Hawaii is not the most budget-friendly amongst the US destinations but it’s possible to plan a trip to the islands without breaking the bank. In fact, there are tonnes of things that you can do to make memories and have an amazing experience in Hawaii, all of which are very low cost or even completely free. 

    Whether you’re travelling solo, or you’re going on a family adventure or an intimate escape, let’s explore some outstanding tips to enjoy a Hawaii trip on a shoestring budget and still have a great experience.


    Book a rental home

    For a comfortable base of operations

    Hotels and resorts in Hawaii can be really expensive. Booking a rental house, though it might seem similarly exclusive, can actually provide you far more space and amenities than you might think. 

    Even with all the comforts of home, rental houses can cost only half of what you would pay for the nightly rates in other kinds of lodging. In a rental home, you’ll enjoy features like full kitchens, entertainment areas, access to streaming videos, and many more features.


    Walk around the city

    See the sights as you stroll the city streets

    There’s so much to see and do in Hawaii that you can spend whole days just walking the streets and enjoying all the sights and features. These range from pavement cafes to beachfront dining, quirky souvenir shops to boutique stores, art galleries, museums and historical sites.

    You can go from exploring an art gallery to seeing a traditional cultural presentation, or street art, all in the space of just a few hours – and you’ll spend little to no money doing any of it.


    Prepare your own meals

    Do a little backyard barbecuing

    Cooking your own meals is a great way to save some money on a Hawaii trip. It also allows you to sample the local fare. You can walk the docks, visit speciality groceries, and pick up fresh seafood right off the ships to prepare on the backyard barbecue of your rental home. 

    You can gather the ingredients you need, usually much cheaper than buying prepared food from a restaurant, and you can also style the meal to your exact desires. Try something new for every meal of every day.


    USS Arizona Memorial

    See a real WWI battleship

    The USS Arizona Memorial Park is where you can visit one of the most important naval memorials in US history. For decades, the Hawaiian Islands have held strategic importance for naval forces. You can take a tour of the battleship itself, which played a role in World War I. 

    Enjoy a guided tour with narration provided by none other than Jamie Lee Curtis. You can even combine your tour with one of the many historic sites along Pearl Harbour.

    Location: Pearl Harbour National Memorial, 1 Arizona Memorial Place, Honolulu, HI 96818, USA

    Open: Daily from 7 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +1 808-422-3399


    Explore the outdoors

    Discover jungles, volcanoes and beaches

    If there’s one thing that Hawaii offers in abundance, it’s outdoor adventures. If you want to venture beyond the city streets, then go exploring in the wildlands. Be careful to stick to the trails and check with visitor advisories, but here you can explore dense jungles, serene waterfalls with natural swimming pools, volcanic calderas, and miles of white sand beaches as the waves of the Pacific crash on the shores. 

    Whether you go hiking, swimming, snorkelling, or horseback riding, there’s tonnes to do outdoors in Hawaii that won’t cost a lot.


    Travel during the off-season

    The time to find the best deals

    One of the best ways to save money on your Hawaii travels is to visit the islands during the off-season. Of course, many people want to avoid the rainy and hurricane seasons, but there’s still plenty of chances to visit, like in October and November, which are outside of the peak season for visitors. 

    In fact, not only will you get better deals by travelling during the off-season, you’ll also avoid crowds, and you may even get to see some of the attractions at a lower cost.


    Book travel in advance

    Secure your travel as early as possible

    One way to get a great deal on travel to Hawaii is to book as far in advance as possible. The further out you book your Hawaii trip, the better price you’re likely to find. This is because as you get closer to the date you wish to travel, many of the best deals will have filled already, and you’ll be competing with a lot of people looking to travel at the same time. 

    When you book far in advance, you’ll find that there are still plenty of seats, lodgings, and deals available for you to grab and go.


    Ride the bus

    Forego the car and go public transport

    Driving in Hawaii gives you the freedom to travel where you want and when you want but renting a car in Hawaii can be quite expensive. When you’re travelling on a shoestring budget, however, you can save hundreds of dollars in expense by just taking the bus, a cab, or even rideshare. 

    Hawaii has a great infrastructure with solid transport options across the islands. Forego that daily rate, insurance, upkeep, gas, and mileage cost and use public transport instead when you need to get somewhere. Your wallet will thank you.


    Polynesian culture shows

    Join in on the festivity

    Polynesian culture is part of the Hawaiian Islands and many of the festivals, dances, celebrations, and exhibitions of this culture are on free display. You can enjoy Polynesian art exhibits in the streets, visit dance exhibitions, and learn all about the native island culture. 

    This makes it a great budget-friendly way to spend your time, and you’ll expand your horizons by learning about a rich history and culture while you’re at it. A great place to start your adventure is at the Polynesian Cultural Centre on Oahu.

    Location: 55-370 Kamehameha, Hwy Laie, Hawaii 96762, USA

    Open: Daily from noon to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 800-367-7060


    Island hop on budget airlines

    Try budget-friendly flights from one island to the next

    Budget flights are an inexpensive way to discover the many Hawaiian Islands, each with its own flavour, culture, and attractions. Inexpensive helicopter or independent aeroplane services are available for touring the region or hopping from one island to the next. 

    You can spend days exploring the beaches, jungles, and city streets of Hawaii, Kauai, Maui, Oahu, Lanai, Molokai, Niihau, and Kahoolawe to your heart’s content.

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