Renting a Car in Honolulu?

Renting a Car in Honolulu?

Will You Need A Rental Car in Hawaii?
Here’s a Q&A from a saved draft. This is a Travel Blog.
Sharing it now for #TravelTuesday!

Hawaii 23

Waikiki Beach – Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Q: Is there a difference in reserving a rental car here or when we land in Honolulu? Any rental companies you’d recommend or avoid?

A: Internet before you arrive!

Check each Rental Car Company WEBSITE for best deal! They run 24 hour cycles for car rentals, so if possible arrange your pickup and drop off in 24 hour increments. You can also get a deal on week long rental if you’ll be there that long. Also, you’ll get better rates away from the airport rental office (you won’t pay airport fees), so if they have another location rent from them. (they might even offer delivery to your hotel and you can usually get a free shuttle from the airport)

NOTE: Each company’s rates and availability vary wildly depending on what events are happening, the day of the week, the weather, “hotel block” specials and many other factors, so reserve ahead of time VIA TELEPHONE (not the internet) if possible and always get a confirmation number and the name, employee number and direct phone number of the employee you booked the reservation with.

AAA offers discounts, join the rental car company “customer card” loyalty program before searching for rates (they always offer upgrades and discounts) and check with the hotel for a package deal/discount or free rental! You probably don’t need additional insurance coverage, but check with your own car insurance company and make sure you are covered when driving a rental car in the destination location! If you have travel insurance, that may also cover you. Check and see if the resort fee at the hotel covers parking too.

They also may try to sell you GPS and additional upgrades, add-on services or amenities with your basic rental. Buyer beware! Do you need that GPS or can you just use your smartphone? It’s a lot of fun to have a convertible or a jeep, but how much more will it cost and how much driving will you really be doing on Oahu? Remember to figure the cost of fuel into your budget and the higher gas prices in Hawaii!

NOTE: Once you’ve found the best deal for a rental car, check and see about package deals/vacation companies that will save you money with a bundled “air-hotel-rental car” package or consult a travel advisor for additional service and a price quote.

Plan ahead! Make your reservation well in advance and watch for any specials that might be offered after you reserve (they’ll usually allow you to change to the lowest rate). Be sure to plan your connection from the airport to the rental car company location, most offer free shuttles, or you can arrange other transport. It’s always best to do your research and make your arrangements and reservations prior to arrival.

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Duke Kahanamoku Statue on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

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08-MAY-13: Shakespeare Santa Cruz

Shakespeare Santa Cruz (at the University of California, Santa Cruz)

Founded in 1981, Shakespeare Santa Cruz (SSC) is a professional repertory company operating in cooperation with the Theater Arts Department in the Arts Division at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC).  The support of the Arts Division and the work of the Theater Arts faculty, students, and staff play an important in shaping the SSC aesthetic.  Through this partnership, SSC has attained a national reputation for linking the best in contemporary scholarship with the highest artistic standards of production and the exciting possibilities of repertory performance.  In addition, SSC and the UCSC Theater Arts Department collaborate directly on two projects each season – the Shakespeare to Go touring program that brings Shakespeare to over 7000 students annually, and the annual holiday show.

Shakespeare Santa Cruz 1984

Shakespeare Santa Cruz 1986 Season

The 2013 Summer Season in the Glen at UCSC Performing Arts July 23 – September 1: The Taming of the Shrew, Henry V, Tom Jones the Fringe Show!   

2013-season-slide

One for the Road/The Lover (a collaborative production with Shakespeare Santa Cruz starring Paul Whitworth, Mike Ryan and Julie James) is currently running at the Center Stage Theater in Santa Cruz. http://www.jeweltheatre.net/

University of California, Santa Cruz Barn Theater - Santa Cruz, CA

University of California, Santa Cruz Barn Theater – Santa Cruz, California

Schedule of upcoming art events at UCSC: http://arts.ucsc.edu/news_events/all_upcoming_events

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UCSC Performing Arts Map 2012

University of California, Santa Cruz Performing Arts Map 2012

U.S. Travel Association - www.ustravel.org

U.S. Travel Association – http://www.ustravel.org

UPDATE: November 13, 2015 – Summer 2013 was the last season of Shakespeare Santa Cruz. The University foolishly decided to withdraw funding and cancel the partnership of 30+ years. A tremendous effort was made to save the program and it was renamed Santa Cruz Shakespeare an independent non-profit currently prepping it’s 3rd season. https://www.santacruzshakespeare.org



Dinner & Show: Thai Food at Chan Dara & “Dreamgirls” @ the Met Theater in Hollywood

Friday 12-April-2013

Drove the 101 Freeway into Hollywood (no traffic!) and picked up my friend Jessica on a warm Friday evening for dinner and a show.  Reservation for 6:45pm at House of Chan Dara (Larchmont) and a lovely Thai food meal ahead.

