Rental Cars Are So Expensive In Hawaii Tourists Are Hiring U-Haul Vans

by : Emily Brown on : 26 Apr 2021 16:45
Rental Cars Are So Expensive In Hawaii Tourists Are Hiring U-Haul VansPA/HawaiiNewsNow

As the rebound of the tourism industry has led to a high demand for rental cars in Hawaii, some savvy visitors have decided to try and beat the system by hiring U-Haul vans instead. 

The large trucks are more typically used for transporting big objects or numerous items, for example when moving house or picking up some new furniture, but for those simply looking to travel around Hawaii, it seems size isn’t that much of an issue.


The vans have become a popular choice for drivers as the state begins to recover from the coronavirus outbreak, with tourists flooding back as the vaccine is rolled out and restrictions are starting to lift.


Though the tourism industry will no doubt be over the moon at the return of customers, the burgeoning popularity of travel is proving bittersweet for those taking part as it has caused prices to skyrocket.

The cheapest rental car in Maui in March was as much as $722 per day, according to CNN affiliate KHNL-TV. With prices that high being unaffordable for many, some tourists looking for alternative modes of transport came to rely on U-Haul.


Kaleo Alau, U-Haul Company of Hawaii president, told Hawaii News Now: ‘The uptick from tourism, the uptick from companies opening back up, from the economy restarting – everybody seems to need a vehicle.’

He noted that tourists have expressed frustration at being unable to get vehicles from the usual rental spots as they are ‘all sold out’, and told CNN there had been a ‘surge in demand’, primarily for the company’s smaller vehicles, as the U-Haul facilities are the busiest they’ve been in years.

PAPA Images

The company president said: ‘We realize this demand is occurring when tourists are unable to secure a rental car, or they learn that our rental fleet options are more affordable.’


While the U-Haul trucks might be a money saver for tourists, however, Alau has noted that the demand has left a shortage of vehicles for those who actually need to move. He said the company is now working ‘every day’ to meet the transportation needs of the ‘primary customer base’, which is made up of ‘the islands’ residential movers’.

Rental car companies across the US are said to have rented cars for a fraction of the normal price, or sold them as used cars, as business dwindled during the pandemic. The industry sold off more than a half a million cars to generate the money it needed to survive the pandemic, CNN reports.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: News, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Hawaii, Now, US


CNN and 1 other
  1. CNN

    Rental car prices are so high in Hawaii, tourists are renting U-Haul trucks

  2. Hawaii News Now

    Why are Hawaii visitors cruising around in U-Hauls? Blame the pandemic.