternative.
Turo is the Airbnb of car rentals. Civilians rent their vehicles to others on the platform.
“And that’s very, very popular, especially in Hawaii,” Clark says.
Clark also advises that you check whether Sixt is operating on the Hawaiian island you plan to visit. Sixt is a car subscription program. But Clark suspects you may not be able to find a Sixt vehicle on the island.
Visiting an expensive location such as Hawaii for an extended period sounds fantastic.
However, figuring out a vehicle solution that won’t break your wallet can be complicated.
Consider using an alternative to the traditional vehicle rental marketplace such as Turo or Sixt, Clark says. But your best bet may be to buy an older vehicle — and then sell it before you leave.