How to visit Hawaii on a budget and save money.
General: DIY / How-To
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 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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