When you begin planning a trip, there are several questions to answer. What is there to do at my destination? How do I get around? Are there ways I can save on lodging, food and activities? This post, the first in a series, is designed to help answer these destination questions. Let’s go to Honolulu — for cheap!
Getting to Honolulu
Using points: Using points and/or miles may be a great option for securing airline tickets. FTG writer Howie recently offered advice to a friend who needed to get to Hawaii for a last-minute invitation. He shows the importance of accumulating points in a program where the points can be transferred to different airlines and the resulting benefits when booking airfare.
Purchasing your airfare: If you decide you want to purchase airfare, I would use Google Flights to assist you in finding the best fare possible. Airfares can be viewed several months in advance, sorted by airline alliance, and include nearby airports.
Using points: For a quick look at which hotels are available with points, try Award Mapper. Just type in your destination and select the programs in which you have points and it will map out the properties available. The site will give you an estimate of how many points a stay would cost you then you can link to the hotel program’s booking site to select the actual dates of your travel for an accurate total.
When you’re paying outright for a room: For a vast range of lodging choices from free (couch surfing) to ultimate luxury ($10,000/night) try All The Rooms.com. I selected rooms for $50 or less per night for a budget weekend stay and the site came up with 61 options for Honolulu, including a stay at the Club Wyndham Royal Waikiki Resort for $50/night.
The classics: You’ll surely want to pay tribute to those who were lost at Pearl Harbor; tickets to the Memorial are free. The Polynesian Cultural Center is also one of the Honolulu institutions that is a must-see during your first visit.
Free entertainment: There is plenty of free entertainment to enjoy in Honolulu. At the Royal Hawaiian Center you can enjoy free dance performances, healing massages, lei-making classes, ukulele lessons, and much more. Also, for the cost of a cocktail you can enjoy a Hawaiian-themed show at many of the lounges along Waikiki Beach.
Foodie icons: Honolulu is home to unique establishments such as Sweet E’s Café for breakfast, Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha for shave ice, Leonard’s Bakery for fresh baked Malasadas, the Rainbow Drive-In for classic plate lunches, and your local convenience store for Spam Musubi.
North Shore Food Trucks: You may not be aware that shrimp are raised along the North Shore of Oahu. If you’ve rented a car, you can drive to the North Shore of the island and stop at one of the shrimp trucks for a great lunch of fresh seafood. Some of the trucks offer a covered picnic area where you enjoy your meal.
If you want to explore the island, a rental car is probably the best way to go, especially if you are traveling with a family. If you’re not renting a car, try these options for transport.
Getting to/from your hotel: A taxi from HNL airport to your Waikiki hotel can run as much as $50 – $60. The public bus takes less than an hour and is $2.
A frugal beach tour: The public bus routes 22 and 23 pick up at Waikiki Beach/Hotels and travel to various destinations along the windward side of the island. At the Sea Life Park stop, you can walk across the road to a beautiful beach with a view of Rabbit Island. Route 55 takes you on a leisurely journey to the North Shore beaches, including a stop at the Polynesian Cultural Center.
Consider a Cruise: If you’re planning on visiting more of Hawaii than just Honolulu, you may want to consider a cruise that stops at some or all of the islands. Intra-island airfares can easily run $80 – $100 each way and a three-star hotel averages $184/night. These expenses, plus dining out, can far exceed the cost of a cruise. I found cruises from $65/night per person, a good value for a Hawaiian vacation.
This post originally appeared on Frugal Travel Guy. See the article here.