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Visiting Hawaii on a Budget: Seven Tips to Use Now
February 14, 2009 at 2:54 pm

Jamie Jefferson asked:

Hawaii is an island paradise that everyone should experience at least once. Unfortunately, because of the small size of the islands and the booming tourism, it can certainly be one of the pricier vacation destinations.

If your vacation budget is a little tight, don’t worry. You can still afford an incredible Hawaiian adventure without breaking the bank. Here are seven tips for visiting Hawaii on a budget.

1. When to Go. The first part of your money-saving Hawaiian vacation plan to tackle is the time of the year. There are definitely peak seasons to Hawaiian travel. If you choose to travel during off-peak time, you’ll avoid the crowds and can also save on airfare and other travel related expenses. Mid-April to mid-June and mid-September to mid-November are the best seasons pricewise.

Ironically, travel dips during these times even though the weather is best on the islands. This is because most people travel to Hawaii when the weather in their hometown is bad. Winter is a popular season for Hawaii travel, so if you go just winter in the fall or just after in the spring you’ll get a better deal.

2. Where to Go. You’ll also need to make a choice of the island you want to visit. Although many people make their way for Oahu or Maui, you should know that these islands generally come with the largest price tags. The Big Island of Hawaii is somewhat more commercialized than the others, but the prices are often lower. Plus, the Big Island offers all of the highlights you want to see on your Hawaiian vacation including the rain forests, deserts, volcanoes and lots of beaches.

3. Find a Discount Flight. Your Hawaiian vacation’s price tag will be largely composed of your airfare. Once you’ve decided on a time of year when you’ll go, start keeping tabs on airfare immediately. You should sign up with one or more online airline ticket sellers to be notified when there is a good price for your tickets. The earlier you book the tickets, the better.

4. Shop Hawaii Package Deals. Try to find a package deal that includes your airfare, car rental (if you need it) and your hotel. And be on the lookout for coupon codes that will take a dollar amount off your total package price, which are sometimes offered by Travelocity and other travel websites. Often these packages give you amazing savings, especially during the off-peak season. Business owners are trying to make up for the slow down in tourism during these parts of the year so they are more inclined to offer you a deal to keep their establishments booked.

5. Think outside the hotel. There may be other options that can save you from breaking your budget on a high-priced hotel. Many people have vacation homes in Hawaii that they rent out during the time when they aren’t using it. See if you can find vacation rentals by owner on Craigslist or other similar websites. If you’re flexible on where you stay, you may be able to find homes for rent for as little as $50 a night.

6. Save on attractions by purchasing a discount pass or coupon book before you go. A Go Maui card, for example, is a discount attractions pass that you can purchase beforehand and that gives you general admission to a variety of Maui attractions: from ocean adventures and tours to culture and history to beach and water fun. Or consider purchasing a Hawaii Entertainment Book. Depending on the time of year, you can get these for as little as $10. At the time of this writing, the Hawaii book offers coupons for all the islands, including restaurant coupons and hotel and travel discounts, including attractions.

7. Set up a google alert with the keywords “Hawaii Discount” and “Hawaii Coupons” If you’ve never done this before, it’s a cinch. Just go to and enter your search terms and email address. Google will send you an email update of the latest Google results based on your keywords at the frequency that you specify. This is a really handy way to make sure you stay up-to-date on the latest travel offers, some of which expire very quickly.

With a little planning and preparation you can make your Hawaiian vacation enjoyable no matter what your budget. And if you focus on saving money on your accommodations and your airfare, you’ll have plenty left over to see lots of Hawaii attractions.


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