In October of 2015 my husband and I honeymooned at Waikiki Beach. It was magical and I wish every day that we could go back there. As magical as it was, it was also incredibly expensive. We didn’t exactly try very hard to save money while we were on our tropical vacation, and sometimes I regret that. I want to share with you my top tips to save money while vacationing in Hawaii.
Plane tickets, hotels, and general expenses tend to be cheapest when tourism is lower, which happens to be during the fall and spring. You’ll find cheaper prices and less crowds if you travel during these times.
Find affordable means of transportation on the island that you stay on.
The cheapest way to travel around is the bus, but of course you’ll be a slave to the bus schedule. If you don’t mind planning your events around that schedule, then that is an excellent option. My husband and I wanted the freedom to go where we wanted, whenever we wanted, so we rented mopeds. It was MUCH cheaper than a car, they used very little gas, and we could travel virtually anywhere on the island (except the highways). Of course this can be potentially dangerous during the busy season when traffic is high, so use your best judgment on this one.
Food is expensive, no matter what.
I took this photo at the outdoor bar/restaurant at our hotel. Our first night there we were jet lagged, exhausted, and we didn’t feel like exploring food options, so we spent an arm and a leg and had dinner on the veranda. The food was absolutely incredible, but we wasted a good chunk of our vacation fund on that one meal. My suggestion if you want to save the most money is to eat at chain restaurants that you can find anywhere in the 50 states, such as Subway or Burger King. Of course, you won’t get as authentic of an experience if you do that, but you will save a ton of money. If you decide to splurge on your hotel and you get a suite with a kitchen, another good option is to shop for groceries at Walmart or Target and cook your own meals. But, you should know that milk alone is $8.50 a gallon. We ate breakfast every single morning at a fun little restaurant called Jimmy Buffet’s. The prices were affordable and the huevos rancheros was to die for, so if you have one of those by where you’re staying, definitely check it out.
Pick a couple “big” activities and go with the flow for the rest of your trip.
We paid big bucks to swim with dolphins and scuba dive while we were in Waikiki (that’s me kissing that beautiful dolphin). The rest of the time we stuck to less expensive activities. One night we found a farmer’s market about a quarter mile from our hotel, and just taking part in local crops and culture was the coolest thing. We paid $5 for a big coconut, but otherwise didn’t spend a dime for that experience. We did spend $30 to snorkel at Hanauma Bay. They do offer snorkel rentals there for $20 a piece, but we bought our snorkels for $12 from the gift shop across the street from our hotel. They worked just fine, and it saved us a few dollars.
No matter what you decide to do while visiting the islands, take a while to just sit with a piña colada on the beach and watch the waves. It’s a very relaxing experience and you need to take advantage of it while you’re in a tropical location.