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- Posted:Wednesday, February 20, 2013
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Alexandra Baackes is a New York native who is slowly and thoroughly exploring the world and showcasing it on her blog - Alex in Wanderland. She recently spent forty days exploring Hawaii - Oahu, Maui, The Big Island, Lanai and Kauai. She went skydiving one day, slept in her rental car the next and packed a full month’s worth of banana oatmeal packets. In this guest blog post, Alexandra shares with us her budget tips for travelling around Hawaii…
Hawaii is certainly not known as a budget destination, and for good reason. But alternative accommodation options abound, public transport can be user-friendly and a surprising number of activities can be had for free - or not more than the cost of a rainbow shave ice.
1. Take a hike
Most people may associate Hawaii with watersports, yet it’s also a hiker’s paradise. While some famous spots may charge small National Park fees – for example, Diamond Head Crater in Oahu charges $5 for cars or $1 for walk-in visitors – the vast majority of Hawaiian hikes have free parking and no admission fees. Particularly scenic routes include the Lanikai Pillbox Trail in Oahu, the secret 'Iao Valley trail in Maui and the epic Kalalau Trail in Kaua’i.
2. Consider alternate accommodation
Hawaii might conjure images of luxurious all inclusive resorts, but those are far from the only accommodation on offer. Couchsurfing, camping and hostels are all viable and rewarding options for exploring the Aloha State. Some hostels, like the Banana Bungalow in Maui, throw in freebies like free daily tours of the island – making them excellent for all-around value.
3. Explore the shore
Rather than pay for expensive snorkeling trips, DIY your own. Pick up a cheap mask and snorkel for around $30 at a sporting goods shop before leaving home - it will quickly pay for itself as snorkel gear rentals can be up to $10 a day in Hawaii. Once that’s paid for, you can snorkel for free in fantastic spots like the Puna Tide Pools on the Big Island or Kāʻanapali in Maui - where turtle sightings are as common as sunburn.
4. Use public transportation
Renting a car is necessary on many of the islands, but on Oahu it’s painless to get around using TheBus, the island’s public transportation system. Download the free Google Maps app on your smartphone to calculate the best routes, then buy a four-day pass for $25 or a one-time ticket to anywhere on the island for a cool $2.50. Other islands have bus systems as well, though they will take more patience to navigate.
5. Pack some snacks
Food in Hawaii is staggeringly pricey, even at grocery stores. If you’ve got room in your suitcase, stock up on your favorite filling snacks from home. A few oatmeal packets stuffed in the pocket of a backpack can go a long way and save you from daily overpriced breakfast buffets.
You can keep up-to-date with more of Alexandra’s adventures over on her blog and you can follow her on Twitter, too.