The Aloha State on a Budget

The Aloha State

It’s a dream location and a dream vacation.  With its warm sandy beaches, cool tropical nights, vast oceans, and a laid-back vibe, Hawaii can be heaven on earth for those travelers that want the best island experience possible.  Now, that dream vacation to Hawaii is easier than ever to plan, book, and experience.  With the decline of the tourism industry during the recent financial crisis and the weakening dollar, many travel companies are offering unheard-of deals to entice visitors to the Aloha State.  Finding these deals is easy for price-conscious shoppers as long as they know where to look.  Here are a few guidelines for booking the perfect Hawaiian getaway.

First, if you’re looking for a more extended vacation – say, two weeks or more – check for prices of cruises from California to Hawaii.  The voyage takes a few days, but during that entire time, you will be pampered in a floating five-star hotel.  Cruise lines took the worst beating during the economic downturn, and the deals offered are excellent.

Second, fly a smaller dedicated airline.  There are a few small airlines that fly only between Hawaii and the west coast.  They don’t schedule flights every day, but the smaller, lighter planes are cheaper to fuel and maintain, and those savings can be passed on to the consumer.

Planning a budget-friendly trip to Hawaii, also known as "The Aloha State," is entirely possible with some careful planning and consideration. Here are some tips to help you enjoy Hawaii without breaking the bank:


  1. Book Early: Try to book your flights well in advance to get the best deals.
  2. Flexible Dates: Use fare comparison tools like Google Flights, Skyscanner, or Kayak to find the cheapest travel dates.
  3. Alternate Airports: Consider flying into alternate airports. Sometimes, flying into a less popular airport and then taking a local flight can be cheaper.


  1. Vacation Rentals: Look for vacation rentals on platforms like Airbnb or Vrbo. These can often be more affordable than hotels, especially if you can share the cost with others.
  2. Hostels: Hawaii has several hostels that offer budget-friendly accommodations.
  3. Camping: If you’re adventurous, consider camping. Hawaii has numerous campsites that are both beautiful and affordable. Just make sure to reserve in advance.


  1. Public Transport: Use public transportation whenever possible. The bus system in Oahu, for example, is extensive and affordable.
  2. Rental Cars: If you plan to explore areas that are not easily accessible by bus, consider renting a car. Compare prices from different rental companies to get the best deal.
  3. Rideshares and Carshares: Use services like Uber, Lyft, or Turo to save on transportation costs.


  1. Local Markets: Buy groceries from local markets and prepare your own meals. This is much cheaper than eating out all the time.
  2. Food Trucks: Hawaii has an amazing food truck culture, offering delicious meals at lower prices than traditional restaurants.
  3. Happy Hours: Take advantage of happy hour specials at bars and restaurants to save on food and drinks.


  1. Beaches and Parks: Enjoy the natural beauty of Hawaii’s beaches and parks, which are free to visit.
  2. Hiking: There are countless hiking trails offering stunning views, and most of them are free.
  3. Cultural Sites: Visit cultural and historical sites that have low or no admission fees. Many museums and cultural centers offer free days or discounts.
  4. Local Events: Look for free or low-cost local events, such as festivals, farmers' markets, and community gatherings.

General Tips

  1. Travel Off-Season: Traveling during the off-season (spring and fall) can significantly reduce costs for flights and accommodations.
  2. Pack Light: Avoid checked baggage fees by packing light and only bringing a carry-on.
  3. Coupons and Discounts: Look for coupons and discounts online before your trip. Websites like Groupon can have great deals on activities and dining.

By carefully planning and making strategic choices, you can enjoy all that Hawaii has to offer without spending a fortune.

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