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ekatiel
07-19-2011, 05:37 PM
So, I'm finding out that the two words "Hawaii" and "budget" may not belong on the same page, let alone in the same sentence :scared1:. DH has a conference in October in Honolulu, and we've all (me and our two boys, ages 5 and 7) have decided to tag along. Since this is sort of an "extra" vacation, we'd like to try to not overspend, but we also realize that this is probably a once in a lifetime type trip, so we want to see/do the most important stuff. DH's company is paying for the hotel for 6 of the 8 nights we're staying, so our hotel bill will only be around $500. DH's company is also paying for his flight. I've found flights for us for $500 a piece during a 24 hours fare sale, so we did pretty well on flights. When it comes to entertainment and food, I'm getting stuck on the best way to save money. I've ordered the Hawaii entertainment book, and I've also looked at the Go Oahu card. Has anyone used either of these discounts in Hawaii? What did you think? We're also trying to figure out when we need to rent a car. We're trying not to rent for the entire time b/c parking at the hotel alone is $24 a night. We've also found out that renting something as simple as beach chairs and an umbrella can run you $60 per DAY :scared1:!! Anyhow, any money saving tips would be appreciated. Every penny counts :thumbsup2. --Katie

Halloweenqueen
07-19-2011, 05:46 PM
We always rent a house using VRBO or Homeaway. There are usually some good offers.

You can usually get cheap car rental. Remember that gas isn't cheap though.

We stay on the North Shore. It's cheaper than the Waikiki area.

We go to Costco and stock up. We do many meals, usually always breakfast at our rental. We pack a picnic lunch for the beach. There are many good food trucks/take out places. Then we go out for a luau and a couple nice dinners during our stay.

It's like staying offsite for a WDW trip. It works great. Then we have the option to go anywhere on Oahu, not just Honolulu.

OhdahLolly
07-19-2011, 05:57 PM
I think the biggest thing, if you are staying close to downtown, you probably do not need a car. The bus system over there is easy simple to use, and its 2.50 with a transfer. Now it may be cheaper to cab it, your destination depending! But the busses go far. They go to the big mall, they go to the airport, I found one that went right to k-mart.. (and that is another long story in itself...)

As far as things to do. You can also go to any of those other time share presentations, and they will present you with a free gift. I choose the luau. It is high pressured at times and seems to make sense so just be aware if that is the route you choose to go. Most of the excursions down there will provide you with transportation as well.

I would also hit up the walmart or target to get groceries. That was our number 1 expense (besides the international market.. :laughing:) was food. It was CRAZY. Eating out at all 3 meals was insanely expensive!

Halloweenqueen
07-19-2011, 06:02 PM
Maybe rent DVC points for your extra days for Aulani? Worth looking into. Then you could just taxi there.

Lisa loves Pooh
07-19-2011, 06:57 PM
I ordered the Entertainment Guide for Hawaii for when I went. I waited until closer to when I needed it as they reduce the price of it through the year. I just made sure to order it in plenty of time to receive it.

We did use enough coupons to save money after the cost.

Maddle
07-20-2011, 12:05 AM
You can go to the ABC stores (that's the little convenience store that is about every 100 feet in Waikiki area) or Costco and pick up beach mats, beach chairs, maybe an inexpensive umbrella, floats. For the money you will save over rentals, you can use them for the seven or eight days, and then just leave them behind. Walmart is another option for beach supplies and souveniers.

There are coupon books at the airport and distributed along the sidewalk in Waikiki that have great discounts for food and activities. Moose McGuilicuddy's has a great breakfast for a low low price with a coupon that you can pick up just about anywhere. Yum.

A fun place to go - it's kind of silly, but your kids might like it - Dole Pineapple Plantation. We went a years ago and I still remember what a fun place it was...and we were just two adults. Drive around the island one day - there's so much beauty outside of the city.

You will have a wonderful time. It's so amazing.

Maddle

hereyago
07-20-2011, 01:09 AM
Now I'm getting hungry for some malasadas from Leonard's bakery.

Green Tea
07-20-2011, 10:49 AM
Costco!

