Car rental in Maui

Do You Need to Rent a Car in Maui?

If you are planning a trip to Maui, you may be wondering if renting a car is necessary.

The answer to this question depends on what you plan to do while on Maui. If you plan to explore on your own, renting a car will be much cheaper than taking an Uber or Lyft everywhere. However, renting a car won’t be necessary if you plan on staying at your resort the entire time.

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We have been renting cars in Hawaii for a while now and have some fantastic tips to share. We mainly use Discount Hawaii Car Rental, but there are other tips we will share in this article to help you save money.

Benefits of Renting a Car in Maui

There are many benefits to renting a car while in Maui. Let’s explore them below.

Maui is Bigger Than You Think

Maui is much bigger than most people realize. With a land area of 735 square miles, renting a car is the best way to explore all that Maui offers.

There are five central areas in Maui. Depending on what you want to do, it might make sense to rent a car.

We recommend having your own vehicle if you plan on doing one or more of these things:

  • Exploring the island
  • 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)
Cody watching the sunset at Haleakala on Maui.

Freedom to Explore on Your Own

One of the biggest benefits of renting a car in Maui is that you don’t have to worry about relying on public transportation.

You get the freedom and flexibility to explore the island at your own pace and convenience. With a rental car, you can easily access beaches, hiking trails, etc., that would otherwise be out of reach.

We rented a car while on Maui and did the Road to Hana, one of our favorite adventures. It was so much fun doing everything at our own pace and fully controlling where 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 an excellent idea, so you don’t have to rely on other forms of transportation.

Cost-Effective Option

While ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft are available in Maui, they can be expensive, especially if you plan to use them frequently or for longer distances. 

Renting a car can often be a more cost-effective option, particularly if traveling with a group or having multiple destinations to visit.

With a rental car, you can avoid surge pricing and other fees that may apply to ride-sharing services. You won’t have to worry about waiting for a driver to arrive or navigating unfamiliar public transportation routes.

In addition, many rental car companies offer discounts and special promotions for online reservations or long-term rentals, which can further reduce the cost of renting a car in Maui.

The standard car rental we rented on Maui on our way to Costco with a rainbow in the sky.

Access to Remote or Off-the-Beaten-Path Destinations

Maui is known for its stunning natural beauty and breathtaking landscapes. While some popular destinations are accessible by public transportation or organized tours, many remote or off-the-beaten-path locations can only be accessed by car. 

With a rental car, you can explore these hidden gems and experience Maui’s beauty at your own pace.

You can take a scenic drive along the Road to Hana, a winding coastal road that offers spectacular views of waterfalls, beaches, and lush greenery. 

You can also visit the Haleakala National Park, home to the dormant Haleakala Volcano. A rental car allows you to discover these destinations and create your unique Maui experience.

While organized tours can take you to Haleakala National Park or the Road to Hana, renting a car gives you the freedom and flexibility to create your own adventure and discover hidden treasures you may not have known existed.

When is a Rental Car Not Needed on Maui

If You Are Staying at a Resort the Entire Time

A rental car is unnecessary if you plan to stay at your resort and do not want to go off-site. Everything you need will be at the resort, so a car is optional. You 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 don’t have a car rental and need to travel from one resort to another.

Some will even take you to the most popular shopping centers, so check with your hotel for options.

A white SUV we rented in Hawaii in a parking lot.

If Booking Tours With Transportation

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 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 vehicle.

You Are a Budget Traveler

If you are traveling on a tight budget, it might be hard to afford to rent a car in Maui, plus the cost of gas.

Fortunately, there are other ways to get around the island without renting a vehicle.

While the bus system is not the most efficient way to travel, it is an option if you are trying to save money.

Average Cost of a Rental Car on Maui

The average cost to rent a car on Maui varies depending on the type of vehicle and length of the rental. It also depends on the time of year and when you book the rental. Booking in advance will save you a lot of money.

We looked at data from different car rental companies to understand how much a car rental will cost in Maui. Based on our findings, the average car rental price on Maui is $100 during the slower season. For peak season, this cost can double if booked last minute. You have a better chance if you search and book ahead.

For example, the average cost to rent a car around Christmas was $125 if booked around July. Last year, we tried to book a car a week before Christmas, costing about $175 per day.

Transportation Cost From Maui Airport (OGG)

Below are estimations of how much it will cost you to travel from Kahului Airport (OGG). Remember that prices change daily, and Uber and Lyft are mainly based on supply and demand.

TaxiUber /Lyft

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 per person for a shared shuttle, and a minimum of two passengers is required. A private shuttle starts at $79.

Tips for Saving Money on Your Maui Car Rental

If you plan on renting a car for your stay on Maui and want to save money, here are some tips:

Book in Advance

As mentioned multiple times in this post, cars are cheapest when booked in advance. Book your rental car as soon as possible.

Book a Car for Part of Your Stay

Consider booking a rental car only for the required duration and excluding the days it won’t be used. By doing so, you can significantly cut down on expenses and save some money.

For example, when we went to Maui, we were there for an entire week and only rented a car for the four days we explored. We did not have a vehicle for the other three days, as we had planned to just relax at the beach near our condo.

We didn’t need a car because we stayed in Kihei, and everything was within walking distance from our condo.

We do this often on Oahu, too, since Waikiki is very walkable and we only need a car for parts of our stay.

Book Online

Booking online usually comes with discounts. You can also compare rates across different rental car companies. Cancellation policies are generally flexible.

Travel During Off-Season

Hawaii’s low season or off-season runs from mid-April to early June and September to mid-December. Prices tend to be lower as compared to peak season.

Rent Mopeds and Scooters on Maui

Mopeds and scooters are popular in Hawaii. The moped rental cost ranges from $50-$70 per day, depending on the rental place.

This is a decent alternative for people who want to rent a car but want to pay less, especially when 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?!

Before going this route, know your skill level and familiarize yourself with the safety guidelines and moped/scooter.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is it Like to Drive on Maui?

Driving on Maui is similar to driving on the mainland. You drive on the right side of the road, and the speed limits are posted. Some roads might be narrow on one-way streets, but this s similar to what you see in most parts of the world.

If you plan to drive on some popular driving routes like the Road to Hana, take some time to acquaint yourself with the route before you leave.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Rent a Car in Maui?

You must be at least 18 years old to rent a car in Maui, but you will have to pay an additional fee if you are under 25. To determine their specific requirements, it is best to check with the car rental company before booking.

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. We have rented regular-sized vehicles, vans, and jeeps while on the island, and they all work just fine.

Is Traveling by Bus a Good Option? Which Route Does the Bus Go?

Maui’s bus system offers transportation services to many areas. It consists of 14 bus routes and operates seven days a week.

The bus ticket costs $2.00 per person one way. There is also a daily pass option that costs $4.00 per day. Transfers are not included.

You can buy the tickets onboard the bus or at one of the offices around Maui. 

Final Thoughts

Renting a car in Maui is an absolute necessity for exploring the various parts of the island, especially if you want to venture around the island independently. However, other options exist if you don’t wish to rent one!

Mahalo for stopping by. Until next time, Aloha!


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