With its majestic mountains and volcanoes sloping directly to the stretching ocean, Hawaii has remained one of the world’s top travel destinations. However, this reputation also gave the impression that The Aloha State is not budget-friendly.
Rolling golf courses, high-end beachfront resorts, and cocktails with little umbrellas usually contribute to the expensive image of visiting the archipelago. It makes it easy to forget that the real treasures of Hawaii – golden sunsets, white sands, and clear blue waters – actually cost less or are even free.
To make sure you get that tropical dream vacation within your means, we’ve prepared an easy guide to teach you how to travel to Hawaii for cheap.
1. Plan ahead of time
It’s a given that going to Hawaii isn’t something you can do at the drop of a hat, especially if you’re tightening your belt. As with most things, planning is an essential part of how you could travel to Hawaii on a limited budget. Giving yourself more time lets you check out better promos and offers. You can also research better options in travel packages, accommodations, and even dining spots that don’t get the same spotlight as the major ones. Sometimes, you can find the authentic Aloha experience in smaller, often hidden, spots. Finding them before you get them already gives you the advantage.
When to travel to Hawaii?
You can even choose when to fly to Hawaii. Like most tourist spots, the archipelago sees the most visitors during winter in the United States, with people escaping to the tropical paradise. Tourists usually peak during Christmas and the New Year. However, airfare rates typically dip from late January to early February. During summertime, you can also expect a lot of people on the islands. The airlines know this and usually offer seat sales, which is pretty hard to come by given the number of travelers.
Lastly, take this time to set your itinerary. There are a lot of guides and travel blogs on Hawaii that can give you an idea of where to go and how long activities usually take. Whether it’s on The Big Island or elsewhere, you can make the most out of your travel. Also, remember that you might not have enough time to visit the entire state, but you can always come back another time.
2. Start booking
The most important parts of your travel are transportation and accommodation. Once you’ve got these, consider your travel preparations halfway done. Still, these two are pretty different, so read closely to find out how to travel to Hawaii on the cheap.
For airfare, the general rule is that the earlier you book, the better. Even so, there’s no need to book from six months to a year in advance. Usually, one to four months ahead is recommended. As the flight date grows nearer, the rates rise because of the demand and the convenience of not planning in advance. Additionally, booking earlier is cheaper because it carries the risk of you being no longer available for the schedule. Canceling or rescheduling flights on your end would disqualify you from a full refund, on top of having to pay additional fees.
The same cannot be said for accommodations, however. Usually, hotel reservations get cheaper the closer it is to the date because owners are already running the risk of missing out on potential profit. A tip for booking hotel accommodation is to make reservations from the day before or within two weeks. Book too close, and you risk running out of rooms; too far will mean higher rates. There are other techniques you can use to make your lodging bills even lower:
- Check out travel rental platforms.
Travel rentals usually partner with the resorts and properties and are generally immune to the pricing trends. They get special prices, which they use to attract tourists. For example, AA Oceanfront has various well-situated properties on both Maui and the Big Island. They can even help you find locations that suit your plans and budget.
- Use travel apps.
Like rentals, some apps can help you find locations within your means. You can even set up price alerts for specific locations or travel dates you want. More importantly, some platforms like Cancelon or Roomer allow you to see if there are late cancellations from other travelers. Take advantage of these rooms, no longer wanted by the original guests, that usually come at reduced prices.
- Redeem with travel miles or credit points.
Your Hawaii travel can be a lot more affordable by using your saved up airline miles and credit card points. Most people don’t know this, and you can start searching hotels and resorts that accept these rewards points.
3. Opt for free activities
Of course, travel tours take you to different spots on the islands. However, you can even enjoy Hawaii solely based on free activities. To start, there are a lot of mountains to hike and beaches to swim in. You can check out Diamond Head Crater, a beginner-friendly hike whose switchbacks give you a breathtaking view of the entire Honolulu skyline. The path then sharply drops into the crater floor that eventually opens to the sprawling coastlines of Waikiki.
For water activities, there are several natural beaches open to tourists for water activities for free. From the Anahola Beach in Kauai to Makena Beach State Park in Maui, you can swim to your heart’s desire without having to pay extra. Most of these beaches even include diving and snorkeling spots you can enjoy. Bring your gear or rent at designated surf shops.
If you’re looking for a more relaxing experience, calm your senses and appreciate nature with the Aloha state’s secret spots. The Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden in Oahu is a vast garden with many florae surrounding a 32-acre freshwater lake. Not only do you get to take in the beauty of the flowers and the majestic landscape, but the site also offers an art exhibit. Similarly, you can appreciate the serenity and solemnity of the Valley of the Temples, also in Oahu. A natural and architectural marvel, it features temples from different faiths worldwide.
4. Use public transportation
If you can afford local car rentals, with economy options going for as low as $20 per day, that’s great. But if you’re keen on how to travel to Hawaii for cheap, you can choose many public transportation options available–or you can just walk.
Ride-sharing services are now available on most islands, although the bus is the cheapest option. It requires patience, though, as you might have to wait for a couple of minutes in between buses. There are no trains or subways on the state, although significant islands each have its bus systems that can take you where you need to be. You can even check out travel tours and transport service providers for plans and schedules.
Get that budget-friendly Hawaii escapade
Traveling to renowned destinations need not be expensive. With the right preparation and access to the right tools, you can visit The Aloha State and enjoy its pristine beaches and lush green landscape without breaking the bank. Contact us today and we’ll help you take loads off your mind, leaving you to enjoy the paradise that is Hawaii.