Hawaii was always on my bucket list to visit as a kid, from the time I was about 5 or 6. I grew up in Florida but was dead set to visit Hawaii. When I grew up I saw how much that would cost and it ain't cheap! So I had to start planning a trip to Hawaii on a budget! Here are the tips I've mastered along the way!
Planning a Trip to Hawaii on a Budget
Travel with Airline Miles
This doesn't mean a credit card necessarily though this is what most people think of when you hear airline miles. Sites like Expedia allow you to rack up points everytime you book with them. Those points can be used to score great deals. Southwest Airlines also has a reward program when you book directly with them on their website.
Check with your favorite airlines they might have one too! You can also earn miles by shopping online via their website so check out the details.
Skip the Fancy Hotel
I get it the fancy hotel is part of the dream right? Cocktails by the pool (and a hot pool boy 😉 ) or cocktails on the beach. But you can also get the complete local experience if you choose to rent a condo on a vacation rental site like Airbnb, they have some amazing places to rent just by a quick glance I saw several treehouses, one at the Kilauea Volcano! There was also an oceanfront house on a cliff and many with some awesome amenities. I saw many places starting under at $80 a night, for Hawaii!! Oh and a small guest house for $40 a night!
Related: How We are Cutting our Campground Fees by 70% or more!
Make Your Own Food
Another reason to rent a place is to have access to the kitchen to cut down on the eating out. Now don't get me wrong you should definitely budget to each out a few times, taking in the local food is all part of the experience. But eating out in town vs at a resort is not only cheap but it's a whole other experience.
Buy food to have snacks and makes lunches to take with you while you explore. Plus a few dinners out and cook breakfast at your rental.
Take in the Beach
You are in Hawaii and there is a lot to see and do but make sure to plan time at the beach in excess! It's free and really it's what you think of when visiting right?
Look for Attraction Bundles
When you are looking to spend money on attractions there are a few ways to save money. My favorite is to look for attraction bundles. For Hawaii, there is the Go Oahu Card where you can save up to 55% on the most popular attractions. This pass is customizable which is why I love it! You can use your pass for up to 2 weeks and on over 30 attractions! Check out the details trust me this is the one pass you need!
Make a List of Free Things to Do
You know I'm a huge fan of free things to do no matter where you are. Hit Google and look for free things near where you will be staying. Here are a few ideas to get you a head start:
Visit the USS Arizona Memorial and Pearl Harbor – This is a huge bucket list items of mine and it's a Nation Park site so make sure to take it in and have your kids get their Junior Ranger badges.
Take a Drive Along Tantalus-Round Top Drive and at Puu Ualakaa State Park – If you have access to a rental car then make sure to take this scenic drive it's 100% worth it!
Waikiki Historic Trail Walking Tour – I love local walking trails you can learn so much and we have found some amazing off the beaten path places along the way.
Related: How We Find Field Trips for Free
Look for Vacation Bundles
When you are booking your trip make sure to check out the bundle deals! I love a good bundle if you can't tell! One of the best I've seen is with Get Away Today and their Hawaiian Vacation bundle. They have activity packages and travel packages to check out. This is an amazing thing if you are planning a trip Hawaii on a budget.
Look for the Deals Months in Advance
Once you have your dates set start looking at the daily deal sites like Groupon for discounts you can use on attractions and restaurants you want to check out. At the time of writing this, I am seeing discounts on parasailing, helicopter tours, museum discounts, bus tours, and more!
Related: Top 5 Most Beautiful Waterfalls in the US
Stock up on Gift Cards
This is the best way to save on what you are looking to do! I share my 45 places to earn free Amazon Gift Cards most of these you can also earn cash out for PayPal and use that money for travel. Sites like Swag Bucks have gift cards you airline tickets you can cash out for, InstaGC also has airline gift cards along with hotel and Airbnb gift cards.
I also share how I earn $210 a month in Amazon Gift Cards, this would be a huge boost to your vacation fund!
Keep a Strict Souvenir Shopping
It is so easy to want to buy all sorts of things to take back with you. But that means spending money, then it can cost you more money to even get it home! I am a fan of buying at least one thing from an area we visit. But I make sure it truly has meaning, and I have a place in mind to put it. I like looking at local jewelry, and home decor!
There is so much nature to see in Hawaii that you have to plan some great hiking trips! While it will allow you eat the amazing without guilt because you will burn it back off, but you can take in some of the best views on the islands. If you are new to hiking we have a Beginners Guide to Hiking.
Pick a Popular Island
While Hawaii has many islands if you stick to the more popular ones like Oahu, Maui, and the Big Island, you are more likely to find the best deals on your trip. The less popular islands make great vacations they will cost you a bit more.
Travel Off Season
As with any vacation destination when you travel on the off season you can get a better deal than the more popular seasons. The offseason for Hawaii is late spring (mid-Apr to early June) and fall (Sept to mid-Dec)
Do you have any other tips for those planning a trip to Hawaii on a budget? Let us know in the comments below!