Hawaii On $100 A Day + Hat Tip To Frommer's

Hawaii On $100 A Day + Hat Tip to Frommer’s

Some long-time readers know that Beat of Hawaii was, in some ways, spawned with the help of the man considered the father of modern-day travel, Arthur Frommer. He started promoting Beat of Hawaii when our website was only four months old. That was 15 years ago, and the rest is history.

Arthur Frommer became known for travel when in 1957, he published the groundbreaking guidebook “Europe on Five Dollars a Day.” But remember, that was when phone calls cost a dime, and it was a different world.

Today’s post’s genesis is partly in honor of Arthur Frommer, who is now 93 years old. As you may know, BOH editors became friends with Arthur and his daughter Pauline and have appeared on the Frommers’ NYC-based travel radio program. In addition, at the end of the month, we are celebrating the publishing Beat of Hawaii for the past 15 years.

Hawaii on $100 a day is the same as $10 a day based on 1957 dollars.

One dollar in 1957 is worth over $10 today. So for comparison purposes, our Hawaii on $100 a day comes down to Hawaii on $10 a day based on those 1957 dollars.

To make the most of the money, we chose a hotel with a kitchenette and good reviews. After looking at many options in comparable price ranges, we opted for the Kuhio Banyon Hotel, a moderately priced and rated property in Waikiki.

Waikiki 7-night vacation with two people sharing:

The total cost for one week on Oahu was $736 or just over $100 per day.

1. Accommodations: We looked at Kuhio Banyon Hotel with a kitchenette (using booking.com). The total for 2 is $962/week was $481/week per person.

2. Food: $30/day with two cook-in meals and one budget eat-out, for a total of $210/week.

3. Free or low-priced activities: Going to the beach, hiking Diamond Head, finding complimentary music and hula for starters.

4. Transportation by The Bus: $6/day x 7: $42/week. As it turns out, Oahu is the only island where bus transportation makes sense instead of a rental car. For only slightly more, you can have unlimited bus travel throughout your week long stay.

What about Kauai, Maui, and Big Island?

In most cases, you’re going to need a rental car which adds substantially to your costs. If so, shop for the best deals and try Discount Hawaii Car Rentals, Priceline, and Autoslash for comparisons. Airbnb may be another good source for discounted accommodations. Also, try Booking.com for more ideas. When you stay at economy properties, check the reviews, map out the location to see how far you are from the beach, and make sure you are protected if the accommodation does not match the listing.

How to create your trip to Hawaii on $100 a day.

1. Did you get the best deal? Try calling the hotel directly. The hotel rate we found above was on Booking, and there may be additional savings possible by going to the hotel.

2. Many Hawaii restaurants offer discounts for early dining or on specific days of the week. Tip: make lunch your eat-out meal since that is usually cheaper than dinner.

3. Cheap airfare. Travel on airline routes with strong competition. During Cyber week, we had airfares as low as $91 each way, including taxes and fees from west coast gateways. There will be more airfare sales with similar prices.

4. Travel during off-peak periods. This remains a top travel tip. Visit in late summer instead of mid-summer, during fall (except Thanksgiving), and  January through early June (except Spring Break).

5. Book within the last sixty days for great deals on airfare and accommodations.

6. Plan Hawaii flights and accommodations at the same time to not get surprised by one or the other being priced too high for your budget.

7. Find free and cheap Hawaii activities. Hawaii excels in this area. From hiking to beaches with snorkeling, great swimming, and spectacular Hawaii sunsets.

8. In Honolulu, The Bus is the cheapest at $3, even coming from the airport if you don’t have much luggage. Or travel all day for just $7.50.

What are your best tips for staying close to a $100 nightly Hawaii vacation budget?

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13 thoughts on “Hawaii On $100 A Day + Hat Tip to Frommer’s”

  1. BOH You’re Amazing. A few months ago I chose to challenge myself, I had been informing people that Hawaiian Travel need not cost many thousands per person. The Kuhio was my choice and Yes, calling directly for off season a better price was available. Walmart, and Sam’s with a membership, is where I chose for food and etc. cutting costs significantly. Being in downtown Honolulu makes it convenient. “The Bus” commercial rings in my head and is a great asset. Inter-Island travel can be affordable if researched and a rental car doesn’t need to cost an arm/leg or torso for a day or two. I proved it, similar to you, and passed it on to others as an example. Flights can be found that are very inexpensive nothing under $1,1000, how’s $359 PP?

  2. I found this article very interesting, particularly the comments on public transportation. I have walking challenges, but the city buses we’ve used in the USA are usually completely accessible and the standards for ADA rooms are consistent and good. Public transit is an inexpensive way to see a city and we’ve seen much of Paris, London, Toronto, and Vancouver that way. I look forward to trying out the public transit in Honolulu.

    1. Many European, and other Foreign Countries, Major Cities have an extraordinary mass transit system. In the US only the largest, few, Cities come close or equal. Oahu has one of those “cut above” transit systems and advertise it well, they should be proud.

      1. I always enjoyed using the Bus. My son uses a wheelchair and the Bus is accessible. We went as far as the North shore and to the leeward side Pearl Harbor. To the windward side we went to the beach right by Lanikai.

  3. Thanks for the fun article, BOH. I know a couple (65 and 70) who stay in West Maui a few times a year and just take the public bus. They said they get to West Maui on the bus faster than the time it takes to rent a car at the airport. They take the bus everywhere!

    I’ve actually seen many more (obvious) visitors waiting at the bus stops, than previously.



  4. One of the best ways to keep your cost down is to make sure your accommodation has a kitchen. That way it saves cost and you can eat healthier too! Just having returned from Waikiki.. we used the bus exclusively for the first time… it was great! A real cost saver.. and especially if you are 65 or older..

    There is so much to do if you are able to be mobile.. the bus will get you virtually everywhere you want to go.. yes it might take a little longer.. but you’re in paradise and supposed to be more relaxed anyways!

  5. Living on the big island, a car is a must but for the traveler, using the Hele-On bus is just $2.00 per ride and you can go all over the island for that $2.00. Their website gives you detailed bus schedules and maps as well. There are lots of places to eat cheap too. AirbnB is a great way to save on the cost of lodging and if you are traveling light, you can always bum a ride to your final destination.

    1. The Ilima and Royal Grove hotels are both budget accommodations in Waikiki. They both offer kitchens. The Bus is a good and cheap option for getting around not only Waikiki but a lot of Oahu. There are some pricy restaurants but I have been to the more reasonable ones that I like- the Hula Grill for breakfast and Dukes has a good breakfast buffet. Eggs and Things is good and MAC 24/7. Please check them out. Thank you.

      1. A Shout Out to Duke’s! Their Breakfast Buffet is Awesome and have eaten there many, many times. If you’re on a Budget eating there every day might break it, or not, but I would highly recommend it “at least” once. While there Learn “Who” Duke was and “Why” his Legend is a part of Hawaiian History and Lore!

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