Traveling to Hawaii can be a real source of stress and struggle when you are on a budget. The cost of life here is 96.3% higher than the U.S average! Don’t get discouraged. As people who live here all year round, we know all of the hacks to save money. Make your holiday actually relaxing and enjoyable without stressing and spending. Keep reading to learn all of our tips for traveling to Hawaii on a budget.
1-Flying to Hawaii
Easier said than done: be flexible. If you have the chance to choose when to take a break from work, look at the flights first!
Avoid going at the same time as most people, that is when the airline prices get crazy! Use a search engine such as “sky scanner“, “google flights” or “Hopper“. When searching for flights, keep your options open. Departure time, arrival time, or even exact location! There are many Islands in Hawaii and they are all worth visiting.
By keeping your options open this will help you find the best deal! By doing this right now I can find round trip flights from Los Angeles to Maui for only 225 USD. pretty good right?
If you don’t have the chance to travel when you want, and have to fly during the most expensive time of the year, don’t worry! There are many more ways to keep your trip affordable!
There are many different ways and platforms to find a place to stay, booking.com, TripAdvisor, Kayak.com and Airbnb are definitely some of the most popular. There’s no secret hack here. Take your time, compare prices and make your decision. But wait.. if you are willing to make sacrifices, we might have a way to help you save some more money!
Accommodation is definitely going to take a big chunk of your budget, unless you try one of these solutions:
Rent a campervan / RV : Yes, this isn’t the first time we have recommended living the van life in Hawaii. There is no better place for it! You won’t have to fight with the cold and can always avoid the rain if necessary. One of the biggest advantages of renting a camper van is that you will save on a car rental and hotel! There are many ways to find a car rental, but Turo.com is definitely one the best option.
Turo.com is a website / app that connects car owners to travelers. It is not a professional rental car company. The cars are not necessarily very recent or in the best condition, but we are here to save money, right?
Craiglist can also offer better deals sometimes, but be careful here, you have no warranty at all that the owner of the vehicle is reliable and won’t ghost you last minute!
Another way to save plenty of money on accommodation is by doing a home exchange. Many websites exist to put people in touch that are willing to exchange homes for a vacation. The demand for Hawaii is very high. Unless you have a quite amazing place, this option is not very easy to set up.
Work Exchange can also be an option, some farms and hostels will trade you a bed for a few hours of your time everyday. It can be a lifechanging experience if you are willing to work. This way you will definitely meet a lot of people and dive straight into the local culture.
In case you were not convinced to rent a camper van, here are some tips to getting around the island without breaking the bank:
Split the cost of a car rental with friends. If you were planning to come alone, it’s time to gather some company!
Don’t worry if you do not want to travel with a group. You can always take the bus or rent a scooter! Public transportation is actually really good and affordable in Hawaii.
If you like to move at your own pace, a scooter is a great option. It can seems scary and dangerous, but the traffic in Hawaii is way more chill than on the mainland. Most of the roads here only have one lane and the speed limit is no greater than 45mph.
Hawaii has hundreds of activities to offer that are hard to resist. But do you really need rent a jet ski or do a helicopter tour? Driving around and exploring is (almost) completely free. Hiking, surfing, paddling, snorkeling, fishing-all of these activities are free of charge if you bring your own gear!
This is where you can really see a big difference with the prices on the mainland. If you are a Costco member, we definitely recommend taking your card with you and stopping there. This is by far the cheapest shopping on the islands. Yes they sell everything in bulk, so that’s another reason to travel with a group of friends or family.
If you don’t feel like cooking all the time, the cheapest way to eat out is to go in the markets and food trucks in order to try the local food. Poke bowls, Musubi, Chicken Katsu, etc. All the markets have a kitchen with fresh and affordable food. You can eat a full meal for less than 10USD.