It may come as no surprise to know that Hawaii really isn’t the cheapest of destinations, and the money can quickly rack up once you consider the cost of airfares, accommodation, food plus other expenditures when you’re there. Fortunately though, Hawaii doesn’t have to be that expensive place if you are on budget…in fact there are plenty of ways in which you can reduce the cost of your holiday and still have an amazing time!
I did Hawaii on the cheap and still had an incredible time.. Here are some of my tips below!
Avoid the touristy areas where the prices are always more expensive and find some local restaurants and café’s instead. It might take a little more effort but it’ll be worth it in the end…not only will you be saving some cash but you will also be mingling amongst the locals and having a more authentic experience. Double win!
Downsize meals for entrees and/or sharing plates
The main meal sizes in restaurants can be quite large and filling at the best of times, so alternatively, you could order entrée size dishes instead and few different plates if you are sharing. This way you are getting smaller sizes but trying a variety of different plates rather than just one.
You definitely want to be out trying and tasting different food here, but if you are close enough to a supermarket it is worth stocking up on necessities and ingredients for basic meals (given you have the facilities for it where you are staying), as this will save money in the long run.
It is called Happy Hour for a reason! So many places advertise their Happy Hour drink and even food specials to get people in the door usually for a few hours in the early afternoon and really, it’s worth it over paying the full price.
Catch the trams
Given you are spending some time in Waikiki, there are a few different tram lines that stop at various parts of the city and depending on where you are staying and what accommodation you are at, there just might be one right near you and for the cost of nothing! The free rides only work with some hotels by showing your hotel’s card, however if not, for only a few dollars you can hop on anyway..which is still farr cheaper than catching a cab or a bus.
Negotiate the price of cabs
Before you even hop in the cab, it is an idea to negotiate the price, especially if you know how much it should be to avoid being ripped off once you are at your destination. You can always ask beforehand at your accommodation’s front desk and the staff usually can indicate what is the normal rate to get to a certain destination.
Walk as much as possible
Walking is great because not only are you getting some fresh air and seeing more on foot, it costs nothing!
Car hire or guided tours
Car hire can be affordable and reliable through budget companies (I went through Dollar) and I chose to do this over splashing out money on guided tours. Whether you decide to hire a car or not, consider what is more important to you and want experiences you would like? Car hire allows you to see the places you want to and get off the beaten track and guided tours you are following a strict schedule but have a informative tour guide..
Booking flights between the islands
Although only short flights between the Hawaiian islands, they aren’t cheap! Flights are slightly cheaper departing and arriving on weekdays than on weekends and to nab the best deals, you will have more luck booking last minute (within a few weeks prior).
Avoid peak seasons & holiday periods
Although the weather stays beautiful all year round, the summer months are the most popular months to visit (during June to August), so you can bet hotels book out quicker, plus rates are that little bit higher during peak season and during school breaks. Go in Winter, and the weather is gorgeous, beaches are less crowded and you will save on booking fees too!
Give up high end resorts for smaller hotels, B&B or even hostels.
Hawaii offer a few different grades of accommodation, hostels being the cheapest option by far, however if you don’t fancy that option, B&B’s and hotels (particularly small family owned) are again cheaper than exotic resorts such as Hilton and Shangri La. It all boils down to the vacation you are having and whether you will be spending more time out and about exploring or relaxing by the pool at your accommodation.
Location of accommodation
Location is important as you don’t want to feel a million miles away from anything, however being a little wise to where you book can make all the difference. Instead of booking right on the beach in Waikiki, ask yourself, would it hurt to stay a block or two away? After all, it’s still walkable distance and a close proximity to the beach…
And on the other islands, instead of staying in the most popular areas (in Maui – Lahiana and in Kauai – southern parts are most expensive), stay elsewhere as they are just as beautiful, picturesque and perfect as the other parts!
Hawaii have some excellent airfare deals at different times of the year and with different airlines.
Jetstar (budget Aussie airline)
Jetstar are great for snagging return fares under $700 return and usually the best deals are between Christmas and the New Year, mid year sales and the airline’s bday sales (in May). In saying that though, they have great deals at any given moment so your best bet is to subscribe to them via their website to get sent emails when they have deals on!
Sky scanner is great as it tells you the best deals around at the time you are wanting to book across all airlines, routes and prices comparasions.
As you local travel agency or shoot them an email if they have any package deals available. Deals where your flights and accommodation are paid for can save a great deal in time and planning and even money.