Traveling to Hawaii on a Tight Budget. All Tricks and Tips.

traveling to hawaii
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Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Most people think that “Hawaii” and “budget” do not belong in the same sentence. After all, a visit to a beautiful tropical paradise should be a treat.

What we’re here to tell you is that traveling to Hawaii on a budget is possible and can be even more rewarding than you might imagine from expensive resort brochures. From flights to discounted Hawaiian accommodation to savings on activities, there are plenty of ways to explore Hawaii on a budget in every category.

Finding Cheapest Flight for Traveling to Hawaii

Want to plan your trip to Hawaii on a budget? Be careful not to blow air before your feet touch the sand. If you’re traveling from the US to Hawaii, chances are you’ll get cheap flights to Hawaii, and there are many ways to do so. Read on for tips on how to travel to Hawaii on a budget.

First of all, be as flexible as you can comfortably with your date and the islands you visit. Airfare and lodging are two big components to a trip to Hawaii, so you have to balance the two to keep expenses to a minimum. Then weigh the different options for booking flights with cash or points. Here are some ways to save on airfare to Hawaii.

In some cases, cash is the easiest way to pay for an airline ticket, and that might make sense given the great deals you often find on the West Coast of the United States. The first place to start your search is Skyscanner.

Skyscanner is the best way to search for flights because it allows you to reflect complete flexibility. You can allow nearby airports at either end and search for a month to find the cheapest prices. Even if you don’t end up paying in cash, it’s always important to know the current fare for your flight to assess whether it’s worth redeeming the reward.

In early 2019, Southwest Airlines began its long-awaited service to Hawaii. The introductory price was just $49 one way from select airports and included a companion pass. Fares are now higher, but still cheaper than many major airlines. The Southwest Companion Pass is a great deal as you only have to pay taxes. The easiest way to get a companion pass is to open a Southwest credit card. Even faster when opening personal and business cards.

The problem is, if you live outside of the West Coast, you don’t have a comprehensive route map. Currently, the company only offers direct flights from California, Phoenix and Las Vegas to Hawaii, with the most extensive service to Oahu, Maui. Some US cities also offer flights to Kauai and the Big Island. There are also inter-island flights, but it’s definitely worth comparing prices with local airline Mokulele Airlines to find the cheapest flights.

Still, the companion pass is so valuable that it recently made two Southwest credit cards in hopes of visiting Hawaii again. Now it only needs $5.60 to bring one family member! Check out Southwest’s latest credit card promotions to get a companion pass.

Many frequent flyers have heard about the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass earned with their credit card sign-up bonus, but did you know that Alaska Airlines offers a similar pass? ?Alaska is a little different (only one ticket per year, usually $99 plus tax per companion ticket, but promotions often waive the base fare in the first year.) Yes, but Alaska Airlines offers plenty of flights to Hawaii.

Also, this is not a gimmick where you have to pay a high price for your first ticket to get the companion rate on the second ticket (like the old Amex promotions), but usually tickets can be purchased on its website. Especially for West Coast travelers who already have cheap flights to Aloha State, this can be one of the cheapest ways to travel to Hawaii.

Obviously, the cheapest way to get to Hawaii is to pay no money. When my friends ask me how to explore Hawaii on a budget, it’s usually the first tip I want to share. “Free” is the cheapest way to get to Hawaii and we have taken advantage of it many times.

I’d recommend aiming for at least 2 cents per mile, but if you really don’t want to spend the money (if you end up buying four of his planes), redeem it for something like 1.5 cents per mile. may be reasonable. . Tickets for most places you’re looking for will cost you at least a thousand dollars. Many airlines now offer dynamic (more expensive) points redemption.

For U.S. flyers who had Virgin America accounts prior to the acquisition of Alaska, their Frequent Flyer Plan accounts may have more sitting than they thought. It turned out that it had almost exactly 15,000 miles in all of its accounts, so it was able to use the miles that had sat unloved for several years to buy a one-way ticket.

Southwest Mileage benefits are price dependent and therefore vary widely. However, combined with the companion pass above, it gets two tickets to Hawaii for the number of miles required for one ticket. This can be a great option for cheap flights to Hawaii . Apply for a Southwest Credit Card to get your Companion Pass. If you also have a Chase card, you should know that you can transfer those Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest if you’re a little short on cash.

