Plan A Kick Ass Hawaii Trip On a Budget

Hawaii on a budget

Kick Ass Trip to Hawaii on a Budget

Looking at the calendar, we realize that we’re approaching the one year mark of our last Hawaii trip. That’s insane to us. We’re dying to go back, and luckily, with the tricks on how to do Hawaii on a budget that we learned on our last go around, we can do that sooner rather than later.

Hawaii doesn’t have to be a budget breaker. In fact, it can be downright affordable if you plan it right. Follow these tips, and you’ll be booking your trip in no time.

Aloha, baby.

Score a Cheap Flight

This part of the budget battle takes a bit of planning and finesse, but it will be one of your biggest money savers. Hawaii on a budget is especially possible if you score a killer flight. Cheap flights are easier than ever to score these days, you just have to know where to look for them. Sign up for sites like Scotts Cheap Flights, which send you e-mails whenever they spot a killer deal. You can also check sites like Secret Flying and The Flight Deal regularly to score great rates. While it takes a little leg work, the payoff is undeniable. We recently found a round trip flight to Oahu for less than $500 a person.

Another way to get cheaper airfare is to fly during the off season. The off season is mid-April to early June, and during the fall (September to early December). If you book a flight during off season months, you’re more likely to score a deal. We recommend booking tickets mid-week if you’re able to, which can also slice off a few hundred dollars.

Airbnb It

Hotels in Hawaii can end up costing a fortune, especially if you’re planning to stay more than a few days. Finding a solid Airbnb deal can make all the difference.

Look for a host that also provides complementary equipment use if possible (kayaks, SUP, snorkeling gear, etc). With the AirBnb market being so competitive these days, there are quite a few hosts out there who are willing to throw these in for no change. Activities like these are all things that you’ll want to do in Hawaii, but will end up paying $60-$100 an hour for rentals. Finding a host who provides this will save you hundreds and help you plan the perfect trip to Hawaii on a budget that’ll make your mama proud.

Another thing to look for is discounts offered for multiple days of stay. Many hosts will offer a percentage off if you end up staying more than 7 nights. We highly suggest putting the time in to search the site, and find an awesome host who will help you save this kind of money.

Rent a Car

Yes, it is an ‘added expense’, but if you plan to explore the island at all, Uber or Taxi fees will quickly add up (especially if you need to factor in tip). Added savings can be found if you book your rental through sites like Costco travel. When you pick your rental up, request a car with great mileage. If you plan to explore, this will save you a ton. So no, you don’t need the fancy pick up truck when the little Toyota will do.

Shop for Food at Costco

This is one of our biggest tips to tackling Hawaii on a budget. While just about everything else in HI is more expensive, Costco has the same prices as they do on the mainland. If you’re traveling with a large crew, or are staying for a number of days, Costco is a must. Even if you’re staying at a hotel, you can load up on snacks.

Grabbing essential like snacks, small meals, drinks, breakfast essentials etc. will help you save hundreds of dollars. This is especially true if you’ve chosen to stay at an AirBnb, where you’ll most likely have access to a microwave or oven. Plan to supplement at least 50% of your meals, and you’ll be saving big time.

Use Travel Points

We know you’ve been saving those points for a reason, NOW is the time to bust them out. If you have a kick ass travel card, you can put those points towards most things that have to do with travel. Use them to get your rental car for free, or offset some of the AirBnb rental or flight. This is especially useful if you book your flights and rooms/lodging on your card. You can strategically use the points you get from that to pay for other expenses on your trip.

Research Restaurants

One of the biggest reasons that people think Hawaii on a budget just can’t happen is the ridiculous food prices. Many places in Hawaii are crazy expensive to eat at, especially if you’re looking in busy areas like Waikiki or near resorts. Do your homework, and move closer into town. With all of the information available at our fingertips now, you can easily find local recommendations that are close to your location.

Hop on to Google, Pinterest, or Yelp, and search ‘cheap restaurants in….’, then browse some of the reviews. With this kind of information available, there’s no excuse for eating crappy or expensive food. The extra time and effort definitely pays off (literally).


On your own. Together. As a group. Regardless of who you’re with, go out and explore where you’re at. Sure, it’s fun to do the typical tourist activities like Luaus or eating out at fancy restaurants, but we promise you that the best experiences that you’ll have are the ones you get for free.

Hiking is free. Chasing the sunset is free. Discovering the best beach on the island is free. And when you’re looking back on those unforgettable and unique memories, you won’t be wishing you’d paid for them.

Minimize Luggage

Unfortunately, many airlines have begun to charge an arm and a leg to bring a bag on your trip. This helps them offer ‘lower fares’. Since bringing just a personal bag to Hawaii probably isn’t an option for you, save some extra money by downsizing.

