How to Save Money on Your Vacation to Oahu, Hawaii

Rent a car only if you think you will need it
Is your plan to have the majority of your fun in Waikiki, there’s no need to rent a car from us. Simply stroll or call a ride-sharing service such as Uber or Lyft.

You can save money on Oahu by taking TheBus.  If you’re going to climb Diamond Head or other activities. In addition, the Waikiki Trolley can deliver you to awesome tourist stops.

Have fun with freebies
On Friday nights Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki produces a free fireworks show. The night sky lights up while synced with the resort’s Rockin’ Hawaiian Rainbow Revue . Locals and visitors line the beach to watch the colorful display above the Duke Kahanamoku Beach & Lagoon. Fireworks display times are seasonal: 8 p.m. May-August, 7:45 p.m. September-April.

Don’t miss the free history tours at the Moana Surfrider Hotel and the Royal Hawaiian Hotel (the infamous “Pink Palace”). We’ve taken both tours many times and always enjoy the amazing facts and history.

Information:
Hilton Hawaiian Village, 2005 Kalia Road, Honolulu; (808) 949-4321; Moana Surfrider, 2365 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu; (808) 922-3111; Royal Hawaiian Hotel, 2259 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu; (808) 923-7311

Diamond Head Honolulu

Make the trek up Diamond Head
Probably the most popular attraction on Oahu. You’ll be rewarded with awe-inspiring views of southern Oahu. You should go for the introductory narrated self-guided tour; it’s like having your own private park ranger accompany you.

Go north
We always rent a car for the day and head to the North Shore to see the big waves and major surfing competitions. Make sure you stop for a treat at Matsumoto’s Shave Ice.

Don’t miss the North Shore Soap Factory. This gem, in the old Waialua sugar mill, offers lush, made-in-Hawaii soaps, scrubs, skincare, candles and more, all affordably priced. I especially like the mango and the chocolate-mint soaps.

Information:
Matsumoto’s Shave Ice, 66-111 Kamehameha Highway, Haleiwa; (808) 637-4827;North Shore Soap Factory, 67-106 Kealohanui St., Waialua; (808) 637-8400; Cheap Oahu Car Rental; www.cheapoahucarrental.com

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Discount Oahu Car Rental Company Partner Map

This map contains the majority of our partners car rental pick-up and drop-off locations. Most are located at or near the Honolulu airport and in the vicinity of Waikiki Beach. Some of our popular vehicle rental providers include: Avis, Alamo, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National, and Thrifty.

Map legend for Oahu car rental locations

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Fly via Honolulu on Your Next International Pacific Flight

Pacific rim flights via Honolulu airportAre you like many travelers who have become lost at LAX? We know how that feels. Traveling alone, one of our relatives took the wrong LAX bus and ended up far from his next flight. He barely got back in time to make his connection. Yuck– That’s no way to fly!

For those of you who are going to be flying beyond Hawaii, we have a great stress-free idea for your itinerary. Why not book with an airline that stops in Hawaii/HNL rather than Los Angeles/LAX?

HNL is a delightful place to relax during layovers. It’s airy and open, tradewinds send floral scents through the air, and the airport adheres to the same security and safety rules as all others. Yet, island spirit (“aloha”) is more casual, welcoming and friendly. Where would you rather spend your layover?

Friends of ours are soon flying to Auckland/AKL from Phoenix/PHX. They searched the usual online discounted ticketing websites and discovered they could fly Hawaiian Airlines from Phoenix, through Honolulu, and on to Auckland without ever having to visit LAX. They are thrilled. Their return trip retraces their outbound flight. Hawaiian happened to be the most affordable option available for their travel dates.

Several airlines serve the Pacific, stopping over in Honolulu. Like our friends, we also, are pretty smitten with Hawaiian Air. Currently, the airline flies to about a dozen U.S. mainland airports. All but one (New York/JFK) are in the western U.S.

Currently Hawaiian Air flies internationally to Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Tahiti, Philippines, Taiwan and mainland China. Other airlines who also stopover in Hawaii, fly to additional locations.

