I can picture it now: me lying on the beach watching my four children build sand castles and frolic in the Hawaiian surf. What I can’t picture is how I’m going to pay for this little slice of heaven! Next to expensive in the dictionary are the words “Hawaiian Family Vacation.” Gulp. But where there’s a will, there’s a way and I’m sharing five ways to save money in Hawaii.
This is probably not a surprise to anyone, but Hawaii is on my travel bucket list.
The surprise might be that it hasn’t always been.
Mostly the idea of a long flight with four young children kept it off my radar.
But I’ve realized that as my children get older, taking them on a long flight might not be all that crazy to do.
Plus I’m helping my parents plan a trip- so I have Hawaii on the brain! And they are definitely looking at ways to save money in Hawaii.
It calls to me in my dreams; I want to watch the sun rise and set over the ocean and hike around volcanos and whale watch.
I need to bury my feet in the sand on the beach while sipping a frosty umbrella-topped drink.
But I must find a forgiving budget to make it all happen.
5 Ways to Save Money in Hawaii
I. Want. To. Go.
So what’s holding me back?
Cash, moola, bills, bones, Benjamins, coin, loot.
While I long to spend time in this tropical paradise, I don’t long to pay for this trip.
This is one of those cases where having a larger family can be a bit of a problem. Costs can add up quickly when you are looking at transportation and accommodations for six!
But Hawaii on a budget can be done.
Getting there, staying there, food, transportation on the islands, and family-friendly experiences all need to be taken into account.
Here are five ways to save money in Hawaii.
1. Fly To Hawaii On Airline Points
Getting there may be half the fun, but it would also be half the cost of the entire trip.
Unfortunately loading my crew into a car for an epic road trip just won’t happen this go round!
Flights to Hawaii are generally not cheap.
Unless you scored one of those killer Southwest Airlines $49 from California fares when they opened a few years ago!
Another way to lower transportation costs is to use airline points.
You can earn these by researching a credit card that allows you to responsibly earn points that can be cashed in for airline tickets.
One example I found is through the British Airways points program, Avios, which can be redeemed for flights on partner airlines.
Booking an American Airlines or Alaska Airlines flight through British Airways can be a significant savings option. Flights from west coast cities can be as low as 7,500 Avios!
That’s not a bad deal at all if you are looking for a travel card anyway.
2. Transportation Savings On The Hawaiin Islands
Transportation on the island can be expensive as well.
No matter which island we land on, I see us needing a vehicle to see all the sights. I want to do it ALL.
Check out the discount car rental company Aloha Rents. They get discounted cars from the national car rental agencies without the additional driver’s fees and often beat the discounts offered by AAA or Costco.
I’ll also bring my daughter’s car seat with me, or possibly buy a booster when we arrive.
Renting them is possible, but at $15+ a day, whoa Nelly, that is a quick way to add on to the overall vacation price!
I’m also interested in island hopping.
While I am looking at booking in Maui for our first trip, I know I want to make a trip to Oahu to visit Pearl Harbor and North Shore.
According to Beat of Hawaii, the best way to keep costs low is to book those inter-island flights early if possible, and be flexible on day and time of travel.
Hawaiian Airlines also offers baggage fee discounts to HawaiianMiles members, so it would probably be worth joining this free program to save a little money.
3. Book A Condo To Save Money in Hawaii
While there are many hotel and resort options on the islands, staying at a resort residence is another cost-saving option, especially when you are looking at traveling with a larger group.
We like to have some room to spread out with some comforts of home like a washer and dryer.
And I love having a full fridge for all those Mommy-beverages I will consume while on vacation.
Condos offer the chance for all of us to stay in one location, with nightly rates equal to or less than the cost of a hotel.
Plus having a separate room for the kids can be a lifesaver!
This is also the route I’m going for my parents. They, too, need their space in retirement! (No judgment, Mom and Dad!)
4. Shop Local: Pick Up Groceries
One of the perks of staying at a condo is an easy one to love: the full kitchen we’d have access to.
Meals at restaurants for our family eat up a huge chunk of the budget. If we can save money in Hawaii by eating at the condo, that leaves more funds for exploring the islands.
Bonus: we’d be able to pack lunches to take with us on our explorations!
One tip I’ve heard over and over again is to eat like the locals. This means shopping for fruit at the farmer’s markets and hitting the grocery stores for supplies.
Some vacation residences offer their guests resident grocery discount cards.
If yours doesn’t, you can head to the customer service desk of the local grocery store and ask if they offer free programs.
You can see a significant reduction and the ability to save money in Hawaii by signing up for one of these programs, which usually takes just a few minutes.
I’ll also be sure to pack in plenty of necessities like bug spray, sunscreen, and baby supplies.
It might take an extra suitcase, but filling it up with supplies for a week would offset any luggage charges we might incur.
5. Free Or Low-Cost Experiences In Hawaii
Nothing gets my heart racing with joy like seeing the word FREE in my travel plans. I mean, we can’t talk about saving money in Hawaii without looking at the free options out there.
The best experiences can often come from living in the moment and taking advantage of the beauty around you.
C’mon, it’s Hawaii! You can’t go wrong with just walking around your area and soaking in the lush surroundings or enjoying the gorgeous beaches.
There are tons to do for free in Hawaii, you just gotta know where to look.
Snorkeling is a low-cost option if you’re staying near the beach.
It’s especially budget friendly if you skip the daily rental plans and purchase the gear you’ll need at Walmart or bring it with you on the plane.
Groupon is an excellent resource for discounted experiences as well. I’ve seen savings on Pearl Harbor tours, for example, so don’t forget to give it a scan.
This is one bucket list location I can’t wait to cross off!
With these 5 ways to save money in Hawaii, I’m almost there. (Just kidding, but I’m going to keep working toward the goal!)
Patty Holliday is the owner and creator of all things No-Guilt Universe. As a lifelong fangirl and pop culture connoisseur, she’s been creating online since 2009. You can find her work at No-Guilt Disney.com, No-Guilt Fangirl.com, No-Guilt Life, and as host of the top-rated No-Guilt Disney Podcast.