After the airfare and place to stay, hiring a car was the next thing on my to-do list. For some reason, it was just impossible to find a decent rental car company on The Big Island. Yes, it was peak season and there are few companies to choose from, but prices were just not budging. Not via a 3rd party (such as Orbitz), through my credit card (like I did last year and got an awesome price) or even booking directly with the companies. Prices were just out of control.
I am not even sure how I found Aloha Rents, not sure if it was in my guide-book or if I just randomly google’d Big Island Hawaii car rentals and this came up. Usually I avoid searches like that, so that is why I can’t remember. Either way, this company looked okay. It had lots of good testimonials and they didn’t require you to provide your credit card number with request, so I proceeded. Since I emailed in the middle of a week day, I got a quote back via email within 20 minutes from the 3rd party company as well as a confirmation from Alamo a minute later, quoting a price way less than anything I found anywhere else online. A credit card was not needed for confirmation, just to provide one when I picked up the car. And to email the 3rd party if I had any changes to my reservation.
The whole thing seemed a little weird, but than, it is Hawaii. I checked my reservation on the Alamo website and it couldn’t pull up my reservation, that I should check with my booking agent. So that was oddly a positive sign. I figured I would take my chances and go with the flow.
After landing and hauling ass to the outdoor rental counter at Hilo Airport, everything went smoothly! My reservation was pulled up and I was processed very fast. There was no one checking the cars for damage, but since I read a lot of horror stories about clients getting screwed on return, I walked quickly around the large car and found nothing wrong with it, even though the car had dew on it and it was parked in a dark lot. I knew I had a long drive ahead of me and wanted to get going, so I just left, fingers crossed nothing would come back to kick me in the ass.
And luckily, it didn’t! The car was fine and drove really excellent and had an awesome radio, so no complaints from me. On return, there was just a guy sitting outside under a tent checking people in. The car was wet from a morning rain and the guy quickly walked around the car and checked the gas and my card was processed, and actually ended up costing about 15 cents less than my quote. WHOOO!!!!!!! As with everything in Hawaii, the whole process was so super easy. My parents hired a car the same way, even though they got a car from a different company (but pretty much the same car, funny enough) and they had the same experience as I did.
Moral: As with everything, read your contract carefully. I know I always do. Aloha Rents rentals include in their agreement that you get two free drivers with every rental, but the company my parents used tried to charge them for an additional driver before my mother chimed in with proof on the printed out agreement and the company agreed immediately. Other then that, there was no problems with either rental car or company, thanks to the help of Aloha Rents! I would highly recommend them for any of car rental needs on any island in the state of Hawaii, though I have an alternative way to rent a car based on needs on Oahu.