How to Visit Hawaii on a Budget ($$ Saving Tips)

Do you need a little bit of paradise in your life but simply cannot swing a huge travel budget? If that’s your reality, you don’t have to sadly remove Hawaii from your vision board. Instead, check out these helpful, money-saving tips on how to visit all the islands without breaking the bank. Then, start planning your travels with confidence that you can visit Hawaii on a limited budget.

The Flight There

Let’s face it, the airport fees are no joke when checking in your bags. Some fees can cost up to $100… and that’s just for one bag. Now imagine that times however many bags that you decide to check-in. These fees add up and can be quite costly, but you can avoid this.

Carrying on a bag is a much more efficient way to travel without spending too much money on getting your bag to the destination. This way, you don’t have to pay the fees and you can still bring the essentials that you need to take with you. Another highlight of having a carry-on isn’t only money-saving, but it is equally time-saving. Don’t wait around for your luggage at the airport. Simply hop off the airplane and head to your destination of choice!

Oahu

Well-known as “The Gathering Place,” Oahu attracts more than a half-million visitors each and every month. Most people spend an average of $266 per day on their trip, but you can decrease that amount with these tips.

Skip the Oceanside Accommodations

If you can see the water from your hotel room, you can bet that you’re paying extra for the view. So, skip the expense by getting a room further inland, and then simply visit the oceanside as you go about your day.

Enjoy Picnics on the Beach

With picnics on the beach, you can save money on restaurant fare while still enjoying a meal with a view. Just pick up your supplies at local grocery stores, farmer’s markets, and delis, and then throw a blanket on the sand before getting your grub on.

Take Advantage of Tour Discounts and Packages

When you’re not on the beach, save money on attractions by taking advantage of tour discounts and packages, like the Go City Oahu Pass. Available for one to seven days, this pass allows you to enjoy all the best island attractions at one low price.

The top attractions included on the pass are:

  • Makani Catamaran Sail
  • Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum
  • Diamond Head Guided Hike
  • Sea Life Park Hawaii
  • Honolulu Museum of Art

If you get a three to seven-day pass, they’ll throw a premium experience into the mix as well, like a Dolphin Encounter and admission to the Sea Life Park.

Maui

Each and every month, at least 250,000 tourists hit Maui shores – and it gets even busier throughout the summer season. On their travels, it’s easy for each person to spend over $200 per day, but you can save with these tips.

Avoid Peak Season Travel

As with anything, when demand goes up, so does the price. So, to save money on your trip, skip the peak travel season in favor of visiting in the early spring or fall. By doing that, you’ll get a better price on airfare, lodging, and tickets to attractions.

Take Advantage of Happy Hours

The happy hours across Maui are legendary, giving you a chance to save money while sampling the best at each restaurant. Although pretty much every restaurant across the island offers happy hour, you can get the top deals at:

  • The Dirty Monkey
  • Kahului Ale House
  • Maui Brewing Company
  • The Mill House
  • Myths of Maui
  • Mama’s Fish House

Barring that, set your sights on the many food trucks around town, which always offer great deals.

Spend Plenty of Time on the Beach

If you don’t want to shell out the big bucks to see local attractions, just spend a whole lot of time on the beach. With over 30 miles of beaches to explore, you’ll be hard-pressed to get through them all plus they’re always a great time.

Kauai

Nearly 150,000 visitors land on Kauai each month, intent on experiencing all the magic that the island has to offer. In order to achieve that goal, it’s not uncommon to spend upwards of $150 per day. Thankfully, you can decrease your costs by:  

Stay in a Condo Instead of an Oceanside Resort

Although beautiful, the oceanside resorts not only come with a high nightly price tag but also demand that you buy each meal. You can save money on the nightly rate and get a kitchen to use for your meals by getting a condo rental in Koloa Town instead.

Go to Costco for Groceries and Activity Discounts

Eating at restaurants and seeing local attractions can quickly deplete your funds, so keep more money in your pocket by looking to Costco for a solution. At that big box store, it’s possible to get food at an affordable price plus sign up for island activities at a discount.

Skip Restaurants in Favor of BBQing on the Beach

With all your Costco goods in hand, prepare your sides, and then take your fish, meat, and veggies out on the beach for a barbecue. The most popular beaches with BBQ grills include Poipu Beach Park, Lydgate Beach Park, and Anini Beach Park.

Big Island

As the largest island in the chain, the Big Island attracts nearly 200,000 tourists every month. Each visitor typically spends over $205 per day, but the following tips will easily keep more of your hard-earned cash in your pocket.

Shop Around for Affordable Small Car Rentals

With so much space between each attraction, a rental car is a must, which can add a significant amount to your daily expenses. To save a bit on your rental, go with the smallest car possible and shop around well before landing on the island.

Get Food at the Local Farmer’s Markets

There’s perhaps no better way to experience the bounty of the island than to get your food at the local farmer’s markets. Deals for days abound, too, so it’s a great way to save money on your trip to the Big Island.

Enjoy All the Free Activities at Shopping Malls

The many shopping malls all over the island regularly hold special events for the community, including hula dances and lei-making classes. To find the best options, just ask around while window shopping and you’ll quickly get the inside scoop.

Molokai

When you simply want to get away from it all, Molokai is a wonderful place to land, although it doesn’t get nearly as many visitors as the main Hawaiian Islands. While here, it’s easy to spend over $100 per day, but you can cut it down by following these steps.

Buy Coffee, Produce, and More from Local Farms

Filled with bountiful farmlands, Molokai offers a unique chance to get the freshest produce, coffee, and more. Better yet, the items are priced to sell, so you won’t have to deplete your savings to get a taste.

Book a Room at the Blue Goose B&B

The Blue Goose B&B lets you relax in peace and quiet on a serene plantation. On top of that, you get to wake up to a fresh, hot breakfast each morning, allowing you to start the day out right without shelling out even more cash.

Lanai

While most Maui tourists swing by Lanai for a day trip, this tiny island is actually a fantastic spot to land all on its own. While staying here overnight, most people shell out anywhere from $150 to over $400, but these tips will help you save.

Treat Yourself to a Stay at Hotel Lanai

A visit to the historic Hotel Lanai is a must, but it’s even better if you stay overnight as their guest. Although it’s fairly inexpensive on its own, they sweeten the deal even more by serving up a hot breakfast each morning.

Enjoy the Natural Beauty of the Island

You don’t have to pay a thing to simply enjoy the beauty of the natural landscapes across Lanai. Go over to the Manele-Hulopoe Marine Life Conservation District, stop by Dole Park, or visit the Hulopoe Tidepools. You cannot go wrong with a visit to the many beaches either, like Shipwreck Beach.

With all these money-saving tips on your side, you can start budgeting for your dream trip to Hawaii. Just remember to book your flight, accommodations, and car rental as early as possible to lock in the best rates. As you shop around, look for package deals that allow you to save even more or at least get smart freebies that offset other expenses. Before you know it, you’ll have your trip plans squared away without exceeding your set budget.