JB2K
07-20-2011, 11:01 AM
OP - I lived there for over 6 years, so I can offer a "local" perspective:

If you have your airfare/hotel covered, that's most of the battle won.

However, the other big factor in this equation is "food" -- just watch your wallet if you are eating-out, as the fast foods you take for granted at home cost signifciantly more, there -- ever more so for sit-down restaurants.

If you want some tasty food that the locals enjoy, try "L&L Hawaiian Barbecue (http://www.hawaiianbarbecue.com/)" or "Zippy's (http://www.zippys.com/)" (both have locations nearly everywhere) -- and they won't hit your pocketbook hard.

Stay-away from the "ABC Stores" if you have the munchies, as these stores primarily cater to free-spending tourists from Asia who don't mind paying 8-10 bucks for a box of Kellogg's Frosted Flakes.

Also, if you are staying in Waikiki/Central Honolulu, you have some familiar names within close range -- Costco has already been mentioned by some. However, if you are not a member, both Walmart and Sam's Club are close-by, too (Target is a little farther away, near Pearl Harbor). Prices on some retail items tend to run about 25% more than what you pay at home. When it comes to non-perishable foods/snacks stock-up, I do this in the same mindset as I would at WDW.

Another thing - transportation - if you have a rented car available, that's great. Otherwise, you may want to consider mass transit (Honolulu's "TheBus (http://thebus.org/)" is one of the nation's best mass transit systems, and doesn't carry the stigma that's attached to other big transit systems around the USA). You can buy multi-use bus passes at any of the ABC Stores.

Have fun!

OHVolunteer
07-20-2011, 11:08 AM
I just went to Hawaii last year on my honeymoon and it's definitely expensive. We stayed in the Ko Olina Marriott Timeshare resort so we had a full kitchen, but we didn't have a rental car. We found eating breakfast and lunch in the room was a big money saver (food is expensive). We also stayed on the property for the most part, but we did go to Pearl Harbor one day - to save money on a taxi we rode the public bus system there and took a taxi home. If you want to go to USS Arizona get there early, we got there at around 930 a.m. and all of the tickets to go to the USS Arizona had already been given out for the day (tickets are free). You can purchase tickets to see the other ships, etc. which we did and I think it was like $17 a person.

Right near Pearl Harbor is Aloha Stadium where they have a famous swap meet (I forget what days), but we went to that and picked up some cheaper souvineers.

We also rented a car just one day and went to Waikiki and walked around and we also hiked a family friendly trail to see a waterfall (I can't remember the name right now), but it was like $4 or something to park and that was it.

It's a beautiful place and I can't wait to go back and see the other islands.

bonoriffic
07-20-2011, 11:16 AM
A beach mat at ABC is maybe $4. As expensive as ABC is, it isn't bad for a few items. Even buying a box of cereal bars is probably easier than hiking off to Costco.

I would focus on eatting breakfast in your room, and the other meals out.

Rent snorkel mask and fins from a place such as Snorkel Bob's. If you need vision correct snorkles it will be a bit more, otherwise an entire week is next to nothing. You will get a map of all the places to visit around the island. Some great snorkle sites are free public beaches. You can also get a boogie board for the week thrown in for free usually.

The snorkle preserve at Hanumana Bay is amazing, and you can take the bus there. It is about 15 minutes outside the downtown Waikiki area.

Taking the bus to Pearl Harbor is at least an hour. Way too many stops, but also very cheap.

Driving to the North Shore (with a midway stop at Dole) is an entire day activity. Depending on when you go, the North Shore may actually be too dangerous to swim in.

Find a good stretch of beach on Waikiki. I recommend the area outside the Hilton Hawaiian Village all the way at the end. Much less crowded and lots of room. Some areas of Waikiki have maybe 15 feet of actual beach.

You can walk to the zoo. It is a smaller zoo, but a good half day activity.

Diamond Head is an easy hike (just don't wear flip-flops) with great views. As much as it looks like you can walk there, don't try it. It is a short cab ride. The bus probably goes there too.

