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Hawai’i is famously expensive. These paradise islands in the middle of the Pacific have perfect weather and a laid-back lifestyle, so many people want to travel there to enjoy life to a tropical beat. However, it’s often prohibitively expensive just to get there, let alone stay there, so people often wonder whether there’s a cheaper way to experience the islands of Hawai’i. Here are a few different ways you can enjoy a Hawaiian vacation on the cheap, and experience everything the islands have to offer.

Airline Tickets

One of the most expensive aspects of a trip to Hawai’i is just getting there. However, if you look into the variety of options available via the ITA Matrix, you’ll be able to pinpoint deals going to the islands. It’s also a good idea to be open to which island you’d like to visit, as there are often deals to Kona on the Big Island as well as Honolulu on O’ahu.


Accommodation is often high-priced in the islands because people will pay for the view. One of the best things you can do is rent through AirBnB or VRBO; not only will you get a much better deal, you’ll also have a kitchen so you can make your own food. This is also a great option because you can put all the fruit you’ll buy at the Farmer’s Markets in the fridge to enjoy at your leisure. This is your chance to try rambutan and dragon fruit; it’s easier to do that in your own house or apartment than in a hotel. Picking up alcohol from these stores is also a good way to save on wine and beer while you’re out in the islands.

Rent a Car

Convertible driving along the coast

Hawai’i doesn’t have much in the way of public transportation once you get away from Honolulu, so renting a car is the best way to see the island you’ve chosen. Additionally, the kind of freedom that a car offers means that you’re able to choose a house or apartment further out. This can mean enormous savings as well as better locations and views; you may be able to find a place right on the beach outside the town for the same price or less as a regular hotel room. A car also gives you the freedom to explore all the parts of the island that are difficult to reach and makes it easy to tour the area.

Shop Like the Kama’aina (locals)

This is good advice for traveling in general, but in Hawai’i, it’s even more useful. The local Farmer’s Markets offer fresh food of all kinds for a very low budget because the people living in Hawai’i need to survive too. Local supermarkets like KTA and Publix are also a good option if you’re looking to stock the fridge. Living like you’re local is one of the best ways to save your money for the things you’d really like to spend it on. When you do go out to eat, look for local restaurants with low prices like Ken’s House of Pancakes in Hilo. If you eat like a local, you’ll find that your money will go a long way.

Free Activities

Hawai’i is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places on earth. Fortunately, many of the activities available in the islands are free. Snorkeling, swimming, and surfing are all free of charge, and it’s the reason you’ve gone to paradise anyway, so keeping to the things that are low-cost or free is the best way to get the most out of your vacation. Check before you go to some beaches, such as Hapuna on the Big Island, now charge for parking. Otherwise, there are several options available for hiking to exploring the local towns that won’t cost you a dime.
The islands of Hawai’i are a breathtaking escape from the everyday. The island of Hawai’i alone has 11 of the 13 world climate zones, so you’re able to choose your paradise. There’s no reason you can’t enjoy the islands even if you don’t have much money; with a little planning and ingenuity, you can enjoy the good life on some of the most beautiful islands in the world.

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