Maui, Hawaii

Tag: car rentals

Frequently asked security questions

I thought it might be helpful to address some of your security questions. If you have any others you’d like me to address, or if you have first hand experience with any of these (and better answers), please let me know.

This post is not to scare you. Maui is a very safe place to visit. But, please use common sense, just as you would at home.

What do you do with your phone and keys when you go to the beach?
keawakapu
I love sunset at the beach!

Is it safe to just leave them with your towel? Honestly, don’t take anything of value to the beach. If you must bring your phone (I know, it doubles as our camera, book, etc), make sure someone stays with your stuff when you go in the water. Or, pick up a water proof case, either at home or at the ABC store. I know of people who have used ziploc bags to protect their phones when going paddle boarding. Would I? Probably not… If you are staying at one of our condos, we have keyless entry, so it’s just the car key you need to worry about.

Is it safe to leave valuables in the rental car?

Would you leave valuables in the car where you live? Probably not. If you must, maybe because you can’t check into the condo til 3 or 4pm or because you have a late flight and couldn’t get a late check-out, place everything in the trunk of the car and do not open the trunk to get things out (in case anyone is casing your vehicle). If you are renting a jeep, there is no trunk, everything is visible (and accessible if it’s a soft-top). In six years of living here, we haven’t had a vehicle break-in, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.

A few years ago I wrote this post on ‘What to do about late check-out at your condo?‘ Have a read. Did you know, most flights to Canada and a surprising number of flights back to the mainland leave in the evening? Check-out at our condos is at 11 AM.

Is it safe to leave valuables in the condo?

Generally yes. But, know that there are others who by necessity have access to the condo. The owner, the property manager (in the case of our condos, we are the owner and property manager), the cleaning lady and the manager of the complex you are staying at (they need to have access in case of emergencies and for the quarterly pest-control treatments). If you are staying at our condos, we have personal safes for you to use (I have an override key should you forget the code or the battery randomly dies). Otherwise, I recommend just placing your valuables in a drawer or at least out of sight. It’s happened a few times where I’ve had to go into one of our ground-floor condos (with guest consent) to repair something, and seen the blinds wide open and laptops, ipads, phones and once even a wallet just laying out. When staying in a ground floor condo especially, please don’t do that. It’s asking for a break-in. At minimum close the blinds when you leave.

Is it safe to walk at night?

You may have noticed, it is really dark on Maui at night. Why is this? Power is super expensive here and street lighting isn’t cheap. On the plus side, it makes for some great star viewing. Generally the tourist areas especially are quite safe to be walking at night. But use common sense. I also strongly recommend taking a flashlight. A few years ago I didn’t see the edge of the sidewalk – ouch. I was walking with crutches for over a month.

All in all, Maui is a pretty safe place to be. But like most places, we also have drug and homeless problems and crimes of opportunity do happen. A little common sense will help you have a great vacation – I’d hate for you to have a negative experience because of something preventable.

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What side of the rental car is the gas tank?

It happens to me every time I rent a car – I pull up to the gas station and then…. what side of the rental car is the gas tank? I always check my mirrors, but I can never spot the gas tank in the mirrors. Then I get out of the car, and look a bit like a fool, checking out my own rental car! Please tell me I’m not the only one!

gas tank on rental car

Here’s a little-realized fact for you: if you look at the fuel gauge on the dashboard, there is a little arrow pointing to the side of your car that the gas tank is on. Look closely, it’s right next to the fuel pump symbol. Apparently it’s done by all car manufacturers.

Who knew? I just checked both our vehicles, one of them nine years old, and they both have it (I had never noticed).

Now I just need to remember on our next trip!

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Kahului Runway Repair Project begins April 30th

One of Maui’s newspapers MauiNow reports that the Department of Transportation will begin an $18 million resurfacing project on Kahului Airport’s main runway. The project will be worked on from 12am-8am 6 days a week. Flights will temporarily be redirected to another runway.

In other exciting news, Mauinow also reports that there are plans underway for a new consolidated rental car facility at Kahului Airport. I am not sure when that project is due to start.

