The best car hire recommendations for your Hawaiian vacation
Hawaii is a popular holiday spot for Aussies and offers some of the most diverse driving experiences in the world. You may be considering hiring a car during your stay to ensure that you have the opportunity to experience everything this beautiful island destination has to enjoy.
If you’re thinking of taking a road trip across Hawaii, help is at hand. We've hunted down the best car hire deals that will allow you take it all in at your own pace.
We've also got the info on everything you need to know: important road rules, which rental companies operate in Hawaii and some handy car insurance tips too.
Top car hire Hawaii deals
Road rules: what to know about driving in Hawaii
Unlike in Australia, whilst in Hawaii you’ll need to drive on the right side of the road. Other road rules to follow include:
- Don’t tailgate: Tailgating is not appreciated and is dangerous.
- Don't use your car horns: Car horns are rarely used in Hawaii unless to say "aloha" to someone you know as you pass them. For example, you will notice the response of local drivers when the traffic light turns green and the car in front doesn’t notice right away: they wait patiently until the up-front driver sees the signal change. Tourists should also follow suit.
- Don't pick up hitchhikers: Hitchhiking is illegal in Hawaii, so don’t do it and don't pick up anyone you see hitchhiking.
- Overtaking: Whilst overtaking is not the norm in Hawaii, sometimes it is unavoidable. Since roads in Hawaii are right-hand drive, if the circumstance arises that you need to pass another vehicle, you would do so to the left. It’s important to remember to check all mirrors (as well as ahead of you) first!
- Know your road markings: In short, double solid yellow lines in the centre of the road indicate passing is prohibited in both directions unless you're making a left turn. Double solid white lines are not to be crossed at all. Single solid white lines indicate that you may cross but only with caution and reason.
Popular Hawaii driving routes
- Mauna Loa road (Volcano Village): This scenic drive climbs up Mauna Loa, taking you by old lava flows and forests, giving tourists panoramic views of the park. You can take it to the trailhead of the Red Cabin hike.
- Kapoho Kalapana road (Puna, close to Hilo): This scenic drive runs along the coast through tree tunnels, passing beach parks and hot ponds.
- Pepe’ekeo (Onomea): Twist and turn from one arresting viewpoint to another through lush tropical forest onto incredible views of Onomea Bay.
FAQs about car hire in Hawaii
Who offers cheap car hire in Hawaii?
Do I need an International Driving License to drive in Hawaii?
No, Australians are fine to drive in Hawaii as long as you hold a valid Aussie driving licence, providing you have or obtain appropriate insurance cover.
I’m on a provisional license. Can I drive in the Hawaii?
Provisional non-US residents are not permitted to drive in Hawaii.
How does car insurance work?
Car hire rental excess insurance can reduce the excess payable to a more reasonable amount if making a claim is necessary, or it can even eliminate the excess fee completely. Often, Hawaiian car hire companies offer you insurance when you book, and suggest the appropriate level of cover based on your needs, though you always have the option to purchase insurance for your hire car through an alternate insurer, if you prefer.