Renting a unique car on vacation

We rented a car through Turo and on our way to meet the driver for pick-up, he said he couldn’t locate the car we paid for. But it was still a great experiences, I used Turo again in Los Angeles.

Buildings in Honolulu, Hawaii

It was supposed to be a 2-hour trip from Lanikai to Honolulu by bus transit to pick up the car we rented. We finally arrived in the Honolulu area and were waiting for the second bus change when the owner of the car, Ray, sent a text saying, “Hold your horses!” He said he couldn’t locate the car we rented. We told him were halfway there and were already down in Honolulu, so he offered to pick us up wherever we were since he made a mistake and we had come all this way.

Clint and I had been on O’ahu a few days in 2016 and had rented bikes, but the hills were insane. We knew our trip would be much easier and more convenient with a vehicle. Both of us were studying for bachelors’ degrees and had completed our spring finals only days before arriving in Hawaii. We spent the first few days sleeping in, but now we were ready to make the next four days count.

We called Enterprise and they required a $250 deposit before rental for non-Hawaii residents. Clint always loved finding a good deal and better ways of doing things, and discovered a site called Turo.com that is like AirBnB for cars. Car owners can rent out their vehicles for a price. You can also rent with insurance and other options. You can filter searches by car features like convertible, blue tooth, or a bike rack, which we wanted since we had rented bikes as well.

We were poor college kids. If we were going to pay that much for a car rental, we might as well get what we want.

We found a decent and affordable Eclipse Spyder convertible that had a bike rack, from a guy on Turo named Ray. But unfortunately, the convertible top didn’t work. We loved the idea of a convertible, and almost selected a newer convertible among other cars that Ray also had available. But it was just out of our price range and the bike rack was our priority. We selected the Spyder, added the insurance, and opted out of car delivery because it was cheaper for us to take a bus down to Honolulu. We made arrangements with Ray to meet at the Honolulu Airport to get the car.

So we thought it was pretty funny when he texted us saying he couldn’t find the car and that he’d pick us up. He said he had another car he’d let us have for no extra charge since he made a mistake. Ray was a super chill, middle-aged “kiwi” from New Zealand who was enjoying living the bachelor’s life in Hawaii. We pull into a neighborhood just outside an airport parking lot and he parks next to the sidewalk among some scattered cars on the street. We hop out and follow him to a beautiful, new, gun metal 2-seater convertible and he tosses us the keys. How lucky was that!

After one day of driving around the entire island with the top down, we immediately returned the bikes the next morning.

We drove the perimeter of the island nearly every day till we left. The views truly were jaw-dropping at every turn, with mountains soaring up on one side and the ocean lapping feet away on the other. It truly was an unforgettable part of the trip for both of us. At the end of our trip, we texted Ray and made arrangements to drop the car back in Honolulu before we caught our plane home. He told us to park our car in the parking lot next to where we picked it up and leave the key in the center console. Just in case there were parking fees, we left a $20 bill, too.

Renting another convertible on Turo in Los Angeles

I wanted to use Turo again on my solo trip to Los Angeles in 2019. And again, I chose a new convertible, a 2018 Fiat Spider, and it was the smoothest transaction all around. I just hopped on a bus right outside the baggage claim at LAX, which is free to and from the airport. I rode ten minutes down to the last bus stop, as the owner instructed. He lived in a huge building with a garage at the bottom, directly across from where the bus line ends. He came down and gave me some minor instructions and even texted me a 1-minute video about how to open the convertible top because it was that simple. Off I went to drive the Pacific Coast Highway for 4 days!

When I rented the car, I forgot to add on the car wash option at checkout and was having trouble finding a good place to wash the car before returning it, as requested. So I texted the owner and asked if I could leave a $20 bill in the trunk with the key as instructed, the same price online. He was appreciative of that. We both left each other positive reviews and he called me a responsible driver. I love using Turo because I can select specifically a convertible with Bluetooth capabilities to play my own music. If you are a little adventurous and like to try new experiences, and if you are picky, consider using Turo for your next car rental on vacation. Having an adventurous or unique car could enhance your overall experience on a trip. It always has for me!

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