Maui’s Kahului Airport (OGG) is the second-busiest airport in the Hawaiian Islands (after Honolulu HNL on Oahu). This is the airport that you fly into when arriving from the mainland. Other (smaller) airports on Maui which are used for inter-island flights only are Kapalua Airport (JHM) in West Maui and Hana Airport (HNM).

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Have you driven the new Dairy Road Bypass yet?

If you’ve been to Maui before, you know how congested Dairy Road in Kahului can be. That is the main road that connects from the airport (just past the Costco turn-off) to the Kihei turn-off (Pu’unene).

If you are merely driving through Kahului to go upcountry, or Pa’ia or the Road to Hana, check out the newly extended Ho’okele Street ‘bypass road’ that goes through the new Maui Business Park (though there are currently no buildings there). Turn right at Zippy’s onto Ho’okele Street like you’re going to Walmart, but instead of turning left to Walmart, follow the brand new four lane road. There’s a set of lights where it connects with the Hana Hwy so you can turn left to go into town or right to miss Kahului altogether. This road is also a nice alternative to narrow and bumpy Hansen Road (by the Sugar Cane Factory).

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Traveling with young kids? What are the child seat laws in Hawaii?

Hawaii’s Child Passenger Restraint Law requires children under 4 years of age to ride in a child safety seat. Children 4 through 7 years old must ride in a child passenger restraint or booster seat. The only exemption is if the child is over 4’9, weighs more than 80 lbs, or if the vehicle has only lap belts in the rear seat.
Violators are required to appear in court. If convicted, violators are required to attend a 4 hour class and may be assessed a penalty of $100-$500 depending on the number of offenses.
Of course, the most compelling reason for using a child passenger restraint is the safety of your child.
By the way, it is mandatory for all passengers to wear seat belts, front and back seats. And, sitting in the back of a pickup truck is technically legal but only if all seats in the truck cab are filled with passengers and only for passengers aged 13 and older. I personally think it’s a really bad idea, but it’s ‘survival of the fittest’, I guess.
Some car rental companies offer child safety seats and booster seats for rent. I personally have never rented one. There are just too many what-ifs, such as – has it been in an accident, and when was it most recently cleaned?
Yes, you can pick up booster seats for cheap at Kmart and Walmart, but… how are you going to get there without car seats? Dairy Road is a pretty busy road, at least by Maui standards. Your best bet is to just bring your car seats from home. Airlines will check car seats (and strollers/playpens) for free (up to three items per child). 
A few years ago I was at an intersection in Kahului when a convertible (yes, one of those popular blue Ford Mustangs) with the top down pulled up next to me. The car was completely full of passengers, the trunk full of luggage. One of the adults in the back seat had a two year-old sitting on her lap. No car seat, not even a seat belt. Yikes. Don’t do that, please.
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Car rental negotiating

How do you rent a car? Do you go online, scope out the best price and book it? Or do you then check back and pick up better deals along the way (not forgetting to cancel the previous bookings, of course)? Some people I know just wing it and hope there’s a car to rent when you get there.

I am a planner – we always have a car lined up way in advance. When I get to the counter, I just say no, no and no to all the up-sells, get my car and go. I never realized you can negotiate an upgrade with the car-lot guys in the parking lot. Who knew? On a recent trip my hubby randomly asked the car lot guy if we could have one of the suburbans (instead of our full-size car). The guy said ‘sure’. Oh really? I was not interested in a gas-guzzling suburban, but Sig kept talking, how much more? Well, normally an extra $30/day, but we could do $20/day… a little more talking and the deal got sweeter as it went. What? According to the car lot guy, they have leeway to negotiate… who knew? Did we go for it? No. I was tired and grumpy and really just wanted to get out of there and get to our destination.

But it was food for thought… I’d be curious to hear how you rent cars… write me a comment!

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Would you rent an electric car?

It’s Sunday and it’s my ‘sit on the couch and read the local paper’ time of the day. The Maui Weekly has an article about an experiment to drive an electric car to Hana.

Have you ever rented an electric car? Would you try it? I guess it would depend a lot on the availability of charging stations… On that note, according to my March power bill, energy on Maui is currently at 38.4 cents/kwh (compared to the US national residential average of 11.47 cents/kwh). Please don’t plug in at our condos!

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