Shove it all into a carryon, or combine for one checked bag. Pack light, and remember that most of your outfits (aka bathing suits and shorts) will be used more than once. Checked bags usually cost $25+ each, so getting that all into one (or none) is your best bet.


All of these are tried and true tricks to help save money in Hawaii. Utilize one or more of them, and you’ll be well on your way to saving some serious change on your trip.


  • jordan @ dancing for donuts

    October 2, 2017 at 2:40 am

    love all of these tips!! i seriously have not checked a bag in years because those added fees are insane!!! and i’m with you on renting a car/an AirBnb – it’s a MUCH better value! i haven’t heard of those airline sites though, definitely checking those out. thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      October 3, 2017 at 2:48 am

      Right?! We’re about to head to California and it’s $25 a bag PER person, EACH way! Insanity. And it’s almost impossible to stay at a hotel after AirBnb, it’s such a game changer!

  • Violette

    October 2, 2017 at 6:30 am

    Great tips! I would love to visit Hawaii some day!!

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      October 3, 2017 at 2:49 am

      Thanks Violette! It’s so worth the trip!

  • Sheena Sy Gonzales

    October 2, 2017 at 8:57 am

    Bookmarking for future reference! Wish I can go to Hawaii soon!

    Sheena –

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      October 3, 2017 at 2:50 am

      Try to make it out someday! It’s honestly worth it!

  • Zhanna

    October 2, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    Wow, such a great post! You made my day. I really like to know how to travel and stay on budget 🙂

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      October 3, 2017 at 2:50 am

      Thanks Zhanna! It’s so much better to know you’re saving tons of money and STILL having an amazing time!

  • Patricia

    October 2, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    Hawaii is my dream destination!! I love the nature, the culture, the people.. I’ve been waiting to go there as I want it to be a very special trip.
    Thanks for sharing this amazing tips 🙂

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      October 3, 2017 at 2:51 am

      It’s SUCH an incredible place. They have an incredible culture there and such a deep respect and appreciation for their natural surroundings. It’s a very special place! Your first time will be worth the wait!

  • Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

    October 2, 2017 at 7:51 pm

    I don’t plan a trip to Hawaii anytime soon, but a lot of these tips can be applied to traveling on a budget in general! 😀 That pineapple photo is so cute hehe -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      October 3, 2017 at 2:52 am

      It’s so true! Saving money on airfare and lodging is applicable to any trip, and so does buying food from the grocery store instead of eating out all the time!

  • zarrah

    October 3, 2017 at 12:42 am

    When I am traveling, I always plan ahead and look for cheap alternatives.
    Great to know about this, soon I will be in Hawaii.

    Much Love,
    Zarrah | The Bandwagon Chic

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      October 3, 2017 at 2:53 am

      Yay! We’re so jealous! Planning ahead is key, especially with food! Have so much fun!

  • Isabelle

    October 3, 2017 at 3:41 am

    These tips are perfect !
    Isabelle x

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      October 3, 2017 at 11:51 pm

      Thanks Isabelle!

  • Laura Mitbrodt

    October 3, 2017 at 7:51 am

    I want to go so bad, sounds amazing

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      October 3, 2017 at 11:52 pm

      It is SO amazing! You should definitely make it out there sometime!

  • Yiota

    October 3, 2017 at 10:27 am

    Great tips! I always plan our trips a year before and book our tickets, they come so cheap if you book them months before! x


    1. Mile High Dreamers

      October 3, 2017 at 11:52 pm

      SO much cheaper if you plan way ahead! Especially using some of these sites!

  • Molly

    October 3, 2017 at 5:21 pm

    Amazing tips!

    Molly X

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      October 3, 2017 at 11:53 pm

      Thanks Molly!

  • Kelli

    October 3, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    Awesome tips! My husband and I took our honeymoon on Maui and it was AMAZING, but so expensive because we did not plan it right. We recently discovered AirBnB and it’s a game changer, really makes you realize what a waste of money hotels are!
    A tip from someone who just went to Hawaii and spent our entire pile of wedding money…limit eating out, and you don’t have to get fun fruity drinks EVERY TIME you eat. Mai Tai’s & Mimosa’s are necessary, but not for every meal 🙂

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      October 3, 2017 at 11:54 pm

      Ahhhh isn’t it the truth?! AirBnb is how we were able to make our most recent trip a reality. It truly is a game changer! And we SO agree with the fruity drinks and eating out. We like to buy some beers or mixers for the beach and to have at home, and it saves us tons! As does grocery shopping. NEXT time you guys go, now you know!