GatorMama
07-20-2011, 11:17 AM
If you plan to snorkel, you might consider buying your own gear and taking it with you since many places charge an arm and a leg for rental... or don't offer it at all. Our favorite place to snorkel was Pupukea. We LOVED it and it was free. We went to Hanauma Bay and were actually totally disappointed in it. You must pay to get in (it's a National Park... or state park?) and then there are are SOOOOOO many people there that you can't swim easily. There is also only a fairly narrow area of beach from which you can enter the water as there is coral quite close to shore everywhere else.

We also did a bit of hiking while we were there (and I was 24-25 weeks pregnant) but we really enjoyed it... and it was FREE. We did the Manoa Falls Trail and we did Diamond Head Crater. Saw several kids on both trails... and if my lazy, pregnant self could do it, most anyone could.

JB2K
07-20-2011, 11:42 AM
We went to Hanauma Bay and were actually totally disappointed in it. You must pay to get in (it's a National Park... or state park?).

It's under state control -- the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial and Volcanoes National Park (Big Island) both fall under the U.S. National Parks Service.

As for the disappointment, it's understandable. That particular spot has been overrun with tourist activity to the point where many of the eco-systems there have been threatened, and the state had to take extreme measures, such as closing the facility one day a week.

I just went to Hawaii last year on my honeymoon and it's definitely expensive. We stayed in the Ko Olina Marriott Timeshare resort so we had a full kitchen, but we didn't have a rental car.

Everyone here does know that Ko Olina is where Disney is building their latest resort (http://resorts.disney.go.com/aulani-hawaii-resort/)? As if that part of the island wasn't already out of most people's reach...

ekatiel
07-20-2011, 11:50 AM
Thanks for all the replies, guys! You have some really useful information!! It sounds like The Bus is doable to Hanuama Bay and Diamond Head Crater, and maybe we should rent a car or take a taxi to Pearl Harbor. We're arriving on a Friday, around lunch time there (of course it will feel much later to us!). I'm thinking on Saturday, we should rent a car, go to Pearl Harbor, and then make a stop at Walmart for beach gear, breakfast stuff and some lunch items. That way, we'll be stocked for the week. DH's meals will be covered, so DH and I can try to "share" some meals, and then we'll just have to pick up the tab for the kids. Anyone know of places that have portions big enough to share?

Also, we'll probably rent a car for Thursday and Friday (the two last days we're there when DH's conference is over) so that we can go to the Polynesian Cultural Center one day and drive to the Dole Plantation and Northshore and Waimea Falls one day.


I ordered the Entertainment Guide for Hawaii for when I went. I waited until closer to when I needed it as they reduce the price of it through the year. I just made sure to order it in plenty of time to receive it.

We did use enough coupons to save money after the cost.

Which coupons did you use? Did you use the one for the Polynesian Cultural Center, and if so, did you use it to upgrade to the Luau? TIA for any input!!


OP - I lived there for over 6 years, so I can offer a "local" perspective:

If you have your airfare/hotel covered, that's most of the battle won.

However, the other big factor in this equation is "food" -- just watch your wallet if you are eating-out, as the fast foods you take for granted at home cost signifcianly more, there -- ever more so for sit-down restaurants.

If you want some tasty food that the locals enjoy, try "L&L Hawaiian Barbecue (http://www.hawaiianbarbecue.com/)" or "Zippy's (http://www.zippys.com/)" (both have locations nearly everywhere) -- and they won't hit your pocketbook

Stay-away from the "ABC Stores" if you have the munchies, as these stores primarily cater to free-spending tourists from Asia who don't mind paying 8-10 bucks for a box of Kellogg's Frosted Flakes.

Also, if you are staying in Waikiki/Central Honolulu, you have some familiar names within close range -- Costco has already been mentioned by some. However, if you are not a member, both Walmart and Sam's Club are close-by, too (Target is a little farther away, near Pearl Harbor). Prices on some retail items tend to run about 25% more than what you pay at home.

Another thing - transportation - if you have a rented car available, that's great. Otherwise, you may want to consider mass transit (Honolulu's "The Bus" is one of the nation's best mass transit systems, and doesn't carry the stigma that's attached to other big transit systems around the USA). You can buy multi-use bus passes at any of the ABC Stores.

