Just reaching the Aloha State can be expensive, considering it is one of the world’s most isolated archipelagos. Food is super expensive as well, as most of the food (around 90%!) has to be imported into the island. Let Travel Patriot show you the way to an inexpensive vacation on this sunshine island. Read on to know more….
No to hotel breakfasts
Most bulk-cooked food in hotels can be disappointing and it’s usually the same fare everywhere you go, with hardly anything local served fresh to you. Instead look for some breakfast staples such as Portuguese sausages on French Toast or eggs, which are found plenty in the local diners and eateries across the island.
Work on a grocery list
Who cooks on a vacation? You do, if you want to save money. You can bring your Foodland or Safeway membership cards to get some discounts on shopping too. Just don’t expect mainland US prices. There are fresh veggies, fruits, fish and meats to choose from, apart from deli items and cereals. Do try the poi (taro that is mashed) and lomi-lomi salad, made with salmon and tomato.
If you find the imported food to be expensive, check out the local farmers markets and shops, which the Hawaiians visit to pick up their groceries and fresh supplies. Pocket-friendly fresh food is prepared at the farmer’s market, which is both delicious and filling. Ask for KCC Saturday Farmers’ Market in Honolulu or Koloa Fish Market on Kaua‘ for fresh fish delicacies. Highly recommended are coffee, fresh Guava and any seafood of your choice.
Limit your car rental period
If you have rented a car, you are simply wasting money while you lazy around the poolside. Instead, rent a car for those destinations and days when you know you’ll make some good use of it. After your excursion, return the car and save save a lot of money. Ask your hotel about complimentary shuttle services to hotspots or if they have free/discounted car rentals. If you’re in O‘ahu, you can use the public bus system and for $35, you get 4 days of unlimited bus rides anywhere on the island.
Off season travel
Hawaii is beautiful all year round, so the budget traveller in you can find amazing deals during the off-season period. Avoid December to April, as it is peak tourist season. May and September enjoy good weather but the best deals can be found in October and November.
Stick to one island
Yes, this one is a toughie, but the inter-island flights in Hawaii can add up to burn a hole in your wallet, at the end of your trip. Resist the temptation and pick one island (okay…maybe two!) that you would want to explore the most and explore it inside and out. Else, go to those islands, such as Maui, where you can take day trips to close-by islands by boat or ferry, which are quite inexpensive.
Hawaii, with its beautiful beaches, does make you feel like sunbathing and lazing by the water all day long. Instead of the general lack of doing anything, why not spend your time better, by going to on a hike to Koke‘e State Park in Kaua‘i. The water babies would enjoy snorkeling in O‘ahu’s Hanauma Bay. And don’t worry about the snorkeling gear; there are plenty of rentals, which are cheap ($6 a day).
Grab some visitor’s magazines
Grab whatever brochures and visitor mags you can find at the airport or hotel. They usually come with coupons and deals for eateries, shows, transportation, shopping and more. You can also check for the digital versions of Aloha Visitor Guide and This Week for the latest information.
Luau shows and dinner are expensive, skip them and instead go to Wakiki’s Kuhio Beach Torch Lighting & Hula Show or take a class in lei-making, ukulele playing and hula dancing on Maui – all free of cost. For daily free shows and events, check the respective island’s listings.
Think about your needs
An ocean-view room makes sense if you plan to spend your entire vacation in your room. If you like cooking and saving money, go for a room with a kitchenette. There are budget bed and breakfasts, rentals, campsites and hostels to choose from. Consider your needs and book accordingly to save money.
Where to stay
Here’s a list of budget and mid-range options to consider;
The Big Island: The Hilo Bay Hostel has dorms staying from $30 for a good bed and a wonderful view
O‘ahu: Ilima Hotel has beautiful views, if you stay above the 10thfloor at this Honolulu spot. Every suite and studio (starting from $125) has an attached kitchen
Maui: Lahaina Inn, with rooms starting from $99, is a bargain, even through the rooms are relatively bare and small. The ground floor restaurant, called Lahaina Grill, will be greatly appreciated by all foodies