Thrifty Guide to Hawaii: Kauai

Searching for a paradise is not easy and when it comes to Hawaii its usually not cheap. But there are some little-known Hawaii deals that will let you see the Aloha State on a shoestring budget. Below are some thrifty ways to roam around in Hawaii.

1. Stick to one island

Hawaii’s many islands are diverse and each offer something different, so island hopping can be very tempting. When it comes to saving money, sticking to one island can help keep costs down. Since you won’t be flying between islands you won’t be spending extra on transportation. Check out our guide to choosing the best Hawaiian island for you to help decide where you want to spend your time.

When considering opportunities to save, Honolulu on Oahu may be your best bet. It’s hands down the most developed and visited place on the islands, making it the cheapest and most accessible too. Although it’s a popular choice among travelers, there are still plenty of hidden gems on the island.

2. Take a hike

In addition to beaches, Hawaii is a destination well known for its hiking, and taking to the trails will only cost you admission into a national park if that’s where you’ll be hiking. That will run you around $10 per person or $20 per vehicle if you’re driving. Some of the best places to get your hike on in Hawaii include the Kalalau Trail in Kauai, Diamond Head on Oahu in Honolulu (this is a good one to tackle early to avoid heat and crowds), Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island and Haleakala National Park on Maui.

3. Use public transport

There are some Hawaiian Islands that make it easy to get around via public transit, which can save you quite a bit of money. On Oahu for example, you can take advantage of TheBus, which serves the island via a large number of routes. A four-day pass costs $35 or a one-way fare is $2.50. You can also give the Waikiki Trolley a try, which runs several different lines (at various costs) and offers the chance to hop on and hop off at multiple stops and attractions. The pink line is the cheapest at $2 a ride each way and takes riders to the popular Ala Monoa shopping center where you’ll find shops, dining and free events like hula shows.

On Maui you can also take public transit, which runs 13 bus routes for $2 a ride or $4 for a daily pass. On the Big Island the bus will cost you $2 for a one-way ride, including bus service to Hawai’i Volcanos National Park (just note the $5 entrance fee is collected on the bus).

4. Use Coupons

It can often be helpful to pick up a coupon book as a way to save money on various sights, activities and attractions in Hawaii. Local newspapers can be a good place to start so pick one up when you arrive to see what’s available. Another option is to grab a copy of This Week magazine at the airport (it’s available on all the major islands) for a variety of discount coupons on everything from dining to attractions.

5. Schedule your trip and stay right

The first step in saving money on a Hawaiian vacation is to time your trip right, which means avoiding peak season where hotel rooms and flights will be at their most expensive. Lookout for cheaper flights and discounted hotel rooms in January (last two weeks), February, May, September and October. More good news: February happens to be the best time of year to see humpback whales and September is Aloha Festivals time.

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