Have fun!

Thanks for all the great suggestions! It sounds like if I'm buying more than just a few things, it's worth the car rental $$ to go to Walmart instead of the ABC store. I'll definitely check out those two restaurants!! Do you know how they are with food allergies? My DS is allergic to eggs and nuts (we're having him specifically tested for macadamia nuts before we leave, so we'll know how cautious we need to be with those). Thanks so much! --Katie

JB2K
07-20-2011, 12:02 PM
I'll definitely check out those two restaurants!! Do you know how they are with food allergies? My DS is allergic to eggs and nuts (we're having him specifically tested for macadamia nuts before we leave, so we'll know how cautious we need to be with those). Thanks so much! --Katie

Katie - Hard to say as when I lived there (during the 90's), food allergies weren't as widely-discussed as they are, today (I would suggest checking-out the hyperlinked websites in my original post).

However, a typcial Hawaiian food staple (colloquially-known as the "plate lunch") is usually marinated beef (or other meat) and two starches (white rice and macaroni salad). L&L is the best example of such...

Irin997
07-20-2011, 12:23 PM
I actually just got back from my honeymoon on Maui and Oahu. We stayed at the Moana Surfrider right in downtown Waikiki. Food is very expensive but being on our honeymoon, we really spared no cost. If you want to eat somewhere very nice, Roy's in Waikiki is incredible. As far as cheap eats go, we loved the Yard House and some little upstairs restaurant that has a $5.99 breakfast special on Lewers St. We spent a couple nights at the Yard House in fact.

I highly recommend renting a car for at least a day or two and check out the North Shore. Get a cheap but delicious (and world famous) shaved ice from Matsumoto's in Hawe'iwa. See tons of turtles for free at Turtle Beach. Snorkel in Shark's Cove....which, in mine and my husband's opinion, is sooooooooooo much better than Hanauma Bay. We found Hanauma Bay to be a bit disappointing, particularly because you are swimming mere inches from the reef. In Shark's Cove you are anywhere from 10-50 from the reef and the visibility is awesome. We spent a good 2 hours in the water at Shark's Cove.

Definitely go to Pearl Harbor and get there early. Our hotel was able to arrange a shuttle to pick us up at 6:45am for $14 per person, roundtrip. We also paid extra to see the USS Missouri, which was awesome.

I can't think of anything else right now but if I do I'll chime back in. I do agree with a PP about renting a week's worth of snorkel gear. We didn't do that and I really wish we did because we spent way more than we needed to on equipment. Oh well.

Halloweenqueen
07-20-2011, 12:54 PM
Go on youtube and search for Wayde's Poor Man's Guide to Hawaii. Incredible videos on all the FREE things to do on Oahu.


Places to see...

The Waikiki Aquarium would be worth a stop. It is small, but your kids would enjoy it. There is indoor and outdoor exhibits. It is within a nice park with play equipment for the kids.

Dole Plantation. Worth a stop even for just a Dole Whip. The tours can get expensive though. The gift shop is huge!

Pearl Harbor....get there early! They hand out tickets for a specific time and take groups over to the memorial. I've gotten there at 7am and encountered huge lines in the past. Make sure you get your ticket first, then go look around. It isn't usual to have a 2-3 hour wait before your assigned time. And they do sometimes run out of times completely.

If you want a perfect beach for kids, go to Lanikai. The MOST beautiful beach on Oahu.

Polynesian Cultural Center. Expensive, but there are things for your kids to do. They are given a passport and can get it stamped at each country's section. There are shows or activities for each country. I would pass on the luau, expensive and the food is bad. The evening show...Ha, breath of Life, is worth the price of admission alone! Very well done. I think it would be cheaper, better to do the buffet and show rather than the luau/show.

Some of our favorite places to eat...

First, Foodland. Yes, it's just a grocery store, but they have tons of good take out type things in the deli section. Great for picnics on the beach.

Food trucks, especially the shrimp trucks on the North Shore. Opal Thai is one of our favorites also.

