Renting a Car in Kauai, Hawaii: What You Need To Know
Hawaii is a popular destination for travelers looking to experience the beauty and culture of the islands. And for many visitors, renting a car is a convenient way to explore all that the islands have to offer. Kauai, in particular, is known for its breathtaking landscapes and rugged terrain, making a car rental a must for those wanting to fully experience the island. But with the Honolulu Civil Beat reporting a shortage of rentals, and an increase in prices due to a surge in demand, it’s important for travelers to plan carefully ahead of time. To help you with the process, this article will break down what you need to know to have a smooth and enjoyable rental experience in Kauai, Hawaii:
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Make the necessary pre-arrival preparations
Before renting a car in Kauai, there are several important preparations you should make. First, if you are planning to rent a car from Lihue airport, you should book your rental in advance to ensure that a car will be available when you arrive. When pre-booking your car, you should also consider the size and type of vehicle you will need based on the number of people in your party and your planned activities. For example, a four-door Jeep Wrangler can only comfortably fit up to five passengers, while a Dodge Grand Caravan can fit up to eight. You should also bring a valid driver's license and a credit card, as these are required to rent a car in Hawaii.
Choose a long- or short-term rental
Depending on your stay, you’ll have to consider whether a short- or long-term car rental is more practical. For those only staying a few days, a short-term rental is the bests choice. After all, it’s possible to navigate the island in one day, with Kauwai just under 30 miles tip-to-tip and side-to-side. These rentals typically have higher daily rates, but may be more flexible in terms of pickup and drop-off locations, as well as the time that you need to return the vehicle. That said, if you’re staying longer than a week, you may be surprised to know that a long-term rental is more efficient. Because the island’s public transportation system is not geared towards tourists, those with long-term rentals can better travel around the island throughout their stay. Plus, Kauai car rentals are typically more economical when you’re planning to stay for an extended period of time due to the fact they cost less per day to rent. Some long-term rentals will even periodically send you a fresh new car, so you can enjoy different models. With the right rental terms, you can secure a transportation option best suited for your stay.
Decide on add-on accessories
When renting a car in Kauai, you may have the option to add on accessories. Certain accessories such as children’s car seats are legally required in Hawaii, so it’s important to confirm that the rental company offers car seats that meet all necessary safety standards. If you are unfamiliar with the island, you may also want to consider adding a satellite navigation system to help you find your way around. For insurance coverage, it is generally a good idea to purchase additional coverage, especially if you are renting the car for an extended period of time or if you are not covered by your own insurance policy. Of course, rates for these add-ons vary per rental company, so it’s best to compare each one.
Familiarize yourself with traffic laws and road conditions
Before driving it is important to familiarize yourself with the traffic laws and road conditions in Kauai to ensure your safety and avoid any potential problems. Our post “How To Plan a Road Trip: The Beginner’s Guide” emphasized the importance of mapping out your route before embarking on your journey. Once you’ve done that, the next step is to research the traffic laws in each leg of your trip, from speed limits, right-of-way rules, and cellphone use. Finally, Kauai’s weather and road conditions can vary so it is a good idea to check the forecast online or listen to local radio stations for updates. With this information, you and your rental car are less at risk for accidents or citations.
Renting a car is a convenient and enjoyable way to explore the Hawaiian islands. By following these tips, you can make the most of your car rental experience in Kauai and have a memorable vacation.