Affordable Hawaii

Free Views from Olomana Ridge, Oahu!

Both my first vacation to Hawaii and my first move to Hawaii were done in an incredibly inexpensive, affordable way.  It is possible!!  (Truth bomb:  It still costs money, and real money.  It's not remotely free.)  Granted, there is only so much leeway for some parts of a trip or move to Hawaii (like cheap ways of getting there), but there are options to help save your money!

And as I find myself now planning a series of trips back to Hawaii, I am definitely aiming towards anything that will save a buck. 

A Digression...and Explanation

...Yes, I did say I was moving back.  I really was.  That was the plan!  And like most well laid plans, it went to crap...but in the best possible way.  I submit for your reading pleasure:

Welcome Wrench #1:  Right around the time when we began to plan in earnest for myself and my two boys to move back to Oahu for my husband's upcoming 6 month deployment, we got word that the deployment got...believe it or not, SHORTENED!!!  I know, I know!  Crazy awesome.  Except we'd planned on renting out our house for those 6 months to help with expenses...and there aren't many people looking for a 4 month rental, right?

Welcome Wrench #2:  And it's a biggie.  You could probably guess something like this, if you've read through a bit and have a sense of how much I want to go back to Hawaii.  Our family size will be increasing from 4 (plus 2 furbabies) to 5 (plus 2 furbabies)!!!  We have baby #3 (well, technically #4 after a loss late last year), on the way!!

While being pregnant in and of itself doesn't preclude me from taking the boys to Hawaii, the combination of the shortened deployment and the timing of the pregnancy (you guessed it, I'm due JUST BEFORE hubs returns), makes a fairly monster wrench.  So, in the interest of not bankrupting our family with two living expenses (our mortgage plus a rental in Hawaii), as well as baby's due date, we've decided that the move is henceforth postponed...indefinitely.

And yeah, it breaks my heart a little bit.  But then, my heart is so full right now anyway, I've moved past it pretty quickly.  And on to more plotting.  Especially my NEXT HAWAII PLAN.

Upcoming Hippie Plans

There is a healing certification I've been interested in for a few years...and lo and behold (despite that I've checked repeatedly), it IS in fact offered in Hawaii!  So starting in the Fall of 2016, I will be traveling to Hawaii FOUR TIMES a year for the next THREE YEARS!!

...And Now Back To Our Regular Scheduled Program.

Apologies for a fairly major digression from our topic, but now you can see how important finding AFFORDABLE means of traveling to and staying in Hawaii is to me personally.  TWELVE visits in THREE years!  Good thing trips like this play on pretty much all of my strengths...

So...Where to Start:

I'm going to break it down into topics and go from there (and a lot of this will be duplicate, but it always bears repeating, and it's handy to have in one spot)  (And a reminder that this site is a work in progress!!) :

  • Getting to and from Hawaii
  • Accomodations
  • On-Island Transportation
  • Dining
  • Activities/Entertainment/Shopping/Attractions

*I am working on an ebook of sorts to help highlight these!*

And for Kicks, My Quick and Dirty SAVE ALL THE DOLLARS LIST:

  • Red Eye Flights:  They suck, but tend to save money.  And Tuesday flights tend to be cheaper.
  • A Month of the Bus Pass:  As of writing this, a month is $60 for unlimited rides, a four day visitor pass is $35, and a one way fare is $2.50.  I found this to be by far the most economical way to get around the island, and there are many, many stops...although avoid rush hour if you can!
  • Find a rental on Craigslist/Airbnb/VRBO etc., ESPECIALLY with a kitchen!  I was often able to rent a room in a house for a month for $550 or so. *A word here to make sure you watch out for scams!  NEVER send money, information, etc., unless you're sure it's legit!  Rule of thumb:  If it feels scammy, it probably is.  Look elsewhere. *  ALSO be aware that "kitchenette" in Hawaii can mean a bathroom sink and a mini fridge, possibly a hot plate or microwave.  It doesn't necessarily mean stove/oven/freezer/etc.  Be VERY SPECIFIC when booking and ALWAYS double check! *
  • USE that kitchen!!  If you plan to cook in your rental, you can save a boatload.  I've even brought some of the more expensive food with rather than purchase there.  I am working on meal plans to help you get a flavor of the islands (and no, not everything has pineapple!).  My first trip to Hawaii I think I spent 8 days and MAYBE $200 in food AND drinks, including a very poorly advised night/morning in the Waikiki bar scene (and one well advised night too ;D).
  • Probably goes without saying, but enjoy the free stuff!!  ALL beaches in Hawaii are PUBLIC, which means the beaches in front of those five star resorts are free too.  They can charge for parking (and watch the hours there), and not rent equipment/allow bathroom usage/sell food or drinks to people without rooms, but the beach?  FREE!!
  • Again with the Captain Obvious, but PACK LIGHT.  Baggage fees are ridiculous and often unnecessary.  Most hotel rooms/rentals will have things like towels and hair dryers...or just rock the beachy waves while you're there (Okay, pack your frizz goo, cause the humidity is no joke).  Bathing suits with shorts, tanks, and flip flops (called slippers) are pretty much allowed everywhere.  And they don't take up much room!  If you do decide to brave the (sometimes) snow capped chilly peaks of Mauna Kea or Haleakala, you may be able to rent a coat or take a tour where they offer them.
  • DO YOUR RESEARCH, but don't be afraid to wing things.  Sometimes you can get a BOGO pass for a booze cruise just by walking by the docks at just the right time ;)  If that's the epitome of your vacation though, book it ahead.

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