Travel to Hawaii On A Budget

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Let’s face it – Hawaii is expensive!! However, with some travel hacks and tips, I want to share with you how you can enjoy your vacation in Hawaii and not go home broke!

To recap, I was able to get airfare, hotel, and a car rental for $172 with the help of the Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card (AKA the best credit card ever) You can read how I did that travel hack here.

If you plan on exploring the island, rent a car! I always find cheap rentals on

The hotel charged a fee of $22/day for parking with in/out privileges. If you don’t want to pay for parking, you can park free at the Ala Wai Canal St or click here for more free parking details.

Day 1

LAX to HNL was about a 5 hour plane ride. By the time we landed and got our rental car, we were starving! Start off your day by getting the BEST açai bowl at:
Da Cove Health Bar & Cafe – Get the Mana Bowl $9.25 – CASH ONLY
3045 Monsarrat Ave STE 5
Honolulu, HI 96815
IMG_5257Then head to Safeway Supermarket for some fresh Poke. Throughout the duration of this trip we ate at 3 different poke places and we found Safeway to have the best poke and the cheapest prices!
Safeway – Kapahulu Shopping Center – The salmon poke and Tsunami poke were our favorites. Two small containers cost us less than $20.
888 Kapahulu Ave
Honolulu, HI 96816



After checking in to the hotel, we walked down to the Moana Surfrider and had drinks at the circle bar out front facing the beach. Great spot to watch the sunset with live music and friendly staff.
IMG_9142And then for dinner we went to the famous Rainbow Drive-In to share a traditional Hawaiian plate of loco moco – $8.50
Rainbow Drive-In
3308 Kanaina Ave
Honolulu, HI. 96815

Day 2 – Day Trip to the North Shore

Because we were jet lagged we woke up super early. We headed down to Pearl Harbor which is open from 7am – 5pm. Guess what? It’s FREE! Just enter in the address IMG_1541below and it will take you to the parking lot. Bags, purses, fanny packs, camera bags, luggages, diaper bags and shopping bags are not allowed. Leave it in your car or you can check it into a locker for an additional cost. Once you enter, pick up your free ticket and head down to the theatre to watch a 25 minute documentary. Afterwards, you take a boat ride to the USS Arizona Memorial and then you come back and that’s it!
Pearl Harbor Visitor Center
1 Arizona Memorial Pl
Honolulu, HI 96701


Next stop is the Dole Plantation. It’s always been a tradition of mine to stop here for the oh so delicious cup of Dole Whip – $6.25. Free parking, free entry however they have guided tours such as the Pineapple Express Train Tour or the giant corn maze for an additional cost.
Dole Plantation
64-1550 Kamehameha Hwy
Wahiawa, HI 96786


After this snack, it’s time to hit the beach. During November/December the waves can be quite strong and a little dangerous with the waves breaking so close to shore. There’s also a rock from which you can jump off. Free parking however it can be hard to find parking if you go during peak hours.
Waimea Bay Beach Park
61-031 Kamehameha Hwy
Haleiwa, HI 96712


Time for another snack after soaking up some sun – Head down to Kahuku Superette for the best Shoyu Poke – around $10 and it comes with rice.IMG_2926
Kahuku Superette
56-505 Kamehameha Hwy
Kahuku, HI 96731

Still hungry? 2 miles from this place is the famous Romy’s – the best plate to get is the butter garlic scampi if you LOVE garlic! (About $15-$20 per plate – CASH ONLY)
Romy’s Kahuku Prawns & Shrimp
56-781 Kamehameha Hwy
Kahuku, HI 96731


And let’s not forget about dessert! On the way back to our hotel we stopped at the famous Waiola Shave Ice. There are a couple locations so find the one nearest to you. For a whopping $2.50 (CASH ONLY) you can enjoy this delicious dessert on a hot day.
Wailola Shave Ice
3113 Mokihana St
Honolulu, HI 96816


Day 3 – Lanikai Beach/Snorkeling in Hanauma Bay

Wake up early because you’re going to want to get breakfast at Boots & Kimo for their famous pancakes drowned with Macadamia Nut sauce. Expect a line when you come but it’s all worth the wait. The shrimp Alfredo omelette was also out of this world. This place is CASH only and closed on Tuesdays.
Boots & Kimo’s Homestyle Kitchen
151 Hekili St
Kailua, HI 96734


Now it’s time to get your tan on at Lanikai Beach. I love this beach because of the soft white sand and beautiful views of the small islands just off the shore. Enter in the address into your google maps and you can park for free on the street – Kai’Olena Dr. Walk down the little alley and you will reach paradise. Watch out for jellyfish, though you can easily see the jellyfish since the water is so clear.
Lanikai Beach
Kailua, HI, 96734



After working up an appetite head down to Alicia’s Market. They are well known for their Masago Wasabi Poke and the Pig Roast is so juicy and skin extra crispy! Price is $11-$13.
Alicia’s Market
267 Mokauea St
Honolulu, HI 96819
Make your way down to Hanauma Bay for the best snorkeling on the island! Here’s a tip. Go to any ABC Store and buy your snorkel gear there. I got two sets (goggles with mouth piece) for a total of $20. If you wait till you get to Hanauma Bay to rent, it’s $20 for goggles, mouth piece, and fins. You don’t really need fins and plus renting used snorkel gear is gross. $1.00 (cash) for parking, $7.50 for admission fee (credit cards accepted) Once you enter you’ll watch a 9 minute video and then you’re free to explore around. No alcohol or food is sold down at the beach.
Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve – CLOSED ON TUESDAYS
100 Hanauma Bay Rd
Honolulu, HI 96825

Day 4 – Last Day

Our flight didn’t leave until 8:45 pm so we had a bit of time to kill. The first stop in the morning was Marukame Udon. Why? Because every time I walked past this place there was a line out the door. And with over 6,000 reviews on Yelp I’m sure you will find this to be one of the best udon restaurants ever. Beat the line and come early.  Nikutama Bowl: $6.25
Marukame Udon
2310 Kuhio Ave
Honolulu, HI 96815

Head down to the beach in front of Duke’s Restaurant and you’ll find a catamaran boat with a blue/white sail. $25 for a 1 hour booze cruise. We saw a school of dolphins swim right next to the boat – such a breathtaking moment. The crew offers Mai Tai’s and a small selection of beers for $2-$3. What a great deal!

IMG_7735Then finally if you want to splurge a little head on to Duke’s restaurant for some drinks and appetizers. I recommend the coconut mojito $11 – this drink has ruined me because I will never find a drink this good anywhere else.
Duke’s Waikiki
2335 Kalakaua Ave
Ste 116
Honolulu, HI 96815

This concludes this particular trip to Hawaii. Till next time!! If you have any questions please email me at or leave a comment.

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