If you live in a city with many United flights, purchasing a United Mileage Plus Explorer credit card may be the easiest option. The normal fee is $95 per year (first year fee may be waived) and includes 50,000 bonus miles, enough to cover your ticket. With this card, you can get free checked bags and two passes to the United Club lounge, even though you are paying taxes to redeem an award ticket.

Where to Stay in Budget.

Another big part of the cost of traveling to Hawaii is accommodation. If you really want to plan a budget trip to Hawaii, consider Home Exchange.

Vacation rentals are a great option in Hawaii, but it’s important to know what interests you. In June 2019, the mayor of Honolulu imposed strict limits on vacant short-term vacation rentals on Oahu, effectively stifling Oahu’s Airbnb market outside of designated tourist destinations such as Waikiki, Ko Olina and Turtle Bay. The new limits will be even stricter.

There are still some vacation rentals available in other areas, but they are limited in number and require a license. Other parts of Hawaii also have restrictions on short-term rentals. Vacation rentals are one of the best ways to explore Hawaii on a budget, but check the deals carefully.

Finding a great legal rental home in Hawaii can be a great opportunity to stay. You can save on food expenses, parking fees, etc. while enjoying a different mood.



Finding cheapest Hotels.

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If you want to stay at a hotel in Hawaii, even if you’re planning a trip to Hawaii on a tight budget, you still have plenty of options.

The cheapest way to stay in a Hawaii hotel is, of course, free. World of Hyatt credit card offers signup bonus on future trips to Kauai and Maui. There are countless hotel loyalty programs, but Hyatt has the most generous perks table, often charging half of its points per night to competitors like Marriott and Hilton. Additionally, Reward Stays do not incur resort fees, but still count towards achieving Elite status.

If all this sounds great, we have even better news. Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Ink Business Preferred credit cards can also transfer points to Hyatt. Of course, you’ll have to manage your credit card responsibly and pay your balance monthly, but if you strategically use the sign-up bonus, you can combine any of the above airline programs and get almost anywhere to paradise. You can secure a free trip. Hyatt Hotel Program.

Another option for cheap hotels in Hawaii is to look for hotels with kitchen and laundry services to avoid expensive meals and laundry services. Resort amenities such as the beautiful pool, on-site dining and top-notch staff will continue to be available. Check out the great options on each island.

Best Hotel options.

Beach Villas at Ko Olina
Marriott Ko Olina Beach Club

Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas 
Honua Kai resort

Plantation Hale Suites 
Marriott’s Waiohai Beach Club
Marriott’s Kauai Lagoons
Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas
Koloa Landing Resort at Poipu

Big Island:
Inn At Kulaniapia
Orchid Tree B&B
Hilo Bay Oceanfront Bed & Breakfast
Kilauea Lodge & Restaurant
Hilton Waikoloa Village
Waikoloa Village vacation rentals 
Mauna Lani Point Villas
The Islands At Mauna Lani
Mauna Lani Resort 
Westin Hapuna Beach Resort
Mauna Kea Beach Hotel 

Car Rentals in Hawaii.

traveling to Hawaii
car rental.
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The simplest way is the good old RentalCars.com. Quickly search for your desired car model from hundreds of suppliers of all sizes and reserve it without any upfront payment. Almost all reservations can be canceled, so check weekly before any trip and rebook if there is a better price.

Kayak car rentals offer a wide range of suppliers from major domestic brands to smaller options that are a good choice these days when car rental prices are so high.

A great local option is Discount Hawaii Car Rental. They partner with all major Hawaii car rental companies and have Hawaii-based customer service should you encounter any issues. This is especially useful if you arrive on the mainland late at night.

Another option to consider is joining AARP. Membership prices are similar to Starbucks ride prices, but you can save up to 30% on car rental prices (in addition to discounts at select hotels). Surprisingly, you don’t have to be a senior or retiree to participate in AARP.


It is possible to travel to Hawaii on a budget if you plan and spend strategically. Tips include traveling in the off-season, choosing affordable accommodation, choosing local transportation, eating at local restaurants, and participating in free or low-cost activities. Hawaii is known for its luxurious resorts and expensive attractions, but even budget-friendly trips can experience the natural beauty, culture and aloha spirit of the islands. With a little careful planning and budgeting, a trip to Hawaii can be an affordable and unforgettable experience.


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