You can’t expect to stay at an oceanfront Hawaii hotel and pay pre-pandemic prices. Or fly lie-flat first class for just a few hundred dollars more. But while Hawaii is fast becoming a costly destination to visit and visitors can easily get caught and complain about it, there is still the possibility to avoid exorbitant costs. As island residents who live here and focus on Hawaii travel 24/7, we say that from our own experiences. This comes all of us are reinventing ourselves regarding future travel.
Hawaii vacations are here to stay, and doing them on a more moderate budget honestly is too. We love finding ways to save across the range of Hawaii travel costs, including airfare of course, as well as accommodations, food, car rentals, and activities.
Our post title today came from our reader, Charles H., who said he stays at Hawaii accommodations with “a full-sized kitchen and laundry in each unit.” According to Charles, “We’ve been traveling to Hawaii since 1999 and ditched hotels with no kitchen. We love looking around the island for fresh local foods and then learning how to cook them. We have saved thousands of $ by buying local groceries and using one of the many outdoor grills…people don’t know how to travel smart.” And that’s just one excellent idea. He also said, “Tourists need to stop going to Hawaii with champagne tastes on a beer budget. Go to Florida instead.”
But we’ll say that if you are more on a beer budget, there are still some ways to kick the champagne expense.
Travel smart – Hawaii airfare.
Take advantage of Southwest Hawaii and its competition.
Whether you like it or not, SWA has caused robust competition with Hawaiian and other airlines. So, if you can fly from cities where that competition is present, you’re set to find airfares that are as cheap as ever before: from $100 to $150, depending on the day, and $39 interisland airfares for some dates as well. Remember that airfare sales come and go. Jump into the fun of planning a trip to Hawaii as soon as you find a deal.
Travel smart – when to come.
Travel during the off-season.
We said it for years, and this tip still rocks. Come to Hawaii in fall and winter, except over holidays, and experience somewhat to very much lower costs across the board. That’s also true from January until the beginning of June (except for Spring Break).
Travel smart – when not to come.
Don’t come during summer or over holidays and expect any price relief. Period.
Plan far ahead (up to eleven months out) for holidays and mid-summer, or wait for low Hawaii airfare deals in the off-seasons listed above and book within the last thirty to sixty days.
Travel smart – how to book.
Book airfare, accommodations, and car rental at the very same time.
Don’t get stuck with airfare when you can’t find accommodations that work for you. To avoid that, buy accommodations, airline tickets, and your car rental simultaneously. Be smart about this. If you want to purchase changeable components, then buy those. Also, consider packaged deals, as many of you have recommended Costco Travel (although it’s not something we have found personally helpful thus far).
Travel smart – where to find value accommodations.
Hawaii hotel deals – shop, shop, shop.
Which “shell” is the best Hawaii accommodation deal hidden under? We can’t tell you, and it is a moving target. The more you research, the better your chances of arriving at a good deal. Compare total prices, including all taxes and fees, since those can amount to 50% at times. Vacation rentals can be great deals and include kitchens, but they often have the highest fees. You can also Google for budget hotels on the island you wish to stay. Some people recommend Costco Travel too.
Travel smart – food in Hawaii.
Hawaii restaurants are in turmoil. But many still have discounted menus on certain days of the week or for early dining. Another place to look for discounts and freebies for Hawaii restaurants is on Yelp. Don’t forget it’s almost always cheaper to eat out at lunch rather than at dinner, and it may be easier to find a spot.
Check restaurant websites and Yelp for eating out too.