Why Are So Many Hawaiian Tourists Suddenly Renting U-Haul Trucks?

Who wouldn't want to observe the awesome beauty of Hawaii from the inside of a moving truck?

Why Are So Many Hawaiian Tourists Suddenly Renting U-Haul Trucks?

As Hawaii has begun to experience an uptick in tourism adjacent to vaccine distribution in the U.S., so too has … the state’s various U-Haul outfitters.

The rental car industry was virtually ravaged as a result of the pandemic, with — according to a new report from CNN — more than a half a million cars sold off (roughly a third of its combined inventory) and the global shortage of microchips slowing car production to a standstill. But as travel bookings have picked up again, so has the demand for rental cars. Not surprisingly, that situation has resulted in huge spikes in prices in recent months. CNN affiliate KHNL-TV reported in March that the cheapest rental car in Maui was $722 a day, leaving tourists to vie for other options.

One such option? The humble moving truck. It’s created a steady (albeit odd) stream of visitors who are now touring the islands from the comfort of a U-Haul.

In a statement to CNN, U-Haul Company of Hawaii president, Kaleo Alau, said: “This surge in demand is primarily for our smaller vehicles.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.”

Of course, the sudden surge in demand for U-Hauls on the islands for travel purposes has created a secondary shortage and is posing obstacles for those in need of U-Hauls for moving purposes — an issue Alau and his team are currently working to resolve.

And while the U-Haul trend is a bit unique to Hawaii in this particular case, it’s worth pointing out that the rental car shortage is not. So if you’ve got an upcoming trip for which you were planning to rent a car, we suggest you start looking now. Like, right now. Otherwise, you may be forced to consider public transportation, bike sharing or Turo (which is effectively Airbnb for cars) as possible alternatives, though even those options will probably require a bit of pre-trip research on your part.

That is unless you’ve been meaning to experience Hawaii, or any other U.S. state, by way of moving truck post-pandemic, in which case — carpe diem.


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