For those of you who prefer smaller, friendly airports, we suggest you book your next westbound international trip on an airline that stops over in HNL, rather than LAX. When you’re filled with a generous portion of aloha, we know you’ll be more relaxed when you reach your destination.

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Taking advantage of Waikiki Beach

Wakiki beachFor most first-time visitors to Hawaii, Waikiki Beach is a popular destination. The beach is low bank, and generally calm and friendly for all ages. Waikiki’s warm, tropical water is an ideal place to get coral sand between your toes, relax in a beach chair, jump in the surf, try out new snorkel gear and take surfing lessons. The atmosphere here is lively and fun. There is a fun late night scene here.

Waikiki is a great place to stay on your first visit to Hawaii. Affordable, as well as very elegant, hotels are massed in the area. Waikiki Beach provides friendly accommodations for international and mainland visitors.

Shopping for souvenirs, from keychains to original art, is available everywhere. Choose your venue: Outdoor trinket shop or trendy gallery.

From amazing fresh fruit at every turn, from homey island cuisine, to upscale dining, to fast food, in Waikiki– you won’t be deprived of your favorite cuisine.

You’ll be able to sip mai tais and pina coladas in crowded beachside settings or in an intimate piano bar. You’ll have to look hard to find a locale that doesn’t include island breezes.

No worries if you forgot to pack, ummm, just about anything. You’ll find what you need without leaving Kalakaua Avenue. For example: Save swimsuit shopping until you arrive and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful and unlimited choices.

Festivals, special events and live music are found throughout the year along Waikiki Beach.

As you enjoy all the modernity of Waikiki, take time to stroll the Waikiki Historic Trail. The walk begins at the Royal Hawaiian Center and takes in 23 historical sites. Arrive early to discover all that the center has to offer.

One of Waikiki’s newest recreational activity centers is located 300 yards out from the beach. Waikiki Ocean Club is a sensational and fun experience for the entire family. If you like to play in the water, you’ll want to spend some time here.

At the east end of Waikiki Beach is a wonderful location for family fun. The Honolulu Zoo and Waikiki Aquarium provide hours of entertainment for kids, and like-minded adults.

And, once you’ve fully explored Waikiki, we hope you’ll venture on to visit downtown Honolulu and then take a drive to other parts of the islands. We feel Oahu has so much to offer, from sleepy little villages to glittery-city nightlife. You won’t want to miss any of it on your first visit to Hawaii!

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Online Resources for Honolulu Dining

With your rental car, there’s no need to be stuck eating whatever the dining rooms in your lodging or resort provide. Honolulu is a foodie’s fantasy-land. Honolulu offers wonderful options from Hawaiian local fare (takeout plate lunches) to Asian-European inspired fusion meals. With chefs placing emphasis on locally grown/harvested food products, you can experience delicious cuisine that’s completely unique to Hawaii.

There are several choices for online restaurant reviews, so there’s no need to become confused by all the options you see driving through the city. This can lead to hunger pangs that drop you in some safe, but boring, mainland chain.

If you are a traveler who wants to explore online the cuisine of Hawaii, we have some suggestions to help you locate that perfect dining experience in Honolulu.

  • We suggest you start your online restaurant search with Honolulu’s city newspaper, the Star-Advertiser at http://www.staradvertiser.com/ You’ll find in-depth restaurant reviews. Especially helpful is their comprehensive list of reviews at http://dining.staradvertiser.com/where-to-dine/ One interesting review there is of Panya Bakery http://www.panyabakery.com/. For those of you who will be visiting during holidays, Panya takes orders for complete holiday dinners, such as Thanksgiving meals, that can be picked up with your rental vehicle.
  • The Honolulu Weekly http://honoluluweekly.com/ has food reviews and more. When you click on the “Food” category be sure to explore each subcategory in the pull-down menu. Each provides interesting takes on local events and other food related topics, all places you can get to in your rental.
  • Midweek http://www.midweek.com/ (sister publication of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser) lists a variety of food and dining related articles. You might see overlap with the Star-Advertiser in some of the articles, but nevertheless, you’ll won’t miss anything if you check out both online papers.
  • Honolulu Magazine http://www.honolulumagazine.com/ is colorful, fun and might appeal more to visitors than other online publications. Their “Dining” category includes “The Best” list of reviewed eating establishments. “Biting Commentary” articles include all things food, places to drink, events, news and reviews.
  • Honolulu Pulse http://www.honolulupulse.com/ (“powered by the Star-Advertiser”) focuses on food, drink, bars and clubs. While it lists events related to eating and drinking in Honolulu, watch for dates as sometimes the events listed have already taken place.

