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15 Tips for Planning an Affordable Hawaiian Vacation

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With a Hawaiian vacation in the works, you probably think you’ll go broke while here. Although things can get quite pricey if you let it get out of control, there are ways to keep your spending low so you don’t go broke. An affordable Hawaiian trip sounds like an oxymoron, but trust us: it can be done! Just follow these 15 tips.

1. Bundling goes a long way. You do it with your phone/TV/Internet service to save money; why not apply the same basic principle to travel? When you book a package deal that includes all the things you’ll likely be spending big bucks on: airfare, hotel, accommodations and rental car, you can experience money savings by doing them all at once. You can throw in other things too, such as all-inclusive hotels, tours, spa packages, golf packages, and airport and baggage transfers, all so you don’t have to whip out your wallet a million times while here. Pay in advance, save on group or bundled pricing, and you’re golden.
2. Buy airfare at the last minute. If you can stomach the stress of waiting, don’t buy your ticket till just before you plan to leave. For example, if an airline has only sold half the seats on a particular flight 72 hours before take-off, they do all they can to fill those seats. That means deep discounts to anyone who is willing to wait till the 11th hour. If you’re not one of those people, be sure to do the opposite and book well in advance to get the cheapest seats.
3. Inquire about discounts on airfare. Before booking your seat, find out if there are special rates for senior citizens, small children, or members of the military. In addition, there may be family fares or student fares to qualify for.
4. Book car rentals on the weekly rate rather than the daily. You may think just because you’re staying on Oahu for three days, then stopping over to Maui for the next four days that you have to pay for daily rates on your cars. Ask the car rental firm if they honor multi-island bookings, which will save you a bundle.
5. Take public transportation. If you don’t plan on doing too much sightseeing on your own, rely on public transportation. Oahu’s TheBus system has super cheap fares of $2.50 one way. Try to avoid taxis, as they are the most expensive mode of transportation, particularly to and from the airport.
6. Book the hotel early. This will give you access to the most affordable rooms; wait too long and they’ll get booked up by returning guests. At this time, you can also ask about rates for seniors, families, AAA or AARP.
7. Book hotels with free breakfast. Many hotels offer free continental or even full-service breakfast complete with eggs, waffles, bacon, cereal, muffins and of course coffee and juice. This is a great way to fill up in the morning so you’re not looking for lunch till later in the afternoon. With this approach, you could even skip the cost of lunch, get by on a few snacks throughout the day, and splurge on dinner.
8. Get a hotel or condo with a kitchenette. With access to a fridge, a stove top and microwave, you can heat leftovers, make a pot of mac n cheese, prepare sandwiches and stock up on bottled water and soda. You’ll save yourself the expense of eating out all the time, plus you get the convenience of grabbing what you want, when you want.
9. Haggle on a room price. While you won’t get far with this tactic at fancy hotels that are booked up, you may have luck with hotels that aren’t quite as full. Particularly if you head there in the later afternoon/early evening, you may get a pretty good rate on a room simply because they just want to fill it.
10. Skip the hotel and rent a house. If you’re heading to Hawaii with a group, consider a vacation home rental. For between $25 and $50 per person per night, you really can’t go wrong here.
11. Pack food for picnics. To combat the high cost of dinner, pack a picnic complete with wines and cheeses, fruits and breads, and go on a romantic sunset picnic. Hit the farmer’s markets earlier in the day to pick up some fresh fruits and veggies.
12. Go out to dinner early. Early bird gets the worm, right? Hit the early bird specials at restaurants that offer it, and you’ll save almost half off your entrée. Another alternative is to check out happy hour, have a drink and an appetizer, and call it dinner.
13. Pick up some bargains at flea markets. Open-air bazaars, marketplaces, flea markets and farmer’s markets give you access to some of the best deals out there. For example, you’ll find bargains galore at the Mauna Kea Marketplace, where you’ll also find some tasty local food from fresh fish and produce vendors.
14. Bring your ID. Many places give you discounts if you’re a student, active member of the military, a veteran or a senior. Flash your ID for a bargain rate.
15. Buy package tours. When you bundle your tours, you tend to get a better deal, just like with airfare and hotels. For instance, here at Hoku Hawaii Tours, we offer a Circle Island and Pearl Harbor tour for one low price. Call us now to save!

See? Planning an affordable Hawaiian vacation certainly is possible. Take your time to do research and you’re sure to find cheap deals on anything from lodging to airfare to everything in between.