Leonards for porteguese donuts....yum

Ted's Bakery in Sunset Beach. Great sandwiches and pies! HUGE portions

Some would call this a tourist trap, but Kualoa Ranch...http://www.kualoa.com/ has horseback riding, fun movie tours, and petting area for the kids. If you were into the tv show, Lost, you need to go here.

I would condier Aulani also. Ko Olina area is all man made, so the lagoons are very calm. Aulani has gorgeous pools and lazy river. Character breakfasts for the kids, etc. DVC points are very reasonable for a standard studio. Check out the pictures in the title box here on the front page of the Dis.

daughtersrus
07-20-2011, 01:07 PM
A year ago tomorrow, we started DD's week-long Make A Wish trip on Oahu.

We stayed at the Hyatt Regency right across the street from Waikiki Beach. We were able to get beach towels and beach chairs from the hotel pool at no cost.

We ate lunch at a bar type restaurant in the basement of the Hyatt. You have to enter from outside. It was REALLY good and the price was reasonable. We ate dinner a little earlier than most since our bodies were still on Chicago time. ;)

We also ate once at a 50's style place behind the Hyatt in a strip that looked like old time buildings. The food was just OK but the prices were HORRIBLE. They were pretty rude there as well. They wouldn't allow you to take any pictures.

I'm sorry but I don't remember the name for either.


Here's a copy of a post I made on another thread about our trip.

We were on Oahu for about a week last July for DD's Make A Wish trip.

The Dole Whip at the Plantation was WONDERFUL!

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e362/daughtersrus/100_1547.jpg

Hamauma Bay was BEAUTIFUL! Be sure to get there very early because it fills up quickly.
http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e362/daughtersrus/100_1835-1.jpg

We also enjoyed going to Laniakea Beach to see the sea turtles come on shore. It's really not that far from Dole. The parking is street-side and it's a bit difficult to get to the beach. You have to climb down some rocks but it's worth it.
http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e362/daughtersrus/100_1866.jpg


Pearl Harbor, Arizona Memorial and the Missouri were also great. They were our very first stop the day after we got to the island. I was surprised by the smell of oil still coming out from the ship 70 years later.
http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e362/daughtersrus/100_1486.jpghttp://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e362/daughtersrus/100_1475.jpghttp://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e362/daughtersrus/100_1469.jpghttp://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e362/daughtersrus/100_1466.jpg


We went to a luau at Paradise Cove so we got to see a glimps of the Disney resort. I'd say that it's about an hour or so from Waikiki Beach.

We stayed at the Hyatt right on the beach. It was beautiful. We had a rental car and on the advise of someone here at the Dis, we took a GSP. Glad that we did. We're used to Chicago traffic so that wasn't a problem but all the streets sounded a like. It was nice to have the GPS giving directions. It was also pretty funny to hear how it pronounced some of the street names. :rotfl:

If you go to Waikiki Beach, there are webcams in front of the Duke Kahanamoku Statue and at the turn-around at Kuhio Beach. We wish that we knew about these before our trip. It would have been fun to wave to family and friends back home. http://www1.honolulu.gov/cameras/

Edited to add...

Dole is free but you pay for the train tour (we didn't do that). Pearl Harbor is also free but you pay for USSMO and Bowfin (DH and 2 older girls did MO while I stayed with DD since it's not wheelchair friendly). Hanauma Bay isn't free but it's pretty cheap and well worth the cost. Go early in the day. I can't stress it enough. When we left the line was a mile long. Laniakea Beach is also free but you'll need a car to get there.


ENJOY!

I'm so jealous! We want to go back so bad!

Irin997
07-20-2011, 02:22 PM
If you want a perfect beach for kids, go to Lanikai. The MOST beautiful beach on Oahu.

:thumbsup2:thumbsup2:thumbsup2

Lanikai was absolutely amazing! It made me wish we were staying in Kailua instead of Waikiki!

TheRustyScupper
07-20-2011, 03:02 PM
1) Our cousins run a business on Kauai for over 30 years.
2) We alternate Kauai for London every-other-year.
3) As people have mentioned, Hawaii is expensive.
4) But, look around for deals.

