Do I need to rent a car in Oahu,Hawaii? When we were planning our trip to Oahu, this was a question that I had in my mind as well. I had previously been told by friends that Oahu is super easy to get around and that nothing on the island was more than 1 hour or even 30 mins away. While this is true, not having a rental car would have put a major dent into our itinerary plans.

I know that a trip to Hawaii could be super expensive and cutting rental costs seems like a good idea. However, not having a rental car of some sort will limit you to one region of the island thus limiting your experiences. Oahu is an amazing vacation because there is so much to see, do and experience and you’ll want the transportation to do so…ESPECIALLY with kids.

 Here’s how we used our rental car from Alamo for a stress-free trip around Oahu, Hawaii with Kids.

Do I Need A Rental Car in Oahu, Hawaii? Getting Around Oahu, Hawaii with Kids

This post is sponsored by Alamo Rent A Car, a sub company of Enterprise Holdings. However, all opinions and pictures are my own!  For more information on our policies click HERE.


Why Should You Rent a Car in Oahu?

Do I Need A Rental Car in Oahu, Hawaii

Needing a car in Oahu, Hawaii is based on a ton of factors. Are you traveling with kids? Where are you staying on Oahu? What activities do you have planned for your trip? These are all important questions to ask yourself when planning.

Oahu has public transportation, Cabs, Uber and Lyft to assist you in getting around. However, these methods of transportation provide additional restrictions. If you’re traveling with small kids, Lyft and Uber are not good options. You’ll be tasked with the hassle of walking around with car seats.

Not to mention that the cost of Uber and Lyft will quickly add up on a trip. Families could use public transportation for cheap rides but you’ll spend a ton of time on the bus route and miss a ton of the hidden gem experiences that require pulling over on the side of the road. Cabs are also an option but will quickly add up if you’re planning to venture outside of Honolulu and Waikiki.

In the end, renting a car is the cheapest and most convenient option for exploring the island of Oahu.


Honolulu International Airport Arrival and Alamo Rental Car Pickup

alamo car rental airport shuttle

If you’re anything like us, you want to jump straight off the plane and begin the travel adventures. That means not wanting to spend a ton of time working out the logistics of rental cars. I solved this problem by ordering my rental car type and filling out our information the night before our trip. I used the Alamo app for free, fast and simple booking.

When we arrived at the airport, our car was already available at the designated pick up time. The only thing we had to do was head to the Alamo shuttle pick up and be transported to the car lot (approx. 5- minute drive). These shuttles are an on- going complimentary service so there was no wait or extended time in the airport.

Alamo car rental kiosk

Alamo gave us options for checking in and picking up our vehicle. If we wanted to be assisted, we could visit a desk and speak with an agent. However, we chose to get on with our vacation by checking in at the kiosk which was fast and effective. After check in, you simply walk out to the lot, pick a vehicle in the category that you’ve previously chosen and go. The keys were already in the car waiting for us and we were off to our hotel for check in.

Bonus Tip: Be sure to take detailed pictures of any scratches, dents or damage prior to leaving the rental lot. These provide time and date stamps that protect you from being liable.


What Kind of Car should I Rent for Hawaii?

alamo car rental lot honolulu

Alamo’s lot is huge and there are a ton of car options to choose from. If you’re feeling sporty and want to enjoy the beautiful weather, there are sports cars and convertibles. For a true Hawaiian experience and off road exploration, Jeeps are a great option (I plan to rent one on our next trip to Hawaii). During our trip, we went with a full- size car as it was the perfect size for our family of 3 and luggage.

When choosing your vehicle, keep in mind that the roads in Oahu are narrow and they only get smaller when you get outside of the city. Hence, why we chose a car instead of an SUV. Another thing to consider is that gas on Oahu is more expensive than the mainland. Having a car helped us save a ton on gas. In our 6 -day rental, we traveled the entire island of Oahu and filled up once before returning the vehicle. Even then, the tank had only gone down to half.

Returning Our Rental Car

Alamo also made our car return simple for us. We parked the vehicle, emptied our belonging and an agent came around to scan the vehicle to confirm our return. Then, we boarded the shuttle and headed to the airport for our overnight flight back home. Easy Peasy!

Our itinerary took us all over Oahu. Waikiki, Honolulu, Ko’Olina, Pearl Harbor and Laie. In the end, I am super grateful that we decided to rent a car for our trip in Hawaii. We explored the island without limitation and saw some of the most amazing sites during our coastal drive right near the water. Having a car made our experience. So, YES! You need one.

If you’re headed to Oahu for your family vacation, click HERE to get more travel inspo. Haven’t decided which island is a good fit for your Hawaiian family vacation? Click HERE to read Alamo Rent A Car Scenic Route article or the Best Hawaiian Islands for Kids. Here, you’ll find out which makes each island great and what they have to offer. #MyAlamoAdventure


Related Articles:

Is Disney’s Aulani Character Breakfast at Makahiki worth the Price?

About Sierra Redmond

I am Sierra Redmond; a mom, military spouse and travel industry expert on a mission to inspire families to travel near and far. On the blog, you’ll find travel and food guides, tips for traveling with kids, Military, all things Disney and our chronicles as new Las Vegas locals.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.