There are few things that’ll put a damper on a long-awaited Hawaii vacation more than having your stuff stolen right out of your rental car. Besides the hassle that comes with filing a police report and dealing with the car rental company, your stuff is now gone!

Visitors to Hawaii are often the victims of car break-ins, so we’re here to let you in on a few tips that will cut-down on your risk:

1. Don’t leave valuables in your car: We put the most obvious tip up-top because it’s the most important — if you don’t leave valuables in your car, there’s nothing valuable for the thieves to steal! Maybe you have to break-out the fanny pack from 20 years ago, but it will be worth it when you return to your car, and all is copacetic.

2. Get out and go: If you’re dilly-dallying around your car hiding things, that’s a hint to thieves that you have something valuable you’re trying to hide. The same goes for chatting around your car too loudly about your wallet being under the blanket in the trunk! Hide your valuables before you get to your destination, so you can get out of your car and go.

Hanging items like lei or puka shell necklaces on your rear view mirror may deter thieves from breaking into your car.

3. Puka shells or local “stuff”: I’m not too sure why thieves prefer to break-into visitors’ rental cars (probably because they carry more stuff around with them), but they tend to leave locals alone… mostly. So, hang a strand of puka shells from your rear view mirror or get a magnetic “local” bumper sticker for your car.

4. Avoid isolated areas: Even though it only takes a matter of seconds to break-into a car, thieves are still more likely to take the chance if they’re less visible. So, if you have the choice, park your car in an open parking lot, among other cars, in places where there may be crowds.

5. Park in lighted areas: This is similar to the “isolated areas” tip, but it’s worth saying anyway. Thieves don’t want to be seen if they can help it. So, if you have the choice, park next to a streetlamp or lamppost in the parking lot. You’ll feel safer when you walk to your car. And, thieves will be less likely to strike.

6. Use your alarm: If your rental car in Hawaii has an alarm, use it. That’s what it’s there for.

Popular tourist sites, such as Oahu's Halona Blow Hole, are prime areas for car break-ins.

7. Hide your belongings: Thieves are unlikely to spend a lot of time searching for the items they want. Instead, they want an easy break-in where they know they’ll be rewarded for their effort. So, before you get to your destination, hide your belongings, so they can’t be seen from a car window.

8. Leave your windows open and doors unlocked?: I’m putting this out there because lots of locals leave their car doors unlocked and windows open IF they don’t have anything to steal inside. It’s unlikely a thief will go through the effort to steal your car — they just want a quick snatch. If they see your windows open and doors unlocked, they’ll assume you don’t have anything valuable inside. In fact, many thieves will assume the owner of the car is local and will leave it alone. I’ve never been gutsy enough to do this, but I know lots of folks who do. DISCLAIMER: Your rental car company may not assume any liability for stolen goods if you leave your windows open and doors unlocked.

One of the best options for visitors who want to see the islands, but don’t want to be at-risk of a car break-in? Take advantage of Hawaii Jeep Tours. Choose from an Oahu Circle Island Tour, a Kauai Jeep Tour, or any of the specialty tours that include tours of the islands in a customized Jeep with a knowledgeable guide.

Bottom line: Use common sense when using a rental car in Hawaii. You want to spend your time enjoying the islands, NOT tracking down stolen items!


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