5) Places & Purchases you usually cannot find deals.
. . . gasoline and diesel fuel
. . . rental cars
. . . milk & soda pop
. . . fast food
6) Places & Purchases you can price shop for deals
. . . clothing
. . . tours
. . . sit-down meals
. . . souvenirs
. . . public transportation (bus)
. . . taxis (can frequently be bargained)

NOTE:
Overall, one just buckles down and figures that Hawaii will be costly.
If we wanted cheaper, we would do Miami or Orlando.

Green Tea
07-20-2011, 05:38 PM
1) Our cousins run a business on Kauai for over 30 years.
2) We alternate Kauai for London every-other-year.
3) As people have mentioned, Hawaii is expensive.
4) But, look around for deals.

5) Places & Purchases you usually cannot find deals.
. . . gasoline and diesel fuel
. . . rental cars
. . . milk & soda pop
. . . fast food
6) Places & Purchases you can price shop for deals
. . . clothing
. . . tours
. . . sit-down meals
. . . souvenirs
. . . public transportation (bus)
. . . taxis (can frequently be bargained)

NOTE:
Overall, one just buckles down and figures that Hawaii will be costly.
If we wanted cheaper, we would do Miami or Orlando.

1) Why do you
2) Number and
3) Bullet your
...posts
a) ?



OP: I went to Kauai several years ago and found food to be really expensive, both in restaurants and in grocery stores. On the Big Island, I thought things were pretty much the same as stateside. Maybe if you stay away from the typical tourist places and shop and eat where the locals do, it might be a little less expensive.

chaselovesnemo
07-20-2011, 09:31 PM
Shark's cove is gorgeous at sunset. I would skip Hanauma Bay altogether. There are better beaches that are free and less crowded. Be prepared- beaches in Waikiki are CRAZY. At peak season there are literally 6 inches between you and the person on the next beach towel, and the entire beach is covered with people. NOT enjoyable in my opinion, although the night life there is fun. Your kids will love the Dole plantation, and as mentioned already, do not miss Matsumoto's shave ice in Haleiwa! Be sure to get ice cream in the bottom of yours (or beans too if you're adventurous:)) Ahhhh. I"m craving some right now.

If you're on the North Shore around breakfast time check out the Hukilau Cafe. Delicious banana macadamia pancakes and all kinds of other stuff.

It is definitely worth making a walmart run for beach mats, beach towels, snacks, etc, using them for a week, and leaving them there. Less luggage to bring and carry home and much cheaper than buying at other small stores in the area.

Enjoy your trip!

ADisneyQueen
07-21-2011, 08:12 AM
Subscribing. Great thread.

TLPL
07-21-2011, 08:37 AM
Don't forget to check out Aulani, You can't call yourself a Disney Fan and go to Hawaii without checking out the new Disney Resort!!!

MEM
07-21-2011, 09:26 AM
So, I'm finding out that the two words "Hawaii" and "budget" may not belong on the same page, let alone in the same sentence :scared1:. DH has a conference in October in Honolulu, and we've all (me and our two boys, ages 5 and 7) have decided to tag along. Since this is sort of an "extra" vacation, we'd like to try to not overspend, but we also realize that this is probably a once in a lifetime type trip, so we want to see/do the most important stuff. DH's company is paying for the hotel for 6 of the 8 nights we're staying, so our hotel bill will only be around $500. DH's company is also paying for his flight. I've found flights for us for $500 a piece during a 24 hours fare sale, so we did pretty well on flights. When it comes to entertainment and food, I'm getting stuck on the best way to save money. I've ordered the Hawaii entertainment book, and I've also looked at the Go Oahu card. Has anyone used either of these discounts in Hawaii? What did you think? We're also trying to figure out when we need to rent a car. We're trying not to rent for the entire time b/c parking at the hotel alone is $24 a night. We've also found out that renting something as simple as beach chairs and an umbrella can run you $60 per DAY :scared1:!! Anyhow, any money saving tips would be appreciated. Every penny counts :thumbsup2. --Katie

We're planning a trip to Aulani in 2012 and that sounds like a great price for flights! What city are you flying out of and how did you hear about those flights?

