Budget Hawaii Tips?

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by ekatiel, Jul 19, 2011.

  1. ekatiel

    ekatiel DIS Veteran

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    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
     
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  3. Halloweenqueen

    Halloweenqueen Whenever Candle Lights Flicker...

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    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.
     
  4. OhdahLolly

    OhdahLolly Mouseketeer

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    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!
     
  5. Halloweenqueen

    Halloweenqueen Whenever Candle Lights Flicker...

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    Maybe rent DVC points for your extra days for Aulani? Worth looking into. Then you could just taxi there.
     
  6. Lisa loves Pooh

    Lisa loves Pooh DIS Veteran

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    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.
     
  7. Maddle

    Maddle DIS Veteran

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    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
     
  8. hereyago

    hereyago DIS Veteran

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    Now I'm getting hungry for some malasadas from Leonard's bakery.
     
  9. Green Tea

    Green Tea <font color=green>I don't do hatchets<br><font col

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    Costco!
     
  10. JB2K

    JB2K DIS Veteran

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    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" or "Zippy's" (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" 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!
     
  11. OHVolunteer

    OHVolunteer Earning My Ears

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    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.
     
  12. bonoriffic

    bonoriffic DIS Veteran

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    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.
     
  13. GatorMama

    GatorMama DIS Veteran

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    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.
     
  14. JB2K

    JB2K DIS Veteran

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    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.

    Everyone here does know that Ko Olina is where Disney is building their latest resort? As if that part of the island wasn't already out of most people's reach...
     
  15. ekatiel

    ekatiel DIS Veteran

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    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
     
  16. JB2K

    JB2K DIS Veteran

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    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...
     
  17. Irin997

    Irin997 DIS Veteran

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    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.
     
  18. Halloweenqueen

    Halloweenqueen Whenever Candle Lights Flicker...

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    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.
     
  19. daughtersrus

    daughtersrus DIS Veteran

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    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!

    [​IMG]

    Hamauma Bay was BEAUTIFUL! Be sure to get there very early because it fills up quickly.
    [​IMG]

    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.
    [​IMG]


    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.
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]


    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!
     
  20. Irin997

    Irin997 DIS Veteran

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    :thumbsup2:thumbsup2:thumbsup2

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

    TheRustyScupper You can observe a lot by watching.

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    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.
     

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