A quick car ride and a short walk after self parking on Larchmont, we arrived at our destination:

House of Chan Dara - 310 North Larchmont, Hollywood

House of Chan Dara – 310 North Larchmont, Hollywood

ChandaraPIC

We were both hungry, and I didn’t take the food pics until after we had both eaten, so apologies (or not, because it was delicious) and imagine the plates with even more food!

We shared a tasty chicken satay with peanut sauce appetizer (4 skewers),

Chicken satay with peanut sauce  appetizer (4 skewers)

Chicken satay with peanut sauce appetizer (4 skewers)

a spicy beef panang which was delicious but the meat was just a little overcooked,

Spicy Beef Panang

Spicy Beef Panang

a great plate of chicken and shrimp pad thai noodles,

Chicken and Shrimp Pad Thai Noodles

Chicken and Shrimp Pad Thai Noodles

and an order of yummy sweet and crispy mee krob.

Crispy and Sweet Mee Krob

Sweet and Crispy Mee Krob

I had a Thai iced tea with no cream and Jessica had a glass of red wine.

My friend Jessica Jolly is a very talented actor/standup comedian/writer/producer/director and currently be seen in “The Broad Casters – Football for Girls Who Like Football” on Funny or Die: http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/cd317b2861/the-broadcasters (NSFW)

Jessica enjoying the sweet and crispy Mee Krob

Jessica enjoying the sweet and crispy Mee Krob for the camera and making me laugh!

The food was fantastic, and it is every time I eat here or at the other Chan Dara (at Cahuenga and Sunset in Hollywood proper) and the price is very reasonable.  Dinner for two (or four if you count the leftovers) with drinks and tip ~$75.  The service is very good, and the portions are big, so we had a lot of leftovers to take home.  But, it wasn’t time to go home yet…

Dreamgirls-postcard-5x7-2-736x1024

My friend Keith Arthur Bolden is starring in “Dreamgirls” at the Met Theater in Hollywood presented by the Doma Theatre Company http://www.domatheatre.com.  He’s a great actor and he absolutely brings it as Jimmy “Thunder” Early along with a very talented cast and chorus.  The LIVE BAND did a fantastic job and rocked the house, with a special shout out to the keyboard player and conductor!  The show is getting rave reviews and has been extended through May 5th.155602_10152737492845584_1320352895_n

View Keith’s IMDB pagehttp://www.imdb.com/name/nm1080768/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

The Met Theater is in East Hollywood, on Oxford, just east of Western, and just north of Santa Monica. Parking is tight but there are two lots that are available for the theater, stack park at Earl Scheib, or park at Catalina Marketplace (enter alley just east of Western off Santa Monica) for $5.

The Met Theater - up the stairs to the Lobby

The Met Theater – up the stairs to the Lobby

The Lobby at the Met is too small for the house and the Box Office is inside and on the far side of the Lobby.  The show was full but not sold out and the lobby was hot and crowded.  Because of some technical difficulties the show started about a half hour late, and the show producers offered free drinks at the bar while we waited.  BRAVO!!!

Technical Difficulties = Free drinks at the bar!

Technical Difficulties = Free drinks at the bar!

Jessica had a glass of red wine and I had a Heineken and we continued talking while we waited.  We went down the stairs to the landing where it wasn’t crowded and hot and it didn’t take very long before they solved the problems and opened the house.

Dreamgirls "Stage" Set at the Met- preshow

Dreamgirls split-level “Stage” Set at the Met – preshow

The show was worth the wait!  It was well staged and wonderfully choreographed.  The music was performed live and the band rocked the house.  The lead actors were extremely talented and gave strong performances. The large chorus did a great job acting as supporting characters and executing the large musical numbers.  The singing and dancing was very well executed, and the staging was creative and entertaining.  The production value was amazing!  The set and lighting design was very effective.  The period wigs were hilarious!  And the costumes were absolutely fantastic!  Special congratulations go to the costume designer  and director for a job well done.

My friend Keith was terrific!  I had only seen him do heavy, dramatic material prior to this show and was pleasantly suprised to see him sing and dance as well as act.  He had the  entire audience cheering as he sang “Jimmy Wants More!” so it’s not just a biased opinion.  I was again reminded of how many talented people there are in Los Angeles, who perform in smaller theaters every weekend while chasing the Hollywood dream.  The show was fun but wasn’t perfect.  The performances were mixed,  with some actors not as strong as the leads.  And the show was long, with the first act running 90 minutes and the second act running almost an hour with a brief intermission.  Overall it was an entertaining and exciting piece of musical theater with a very talented cast, and at a caliber not often seen in a smaller theater space. Check out the reviews and go see it!

Watch a preview  of “Dreamgirls” at the Met on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyA7MqoogTw

We waited for Keith after the show, thanked him for the tickets and congratulated him and other members of the cast.  It’s always good when you see someone you know perform and it’s great (not so good when it’s not good).  We talked for awhile and after saying goodnight and a fast walk to the car, I drove Jessica home and then headed back to the valley.  It was a very fun night!