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Car rental on Big Island

Atlanta, Georgia
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5 posts
26 reviews
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Car rental on Big Island

Hi everyone,

Just wanted to ask a question about car rental on the Big Island. We will be there for a week and so far prices from the National rental places are steep. How important is it to have a car with 4 wheel drive? We are adventurous and plan on exploring but are not sure if we really need a Jeep with 4WD or if we could take a smaller car to get around the island. Any thoughts are appreciated.

USA
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398 posts
17 reviews
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1. Re: Car rental on Big Island

You'll get more advice that mine but I'm leaving tomorrow for Kona and I got advice from this forum to use DiscountHawaiiCarRental.com for my car. The rates are about the same as I would get from any other source but they allow an extra driver for no extra charge and give you a 59 minute grace period getting the car back to them. They also have no fee for young drivers (age 21-24); most companies charge an additional $20/day for that. I don't care about that part, but you might.

We have no need of a 4X4 as we don't intend to go to the Mauna Kea Observatory or take the car off road. You WILL need a 4X4 if you plan to go to Mauna Kea. Be advised that most car rental companies do not allow you to drive the Saddle Rd.

Portland, OR
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1,886 posts
37 reviews
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2. Re: Car rental on Big Island

Meega,

Sunny answered most of them already. You will need 4x4 for certain places, such as the summit of Mauna Kea and the road to Green Sands beach. Most rental companies’ rental agreement forbids Saddle road. Other than that – you don’t really need a 4x4.

For just a regular car (which will get you better gas mileage at over $3.00 per gallon) I suggest Priceline. I am renting a car for a week since I am flying into KOA instead of ITO next month and I got a terrific deal. Others on this board recommend Costco, but they could not come close to the rate I bid for and won. Harpers rents off road vehicles expressly for exploring if that is of interest to you. Keep in mind the mileage is important, since the island is huge.

Good luck and happy travels!

Atlanta, Georgia
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5 posts
26 reviews
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3. Re: Car rental on Big Island

Thanks. I am going to look at both priceline and discount hawaii car rental. We did plan to go to Mauna Kea but with the rental prices and gas- having a few second thoughts. Anyway, thanks as always for the advice and I want a report on your trip to Kona:)

Birmingham, Alabama
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5,793 posts
39 reviews
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4. Re: Car rental on Big Island

If you want to go up to Mauna Kea, take a tour. Even the car rental companies prohibit you from taking their 4wds up there.

Palm Springs...
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11,443 posts
108 reviews
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5. Re: Car rental on Big Island

dont get a 4x4 here there is no place to drive it legaly.... unless you rent from Harper.............. none of the other rental 4x4 s from ANY OF THE OTHER companies will permit Mauna kea or south point or much less green sand beach.

If you take your 4x4 ANYWHERE off a paved road here it will void your insurance and contractTOTALY A friend at Dollar told me they recently billed a customer over 14,000 in damages for hin taking his jeep to green sand beach, As this is a no fault insurance state you will not be allowed to leave the island till your debt is settled in full........ And you will have no insurance from anybody , not your own back home, the credit card co, or the rental car company.... why... you broke the contract

So one must weigh price vs what one wants to really do with their rental.. it can be penhny wise and pound foolish to think otherwise

Florida
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21 posts
53 reviews
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6. Re: Car rental on Big Island

Rent a 4 wheel drive. It is so fun the places you can visit..... We asked about the prices whe we went because the rentals were so much more expensive than the other islands. We were told "big island, big prices". No matter what, it was worth every penny. Have fun!

Island of Hawaii...
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7,943 posts
24 reviews
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7. Re: Car rental on Big Island

If you are persistent you can get an SUV for $30/day on priceline.com.

Palm Springs...
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11,443 posts
108 reviews
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8. Re: Car rental on Big Island

thavellover seemed to miss the point.in total............there is no place you can take your rented jeep that you cant take your rented car.......

Not a week goes by without a visitor getting a 5 figure suprise added to their vacarion. or it might be a new set of tires you get to by ( lava scores them very easily and its a check point here as well as undercarrage)

Play by the book here the rental cars do ....a small percentage slip through the radar...This Island is different from all the others. in that respect.....

then there is the question of being honest...............................................

austin, texas
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580 posts
20 reviews
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9. Re: Car rental on Big Island

HawaiiDan is exactly right on this issue people. There really isn't a legitimate issue about whether you should rent a 4 wheel drive because only 1 company allows you to use them where you might want to go. The only issue is: Should I rent a 4WD from Harper's or should I rent a regular car from some place else.

Palm Springs...
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11,443 posts
108 reviews
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10. Re: Car rental on Big Island

well said.....at least a few folks get it

Them that dont get it may well get "it " later.........in spades

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