Planning a spring break trip to Hawaii? Those who’ve already vacationed here e are aware of how expensive the Aloha state can be.  Fear not, stick to your coupon clipping mindset, even while on your Hawaiian vacation, and you’ll keep more of your hard-earned cash.  Here are a few things you can save on.

Car Rental

Car rentals are expensive in Hawaii, but thankfully, Oahu has a comprehensive public bus route coverage that extends to almost every corner of the island. Tourists can purchase a visitor’s four-day pass for $25 at one of the ABC Store locations in Waikiki or the Ala Moana Shopping Center. If you’re planning to stay in the Waikiki area for the duration of your trip, consider using the Waikiki Trolley.  You can purchase one-day, four-day, or seven-day passes with or without tickets to the Honolulu Zoo and Waikiki Aquarium. If you’re visiting one of the neighbor islands, stick with the car rental.  Buses on Kauai, the Big Island, and Maui come every hour (or longer!) and have less-comprehensive route systems.


Attending a luau is one of the quintessential experiences of a visit to Hawaii, but they can be expensive.  Luau tickets, depending on the venue, can cost anywhere from $35 to $200 per person. Forgo the luau crowds and pick up Hawaiian plate lunches at one of the many local places in the islands. Ono Hawaiian Food on Oahu, and Da Poke Shack on the Big Island are two of the best places that serve Hawaiian take-out. If you can’t find a local hole-in-the-wall that serves Hawaiian food, look for one of the many Zippy’s Restaurants or L&L Hawaiian Barbecue locations to get your local-food fix.


Of course, food is only half of the luau experience, enjoying the on-stage entertainment being the other half. Grab your plate lunches and head down to Kuhio Beach Park in Waikiki.  A free tiki torch-lighting ceremony and hula pageant occurs from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. Additional free daily activities are held at The Royal Hawaiian Center.

On Kauai, enjoy a free hula show at Coconut Marketplace every Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. and Saturday at 1:00 p.m. Maui vacationers can watch a hula show or attend a variety of free activities, including lei-making and hula lessons at Whalers Village in Lahaina.

If you’re planning to do a lot of activities on Oahu, consider getting a Go Oahu Card, which combines ticket and fare prices into a single daily rate. Activities available with the card include snorkeling cruises, admission to the Polynesian Cultural Center, and kayak rentals. Unfortunately, there are no Go cards available for any of the neighbor islands.

This has been a guest post by Jacob from Honolulu, HI
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5 thoughts on “Aloha! Save Cash on Your Next Hawaiian Vacation”

  1. Melissa Maze says:

    Something not covered in this- Lodging! rooms in HI can easily cost around $300 per night( and they only hold 4 people!). We rent a house when we go. It is $420 per night- the last one my mom rented was $400 per night. They sleep 10 people!! that’s only $42.00 per night per person! Most of the vacation rentals have their own pools too! So when you’ve gotten too much sand in places it doesn’t belong you can head back to your own private pool! Ours also had a hot tub. Aloha! 

    • Anonymous says:

      Or wait until your daughter marries a guy in the Navy and stay with them in their gov’t rental. Nice! BTW, do you have connections to Indiana? I know a family with your last name and all the kids’ names start with M.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I would just add that while you are saving money remember why you are there.  You want to relax, sightsee, enjoy yourself.  Don’t get so focused on saving money that you bypass a great experience.  If there is something you really want to do, you can pre-book it with your tour package and get it at a discount.  If you really want to see Pearl Harbor and you are renting a car, there is no cost at all.  If you aren’t renting a car but want to see Pearl Harbor, pre-book the tour and save money on something else.  I see clients sometimes that bypass something because it’s expensive when that was one of the major reasons they wanted to visit where they were going.  My travel mantra has become “eat breakfast at Denny’s so I can luau at the Royal Hawaiian”.  There is nothing like being on Waikiki Beach at sunset with the drums beating and the torches being lit (by really good looking Hawaiian guys).

  3. Anonymous says:

    I made a rental car reservation for Maui 4 months before my trip, then checked on rates a few months later.  I was able to save $90 for the exact same car by canceling the first reservation and then making a new one.  

  4. Ana Lilia says:

    Time to take a trip : )