I recently returned from Hawaii where I had rented a car at four different locations. They were all booked directly with Hertz and every single location was different on everything from picking up the car to returning the car. Hopefully this recap will assist others that are looking to rent a car when in Hawaii. I used Hertz exclusively because I am a Gold Plus Rewards Five Star member, which makes it much easier and faster to complete the rental at the time of pickup. Note that I booked a private tour for Oahu for the entire day, so I do not have any information for the Honolulu rental car experience.
First stop was Kona. Kona was a tender port, and the Hertz rental car location was right off the port. This location is inside a Courtyard Marriott and is the easiest of all of the rental car locations to both get to and to find. The location is easily accessed on foot and is truly right across the street from the dock. I arrived at the rental car office at just after 7:00 am and would recommend getting there as early as you can. At 7:10 there were probably 25-30 people in line. I was lucky enough to be 4th in line. This location opens at 7:00 am M-Fri and 8:00 am on weekends. Good news here is that the employee showed up a half hour early and opened the doors for business. The second employee also arrived early and I'm sure things really started to move after that. Since I was 4th in line, I was finished before the second employee opened up. The advantage to the Gold Plus membership is everything is already confirmed, signed and ready to go, so my keys were in the folder and my car was already assigned. You are given a card key to open the gate to exit . The same card is used to access the same gate to return your car. The Hertz location closes early, but you can drop off your car at any time using the key drop box located right next to the rental car office inside the hotel lobby. You don't have to rush back before they close to return the car. This Hertz location has a huge parking lot full of cars and plenty of spaces to park in when dropping off the rental car. Overall, this is a great location to rent a car, but it is also a popular location because of how easy it is to find, so just be prepared to arrive early or to wait in line. The exact address of this location is: 75-5660 Palani Road, Suite 200, Island of Hawaii (Kailua-Kona), HI US 96740
Next stop was Hilo. Hilo requires a shuttle from port. The distance from the dock to the rental car location is too far for walking. Be sure to rent from the "city" location and not the airport location. A shuttle is provided to and from the city location. The shuttle picks up early, so try to be ready for pickup around 7:15-7:30. I'm sure the shuttle comes again after this, but why miss the first shuttle? The shuttle ride is a short 5-10 minute ride to the rental car office. There were 3-4 parties in the shuttle. I made sure to be the first one off the shuttle because I knew all of the paperwork would be ready to go. Sure enough, a quick stop at the counter and I had the keys and car location and was ready to go. Less than 60 seconds in the rental car office. This location provided two scheduled times for the return shuttle - 3:30 pm and 4:30 pm. You have to return the car by 4:30 or you'll miss the last shuttle and the office will be closed. This is another good reason to get the day started early with the first shuttle in the morning. This city location was great, not too crowded, and super fast pickup and return. The exact address of this location is: 80 Kuhio Street, Island of Hawaii (Hilo), HI US 96720
Next stop was Maui. This was the first place that I ran into problems. I had booked the wrong Hertz location. You have to make sure you book the correct harbor port. I incorrectly booked this one: 200 Nohea Kai Drive, Maui (Kaanapali-Lahaina), HI US 96761 This one was wrong. The correct port was located in Kahului Harbor which was this location: 170 West Kaahumanu Avenue Maui (Kahului) , Hawaii , United States , 96732 I was lucky enough to notice this using the GPS on my phone. I saw the wrong Hertz office was 45 minutes away. My phone showed a location that was less than a mile away and I immediately changed my booking. Next time I'll be more careful to make sure of the correct pickup location. This location was accessible by an easy walk from the dock. The car was ready for me upon arrival at the Hertz desk located in the lobby of the Maui Beach hotel. The rental car must be returned by 5:30 pm or it will be dropped off after close. This Hertz does provide a shuttle, but it really isn't necessary as it is very easy to walk back to dock.
Final stop was Kauai. This Hertz office is located at the airport and is more of what you would expect when renting a car. A shuttle is provided at the port and it is about 10-15 minutes to the airport Hertz office. The shuttle picks up between 7:30 am - 7:45 am. This was the only location that provided true Gold Plus service with the car preassigned and waiting to be picked up with keys already in the car and no need to stop in the office at all. The car must be returned by 8:00 pm for the final shuttle. Since it is an airport location it is open later than that and you could always drop off the car later and take a taxi from the airport, but that would add some additional cost to the rental. Better to just catch that 8:00 pm shuttle. The exact address of this location is: Hertz - Kauai - 3250 Hoolimalima Place, Kauai (Lihue), HI US 96766
All of the rentals were booked in February for an October trip. The only change that had to be made was my mistake in Maui. The change went amazingly smooth, so no complaints there. I would highly recommend renting a car in all of these locations. There is so much to see and do! For those that are interested in pricing, here is what I paid at checkout: Kauai - $48.26, Maui - $40.23, Hilo -$38.99, Kona - $39.76. The only other expense related to the rental cars was gasoline, which varied in cost based on miles driven during the day as I had to return the rental car on full at each location.