Top 5 Ways to Vacation in Hawaii on a Budget!

Apr 5, 2024 | Travel Tips | 0 comments

Have you been dreaming of taking a Hawaii vacation, but don’t want to break the bank?  Top 5 ways to vacation in Hawaii; without breaking the bank!

Don’t worry!  Exploring the Hawaiian Island doesn’t have to drain your bank account!  We’ve visited the beautiful Hawaiian Islands 5 times in the past 10 years, and we are sharing our best travel tips with you!  (Checkout 5 Reasons Why We Vacation in Hawaii.) With a little planning, you can have the vacation of your dreams and not overspend!  In this guide, we will reveal the top 5 ways to enjoy Hawaii on a budget and not feel like you spent too much.

1. Travel Off Peak –

If you can plan your trip during Hawaii’s off-peak times, that’s the best. Prices tend to be cheaper in spring and fall or when the kiddos are in school.  When we came 10 years ago, it was in October and it was definitely less busy and cheaper.  Since then, we tend to come in February or March because it’s Jason’s slow time at work.  (He’s a contractor in Iowa.)  Picking up a credit card that has travel points is also a great way to help fund your trip.  We have found that when using points, it’s a good idea to already know what days you are wanting to fly.  They are typically not travel agents and typically don’t help with getting you the best rate on any particular day.  We always check the best dates online ahead of time before booking through our points agent.



View from our condo in Princeville on Kauai. I love to paint watercolor on the lanai.

2. Go “Off-Resort” For Your Stay –

The great thing about Hawaii, is nobody owns the beaches.  What that means for you, is you can enjoy the beaches at the major resorts, without paying the resort price tag!  There is so many Air B&B and VRBO options available with condos in what I call “semi-resorts”.  They range from studios (kitchen, bedroom, bathroom,) to one and two bedroom condos.  The first time we came in 2015, we stayed in a studio condo and it was plenty of room for us.  Personally, we love being ocean front or ocean view, so we sacrifice on having other amenities to counteract the price tag.



3.  Eat In or at Local Eateries & Food Trucks-

The first thing on our agenda after arriving to Hawaii is to head to Costco.  Costco has some of the best food prices on the islands and they are pretty comparable to what we pay back home. Don’t forget to get gas while your there too.  It’s the cheapest on the island!

We always try to eat out no more than one meal per day.  That’s where that ocean view really comes in handy!  I don’t mind eating in when I can sit on my lanai and watch the whales while I eat!  Also, it’s not uncommon to get out on an excursion or hike and need a bite to eat.  Packing a lunch is a great way to save a buck and avoid the food tourist traps.  When we do eat out, I’m always on the lookout for local eateries and food trucks.  There are so many well renowned chefs on the islands that have forgone the restaurant biz and started food trucks.  For example, had the best Hawaiian pork sandwich in the Target parking lot on The Big Island!



Hanakāpīʻai Beach along the Kalalau Trail, Kauai

4.  Take Advantage of Free Activities and Attractions –

The great thing about Hawaii is there’s SO much free stuff to do!  You really don’t have to spend much money at all to have a great time!  Many of the Hawaii islands breathtaking views and hikes are completely free to explore. You can hike through lush range forests, lounge on beautiful beaches and marvel at prestine waterfalls without spending any money!  Every day there is something new to do!  Let the elements and nature be your entertainment!  All you need is a good pair of hiking shoes, a cooler backpack and a camera to take pictures!

There is also a ton of free entertainment!  You can enjoy a free local luau on every Island! (It’s best to checkout local guides or concierge when you get there as times and places change frequently.)


Jeep Wrangler rental

5.  Rent a car –

Renting a car allows you flexibility and convenience to explore remote destinations on your own time.  We like to rent a Jeep Wrangler so we can pop off the tops.  It gives the convertible feel with the ability to get to more remote places on the islands.  There’s a ton of remote beaches I wouldn’t even consider without a 4-wheel drive.   If you enjoy creating your own adventure a Jeep rental is a MUST!

Vacationing in Hawaii is entirely feasible with careful planning and willingness to explore alternatives.  By following these 5 tips, you can definitely experience Hawaii without breaking the bank.  From off peak travel to affordable accommodations. Eating in to embracing local eateries and free activities.  There are plenty of ways to enjoy a memorable and fun Hawaiian vacation!

Have I got you thinking about packing your bags so you can soak up some aloha spirit?  Don’t forget to go checkout my blog post 5 Things You Need To Know When Packing For Hawaii!

So pack your bags, soak up the aloha spirit, and get ready for the ultimate tropical adventure without the hefty price tag!

Don’t forget to checkout my favorite Hawaii items list here!