Maui Trip Report (Part 1 of 5) – Jeep Rental and COVID Testing

The long awaited anniversary trip to Hawaii for P2 and I finally happened and I wanted to share our experience and advice. All around it was a pretty epic trip and memorable way to mark a decade of P2 putting up with my obsessive trip planning activities. Remarkably we accomplished nearly everything we set out to do with a nearly 90% schedule attainment rate while still allowing significant downtime to relax with drinks by the pool.

Since there is so much content to cover it facilitates being broken down into separate installments. Other reports will detail flights and hotels which is traditionally where planning would begin. However, the ongoing pandemic situation has changed the rules of the game a bit and currently car rentals are often the most tricky part of planning any trip. Additionally the COVID testing requirements have added an additional challenge that also needs to be handled with high priority.

That is why I will start with detailing our experience securing a car rental and successfully navigating pre-arrival COVID testing.

Hertz Jeep Wrangler 

I always believe in the Al Capone-esque philosophy of “Book Early” Book Often.” I also believe it’s better to be lucky than good. I was able to book a prepaid rental back in February. This secured us a Jeep Wrangler at a rate of $550 for the week. 

Upon arrival, after a quick stop at the Hertz Gold counter, the inventory was plentiful and there were four Jeeps in the aisle to choose from. We picked the only soft top. Drove off the lot within 30 minutes of arrival at OGG.

As we witnessed firsthand later in the trip, others were not as lucky.

One note on the Jeep, if I were to do it again I would get a hard top. Since our plans involved changing hotels several times, not having the ability to safely secure our luggage made me nervous, particularly in some sketchy stretches of the road to/from Hana. We lucked out but it could very well have been an unfortunate situation.

It might be the “touristy” thing to do but we had a lot of fun driving around Maui in our Jeep. Planning ahead and locking in a great rate made it that much better.

Pre-Departure Testing & Arrival Process at OGG

In accordance with Hawaii Safe Travels, we took a Wagreens IDNOW “Red Dot” test ~72 hours prior to departure of our final leg. It was free and worked great. Results were emailed within an hour.

Upon arrival at OGG, after a quick deplaning friendly folks in Hawaiian shirts funneled us to the arrival queues where our QR codes were scanned and we got our two green checks on the Hawaii Safe Travels site which signified we were exempt from quarantine.

After that we proceeded downstairs and outside to the secondary testing area where our vaccination cards were glanced at and we were ushered through to baggage claim. This process was ending two days after we got there so it was evident that things were winding down. Total time from wheels down to baggage claim was about 20 minutes. 

Next Report: Flights

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