Hawaii Vacationing On A Budget

4.5 stars from 5 reviews
How to visit Hawaii on a budget and save money.

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• General: DIY / How-To • General: Educational
• General: Guide • General: Transportation

Matt Anderson's Take
Pretty much everyone would love to take a trip to Hawaii, but not everyone can afford a lavish trip on an unlimited budget. The good news is that vacations don't have to be pricey to be amazing, fun, and memorable. All you need are some Hawaii Travel Itineraries along with a our Hawaii Trip Planner and you're ready to get started.

Dive into that planning at any time by searching for beaches, hotels, restaurants, activities, and more right here.

But you're reading this to save money so let's move on with our top money saving tips when traveling to Hawaii.

Don't Drive!


Don’t drive in Hawaii? Meaning, don't rent a car. Are we serious? Yes and no. Even if you find a cheap car rental you would have to pay parking fees (most hotels will charge $25 to $30 per night, or more, to park), then there is rental insurance and gasoline. It all adds up quickly.


While this is a huge money saving tip, and we do suggest this for those on a budget, it only works in certain areas like Waikiki (see Waikiki Guide). It can also work in some other big resort areas like Kaanapali on Maui, but not as well. If you read Do I Need To Rent A Car In Waikiki?, you'll see that we suggest renting a car. But if you're on a budget you can skip it or just rent one for a day or two as needed. Many larger resorts offer rental cars right on their property so you can rent one on a daily basis and skip the parking fees when you return back.

If you are staying in Waikiki (see Waikiki Guide), you'll also want to check out these Free & Cheap Waikiki Parking. If you're not staying in Waikiki be sure to read Do I Need A Rental Car In Hawaii?


If you're on Oahu, you can actually use TheBus system which is incredibly cheap and can get you almost anywhere on the island, even if it's not the fastest option for longer journeys.

Booking & Bundling


You might want to consider a package deal for your airfare and accommodations and rental car if you choose to get one. You can do the math and see if the package is worthwhile. There are many hotels and airlines as well as travel companies that offer such package deals and that often means better savings versus booking airfare and hotel separately.

You'll also want to time when you book your flight to maximize your savings. To do that, be sure to read Best & Cheapest Time To Book & Travel To Hawaii.

Stay At A Condo


Alternatively, you should consider staying at a condo or apartment. There are plenty of cheap hotels in Hawaii, on most islands, but a condo or apartment will often be cheaper. You'll also avoid some added resort fees this way, see Hotel & Resort Fees & Taxes. Another great advantage of staying at a place that has a kitchen is the luxury to cook. When you cook your own meals, there is plenty of savings awaiting you. Eating out in Hawaii can be costly so cooking at "home" is an added way to save more money.

You can look for local stores like Costco or WalMart where you can save some serious money on groceries, dairy products, and meat. They often have better prices than other supermarkets, especially the pricey ABC Stores, even for beverages. Condos and apartments will be well furnished so you don’t have to worry about utensils or any common appliance which you would need to cook.

Avoid Checked Bags


If you're flying on an airline that makes you pay to check your bags, consider traveling light and packing less. If you have to check two bags each way at a cost of $25 per checked bag then you're looking at another $100 in expenses. Carry on bags are free. Pack less and consider doing laundry while in Hawaii as needed. Most hotels have onsite laundry and some condos even have free laundry machines in the units. Besides, it's Hawaii and as we cover in Hawaii Weather you're probably going to mostly be wearing bathing suits and light clothing. For more on packing, be sure to read our Packing Tips.

Explore Free Activities


Explore the free places first. Head to the beaches, hiking trails, parks, or just take a ride on a bike and enjoy the scenic paradise.

There are plenty of free, or very cheap, things to do in Hawaii. Start with those before booking expensive tours and activities. In fact, there are so many free things in Hawaii that we have a separate guide just for that so go read Free Things To Do In Hawaii to save some serious money.
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Matt Anderson
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Brett D
Joined: Mar 2017
Reviews: 39
Likes Received: 1
Budgeting is the only way to get a lot out of your travels. Check out specials on the internet. Read reviews, they are always helpful as others share their deals. Also when we land we check out the brochures at the airport as they have discount coupons and lots of information in them. And lastly, check with the locals they know where the deals are. Have a budget and stick with it, nothing ruins a trip more than to go overboard and broke.
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Vickey W
Joined: Mar 2017
Reviews: 123
Likes Received: 39
I am a Budget Busting Coupon Queen who loves to see and do as much as she can and not go broke. We always look online and in airport magazines for local coupons. Also ask around, the locals have always been good at helping us do and see things either reasonable or free. So many things to see and do in nature and they are free. The tips you offered here were good ones.
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Mike C
Joined: Aug 2016
Reviews: 2
Likes Received: 1
Lot's of good suggestions, but the one you missed was try a different island. Maui & Oahu are very crowded and giant tourist traps. We just moved from Oahu to Molokai and the feeling is completely different. Prices for lodging are much lower here and there are a lot of free outdoor activities plus here you can see the Hawaii of 75 years ago. No traffic (not even a traffic light), pristine beaches and lots of Aloha. There is only 1 hotel, but quite a few condo's for rent, some that even have vehicles. If you need the night life and the busyness of the city, go to Oahu or Maui. If you want to see the real Hawaii and relax and enjoy yourself, then come to Molokai.
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chantel
Joined: Mar 2016
Reviews: 395
Likes Received: 11
Vacationing in Hawaii on a budget is very easy to do. We would all love to wine and dine everywhere but will say most places in Waikiki are expensive. Whereas there are lots of other place that are cheap.

Firstly, I travel twice a year to Hawaii and stay in a condo. Condos have everything inside so when you arrive go down to Walmart or ABC Stores and get food and drinks for your room. Have a good breakfast and go out and eat each night for dinner will save a lot. Lots of activities to do without spending. Walking, the beach, etc.

If you like to drink, get some drinks from ABC Store and enjoy on your lanai if you don't want to go out and spend money at bars. Every Friday night they have fireworks you can enjoy from your lanai. Mine looks right onto the lagoon, just beautiful and free. Lots of ways to save money.
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Dave
Joined: Apr 2016
Reviews: 141
Likes Received: 24
Wanna know how to save money? Rent a condo with a full kitchen and washer and dryer. With the condo there is usually a kitchen with full cooking capability. What we do is cook two meals at the condo and go out one meal. This saves a lot of money. Look at it this way, you would be going to the grocery store anyway if you were at home, so why not on vacation. Then you can go to a farmers market and get the fresh island produce.
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