Traveling to the Hawaii is bound to cost you some serious Kālā. The cost of living for residents is nearly double the national average. Housing is nearly three times the average, and even groceries and utilities are 60-70 percent beyond average. For tourists traveling to The Big Island and beyond, nothing comes cheaply, but smart planning can make a big difference. With a little know-how, wintering in Hawaii can become a regular part of life.
5 Ways To Save Money On Your Hawaiian Vacation
Getting To Hawaii And Back
The Holy Grail of a Hawaiian vacation is finding a flight that won't leave you scraping financial pumice off your teeth. For perspective, booking a month in advance for late March, the average midweek round-trip flight to Honolulu was around $1,100 from the Southeast, $800 from the Northeast and $600 from the West Coast. Booking 4 months out for late June cut $100 from the Southeast departure but added $150 to the West Coast average. Our best advice is to check options frequently. Using your frequent flyer miles is an obvious saver no matter when you fly.
Finding Cheap Accommodations
For adventure and stargazing, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai and Maui allow camping and rent basic cabins. Hostels also offer bargain costs, the trade-off privacy and comfort. On Airbnb, deals improve with distance from the tourist track. Similarly, you may be able to find a bargain at a bed and breakfast. Even budget hotels may be more expensive than you think, so renting a condo for your stay may be preferable. If you're military, Hawaii has a whole set of options for you, including the Hale Koa Hotel resort. For the totally laid-back, Couchsurfing.com offers just that – for free. Getting a hotel credit card with a bonus offer some months ahead of your trip is an alternative way to get free hotel stays.
Enjoying Yourself While There
With beaches, volcanoes, national and state parks, ships, a palace, a zoo, an aquarium and more, Hawaii's myriad attractions mean that your budget is yours to make – or break. Spending a day exploring island treasures, hiking or "beaching it" will cost you next to nothing; you can even fish for your supper! If you can maintain wallet control, shopping venues and galleries - like Front Street in Maui's Lahaina – can satisfy restless tourist bugs. If you need a high-ticket activity treat, reserve early but schedule it near stay's end; let anticipation keep you frugal.
Getting Around In Hawaii
Car rental companies have sites on the most populated islands, but cars can easily cost $100 a day or $1,000 for a week. Vehicles are booked quickly, often well in advance. While taxis are available, they're often pricey, but many hotels run free shuttles to frequent destinations. Bus options can help on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and Hawaii. Honolulu, for example, has The Bus, which sells an unlimited 4-day visitor pass for $35 - kids under 5 ride free. Don't forget bicycles, however. Many areas are not only bike-friendly but also have organized, self-guided trails.
Island Hopping In Hawaii
Hawaii's island chain actually stretches 1,500 miles from tip to tail. Narrowing the focus to the major islands - Niihau, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Maui, Kahoolawe and Hawaii - that's still 326 miles. Transportation between islands - ferries, fast boats and planes - starts at a minimum $35 one way per person and escalates rapidly and exponentially. Staying on one island or planning strategically to use only one-way tickets is smarter than paying for repeated back-and-forths.