If you ask people to describe their idea of paradise in only one word, many would arguably say “Hawaii.” Famous for its lush forests, relaxed way of life and unforgettable beaches, this state is a standout. However, since it is such a popular tourist destination, you may find it easier than expected to deplete your travel budget.
Thankfully, the tips below offer suggestions for staying under budget and still having fun.
- Stay in a Place with a Kitchen: No matter where you travel, food expenses can become pretty substantial. See if you can find Hawaiian accommodations that include kitchens. Then, you can potentially shop for groceries once at the beginning of your stay, and get ingredients for several reasonably priced full meals, not to mention snacks.
- Arrive During the Off-Season: The time of year during which you visit Hawaii could have a major impact on overall costs. The off-season runs approximately between February and May, and September to early December. Traveling during an off-peak time may allow you to save money, plus miss the crowds.
- Coordinate Your Activities with Friends: Exploring Hawaii with friends is another smart way to cut costs. You can split the cost of things you both need, like a rental car, and think about renting a condo. However, when traveling with friends, try to only do so with people who have shared interests and goals. If you want to pursue low-cost diversions but the husband and wife you’re traveling with are all about splurging and insist on doing a lot of activities together, disagreements will likely soon follow.
- Choose a Rental Car Wisely: Although renting a car is probably the most economical way to get around in Hawaii, that’s only true if you keep certain things in mind. For example, gas tends to cost more in Hawaii than other places in the U.S., so getting a model that boasts good fuel economy should be a top concern. Also, aim to rent your car from an airport desk rather than from a hotel. It tends to be cheaper that way. Finally, resist the urge to get a make and model that might encourage you to drive faster than normal. Statistics say 112,000 drivers get tickets each day around the country. Renting a red convertible sports car might seem appealing at first, but not if the vehicle contributes to getting a ticket during your Hawaiian getaway.
- Buy Souvenirs You’ll Enjoy Forever: Picking out souvenirs tends to be simultaneously enjoyable yet pricey. Shop smarter by steering clear of novelty items like hula dancer figurines and surfboard bottle openers, at least when shopping for yourself. Items like those are okay if just buying small things for friends, but when it comes to personal gratification, think long term. For example, you might want to buy a painting from a local Hawaiian artist, or pay extra to get professional photographs from a once-in-a-lifetime excursion. Treating yourself like that does carry a higher up-front cost. But you’re investing in things you’ll enjoy for the rest of your life, rather than products that are likely to get shoved in a drawer somewhere after being used for a relatively shorter amount of time.
- Buy Multi-Attraction Passes: After making a shortlist of must-see attractions, do research to see whether you can buy a pass that grants you access to numerous attractions for a flat rate. In some cases, such as when visiting the island of Oahu, you can save by either purchasing special passes, or combining experiences so they collectively cost less when bought together.
- Eat at Buffets When Possible: Although you probably won’t find as many buffet restaurants in Hawaii as a place like Las Vegas, there are still numerous places where you can fill your plate again and again for a single price.. You’ll likely find even though some buffets are more expensive than ordering meals off a menu, they are worth the money because they have a wide assortment of cuisine, including traditional Hawaiian dishes.
- Find Free Things to Do: Whether you spend a few hours watching windsurfers at Kailua Beach Park or pay respects to fallen soldiers by visiting the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, there are plenty of activities you can do at no cost. After finalizing the dates of your trip, look for online calendars that list free events and attractions.
- Inquire About Time-Specific Meal Savings: Similar to dining establishments in other places around the world, Hawaiian restaurants frequently have early-bird specials. However, you may find them more frequently referred to as “sunset dinner menus.”
- Don’t Forget to Fill Up the Gas Tank Near the End of Your Trip: Fuel costs in Hawaii are already higher than average, but you’ll really get hit hard by bringing your rental car back to the agency without a full tank of gas. Rental car companies may charge triple the normal rate to fill the tank after you bring a car back. Think ahead and take care of fuelling up to avoid an outrageous charge.
There’s no reason to let financial worries tarnish your Hawaiian experience.
Hopefully these suggestions give you confidence it’s possible to save on trip costs without feeling deprived.
Kacey Mya Bradley is a lifestyle blogger for “The Drifter Collective.” Throughout her life, she has found excitement in the world around her. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations, cultures, and styles, while communicating these endeavors through her passion for writing and expression. Her love for the world around her is portrayed through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts.
The Drifter Collective: An eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us.