When we first discussed the option of leaving everything behind, packing up, and moving to Hawai’i, I wasn’t sure it was possible. You hear about how beautiful it is here and how everyone loves to visit. However, you also hear about how expensive everything is. Well, it is a bit more costly to live in Hawai’i than other states on the mainland, however, if you plan correctly and budget yourself you can make it work. How would you like a couple of tips on how to visit the Big Island of Hawai’i on a budget?
You can visit the Big Island of Hawai’i on a budget
Plan in advance
This may sound like a weird tip, however, when it comes to visiting Hawai’i there are cheaper times to fly and get a place to stay. Yes, you can visit here any time of the year, but if you want to visit Hawai’i on a budget, then you need to plan in advance!
Find cheap flights
One of the things I did before us deciding on the exact date we’d be moving was I watched the cost of flying here. You can travel to Hawai’i on a budget! The first thing you want to do is to check out Google Flights. Using Google Flights will help you determine the best time to fly. You can put in your desired vacation time and then you can see if it is cheaper to fly here at another time of the year. I like using Google Flights because it will automatically use all the major airlines and show you the cheapest flight for each day. Once you find your most inexpensive day, you can then use the usual deal sites like Priceline.com, Hotwire.com, and Kayak.com to find your flights. Just remember to keep in mind the pricing you found with Google Flights to be sure you are getting a better deal. It is usually cheaper to fly into Kona rather than Hilo.
Find cheap lodging
This is probably the most expensive part of the trip. However, you do not have to pay an arm and a leg for lodging here in Hawai’i. Yes, everyone wants to stay at a hotel at the beach, however, if you are coming to Hawai’i on a budget then you can and will find much cheaper lodging away from the beaches. We stayed at a Holiday Inn right in Kona that was within walking distance to the ocean, shops, and even food for a fraction of the cost of the beach resort hotels. You even have the option of renting a house or condo for the time you will be in Hawai’i. Although it is cheaper to fly into Kona, it is cheaper to stay on the Hilo side of the island.
Find cheap transportation
You need transportation while visiting the island. You do not want to rely on taxi’s the entire trip or you’ll go broke. You want to be able to come and go as you please. Don’t go for the sports car and don’t go for the Jeep. You’ll be paying more for your transportation than you need to. There are no wide open high-speed roads to enjoy the sports car on, and a stock Jeep isn’t suitable for the off-roading necessary to get you to the few out of the way spots. You’ll just end up paying for features you’ll never use, and some rental agencies do limit where you are allowed to take their vehicles. There are plenty of car rentals right at the airport, but if you are a Costco member then you want to check out their pricing because they may be cheaper!
Find free things to do
One of the best things about the Big Island of Hawai’i, there is a lot to do in Hawai’i on a budget. Although I have not been to the other islands yet, I think you may have more things to do here than any of the other Hawai’i islands. We have beaches, rainforests, volcanoes, botanical gardens, a small zoo, lots of hiking, lava fields, and so much more. Best thing, most of these things are free to do or only cost a few dollars! Check out my post on Free or Nearly Free Things to do on the Big Island of Hawai’i for all your fun budget friendly activities!
Stock up on food
If you are renting a house or condo, this will be much easier. Take a trip to the local grocery store and stock up on the foods you’ll want to eat throughout your visit. Use them to pack lunches to take with you while you are out exploring. You will not find a lot of the big chain restaurants on the Big Island of Hawai’i, and those that you do are very pricey. Also, fast food restaurants on the island are few and far in between and during lunch time they are packed! You can save a lot of money by making sandwiches and packing them along with some drinks and snacks in a cooler to take with you each day. Remember you are in Hawai’i on a budget.
Enjoy the Beaches
There are a ton of beaches on the Big Island of Hawai’i, and every one of them is free to visit. However, some of the beach parks do require a small parking fee for visitors. Some of them have super easy access to them. However, some of them need either a well-built 4X4 (non-rental) or a decent hike to get to them. If you have to hike to them, then they are probably the better beaches because they usually have fewer people at them.
Splurge just a little
There are many things to do on the Big Island of Hawai’i that cost money and are probably amazing to do. You have Glass Bottom boat tours, helicopter rides over the island to see a lava flow (if there is any at the time of your vacation) and waterfalls, Ziplining, and other types of tours. However, if you want to splurge on one thing I would suggest that it be for Parasailing with UFO Parasail, it was super fun and worth the splurge. After all, you are saving money on every other aspect of your visit, might as well splurge on something.
Relax on your vacation
You are on vacation, relax a little! You are visiting Hawai’i on a budget! If you can plan your vacation ahead of time, then you can have everything planned out and have fun. If you don’t plan it out or if something doesn’t go as planned due to the weather or something, don’t worry! Don’t overpack your vacation with things to do and keep in mind that you can do multiple things each day if you want. You don’t have to spend the entire day at the beach or hiking; you can do both.
Check out this other post before you travel to Hawai’i!