We think there’s more to being a tourist than just exploring scenery. Please do sample the amazing and unique cuisine of Honolulu. We think you’ll love our food! And, because you have a rental car, you can take advantage of early breakfasts as well as late night clubbing.

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Things to Know about Long Term Car Rentals

Long term car rentals are popular in Hawaii, especially in Honolulu, where jobs, families, school and military extend itineraries beyond the typical vacation time. Snowbirds are also welcome to take advantage of these savings. For our customers who require a rental car for a month or more, we offer substantial savings through our major rental car partners.

Free no-obligation price quote

  • Our rental partners offer similar but individual options for extended vehicle rentals.
  • Two are referred to as “mini-lease” programs.
  • Another company offers “month-or-more” (no lease) plans and gives additional discounts for each month the rental is kept. There are no penalties for early returns.
  • One company offers long term rentals beginning at 32 days while another begins theirs at 59 days.
  • It is typical to end each extended rental program at 11 months.  At that time, the vehicle is returned, and a new agreement is made for another rental period.
  • Many short term rental amenities, such as 24-hr. roadside assistance, are included in long term rentals.
  • From time to time our rental partners offer rates that include an additional driver for free or additional mileage allowance.
  • Late model, long term rental vehicles include everything from luxury autos to vans to compact cars.
  • Billing is done automatically each month, so there’s no need to return to the rental counter until the end of your rental period.

Being able to get around on your own, carry groceries and explore Oahu during your free time makes a rental car necessary. If you plan to stay in Hawaii for longer than a month, we encourage you to request a no-obligation rental car quote from us.  Regardless of your length of stay, we offer great rates on all our vehicles.

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Touring Honolulu’s Varied Architecture by Car

A visit to a new locale is always fun. The metropolis of Honolulu is no exception. Although it’s large, it offers a different experience from its mainland counterparts. After recovering from the surprise of being surrounded by tropical fragrant flowers, gentle breezes and warm ocean, most visitors become interested in experiencing something of the local flavor and history of Honolulu.

Now you know why you rented a car for your stay in Honolulu. Tours are great, but if you’re someone who is interested in the culture of an area (we all love a glimpse into how people live), you’ll want your own vehicle to find the best examples of island architectural design. With a rental car you’ll travel at your own pace, when you want, and as long as you want.

As you head out on your architectural tour, don’t expect to see one distinct building style in Honolulu.  The Hawaiian Islands were once visited by explorers and missionaries of many countries and they all contributed to the divergent influences that exist today in the local architecture.

Drive downtown in Honolulu to see two examples of Protestant Mission Architecture: Kawaiahao Church built from blocks of coral, and nearby Mission Houses Museum utilizing wood construction.

Examples of Gothic Architecture can be seen by visiting The Hawaii Catholic Church and the Cathedral Church of St. Andrew. The latter church is an example of the first vaulted construction in Honolulu.

Prepare to be surprised by the number of architectural styles, from past to present, existing alongside each other in Honolulu. Renaissance architecture is represented in Honolulu via the famous Iolani Palace and nearby Barracks. A drive to the Bishop Museum buildings reveals architecture known as Hawaiian Romanesque style. Beaux Arts and Art Deco styles are also represented in Honolulu. Plantation architectural style is yours to be discovered in Honolulu and across Oahu. The Hawaii State Capital is an example of Bauhaus architecture. You might be surprised to discover that Honolulu’s tallest buildings have ties to native culture. For an example of contemporary, timeless simplicity, the Arizona Memorial, designed by architect Alfred Preis, should be on your tour list of outstanding Honolulu architecture.