Green Tea
07-21-2011, 10:05 AM
Beat of Hawaii has a list and a facebook page that lists FABULOUS air deals. They often list west coast fares about $150-180. East coast of course more, but if any airline has a short term sale, they will be the one to let you know. Great site.

Lisa loves Pooh
07-21-2011, 10:40 AM
i don't remember. I want to say that we used them for the Missouri, the Atlantis submarine, maybe the water park whose name escapes me, and Chuck E Cheese. (Before you laugh, my younger daughter chose this for her birthday activity and us parents just sucked it up and took one for the team lol!).

If they had a PCC coupon, we would have used it. We did notuse it for the luau as we had picked a other luau to do and with 2 small kids on the verge of collapse, the day was long enough with just the tour of the grounds. So I don't know how they would handle an upgrade

I recall the EG being recommended to us and was surprised at the number of coupons we were able to use. Our trip was in October, so we definitely spent less than the regular price on it.

Thanks for all the replies, guys! You have some really useful information!! It sounds like The Bus is doable to Hanuama Bay and Diamond Head Crater, and maybe we should rent a car or take a taxi to Pearl Harbor. We're arriving on a Friday, around lunch time there (of course it will feel much later to us!). I'm thinking on Saturday, we should rent a car, go to Pearl Harbor, and then make a stop at Walmart for beach gear, breakfast stuff and some lunch items. That way, we'll be stocked for the week. DH's meals will be covered, so DH and I can try to "share" some meals, and then we'll just have to pick up the tab for the kids. Anyone know of places that have portions big enough to share?

Also, we'll probably rent a car for Thursday and Friday (the two last days we're there when DH's conference is over) so that we can go to the Polynesian Cultural Center one day and drive to the Dole Plantation and Northshore and Waimea Falls one day.




Which coupons did you use? Did you use the one for the Polynesian Cultural Center, and if so, did you use it to upgrade to the Luau? TIA for any input!!




Thanks for all the great suggestions! It sounds like if I'm buying more than just a few things, it's worth the car rental $$ to go to Walmart instead of the ABC store. I'll definitely check out those two restaurants!! Do you know how they are with food allergies? My DS is allergic to eggs and nuts (we're having him specifically tested for macadamia nuts before we leave, so we'll know how cautious we need to be with those). Thanks so much! --Katie

Lisa loves Pooh
07-21-2011, 10:48 AM
A note on the swap meet at Aloha stadium.

Don't presume thE first booth with that souvenir you see is the best price. Shop around.


Also, don't presume all the offerings are cheaper there. We were keeping mental notes of the cost of various souvenirs and some items were MORE expensive at the Swap Meet. I think some of the vendors count on you not realizing it. It has been a few years. So I could no quote which souvenirs. The key is to just be aware.

I tried to stick to souvenirs that I could not find in town. And making sure the vendor I chose was offering it for the lowest price. I am not a haggler. :)

ekatiel
07-21-2011, 10:51 AM
We're planning a trip to Aulani in 2012 and that sounds like a great price for flights! What city are you flying out of and how did you hear about those flights?

We're in Houston, so the flights are from IAH (Houston's big airport). I actually happened upon an unadvertised 24 hr. fare sale that Continental/United was offering. I think someone from above was looking down on me :goodvibes. I didn't even know it was a 24 hr. fare sale at the time, I just knew that every other time I had checked prices, they were in the upper 700's for flights. I actually put our tickets on "72 hour fare lock" which cost me $14, since I wanted to make sure DH was on the same flights as us and had seats next to us. By the time his company's cruddy travel agency got around to booking his ticket, his fare was $770. As soon as they booked his, I went ahead and purchased ours, which were still on fare lock, so we got them for $500. I was pretty happy!!! My best advice is to check fares often, and when you see something good, jump on it! --Katie

Halloweenqueen
07-21-2011, 10:53 AM
Shark's cove is gorgeous at sunset. I would skip Hanauma Bay altogether. There are better beaches that are free and less crowded. Be prepared- beaches in Waikiki are CRAZY. At peak season there are literally 6 inches between you and the person on the next beach towel, and the entire beach is covered with people. NOT enjoyable in my opinion, although the night life there is fun. Your kids will love the Dole plantation, and as mentioned already, do not miss Matsumoto's shave ice in Haleiwa! Be sure to get ice cream in the bottom of yours (or beans too if you're adventurous:)) Ahhhh. I"m craving some right now.

