How to Plan a Hawaiian Vacation on a Budget

How to Plan a Hawaiian Vacation on a Budget

Deciding to visit and explore Hawaii is an easy decision. The tough part is to plan the vacation and do it without putting a huge dent on your savings account. If you want to know how to plan a Hawaiian vacation on a budget, read the following article now.
UStravelia Staff
Maybe you're planning a romantic honeymoon or an adventurous getaway with family/friends and Hawaii seems to be the dream destination. Well, let me just say that you're not alone in this thought. Every year, more than 7 million people visit the breathtaking Hawaiian islands. Although there are hundreds of small islands that take up about 1,500 miles of space, there are 8 major islands which attract the highest number of tourists. These islands are Hawaii (The Big Island), Maui, Lanai, Niihau, Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, and Kahoolawe. With the promise of white sandy beaches, gorgeous sunrises and sunsets, magnificent mountains, excellent volcanoes, and plenty of romantic and adventurous things to do in Hawaii, you have a lot to decide, plan, and organize before you begin your vacation. In this UStravelia article, we will talk about what a tourist, just like you, might require to know when he/she plans to take a Hawaiian vacation. Whether it is a solo trip, romantic getaway, or a friends/family vacation, you can easily plan this trip at affordable prices.
Hawaii On a Budget Is Possible
Hawaii is one of the most sought-after, beautiful, romantic, and adventurous destinations in the world. There's a lot of ground to cover when it comes to planning a trip. And however tedious this task may seem, one thing's for sure, you are going have the time of your life in Hawaii; that no one can deny. So to start with planning and organizing your Hawaiian vacation, here are the steps to make everything go as smoothly as possible. As you read through the following section, you can see that we have divided the article into several parts. This way, you can easily navigate through the article and find the most relevant information for your upcoming trip.
When is the Best Time to Travel to Hawaii
It won't be completely wrong for me to say that even though you wish to experience everything and anything Hawaii has to offer, you would like to avoid as many other tourists as possible. The reason is, when you travel (especially to a tropical location), you don't want the beaches to be overcrowded. Since Hawaii has tons of fun, adventure, romance, and exotic locales to offer, it's not a surprise that you will find a variety of travelers flocking toward it. And depending on who you are traveling with (or are planning a solo trip), you can be sure to find the crowd accordingly. Now when we try to decipher as to which months or time during the year is ideal for a Hawaiian vacation, just go through the categorization thoroughly.

Let's begin from the beginning of the year, January. From mid-January till the end of February (and somewhat in the first two weeks of March), you will find fewer tourists as they would have just left the islands. Why, you ask? Because during the month of December, Hawaii is stormed by the holiday crowds wanting to celebrate Christmas in the warmer climates. The season again picks up from mid-March till mid-April due to spring break. You will find loads of college students wanting to loosen up and enjoy their time in Hawaii. So if you wish to avoid this crowd, you can plan your trip in the first two weeks on March. The last two weeks of March and the entire month of April can be a bit crowded with Japanese tourists. Since this is the time for their holiday, Golden Week, you will find tons of tourists heading toward Hawaii. June to the first couple of weeks of October are the most affordable months. This is because the weather is quite warm (the warmest months during the year in Hawaii), and so the hotel rates and airfare go down. Even though you may find ideal months for your travel plans, do keep one thing in mind - the holiday times (Christmas, Thanksgiving, Labor Day, Easter, Super Bowl, etc.) will play a huge role in your total expenditure. So plan wisely.
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Which is the Best Island to Visit
Hawaii is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful and amazing places on earth. So when you ask which is the best Hawaiian island to visit, it is tough to answer that query in one word or sentence. The reason is, the answer to this question will vary according to the type and kind of vacation you wish to have in Hawaii. So how can you decide on this? What you need to do is make a small "must have" list. Here, you will write down all the essential factors which you would like to experience during your vacation. This list can include (must have) beaches, volcanoes, sightseeing (mountains, national parks, historic landmarks), adventurous water and beach sports, hiking and trekking, nightlife, shopping, romantic atmosphere, etc.; include as many factors in your list as you like. After all, this is your vacation and you should make the most of it.
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The Big Island
Hawaii a.k.a. The Big Island

This is one of the larger islands in Hawaii which has an abundance of white sandy beaches (along with black, red, and green sand beaches), snow-clad mountains (yes!), active volcano (Kilauea Crater), and tropical rainforests. You not only get the most ideal scenery on this island, but have tons of opportunity to engage in other tourist activities like scuba diving, surfing, snorkeling, mountain biking, hiking, trekking, deep-sea fishing, sailing, etc.; doesn't that sound amazing?! And if you are interested in spotting humpback whales, manta rays, and dolphins, then The Big Island is the perfect place to be.
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Maui
Maui

If you're traveling with family, apart from The Big Island, even Maui has fantastic attractions and scenic beauty to lure you in. Apart from the gorgeous 42-mile long, shimmery beaches, Maui is home to the Haleakala National Park, the Hana highway, and the Haleakala crater. You can enjoy beautiful sunrises and sunsets everyday, go deep-sea diving, kayaking, snorkeling, whale watching, and hiking in Maui. Also, there are about 13 different volcanoes in Maui. With all these amazing things to do in Maui, you can say that this island has something for everyone. And since Maui is one of the favorite hot spots in Hawaii, be sure to plan ahead of time to get great deals.
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Oahu
Oahu

One of the busiest islands in Hawaii, Oahu has a worldwide reputation for amazing surfing beaches; for example, Waikiki beach. If you wish to learn the sport or watch experienced surfers show off their skills, you can count on having an excellent time here. Oahu also has magnificent green mountains, art galleries across the town, banana plantations, has a vibrant nightlife, shopping, offers clear waters for snorkeling and scuba diving, sunset dinner cruise, and is home to the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. Apart from the Waikiki beach, which can get crowded due to its reputation, there are other isolated beaches for couples to explore and spend quality time in.
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Kauai
Kauai

