If you’re like me, you see people on social media traveling the world and you’re just sitting at home binge watching Grey’s Anatomy wondering how everyone is able to travel so much! Well, I don’t have an answer for everyone else, but I just got back from Maui and guess what? I want to let you in on some tips and tricks my husband Blake and I have learned on how to travel to such a tropical destination on a seriously tight budget.
1. First thing’s first. Gotta get your flight!
There are a couple different ways to do this for cheaper than you’d think. The most obvious way is wracking up your flyer miles on your credit card, but if you don’t have those extra miles, your best bet is to plan your trip around the cheapest season to get out there. If you can be flexible with your timeline, that makes a huge difference! The months of April, May, September and October are typically the off season, which makes flights affordable. Consider taking a redeye or a connecting flight on a weekday to save some serious cash. Sites like airfarewatchdog.com and cheapair.com are perfect to keep your eye on when cheap flights slide into your inbox. We found our flight for about $350 round trip from Sacramento per person.
2. Maybe don’t sleep in your rental car, but also maybe don’t go to the 5-star resort.
It’s called balance, people. A common misconception people have about Hawaii is that you have to sell your soul for a night in paradise, but that is just not true! If you’ve never hopped onto VRBO or Air-BNB, it’s about to be your new best friend. You can find small condos or apartments to rent for sometimes under $100 a night! Some owners will even give you special deals if you’re staying for a week or longer. For our honeymoon, we had a full condo for about $700 for the week.
3. Ok, but the food is expensive right? And what about all the tropical drinks I want?
The best ways to fill your desire for tasty food while being a pal to your wallet are easier than you might think. Actually, it’s a no-brainer. Cook as many meals as you can! You will save so much money this way. But, if you want to go out, here are my suggestions.
- Breakfast at Kihei Caffe – If you don’t take any other piece of advice, TAKE THIS ONE. I live for this place. True Hawaiian breakfast is made here for an affordable price. My favorite is the Pork Fried Rice with 2 eggs on top. This place doesn’t skimp on portion size! You could easily turn one meal here into breakfast and lunch. We spent around $30 here for two breakfast plates, two drinks, and a HUGE cinnamon roll.
- Lunch at Safeway – Seriously, Safeway in Hawaii is BOMB. You can get fresh poke for $9.99 a pound!!! They also have great options for other Hawaiian hot and cold goodies next to the sandwich bar that are super affordable. We got 1/2 a pound of poke, a sandwich, chips, fruit, pasta salad, and two drinks all for around $20 bucks and I was all for it.
- Dinner at Costco – You might want dinner to be a little nicer of a meal. Check out Costco for gift cards to some sweet restaurants at a discounted price! For example, you can get $100 gift card to a nice restaurant and only pay $80. Also, take advantage of happy hours. We had some mean fish and chips in Lahaina for about $10 each.
- Drinks – This is my favorite little hack. Go to the store. Buy a gallon of POG (Passion Orange Guava Juice). Buy some rum (Gold or Dark). Mix them together. Add some ice. There’s your perfect Mai Tai. Boom baby. This cost about $20 and lasted almost the entire 5 days we were there.
4. So, I’m only limited to hanging out on the beach right?
Not at all! (But also what in the world is wrong with hanging out on amazing beaches am I right?!) Costco came in clutch again with the gift cards. Seriously, they have so many. You can buy a gift card for a certain price and actually get more money for the activity than what you paid! My top activity recommendations? Zip lining and a snorkel trip to Molokini Crater are an absolute MUST.
Book your trip yet? What are you waiting for?! Have any tips of your own? Let me know in the comments!