Hawaii on a Budget

How to Go to Hawaii for Three Weeks on Two Weeks Worth of Money.

••• Rainbow at Kauai beach. M Swiet Productions/Getty Images

Hawaii is the state for lovers. Perhaps this is where you want to go for your honeymoon. Perhaps you want to go wilderness camping, climb through a bamboo forest or stand in the clouds. Maybe you just have to try out the waves on that new surfboard. Maybe you just want to get away from it all.

Whatever your passion may be you will find it on the gorgeous islands of Hawaii. These islands are the most distant landmass from any other land in the world.

Each island is unique in its very own way.

Going to Hawaii was my husband's and my dream, but Hawaii is far away from our home in Massachusetts, and can be a very expensive trip.

With some planning and work, we made our dream come true. I hope this feature saves you some time (and money), because I know you would rather spend that time on one, or all, of the Hawaiian Islands.

Tips on Saving Money

  • Buy Hawaii Travel Guide: How to Travel to Hawaii Cheap. You will get invaluable information from this book about saving money.
  • Buy The Entertainment Book. It is sold all over the country. The prices change yearly but expect to pay about $35.00 for it, You will get that money back the first day or two you are in the islands. You can also buy their digital edition.
  • If you do not intend to explore these amazing islands, it might make sense to spend $300 a night on a resort that you never have to leave. But, I think Hawaii cries out, "Look at me." We spent less than $100 a night for lodging on every island for various types of accommodations.
  • Don't be shy about asking for upgrades in hotels when you check-in. You will be surprised at how easy it is to get upgraded, but you won't know unless you ask. Ask and you may get a bigger and better room for the same price you were about to pay.
  • When you get off the plane at each island grab every brochure available. You'll find racks of these free publications in the baggage claim area. If you are renting a car make sure you take the brochures that they give you as well. You will find many coupons in them. Taking the time to get these brochures will save you lots of money.
  • Bring clothes you can throw away if they get stained. This will save money on new clothes when you get home. A lot of Hawaii has very sticky sand, golden sand, black sand and clay-colored mud. These substances do not come off of your clothes easily. If you bring clothes you don't care about, you won't have to replace them. I would suggest doing the same for footwear.
  • Bring your own snorkels, fins, and mask. I was surprised how inexpensive rentals are at many beaches, however, if you go to three beaches in one day, you can spend $15.00. Do that for ten days and you've spent $150 you didn't need to spend. Surprisingly, these items don't take up much room in luggage.
  • Be careful in the water. You will save money on funeral expenses. This is not meant to be a wisecrack. More people drown in Hawaii each year than in any other state. The water beckons. Just be careful.
  • Use a waterproof sun block with an SPF of at least 30 and wear a hat or sit under a tree, especially between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. This will save you money on doctor's fees and medication for your sunburn. Read more tips on how to avoid a sunburn.
  • Many stores, especially the vendor-type shops, will give you a discount if you offer cash.
  • Everywhere you go you will see roll-up sand mats for 99-cents. They are better than towels or blankets because the sand shakes off of them easily. If, however, you are going to go to more than one island, these mats will most likely not fit into your luggage. Spend a bit more ($2.49) and get the same mat that folds into a square. Then you can carry the mat from place to place. You can also take it home, rather than leaving it for the next person or throwing it away. The best place to find these is at an ABC Store.
  • Only do activities that you can handle physically. This will save you money on cold packs, wraps and other first aid items. I am all for taking risks, but be careful even when walking. Watch where you are going or you may find yourself with a sprained ankle or worse. You will have to rent or buy crutches.
  • Food is expensive in Hawaii, especially in grocery stores. If you have room to take some food you like, trail mix, energy bars or crackers, then do so. You will save a lot of money that way. For more information see John Fischer's features Cheap Eats in Hawaii and Saving Money on Liquor and Other Liquid Refreshments in Hawaii.
  • Making the right choice on where to buy souvenirs can save you lots of money. You will hear that you should buy your souvenirs at Walmart and that you will save a lot of money doing so. That is only true up to a point. In my experience. Walmart is a great place for magnets and key chains. You will also find rather poor quality t-shirts that cost ten dollars for three. These will be hard to resist. If, however, you are going to Oahu, hold out for t-shirts on that island. The best t-shirts are found at Crazy Shirts, You can even pick them out and they'll ship them home to you. You will also find some good jewelry buys on Oahu. If you know what you are looking at and aren't afraid to bargain, many of the jewelry vendors on Oahu will strike a good deal.

I have given you some tips, but if you want to save as much money as possible do your own homework. One place where we stayed showed two different prices at various websites. Make sure you are getting the lowest rate. You will find that some Bed & Breakfasts and Inns have negotiable rates.

If you have the patience to keep going back to various websites to see if prices have changed, you can also save money. We have had very good luck finding accommodations using priceline.com.

We went to Hawaii for three weeks, when initially our budget was for two weeks. Using the tips I have shared with you, we ended up spending the same amount for the three weeks that we had planned to spend for two weeks. We had a fantastic time on a budget, and you can too.