If you're on the North Shore around breakfast time check out the Hukilau Cafe. Delicious banana macadamia pancakes and all kinds of other stuff.

It is definitely worth making a walmart run for beach mats, beach towels, snacks, etc, using them for a week, and leaving them there. Less luggage to bring and carry home and much cheaper than buying at other small stores in the area.

Enjoy your trip!

Sharks Cove and Three Tables are our favorite place to snorkle, but the OP is going in October. I think the waves would be too choppy and dangerous on the North Shore then.

OP, always check beach conditions. October is the start of big waves on the North Shore.

ekatiel
07-21-2011, 11:29 AM
Sharks Cove and Three Tables are our favorite place to snorkle, but the OP is going in October. I think the waves would be too choppy and dangerous on the North Shore then.

OP, always check beach conditions. October is the start of big waves on the North Shore.

Do you think we'll be able to do surfing lessons on the Northshore then? We've got a coupon from the entertainment book, and the place is rated really well on Trip Advisor. I thought surfing lessons would be super fun!

For those recommending the Disney Resort, I wish we could check out the new Disney Resort, but the two nights we are paying for the hotel are also the two full days that DH has off from the conference, so we're planning on heading to PCC one day and to the Northshore the next. Not much time to spend at the resort those two days, so we'll probably stay put. I know the food allergy thing would be easier at the Disney resort! Hopefully, we will run into some nice, food allergy educated chefs during our trip. --Katie

Halloweenqueen
07-21-2011, 11:39 AM
I'm sure there would be plenty of surfing lesson options. Waimea Bay and Sunset Beach are huge surfing spots on the North Shore.

crisi
07-21-2011, 11:58 AM
Do you think we'll be able to do surfing lessons on the Northshore then? We've got a coupon from the entertainment book, and the place is rated really well on Trip Advisor. I thought surfing lessons would be super fun!

Surfing lessons, even with a coupon, will not be budget. Do get reservations - many places do book up. Surfing lessons were fun (we did ours in Lahaina), but surfing is a LOT of work, and its very difficult for "larger" people - particularly those who are a little older. My husband "barely" got up. I got up, but got too tired to paddle after three runs. My daughter managed to ride little waves - she is still a 65 lb girl - only my son - twelve years old an a pretty darn good snowboard/skateboard - was really "surfing" - the rest of us were tourists on surfboards. And it took a second private two hour lesson before he was really surfing. By they time we'd dropped $500 on surf lessons.

You want the "little waves" to learn to surf on - not the big North Shore in October waves. But there is probably a good spot to learn.

Halloweenqueen
07-21-2011, 12:27 PM
Another fun place is the Buddhist Temple on the Windward side of the Island. There are several koi ponds and fun places to explore. They have the large bronze bell that the kids can ring, etc.

If you are a Lost fan, it was used as the Korean home of Sun's family...

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b20/halloweenqueen1031/DSCF0205.jpg

ekatiel
07-21-2011, 12:47 PM
OK-- Darn you guys for mentioning Aulani!!! It made me want to look it up, and now I'm trying to figure out how we can finagle our plans so we can stay our last two nights there!! It looks WONDERFUL!!! I'm going to talk to DH about it this evening, and then check the rent/trade point board to see if there's even availability. --Katie

Halloweenqueen
07-21-2011, 01:19 PM
Listen to this week's podcast. They do a full review of Aulani. :cool1:

coastiewifern
07-21-2011, 11:07 PM
Wow great info. We are hoping to go to Hawaii in summer of 2012. Airfare is the biggest problem for us. We are looking to fly from FL and man it is expensive. We have friends we can stay with on Oahu for a week so that will help. Then we'd like to hop to another island. I am going to check out beat of Hawaii for airfare. I have it on a watch on another site but it rarely goes down.