If your love for nature is one of the stronger points in wanting to visit Hawaii, then Kauai is the place for you. This island has undisturbed natural beauty; visit the Wailua Falls, Poipu beach, Waimea Canyon, Kalalau trail, Limahuli Garden, Kokee State Park, and Na Parli Coast (just to name a few). Not only do you get fabulous scenery to explore in Kauai, you can also enjoy the crystal-clear waters and clean, sandy beaches. Also in Kauai, you can enjoy kayaking, snorkeling, hiking, and dining and shopping nearby.
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Niihau
Niihau

Alright, first things first. Niihau is a privately owned island with a very small population. Now, the good part is that you won't find a lot of tourists on this island because it's a private island. The bad part is, you need to have an invitation to visit this island by someone who already resides in Niihau. However, and this is the silver lining, you can try to get around the whole "off-limits to tourists" concept. How, you ask? One option is that you can hire a helicopter or try sailing alongside the secluded coastline. This way, you can enjoy the tourist-free Hawaii while you scuba dive, snorkel, kayak, and do some whale watching.
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Lanai
Lanai

Last, but certainly not the least, Lanai. Now I know that we are talking about planning a Hawaiian vacation on a reasonable budget, but I didn't want to leave Lanai out of our list. The thing about this island is, it is more of a luxury island where people like to come and have a quiet, luxurious, and peaceful vacation. Hence, as you must've guessed it, Lanai is not really budget-friendly. And since there are only two hotels in Lanai that you can choose to stay at, Lanai may not be what you're looking for. However, the sheer beauty of this island is undeniable.
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Finding Affordable Package Deals
Once you have decided which of the main islands you wish to visit, the next step will be to find affordable deals. Here, your travel dates will also play a huge role. If you plan and organize your vacation few months in advance, you can really get some amazing discounts and deals. Keep in mind that traveling to Hawaii during the off-season is a smart way to keep your total expenses as low as possible. But that's not all. What you need to understand and decide on is what you wish to do once at the island. Do you want to have a nice, relaxing time in the hotel (with all the amenities like spas, swimming pool, sauna, etc.), want to spend the maximum amount of time at the beach (sunbathing, beach and water sports, etc.), or want to explore the island as much as you can? According to your answers, you can find an ideal package for the trip.

To put it as simply as possible, the package deals will vary for a single traveler, for couples, and for families (with children) and large groups. There are many travel agents who can help you find the best deal possible that cater to your requirements. So make sure that you research as much as you can, approach as many travel agents as possible, and do a little bit of research on your own (booking flights, hotels, and other attractions on your own). This way, you can be sure that you'll get the best deal that's out there. But the key to all of this is making reservations way ahead of time.
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How Do I Find Affordable Hotels for My Trip
There are various options when it comes to lodging in Hawaii. Depending on your budget, you can either plan to stay at a 3 star or 2 star hotel (since you are on a budget), opt for a bed and breakfast, or even hostels. Many a time, travelers don't really wish to spend a lot on luxurious hotels with room service and other amenities. If you are one of those travelers, then go ahead and book a bed in a dorm room or a bed and breakfast. Now, if that doesn't sound fun, you can try to find a decent hotel slightly away from the beaches. The farther away from the beach your hotel is, the less expensive it will be.
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What Are My Dining Options
There are package deals available where breakfast and dinner, or even all 3 meals are included in the final amount. If you find this deal, and it is well in your budget, then kudos to you! On the contrary, if you're not so lucky, when you check-in, inquire a little at the reservation desk. Since they are locals, you will find amazing, unheard of restaurants to dine at that fit well in your budget. Inquire about happy hours and other less expensive places to eat. Trust me, it won't hurt to ask. Another option is, you can look for guidebooks in bookstores. Depending on which island you want to visit, you can purchase the book and see if they have any ideas on dining in Hawaii. It might surprise you, but there are times when you can find excellent restaurants around town that don't cost a lot. Prepare a budget, according to how many people you are traveling with, and decide on your daily food expenditure.
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Shopping, Sightseeing, and Other Attractions in Hawaii
There are various shopping places in Hawaii. Some are, of course, high-end galleries and boutiques that you can shop in, but what we want to do here is concentrate on keeping your expenses as low as possible. Hence, if you think that you don't actually require anything specific, don't spend unnecessarily. There are times when we think we want to buy something but truly end up wasting money. And if you really want to buy something specific, inquire at the reservation desk of your hotel. Again, they are locals and they will be well-informed about the places to shop on a budget.
If you are going to explore the island, see if it is included in your package itself. There are many hotels that provide sightseeing and shopping options when you stay with them. If your package doesn't include that, you can choose to take the public transport (bus). This way, you won't have to rent a car and spend on gas every now and then. Many of you may wish to enjoy water and beach sports on one of the islands. And as you know, for every one of these sports, you'll require specific gear. In order to save money here, you can bring your own gear while traveling. If you wish to go surfing or bodyboarding, snorkeling, scuba diving, or even deep-sea fishing, bring your own gear (boards, snorkels, fins, masks). This way, you won't have to rent the equipment from the beach and pay a hefty amount. Isn't that a neat idea?!
If you ask me, your dream vacation to Hawaii, that too on a budget, is possible. All you have to do is a little bit of research, make reservations ahead of time, and keep an eye on good, affordable deals. Your dream vacation in Hawaii isn't a dream; you can make it happen. All you have to do is really want it. Have a fantastic time in Hawaii and do take care of yourself. Aloha!