  • Emily

    October 3, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    Costco is like the best advice! When we go to Mexico, we do that too haha. My trips to Hawaii are always decently priced because we live close in Arizona (cheaper plane ticket), and my grandparents have a time share in Kauai (free place to stay). I’d like to explore some other islands though! So these are really great tips for next time. 😉


    1. Mile High Dreamers

      October 3, 2017 at 11:56 pm

      Oh my gosh Emily, you are SO lucky! We’d be there every other weekend if we were you haha. But that’s such a good idea for Mexico too! We didn’t even think about that! Oahu is a ton of fun :).

  • the adventurer

    October 4, 2017 at 3:45 am

    Hawaii definitely can add up when you visit. My boyfriend is from there and thankfully when we visit we get to stay with his family, that saves us money but we also do stay cautious of what we spend on tourist things too =o)

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      October 5, 2017 at 11:49 pm

      Ahhhhh you guys are lucky! So forever jealous of anyone and everyone that has family to stay with in Hawaii! We used to have friends out there but they came back to the mainland :(. There’s SO much amazing hiking, but it’s also fun to spend the money on silly things sometimes!

  • Merel

    October 4, 2017 at 11:03 am

    I just came back from Hawaii, and your tips are great! So true!

    X Merel

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      October 5, 2017 at 11:49 pm

      Thank you Merel! Hope you had an amazing time!

  • Gabrielle

    October 4, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    I had always assumed a visit to Hawaii would cost a LOT, regardless of where on the map someone was visiting from – so thanks for so many brilliant tips that prove me wrong, haha! Renting a car is a fab idea, especially as it enables you to fully immerse yourself in that ‘travelling road trip’ kind of vibe that often creates the best memories!!

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      October 5, 2017 at 11:51 pm

      Right?! We always thought the same thing until we really started digging around and actually went. Now we’re sad that we haven’t been going for longer! Renting a car was one of the best moves for us (and that was definitely Ben’s idea!). It helped save money in the long run because we could go explore and hike!

  • Konstantina

    October 4, 2017 at 4:56 pm

    That pineapple really made my evening! ahahah <3
    I would love nothing more than to be in Hawaii right now!

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      October 5, 2017 at 11:52 pm

      Ah haha that was all Ben! One of our favorite pics for sure. We agree 100%

  • Missy May

    October 4, 2017 at 7:57 pm

    I haven’t visited Hawaii before, but surely wanna some day in the future. Thanks for the tips here. Helps even when flying to any other country.

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      October 5, 2017 at 11:53 pm

      You MUST make it out there someday! And we feel like these tips are applicable to almost all travel locations. Especially getting a cheap flight!

  • April Nunez

    October 5, 2017 at 6:47 am

    These advice is so perfect! thanks for sharing these tips.

    April of:
    IG: @Aprilnunezzz

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      October 5, 2017 at 11:53 pm

      Thanks April!

  • wp template

    October 5, 2017 at 9:52 am

    wonderfull tip dear thank you for give us lovely information love this post…:) wp theme

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      October 5, 2017 at 11:53 pm

      Thank you!

  • Amy

    October 5, 2017 at 11:51 am

    Some great tips here! I never would have thought to look for that sort of equipment at an air bnb! It’s so cool that people include that!

    I’d love to visit Hawaii one day. It sounds absolutely amazing and it’s so cool that you’ve been!

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      October 5, 2017 at 11:54 pm

      Right?! We actually didn’t either until we stumbled upon it. Now added bonuses are a must wherever we stay!

  • Miriam

    October 5, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    Great tips on how to do Hawaii on a budget. It’s been on my bucket list for quite some time. Would love to visit one day!


    1. Mile High Dreamers

      October 5, 2017 at 11:56 pm

      You have to do it! It’s so worth the planning and money. And these tips really help cut down the cost!

  • Kim

    October 5, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    I love these tips! The best part is they all seem really do-able. I will need to check out Scott’s Cheap Flights soon.


    1. Mile High Dreamers

      October 5, 2017 at 11:57 pm

      We LOVE Scott’s Cheap Flights! It’s honestly one of the best flight finders ever. And they’re all so easy to do, and honestly save a lot of money!

  • Michelle

    October 6, 2017 at 12:18 am

    Great tips!

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      October 6, 2017 at 12:28 am

      Thanks Michelle!

  • Karen Alexandra

    October 6, 2017 at 8:07 am

    These are all great tips!! Useful for any vacation!

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      October 6, 2017 at 3:06 pm

      Thanks Karen! We completely agree!

  • diana

    October 6, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    Ive been dreaming about going to hawaii! thanks so much for sharing your suggestions x

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      October 6, 2017 at 5:17 pm

      Hopefully you can make that dream a reality soon Diana! We’ve been having similar dreams :). Thank YOU!

  • Eena

    October 7, 2017 at 1:45 am

    I really really really need to plan a trip to Hawaii soon! And I’m so glad you shared these tips. Never knew cheap flights even existed out there in the world. Plus, yes to Airbnb! I love booking rooms/homes through them. Affordable yet they offer pretty houses.

