Shane Nelson
Shane Nelson

InsightTravelers renting cars this holiday season at the Honolulu Airport paid nearly three times the destination’s usual going rate, according to a survey released by Dec. 20.

But the good news for travelers is that that trend doesn't appear to be continuing into the new year.

“A budget economy car in the Hawaiian capital typically goes for a daily rental rate of $50,” the company said in a statement accompanying its survey results. “This Christmas season, however, [finding a rental below] the $150 mark will prove challenging. The cheapest rate uncovered in Honolulu was $147 per day, equating to a 194% increase over regular rates.”

Honolulu posted the most expensive holiday rate among 30 major U.S. cities featured in the study, including Miami and New York, the second and third place finishers at $111 and $99 a day, respectively.

Survey results were calculated with CarTrawler booking engine data measuring the average daily rate for the cheapest available car from Dec. 23 to Dec. 28 for pick-up and drop-off at city airports. The regular rates at each destination reflected average prices in January.

Although Honolulu posted the survey’s highest average daily holiday rental price, the destination’s percentage increase over its regular rate was actually third behind Miami’s 268% surge and a 218% leap in Orlando.

Holiday prices were up at airport-based car rental locations across the Aloha State, including the Hertz office at the Big Island’s Kona Airport.

“I easily paid three times more than what I was expecting,” said Erinn Maury, a Honolulu resident I sat next to on the Hertz’s Kona airport shuttle on Christmas Eve. “It was $880 for six days in the compact car we just dropped off.”

Now that the holidays are over, rental car prices at Hawaii airports appear to be returning to normal. A Web search revealed that the daily rate for a Hertz compact vehicle picked up and dropped off at the Honolulu Airport was $62.99 a day and $62.49 in Kona beginning Jan. 2.
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