Taking a dream vacation doesn’t have to cost a fortune. See how we were able to take a trip of Maui, Hawaii on a budget.
I’ve heard so many people say “I’d LOVE to go to Hawaii, but I could never afford that!”
I’ll be honest, I used to say the same thing.
I wanted to share how Dave and I were able to do Hawaii on a budget last summer. We take all of these things into consideration for future vacations as well.
When planning airfare, it can be overwhelming and expensive. We both have United Mileage Plus cards and do most of our day to day spending on them. Each month we pay off the card, just as we would if it were American Express. No interest baring fees. Pay it off. EVERY MONTH. The perk of this card is you get free miles for each dollar you spend. We were both able to use flyer miles to pay for our airline tickets. So, ultimately, it cost us nothing to fly to Hawaii.
Lodging: $200 per person
We stayed at Maui Sunset, which has vacation condos for rent. We booked into a 2 bedroom condo with some family of ours, so we were able to split the cost. It was really beneficial because we had a full kitchen. When planning to stay anywhere, take into consideration amenities like this because it becomes a LOT cheaper to make meals at home instead of eating out three meals a day.
We hit Costco on the island the day we arrived. Picked up some booze, food for breakfast, and some meat for grilling. We also decided to visit the local grocery store down the street. Each evening after 5pm they mark their fresh ahi-poke down to $3-4 per pound (during the day it was around $7 per pound). We bought some white rice (the condo had a rice cooker), poke every other day, and fresh mango and pineapple from roadside stands. We ate SO well and it was all quality food. Breakfast out once: Kihei Cafe: $10, Dinner out twice $30, local grocery and farmers markets $50, Road to Hana (Sugar Cane Smoothies at a road side stand) $5
Don’t go with Avis or any major chain car rental company. We were able to get an early 2000’s van at Kimo’s Rental Car for less than half of the cost of getting a new car. It ended up costing us about $120 for an entire week. One perk was most of the people on the island thought we were locals because we weren’t driving an obvious rental car. (we split this cost in half with the other people staying with us also)
There are so many beaches and free things to explore in Hawaii, that we didn’t end up purchasing any set “tour group” activities. We drove the Road to Hana and stopped for fruit smoothies at one of the waterfall stops. We went snorkeling and played at the beach almost every day. The condo owners had a bunch of snorkel and boogie boarding gear in the unit already, so we didn’t have to rent anything. YAY! We did a lot of walking and exploring around tide pools. The condo development also had a pool and hot tub, which we visited frequently. One thing we did pay for was visit the Maui Ocean Center. However, we were able to find some discount coupons with AAA so we saved $10 per person.
Things we wish we did: We ran out of time and didn’t get to go snorkeling at Molokini Crater. The condo had a group tour for around $100 per person to take a boat and spend the day (with lunch included) out snorkeling in the reefs around Molokini. We definitely plan to allocate for that the next time we go back.
So, grand total costs for visiting the beautiful island of Maui for a week: $377.95 per person!
A little time in preparation makes a huge difference.
Where to Begin
Where do you want to go? Figure out where you want to visit! Check out rewards credit card companies to see who has a sign up bonus. Credit card companies are betting that you will not be good with your money, so just make sure whatever you pay for on your card, you pay OFF at the end of the month. Check for discount lodging, or enlist a friend who also wants to visit to split the lodging cost. Search for LOCAL car rental companies. They will almost always be cheaper than national brands. Eat like a local! To truly enjoy your vacation, immerse yourself in local culture. Find free things to do. While taking big tours are great, doing a little research on where to snorkel or where to hike will save you big time. Enjoy!