It’s very easy to rent a car here, most tourists do and it’s very easy to get around Hawaii with a car. My experiences were at the airports in Honolulu, Oahu and Kahului, Maui. Coming from big cities, I didn’t find parking too particularly difficult. They’re fairly lax in Hawaii too, you can basically park on the side of the road, on sidewalks, etc.
FYI If you happen to need an Advantage discount code use ADVDS, 15% off, good through Dec 2016.
In Honolulu it’s certainly less of a necessity to drive since more things are walkable and there’s plenty of shuttles vs the other islands. I’d still advise renting one though so you have access to things outside the Waikiki area. I didn’t find parking particularly tough on the street south of Waikiki, of course you can pay for parking in a lot too.
Depending which terminal you arrive, you can either walk from the main terminal across the street to the Car Rental Center or take a short shuttle ride to the rental car building. It’s contains Hertz, Advantage, National, Avis, and Budget. I used Advantage here. I arrived in the Hawaiian Airlines terminal and waited in the middle curb for the shuttle. Wait time 2 mins, ride, 2 mins. Easy peasy.
Supposedly this center is temporary but it looked pretty permanent to me. Cars are parked upstairs in the parking structure, and you basically just get your keys from the desk, go up to your car and drive off. It’s very self service and didn’t care for that. But the shuttle didn’t take long to come and I was the only person on it so no complaints there, congestion will depend on the time you arrive. I heard the lines can be out the door at times if you’re unlucky. Try to time your arrival when overseas flights aren’t coming in bunches if you can.
Returning was easy. You have to drive through all the terminals and pull up to your rental car company, follow the signs. They’ll checkout your car right in front of the car washing stations.
In Maui I would say it’s a necessity to rent a car, the car rental places are right outside OGG airport so it’s convenient enough.
Once you arrival and go down the escalator, you’ll see signs for the rental car shuttles. I used Hertz, they came one after another. Other companies might take a little longer but it shouldn’t be much of a wait. Shuttle ride was about 2 minutes to most of the companies.
For Hertz specifically, as a Gold member my car was already waiting in the assigned stall and it was super quick to drive off. There was only one exit gate at Hertz, but it moved along swiftly. My car had a little less than full gas so they said I can return it 7/8 full.
Returning the car in Maui is the reverse process. Drop off the car at the rental car agencies, take the shuttle to the airport. Super easy, you’ll need to drive through the terminal though to get to the rental car lots.
Enjoy your trip to Hawaii!