8 tips to save money on your Oahu vacation

8 tips to save money on your Oahu vacation Traveling to and around Oahu can be expensive. So how do

8 tips to save money on your Oahu vacation

Traveling to and around Oahu can be expensive. So how do you stay on-budget as a frugal traveler? There’s no need to break the bank when traveling to Hawaii; we’ve got eight tips to save money on your Oahu vacation.

Tip #1: Choose a smaller hotel.

While we love the many beautiful resorts here on Oahu, if you’re looking to save on your vacation, check out a smaller hotels, especially if you plan to spend most of your trip outside, exploring the island. A few options we like include: Hotel La Croix, Park Shore Waikiki, and OHANA Waikiki East by Outrigger, where depending on the season, you can book a room for under $300 a night.

Tip #2: Save money on parking.

Hotel parking in Waikiki costs $30 to $50 per night, which can add up on a week-long stay. In our Waikiki Parking Guide we do the homework on parking rates so that you can make the best decision for your budget. If you plan to spend most of your time by the pool, at the beach or exploring your neighborhood, avoid daily parking fees by catching Uber/Lyft or the local bus or booking an hourly car rental like Hui Car Share.

Tip #3: Save money with a rental car alternative. 

Hui is a rental car alternative for sightseeing around Oahu. With the Hui Car Share app, available for iOS and Android, you can conveniently book a car, truck or SUV from a fleet of 170+ vehicles across the island by the hour or the day, with no fee to sign up. Your smartphone becomes the key to unlock and lock the vehicle, so there’s also no need to wait in line to process paperwork.

Many Hui drivers will catch a shuttle or Uber/Lyft from the airport to their hotel. With Hui stations located conveniently across Waikiki, there is sure to be a station close to your hotel. Reserve a Hui for the time you need, whether by the hour or day. For example, book the car in the morning for a couple of hours to hike Diamond Head (don’t forget to make reservations) and grab an acai bowl (we love nearby Da Cove Health Bar & Cafe) before heading back to the hotel to relax by the pool. On another day, you might book a Hui for an all-day drive around the island.

Rates start at $12.00 per hour and $125.50 per day. Gas, insurance and maintenance are included. The app provides transparent pricing during booking, which makes it easy to plan your transportation budget.

Tip #4: Get into nature, of course!

Oahu’s gorgeous hikes and beaches are an affordable and enjoyable way to spend the day. A few of our favorite outdoor spots include Lanikai Pillbox, Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden and the Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail. Some locations, like Hanauma Bay and Diamond Head, charge a small admission fee or require reservations, so do your research ahead of time so that you’re not surprised.

Stop by 7-Eleven for quick and affordable snacks like spam musubi or pre-packaged bento boxes, not to mention refreshing Slurpees.

Tip #5: Go on a walking or driving tour of Oahu.

For an immersive tour, check out Shaka Guide’s self-guided GPS tours, with educational and entertaining audio options for learning more about local culture at your own pace. One of our favorite stops along Shaka Guide’s Circle Island Tour is Dole Plantation, where you can ride the Pineapple Express Train, get lost in the garden maze, or taste fresh, sweet local pineapple.

Tip #6: Eat like a local.

Plate lunches are a staple Hawaii meal – delicious, filling and affordable. We like local legend Rainbow Drive-In, where we always order the boneless chicken with gravy all over, paired with a slush float. These delicious (and filling!) meals are perfect for refueling after all a full day at the beach. Plate lunches typically include a main dish paired with scoops of white rice and macaroni salad.

Friends eating loco mocos at Rainbow Drive-In

Tip #7: Learn more about history and culture.

With a bit of research, you can find plenty of free or low-cost activities to enjoy across the island. At Pearl Harbor, there’s no entry fee to the Visitor Center and no ticket is required to see the museums. 1,300 free tickets are available every day to visit the Arizona Memorial (show up early!). Or take in the local Hawaii culture with lei making, ukulele lessons or a free hula show at Royal Hawaiian Center in Waikiki.

Tip #8: Shop local at farmers’ markets

Check out farmer markets for the freshest produce and a good chance to chat with locals. Papayas make for a delicious, cost-friendly breakfast. We like the KCC Farmers Market, open on Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at Kapiolani Community College. Buy everything here from freshly prepared foods and fresh flowers to gifts to bring home.