• Posted:Wednesday, February 20, 2013
  • Comments: 6

Hawaii on a budget

Posted in: Guest bloggers
Hawaii on a budget

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.

By: tracy.lynch

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  • Posted: Thursday, December 26, 2013
Jenine I am also single and 63 and like to travel. My kids who have traveled extensively with me are now married. I live in California and still work but take at least three vacations per year. I need someone to travel with me to Alaska in late June and Brazil /Amazon in November in 2014. If interested, post a comment on this site and I will give you my e-mail address... Nina
  • Posted: Friday, September 13, 2013
I think it sounds fun.. I love hawaii. I am a recent widow and of the age of 62 , and would love to travel but hate to do it alone. Just wondered if you know of anyone that is interested in traveling around like you do? Thanks alot Janine
  • Posted: Saturday, July 13, 2013
There's a Walmart in downtown Honolulu. It does not have the low prices we are used to in the mainland, but it is still cheaper than the stores around Waikiki
  • Posted: Friday, July 12, 2013
If you must eat out, go for "plate lunch" at small Mom and Pop places. These are daily lunch specials, usually $5-$7, with a staggering amount of food--easily enough for lunch with leftovers for dinner so you're getting 2 meals for $5-$7. You don't get to choose what you eat, there's one plate lunch special, and you either select that, or you eat from the more expensive menu. You can usually find plate lunches at small, local restaurants. Check out small places in the corners, backs, and low-traffic sides of small strip-malls for these types of places. Another lowish-cost dining option is Korean BBQ. These semi-fast-food chains are all over and offer a variety of BBQ'd marinated meat choices served with rice and 3-5 additional vegi or starch side-dishes of your choice, all for about $7-$9. Once again, it's a huge amount of food, so your $7-$9 meal is really two meals, each costing $3.50-$4.50. To order, tell them which kind of meat you want (or point at the photo menu if you can't pronounce it), and how many sides. Then, they'll shovel up a truck-load of rice on your plate and expect you to point at the 3 (or 4, or 5) vegi or starch side-dishes you'd like. (They're displayed in a salad-bar like arrangement behind the ordering counter and you point at what you want.) When your sides and rice have been shoveled onto your plate, they'll ring you up Nd send you away with a number as your meat is prepared. Pick up the whole meal when they call your number, and get a to-go box because there will be extra.
  • Posted: Thursday, May 16, 2013
I agree with ALL the points you've made here. Especially hiking and packing snacks. All the points on this take me back to my trip to the Big Island a few months back. So much fun. You can't really do it in places like Oahu or Maui, but hitch hiking was a great way to get around for us when we were out there in South Kona... that is if you're brave enough! :P Check out some of my travels here: http://landingsandtakeoffs.com/category/hawaii/
  • Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013
Also there are discount & BOGOF coupons on meals in free booklets listing tourist attractions, chopper rides, etc. distributed all over Honolulu.
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