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Northwest Traveler

Travel news, consumer advice and trip reports for the Northwest and beyond.

January 11, 2013 at 2:53 PM

Saving on Hawaii’s high-cost rental cars

Somewhere there’s a car for you at the right price.
(Photo by Steve Ringman / Seattle Times)

We’ve all become used to — reluctantly — the maddening world of airfares in which prices can change hourly and there can be dozens of different fares for the same flight. The airlines use computer wizardry to manipulate fares depending on demand.

Now rental-car prices can be just as maddening and confusing. Searching online for a car rental for an upcoming trip to the Hawaiian island of Kauai, I went into sticker shock when quoted more than $500 from the major companies for a five-day late January rental from Lihue airport.

I tried Enterprise, which often has lower rates. No luck; It came up as $545.99 for an airport rental for the smallest car. Then I tried an off-airport Enterprise rental office at a hotel in Lihue. Bingo! Same type of car, same time period, for $327.45. To save more than $200, I’ll happily take a shuttle ride to the hotel.

So shop around when you’re renting a car, especially at off-airport offices.
And see some good, time-tested tips here from a former car-rental agent on how to avoid paying too much for a rental car.

Comments | More in Hawaii, Tips & deals | Topics: Hawaii, rental cars, travel deals

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