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Hawaii is a popular tourist spot, but if you want to explore all the gorgeous locations on the islands, you need to know how to get to these places. Renting a car is a popular way to get around Hawaii, and you might want to know how old you must be to rent a car in Aloha State.
You need to be 18 years or older to rent a car in Hawaii. However, drivers younger than 25 may be charged an additional fee as an underage surcharge. Depending on the rental company, drivers between the ages of 18-25 may also be restricted to specific car models.
In this article, I will explain the Hawaiian laws on rental cars that both underage and adult drivers must abide by. I will also describe how you can get around Hawaii and explore the region if you are too young to rent a car.
Rental Car Rules for Underage Drivers
Many car rental companies in Hawaii tack on an additional surcharge on drivers between 18-25 years to offset the possibility of accidents caused by inexperienced and risky driving. The amounts and the age groups these fees apply to vary across companies.
Many car rental companies in Hawaii restrict the classes of vehicles they rent to underage drivers. For instance, most companies do not rent SUVs, crossovers, luxury cars, sports cars, specialty vehicles, minivans, and vehicles worth more than $20K to underage drivers.
Requirements To Rent a Car in Hawaii
There are several car rental companies in Hawaii. You can check their rental fees from their websites or third-party sites. These companies often provide discounts if you book online.
Most car rental companies provide discounted rates for an additional driver. Some companies allow an additional driver for free. Here are the rules when an extra driver accompanies you in a rental car:
- They must be more than 21 years old.
- They need not be related to you.
- They must accompany you to the counter to sign up.
- They must carry their own valid driving license bearing their name on it.
Car rental companies sell insurance at the counter. However, it is not compulsory to buy a policy. You can use your existing insurance policy to cover a rental vehicle.
You can also buy a private insurance policy before leaving home to cover a rental car or use the insurance on your credit card.
Driving Laws for Rental Cars in Hawaii
Hawaii’s driving laws and road rules also apply to individuals driving a rental car. Be sure that you follow standard rules that are applicable everywhere, like wearing a seat belt and not using a cell phone while driving.
If you plan to drink, ensure that you have a designated driver. Typically drivers are fined if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is at .08%, and those with 0.15% or higher are fined more. Young drivers under 21 years must maintain their BAC at lower than .02% to avoid fines.
How To Get Around Hawaii Without a Rental Car
Renting a car in Hawaii can be challenging and costly if you are under 25 years old.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to explore Hawaii without going through many hoops to renting a car. You can reserve an Uber or a Lyft ride, rent a bike or a bicycle, or use the bus. Read on for more information about these services.
Reserving an Uber or a Lyft Ride
Uber and Lyft are becoming increasingly popular on the islands, but their availability varies from island to island. Rides are easier to find in well-trafficked tourist areas, but if you are visiting more offbeat locations, you can’t rely on rideshare services.
Taking the Bus
The bus systems on the Hawaiian islands provide affordable means of getting around. They generally adhere to their schedules and are low-cost and reliable ways to travel between the beaches and towns of an island.
The bus system on Oahu, called TheBus, has a frequent schedule and covers many areas of the island. Honolulu, on the island of Oahu, is especially well served by the bus system, and as I have explained in this article, you do not always need a car to travel around here.
However, the bus systems on Kauai and Maui are not ideal for sightseeing trips. They do not cover many popular tourist spots and do not go to remote locations.
For instance, the Maui Bus system does not cover Haleakala National Park, and the Kauai Bus system does not cover popular tourist destinations like the Na Pali Coast and Waimea Canyon.
The Hele-On Bus on the Big Island will take you to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park but do not rely on their services for extensive sightseeing.
Renting a Scooter or a Bicycle
Scooters, mopeds, and bicycles are faster ways of getting around Hawaiian islands than buses that tend to make many stops. A two-wheeler is also easier to park than a rental car; you can squeeze your scooter or bicycle in the tiniest of spaces.
You can search online for scooter and bicycle rental companies. Many companies offer discounted rates online, and these services are available across the islands.
Keep the following rules in mind to rent a scooter, moped, or bicycle:
- A driver’s license at a minimum and a motorcycle license for faster scooters.
- You can drive a moped with a Class 1 license as well.
- You must wear a helmet when riding a bicycle if you are under 16, and ensure that your helmet has a chin strap if you’re under 18.
- Bicycles and motorcycle riders are subject to the same road rules as car drivers.
- You cannot ride a motorcycle on a sidewalk.
- Bicycles are not allowed on freeways and sidewalks of business districts.
- You can ride a bicycle on sidewalks in residential areas while maintaining a speed of less than 10 mph (16 kph).
The ease of renting a bicycle or a scooter makes getting around most islands in Hawaii a breeze. You do not need a rental car even on an island like Kauai, where Uber and Lyft are not widely available [link to “Do You Need a Rental Car in Kauai?”].
It is essential to keep in mind that driving laws do not change whether you rent a car or drive your own vehicle. You should also read up on the rules for underage drivers because, in some cases, these rules are stricter for young drivers than adults.
If you can’t rent a car, one of the best ways to get around is to use public transportation like buses. You can also rent a scooter or a bicycle to get around the islands.