Your Guide to Budget Travel in Hawaii

When you think of Hawaii, you imagine the long stretch of sandy beaches, clear blue waters and gentle ocean breeze. Hawaii is famous for its geological formations such as active volcanoes and cascading waterfalls. No wonder its islands are a popular honeymoon destination and tourist spot.

The Aloha State is known for its pricey entertainment, luxurious housing and expensive flights. However, with a proper plan in place, you can experience paradise while remaining within your budget. For instance, supermarkets are your friends when you want to keep from overspending while traveling.

One of the best ways you can get around Hawaii while sticking to a budget is by using public transportation. For example, transport such a trolley is a cheap way to help you explore. Moreover, one particular island will save you money. Continue reading the sections below to find other ways to save while on your trip to Hawaii.

Find Affordable Accommodations

Staying in Honolulu on a budget will mean avoiding fancy, five-star hotels. These luxurious hotels are fun to stay at but can become very expensive. Fortunately, there are cheaper options available where you can have fun too. Below are cheap options you can use:

  • Airbnbs
  • Hostels
  • Affordable hotels

One benefit of Airbnbs is that they can be closer to the best areas in or around Honolulu for a good price. For instance, with enough time and preparation, you can book an Airbnb near Waikiki Beach for as little as $39 per person. In addition to Airbnbs, you can also stay at hostels in Hawaii for a similar price.

Since backpackers and college students looking for a cheap holiday are typical guests at hostels, a bed in a hostel may be the best choice if you are interested in interacting with other travelers staying for a night. Furthermore, these establishments will have a receptionist you can go to for travel tips and other services. An important detail to note is that there are certain hostels where you will have to share a space with other travelers.

If you are interested in more private accommodations, then booking a hotel can be an option. To find a room for the right price, you might have to look for an establishment far from the beach. The further the hotel is from the beach, the lower its prices will be.

Instead of A La Carte, DIY Your Food

Because Hawaii is a tourism hotspot, accommodations and food are expensive. When you are going to Hawaii, supermarkets are your best option for finding and making inexpensive food.

After getting settled after arrival, go to a Walmart or Target to stock up on food you will need for the duration of your trip. If you do not want to cook, then buy snacks and quick meals instead. You will most likely be spending your trip walking and exploring the city. Therefore, it is important to stay energized and stocked on nutrition.

On the other hand, you can try to find cheap meals around the city. Whether you are an adventurous eater or a gourmand on a budget, you can find delicious meals at an affordable price. For example, food trucks are typically in areas with plenty of tourists but are also much cheaper than going to restaurants.

In addition to food truck fare, you can also go to fast-food restaurants. Try to avoid resort areas since the meals are at a higher than average price. Your most affordable food restaurant options will be located in areas away from resorts and closer to local towns.

Say Good-Bye to Island Hopping and Stick to Oahu

Hawaii is well known for the uniqueness of its islands. For instance, Maui is known for having the largest dormant volcano in the world. Aside from the volcano, the island also has the most miles of accessible beach area than any other Hawaiian island. The island of Kaua’i is known for having Waimea Canyon, an amazing gorge called the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific.”

When looking at these gorgeous formations, all of Hawaii’s islands have something special to offer. But if you are trying to save money, then you may not want to explore more than one island. Saving as much money as possible includes saving on transportation costs. Transportation to other islands will involve scouring for affordable flights, as the state does not have a main ferry system. Therefore, you can make the most out of one island by choosing the one that suits your needs and budget.

Wondering what island may fit best within your budget? Oahu, also known as the “Big Island,” is one of the least expensive islands to explore. Although Oahu receives several tourists, there are still hidden parts of the island that are worth exploring.

Another important tip is to find activities for free. The shores are worth checking out since Hawaii is known for its gorgeous beaches. Additionally, for a cheap price, you can rent:

  • Snorkeling
  • Surf
  • Other water-related items.

Honolulu in Oahu is one of the most developed cities, meaning there are many activities and great overall accessibility. The capital of Hawaii has more hostels and you do not need to rent a car to get around. Thus, numerous hostels make the Big Island more budget-friendly.

Get Around on Public Transportation

Renting a car is a viable option for adventuring Hawaii, but it can quickly become a high expense. If the place you want to go to requires a vehicle, then there is public transportation available. Each trip only costs $2.50 and you can transfer connecting buses twice, so you can go almost wherever you please.

If you are staying in Oahu for a couple of days, then you have the option to get a four-day pass. You can purchase these passes from any ABC store for $25.

You can also access the Waikiki Trolley, which has different lines set at various prices. The cheapest line to get on is the pink line, which costs $2. This line will take you to the Ala Moana mall, which has retail stores, restaurants and free entertainment like hula events.

The bus routes in Oahu can take you to the Hawaii Volcanos National Park. The park holds two of the world’s most active volcanoes; Kilauea and Mauna Loa.