You’ve been planning your trip to Maui for months, but you’re not sure if you should rent a car.
The answer to this question is that it depends on what you plan to do while on Maui. If you plan on doing your own excursions every day, there is no way Uber or Lyft will be able to compete with the price of a rental car. However, if you plan on staying at your resort the entire time, then a car rental might not be needed.
I have been renting cars in Hawaii for a while now, and I have some fantastic tips to share.
Whenever you see me compare prices in this article, I will be using my own experiences and pricing from booking websites.
Keeping reading this post to learn why you should rent or not rent a car when on Maui.
First, let’s start by answering some frequently asked questions.
Should I rent a car if I plan on staying at the resort the entire time?
I do not recommend renting a car if you plan on staying at the resort the entire time. If you stay at one of the tourist areas such as Wailea or Kihei, the beach and restaurants will be within walking distance.
Is driving in Maui hard?
Driving around Maui is not hard, especially if you are from the mainland and are used to driving on the right side of the road.
Remember to be cautious and give way to the locals, as they use these roads every day.
If you plan to drive on some popular driving routes (Hana Highway, Road to Hana, etc.), take some time to acquaint yourself with the route before you leave.
How can I save money on getting around Maui without a car?
The best way to save money on getting around Maui is to purchase a Maui bus pass and utilize the bus system. You can buy a pass directly from the bus driver or Maui Country Business Resource Center.
You can also save money by staying at your hotel for the entire stay. I do not recommend doing this as there is so much to see in Maui, and you should venture out to see the island. More on this section in the post below.
What is the cheapest way to rent a car in Maui?
The cheapest way to rent a car is to book it online ahead of time, compare prices, and chose the best option for you.
What is the best car to rent when visiting Maui?
The best car to rent is the one that makes the most sense to you and your family’s needs. I have rented regular-sized vehicles, vans, and jeeps while on the island, and they all work just fine.
Can you rent a car in Maui during quarantine?
The best way to confirm is to call the car rental company directly. When I visited Maui back in April of 2021, car rentals were available.
I would also check the Turo App to see what options are available.
Now, let’s dig deeper into the topic of deciding if a rental car is necessary while on Maui…
So should I rent a car in Maui?
Reasons why you would need to rent a car in Maui:
When visiting Maui, you will need a rental car to explore the different parts of the island.
There are five central areas on Maui, and depending on what you want to do, it might make sense to rent a car.
I recommend having your own vehicle if you plan on doing one or more of these things:
Moving around the island to do day excursions, going to some of the top attractions on different parts of the island (beaches, seeing the best waterfalls in Maui, Haleakala, the Road to Hana, Iao Valley), and just general exploring.
We rented a car while on Maui and did the Road to Hana, which was one of our favorite adventures. It was so much fun doing everything at our own pace and fully controlling where to stop and how long to stop in each location.
If you also plan on hanging out in Lahaina at night or in Kihei during the day, then a car is a great idea so you don’t have to rely on some other form of transportation.
Reasons not to rent a car when on Maui
If you plan to stay at your resort and do not want to go off-site, then a rental car is unnecessary. Everything you need will be at the resort, therefore a car is obviously not needed.
You will only need a ride from the airport to the resort and vice versa.
Luckily, most resorts also offer free shuttles between hotels, which helps a ton if you do not have a car rental and need to travel from one resort to the other.
Some of them will even take you to some of the most popular shopping centers, so be sure to check with your hotel to see what options are available.
You also don’t need a car rental if you plan on doing excursions or activities with a tour company. Most of these companies run shuttles to and from the resort.
This is an excellent option for those who would love to have a guided tour while exploring the island.
Keep in mind that tours tend to be more expensive than doing it yourself if you were to rent your own vehicle.
You can pretty much find tours for all of the well-known tourist activities such as the Road to Hana and Haleakala summit.
How much does it cost to get to my hotel or vacation rental from OGG Airport?
Below are estimations of how much it will cost you to travel from Kahului Airport (OGG): Keep in mind that prices change daily and Uber and Lyft are mainly based off of supply and demand.
Getting to your hotel by bus
The county of Maui also provides a limited bus service that you can take from the airport to your hotel for about $4.00. The hours of operation are from 5:30 am – 10:11 pm.
According to Mauicounty.gov, they do have a luggage policy; one (1) Medium-sized suitcase, duffle bag, or carry-on bag allowed, no larger than 22″ H x 14″ W x 9″ L and must fit and be placed under the passenger’s seat or on the passenger’s lap.
Getting to your hotel by shuttle
Another option would be to take the Roberts Hawaii airport shuttle service. It will take you from the airport to your hotel. Pricing starts at $19.00 per person for a shared shuttle, and a minimum of 2 passengers is required. A private shuttle starts at $79.
I would go with the taxi, private shuttle, Uber, or Lyft option. Buses tend to make many stops, and after flying for hours, the last thing I would want is to be on a bus that makes multiple stops before reaching my hotel.
I tend to travel on a budget most of the time, but this is one area I am willing to splurge. I stay on the east coast, and by the time I get to Maui I am beyond exhausted and will gladly pay for Lyft or Uber.
There are other areas where I will try to save money to compensate for an enjoyable and comfortable ride to the hotel.
Cost of a rental car on Maui
The price of a rental car depends on the time of year you go to Hawaii and when you book the car rental. As mentioned before in this post, you will pay more money if you book last minute.
