It is advisable to book as far in advance as you can. While there are occasional last minute openings, by and large, vacation rentals in Hawaii are usually booked solid for at least six months out. For high demand periods like Christmas and New Year’s, most Hawaii vacation rentals are booked at least one, if not two, years in advance.
2. What’s the minimum stay?
The vast majority of Oahu vacation rentals require a 30 day stay. There are a few exceptions to this, but generally speaking, State and County laws dictate that only one party can occupy a vacation home over a 30 day period. This means if a vacation rental was to accommodate your request for a one week’s stay, the other three weeks in the month could not be rented out to someone else. The fines for not following these laws can run many thousands of dollars a day and can far exceed the income your one week stay might have brought in. It also explains why vacation rentals are priced where they are. NOTE: This does not mean you can’t find an Oahu vacation rental that is willing to rent for less than a 30 day period—it depends on how booked they already are, time of year, how long you want to stay, and the owner’s own situation.
3. How do I know I’m dealing with an ethical company?
As with any business, there are good and bad operators. We advise you to do your due diligence before plunking down a deposit on any vacation rental. Dealing direct with the owner can save you money, however, be aware that sometimes this has its own set of pitfalls—for instance, do you think the owner of a property would tell you that there is road construction that starts at 7:00AM every day right outside your front door? (This has happened.) We recommend checking that whatever company or person you decide to rent through has, at a minimum, a listing in good standing with the Hawaii Visitors Bureau and the Better Business Bureau.
4. What is the refund policy?
Everyone’s refund policy varies. To be sure, there are restrictions on refunds for cancellations, and depending on how close to arrival date the cancellation occurs, you could forfeit most, if not all, of your deposit. To avoid this unpleasant surprise make sure you know and understand the cancellation policies of a particular vacation rental before you book it. You should also make sure your travel plans are not subject to change before you book.
5. What are the best areas on Oahu?
It really depends on what you want to do while you are on Oahu. If you are into country living and big wave surfing, then you should take a look at the North Shore of Oahu. If you want the full on tourist experience, then Waikiki should be considered. If you want a bit of country, mixed with a bit of city, then the Windward side of the island (Waimanalo, Lanikai, Kailua, Kaneohe) might suit you best. For an upscale, suburb locale, you should consider the South Shore from Kahala to Hawaii Kai.
6. How much should I plan on spending?
Assuming full occupation (two people in each bedroom), you should budget $150 to $200 per night per person for a luxury vacation rental and $80 to $125 per night per person for a standard vacation rental. The sweet spot, economically speaking, for Oahu vacation rentals is geared for the vacation party of three couples or larger.
7. Who is Ingrid Carvalho?
Ingrid Carvalho is one of Hawaii’s finest vacation rental representatives. She’s a seventh generation Kamaaina (seven generations of her family were born and raised in the islands). She has been providing vacation rental services to island visitors since 1996.
8. Where does Ingrid find these rentals?
It’s less a question of where does she find new vacation rental properties than it is a question of do these properties meet or exceed her exacting standards. Oahu property owners make Ingrid one of their first stops when they decide to put their property on the vacation rental market. Sadly, only about one in four of these new property opportunities pass her quality standards and make it onto this website.
9. Does it matter who I rent a vacation rental from?
Yes. It’s important to remember that the vacation rental business is a service business. Too many vacation rental operators look at the industry as a product sales business. Let’s face it. If you are planning an Oahu vacation, you are going to be spending a great deal of money no matter who or where you choose to rent. Don’t you want to make sure the experience lives up to your dreams? This is where excellent service can make or break that dream.