    And I did hear that December is a GREAT time to fly to Hawaii – cheaper everything. I totally agree too that the best experience happens to be the free ones!

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    cabin twenty-four

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      October 9, 2017 at 3:25 am

      Hawaii is so amazing! And so are those sites for cheap flights. It’s addicting haha. Airbnb is the BEST! Such a game changer for travel! And if you can get a December flight before the holidays, they’re definitely a little cheaper! You guys would love it!

  • Pauline

    October 7, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    I loved reading this post, thank you so much for sharing. There seems to be some awesome tips that I will definitley have a look at and refer back to when I book that dream trip to Hawaii 😉

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      October 9, 2017 at 4:00 am

      Thanks Pauline! We promise you, it doesn’t have to be a dream trip far off in the distant future! We thought we wouldn’t get to Hawaii until we were way older, but it’s so possible to do it cheap these days! We can’t wait to see your pics in the near future hehe ;).

  • Beatrice

    October 8, 2017 at 4:14 am

    Ah I’ve never been to Hawaii but it sounds like a dream! Can’t say that I’ve ever had to plan a full trip as I’m 16 hehe, but I’ve helped my parents, who are very passionate about traveling and very frugal about it, which has definitely rubbed off on me, thankfully! The price of checking luggage is SO crazy! We now travel with carry-ons only, filling our backpacks so completely they look like they will burst, haha!

    You guys are so inspiring – I love how determined you are to travel. I hope to one day be as adventurous as you are!

    Beatrice | The Bliss Bean

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      October 9, 2017 at 4:02 am

      Thanks Beatrice! From reading your blog, we know you already ARE as adventurous as us! It’s so great that your parents have instilled that in you already. Trust us, don’t wait to get out there and start exploring the world! We can’t wait to see where you end up going!

  • Britney

    October 8, 2017 at 4:16 am

    I’ve never used AirBnB (but I also don’t travel a lot), but I’ve heard a lot about it. It’s something I would consider since it’s a lot cheaper.

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      October 9, 2017 at 4:03 am

      You DEFINITELY have to use it when you travel! It has seriously changed the game for us and made what USED to be crazy expensive trips so much more manageable. Let us know if you ever need any help with it or any suggestions!

  • Emily

    October 8, 2017 at 11:37 am

    Hawaii is definitely one of those bucket list trips for me! Your trips are really helpful (for any trip on a budget really!) and I’ve never really thought about searching for an airb&b that offers extras!

    Musings & More

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      October 9, 2017 at 4:04 am

      Right?! We didn’t think of it either until we really started digging around and realized all sorts of people offer great extras. It’s a must now!

  • Daniel

    October 8, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    Great post!

    Daniel x

    The Daniel Originals | Instagram: danielpoonvignez

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      October 9, 2017 at 4:04 am

      Thanks Daniel!

  • Lucrezia Candelori

    October 8, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    Your tips are great, I’m totally saving them!


    Lucrezia ♥ (

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      October 9, 2017 at 4:05 am

      Thank you! We hope they help in the future!

  • Lottie

    October 8, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    Thanks for the websites for the flights! Will be having a look.

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      October 9, 2017 at 4:05 am

      You’re welcome! We LOVE those sites! Be careful though, it definitely becomes addicting haha.

  • Dasynka

    October 8, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    This tips are so useful and I’ll come back here when will be time for my next trip 🙂 thank you for sharing!

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      October 9, 2017 at 4:06 am

      Thanks Dasynka! We hope they help. The cheap flights are so helpful!

  • zarrah

    October 9, 2017 at 3:48 am

    Just dropping by babe,.
    Lookign forward on your next post.
    Much Love,
    Zarrah | The Bandwagon Chic

  • Agness of aTukTuk

    October 11, 2017 at 11:24 am

    Hawaii is on my bucket list for a while and after reading your post, I believe I can soon cross it off! Excellent tips and very practical ones! When’s the best time of the year to go there?

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      October 12, 2017 at 12:30 am

      YESS! You will be so in love with it! Honestly, Hawaii is perfection any time of year. BUT, it’s a lot better during the off season (fall-ish months of the year), because you’ll be able to avoid the crowds. Ben went mid January once and that was great too. December is their rainy season and we went then and it did rain a lot, but like I said, STILL amazing! You just can’t go wrong!

  • Katya

    October 13, 2017 at 2:59 am

    Before I am stuck in an idea of staying at hotels when traveling. But AirBnb is a game changer. It’s not costly and it feels like you never got away from home.

    StyleSprinter Blog by Katya Bychkova

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      October 13, 2017 at 11:45 pm

      Right?! We always thought hotels were our only option, but once we discovered AirBnb, it opened a whole new world to affordable travel!

  • mycouponcodes

    November 26, 2017 at 10:41 pm

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