Also, the length of your stay will affect how much money you pay for the rental. It will cost you around $87 per day if you book a car for one day to around $85 per day if you book a whole week.
The main rental companies in Hawaii are listed below: You can check the websites directly to get an idea of how much your rental will cost. Again, the cost will also depend on the time of year you are traveling.
It’s also worth mentioning that I used Turo when I visited Maui in April of 2021 and paid about $70 per day for a four-day rental. Keep in mind that there was a car rental shortage around this time, and the pricing was a lot higher than it should be.
Hopefully things will get back to normal soon and the prices will come down a bit.
Regardless, Turo was cheaper than renting from a car rental place at that time.
Renting a car through Costco Travel
I have been a very happy Costco customer for years, but I had no idea they offered car rentals. I was in Hawaii in June 2021, and I was desperate to find a rental as the trip was last minute and the car shortage problem was still going on.
Most car rental places did not have cars available, or they were just too expensive.
Costco Travel was offering a great deal on their rentals. For $69 per day, I rented a car for four days, which was a great deal as most car rentals were over $100 at the time.
As we all know, a trip to Hawaii can be expensive, but I can assure you that there are still ways to save money on your trip and afford to travel. Costco might be the answer to your problem.
If you have a Costco membership, I highly recommend checking them out as an option. Also, be sure to get your gas here as well, as it is probably the cheapest on the island.
Saving money when renting a car on Maui
If you plan on renting a car for your stay on Maui and want to save money, then be sure to do the following:
Book your reservation online – I have found that booking directly through the rental company website is always cheaper than booking through any third-party website or apps.
Book in advance – as mentioned multiple times in this post, I have found that cars are cheapest when booked in advance.
Book your rental car as soon as possible. Prices are lowest the further out you book your reservation, so try to book a car a few months in advance if you can.
Compare multiple car rental companies and pick the one that makes the most sense for you – This step will allow you to choose the best deal. Make sure to do your research and read the reviews of the rental company you decide to go with to make sure you don’t run into issues.
Is traveling by bus a good option? Which route does the bus go?
The Maui bus system offers transportation services to many areas in Maui. It consists of 14 bus routes and operates seven days a week.
The bus ticket costs $2.00 per person one way. Transfers are not included.
There is also a daily pass option that costs $4.00 per day.
You can either buy the tickets onboard the bus or at one of the offices located around Maui.
The bus stops at all resort hotels are a great way to get around the island if your hotel doesn’t offer shuttle services. The bus route depends on what area you are going to, and they run from 6 am until 11 pm daily. You can find out more information about the Maui bus system here.
Renting Mopeds and Scooters on Maui
Mopeds and Scooters are popular in Hawaii, and you can find rentals on Maui as well. The moped rental cost ranges from $50-$70 per day, depending on what place you rent it from.
This is a popular alternative for people that want to rent a car but don’t want to pay as much money, especially when it comes to renting by the week. The scooters can fit two passengers, and most have unlimited miles in Maui.
This is also an excellent option for you adventure seekers out there. What better way to enjoy the ride than riding on two wheels?!
I didn’t try riding one of these, but I heard they are suitable for travel to the outer areas of the island as well. The road system is not as developed as in other places, but it’s a fun way to get around and see different parts of Maui.
Before embarking on any of these drives or rides, be sure to do your own research and assess your comfort level.
Renting an electric scooter
Another option would be to rent an electric scooter. Renting one of these can save you a lot of money on gas charges. Again, do your research and make sure the locations you decide to ride to are suitable for scooters.
Maui on a Budget or During Peak Season
Rental car prices tend to be expensive during peak season or around the holidays in general. Trust me, I understand that a vacation to Hawaii can be costly and that Maui is the most expensive Hawaiian island to visit. I try to do what I can to make sure that I am saving money.
If you are visiting Maui on a budget or during a busy period, be sure to book your rental car way in advance, as mentioned above.
If the prices seem too expensive even after booking in advance, I would recommend booking a car for part of your trip and then staying at the resort for the remainder of your vacation.
For example, when I went to Maui in April of 2021, we were there for an entire week and only rented a car for the four days we were out exploring. We did not have a car for the other three days that we just relaxed at our condo.
We used this time to relax and spent most of our time at the beach. We didn’t need a car because we stayed in Kihei, and everything was within walking distance from our condo.
Turo on Maui
Turo is another excellent option if you are on a budget or looking for a rental car alternative. Turo is essentially Airbnb for cars, and it’s getting more popular all over the world!
I use Turo a lot in Hawaii, as I have had great experiences with my hosts and their vehicles.
In my case, Turo has always been cheaper than rental car companies, and it’s way more convenient. You don’t have to waste time waiting in line at the airport to sign car rental agreements. Everything is done online before you even land in Maui. All you have to do when you get to Hawaii is finish the checkout process.
My experiences have been fast and easy, and I love the contactless check-in option most hosts have.
If you decide to go this route, make sure to thoroughly read the reviews of each car owner and do your research before renting from anyone!
To wrap it up…
Renting a car in Maui is an absolute necessity for exploring the various parts of the island, especially if you want to explore the island independently.
The best way to save money on your rental car reservation may be booking it early or renting from Turo. This service offers comparable (or better) prices than traditional companies and provides more convenience as well. Happy traveling!