In a nutshell: Insider/wholesale pricing on rental cars.
Minuses: Online rental process is not real-time.
Sound-bite: “Are you sure these rates are correct?”
Okay, this one of those situations where it pays to know someone local. Maui truly plays by its own set of rules – and those locally connected pay less than you will for many things. Rental cars won’t be one of them – it doesn’t get any less expensive. This small locally-owned business beats out discount sites like Orbitz, Priceline & Travelocity consistently. Frequently the difference in price will be significant enough that if you have been shopping around you might think these can’t possibly be current rates. Good news: the prices are current, and they are for real.
Car Rental Hawaii has an inside wholesale connection to the major in-airport rental car companies. Don’t mistake them for rent-a-wreck type places – even though the prices are in line with what you might expect to pay for a older car at a smal rental place, these are current model year cars from major in-airport rental car companies.
I’ve known about Car Rental Hawaii for several years now, and the truth is I have not ended up booking a single car with anyone since – and that is saying something. It definitely isn’t from being lazy or having cash to throw around – I am a habitual comparison shopper and bargain hunter, and can’t help but to keep everyone honest by cross-checking their prices every time. Don’t take my word for it – cross-check the rates for yourself. (They even have an iPhone app!)
The icing on the cake is these folks don’t even make you give them any credit card or ask you to commit. You’re free to cancel out should plans change – we’re not so used to that these days – you buy from Priceline or somewhere similar and you pay immediately for a reservation you can’t cancel – we’ve been told that is because the deal is so good, they need to be sure they get paid. But I guess that doesn’t actually makes sense – because if you truly don’t have to worry about anyone ever beating your price people are going to show up for your reservation every time.
So, the way to do this is to first is to go to their website at www.carrentalhawaii.com, submit the dates of your visit and the website will give you an estimate price along with a form to get a firm price quote. In the “cruise ship” field place “Maui Guidebook” (or if you’re taking a cruise ship use the airline field.) Submit the form and wait for an email from them. While you’re waiting, cruise around to all the other discount sites your heart desires to get that warm and fuzzy feeling of saving dough.
Location: Kahului Airport (OGG)
Price: Typically $20-55/day or $130-260/wk depending on car type.