For a peek at some of the loveliest homes in Honolulu, go east of Diamond Head and drive Kahala Avenue. These beachfront homes are spectacular examples of gracious Hawaiian living.

Spending time in the Bishop Museum or at the Arizona Memorial offers a more fulfilling experience than simply driving by the buildings. Yet, if you only have time for a quick tour, we guarantee that you’ll find surprises in the architecture of Honolulu. For those of you who like to immerse yourselves in the culture of a new location, you’ll want to do more research before you visit. Websites for the above architectural examples give wonderful histories of these buildings. Additionally, these are only a few of the many buildings that represent Honolulu’s colorful architectural  history.

To simplify your architecture tour, you may wish to reserve a GPS when you make your car rental reservation, or bring a portable one with you in your luggage. Addresses for all the above buildings are easily found online.

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Lowest Discount Gas Stations in Honolulu

Let us help you find the cheapest gas in Honolulu and Waikiki.

Lowest Gas Prices in Honolulu

Honolulu Gas Prices provided by GasBuddy.com

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Take a Gallery Walk in Downtown Honolulu

Honolulu parking map for gallery walkMost towns and cities hold art walks. They generally take place once a month and feature a select group of neighborhood galleries. Honolulu is no different. They hold a gallery walk each month in Chinatown-Downtown. If you love an art party and want to see what is showing in Honolulu, you may wish to schedule your visit so that you can take in the First Friday Gallery Walk.

What better way is there to enjoy an art walk than with your rental car? You can park, stay as long as you want, secure your purchases, and not have to depend on public transportation to get your weary feet back to your lodgings. With your rental car nearby, you may wish to add a few extra stops to your itinerary. There are always surprises to be experienced in downtown Honolulu.

First Friday Gallery Walk is a biggie. As many as 10,000 participants may show up for the festive atmosphere of free music, free food and, oh yes, artist receptions. It is an opportunity to experience the area later in the evening, as most galleries close daily at 5 p.m. Galleries stay open from 6:00 to 9:00 on First Friday evenings. Due to the crowds, this is not known as a family-friendly event. We suggest you plan to come early if you have a serious interest in attending the receptions and seeing the art.

This arts district also promotes local shopping from 6:00 to 9:30 p.m. each 3rd Friday of the month at their event known as Slow Art Friday. The event is a recent attempt to cultivate a calmer more relaxed art environment from the First Friday party bash. The Chinatown establishments taking part in this event wish to promote local shopping and dining. This is more of a friendly, island- time paced event.

There are many other monthly art-focused events in Honolulu, including Third Thursday and Third Friday Gallery Night. To see if there is an event that you may be interested in attending, check out the HonoluluAdvertiser.com arts calendar. You’ll also find arts events taking place throughout Oahu, so having a rental car is handy when you wish to take in island artistry.

For your convenience, here is a printable map, provided by the Arts District Honolulu, that will guide you to parking in the downtown arts district.

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Bring Your Own Accessories for a Long-Term Rental Car

When you plan to stay on Oahu for an extended time, it may be important to look through the interior of the vehicle you drive every day to determine those items you don’t want to be without. What favorite things do you keep in your car? While bringing your favorite coffee mug may not be practical, there are many things you’ll want to consider, such as: 

  • Auto insurance card
  • Extra glasses case to keep in car
  • Folding fabric sunshade to cool your parked car
  • Stuff-able raincoat or mini-umbrella if your long stay includes dress clothes
  • Roll-up cloth shopping bag for groceries, beach trips and etc.
  • Music for the CD player
  • Portable GPS
  • Charging cords for your electronic devices
  • Maps
  • Park passes/memberships that can be used on Oahu
  • Steering wheel lock if theft is a consideration
And, we suggest, once you have rented your car and for peace of mind, that you put your rental company’s emergency number in your phone, purse or wallet.
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