5 Ways Frugal Families Can Save on Travel

You don’t have to sacrifice having a good time to travel on a budget!

Hawaii is one of the top destinations in the world and vacationing in Hawaii can be an expensive proposition. After all, everything has to be shipped to this chain of tiny islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean!

Luckily for you, it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to enjoy a fabulous time in Hawaii. The sun and surf are free for everyone. In this article, I’m going to share a few of my favorite money-saving tips on traveling in Hawaii.

First, if you are on a budget but you have your heart set on a vacation in Hawaii, go straight to Expedia and get the very best deals possible on flights, hotels, activities and more:

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Here are five more expert tips on stretching your dollar on a dream trip to Hawaii:

1. Head to the Beach

Hawaii’s known for its spectacular beaches and the great news is that they’re free! All you need is some sunscreen and a towel and you’re good to go.

There’s no room for boredom, either. Water activities range from kayaking to surfing to simply swimming.

You’ll spend some dough renting a kayak or surfboard, but it might be worth it. Hotels often offer lessons, but it will be cheaper to head to a local business offering lessons instead.

Not a water baby? Stay on the beach and enjoy a BBQ or game of volleyball, or just suntan your heart away. “No worries,” say locals; everybody is on Hawaii time—a slowness in life exemplified by a laid-back attitude.

2. Go for a Hike

If you get sick of Hawaii’s crystal-clear waters, check out the hiking trails. The islands are chock-full of mountainous terrain fit for every skill level.

Start off easy at the Diamondhead Trail, located on Oahu Island, where the capital is located and where you’ll probably fly into. Admission is only $5 per car or $1 per pedestrian! This popular trail is paved and well-maintained.

Although Diamondhead charges an admission fee, the vast majority of hiking trails are free.

One free, easy hike is the trail to the Makapu`u lighthouse. Even the parking is free!

You can reach the endpoint in about half an hour. The path to the lighthouse is paved asphalt with a steady incline that’s easy on the knees.

3. Stop at a Lookout

As you drive along the highway in Hawaii, you’ll inevitably be awed by the spectacular views. Knowing this, the state of Hawaii has helpfully constructed turnoffs from the highway where you’ll find official lookouts.

One such lookout, called the Nuuanu Pali Lookout, is on Oahu’s windward side off the Pali Highway. Look for a sign that says “Nuuanu Pali Lookout Exit” that’s off Highway 61. The parking fee for out-of-state visitors is nominal, and you’ll enjoy breathtaking views of the Ko’olau Mountains and Pacific Ocean.

One interesting feature of the Nuuanu Pali Lookout is how windy it gets. While you’ll definitely lose a hat if it’s not tightly secured to your head, the lookout is a terrific place to cool off from the scorching midday heat.

4. Visit a Botanical Garden

Craving some peace and quiet in the company of tropical plant life? Visiting a botanical garden or two is a great way to see Hawaii’s unique flora up close and personal.

Bonus: While you gaze upon gorgeous flowers of paradise, the kids will have a chance to run around a large patch of grass and burn off some excess energy.

There is a bounty of botanical gardens. Here are some examples of good gardens to explore on the island of Oahu:

  • Foster Botanical Garden is a refreshing change from the bustle of downtown Honolulu. This garden is the oldest in the city and features a mature and impressive collection of tropical plants. Some of the magnificent trees in this 14-acre garden were planted in the 1850s by Dr. William Hillebrand.
  • Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden is another ripe example of a lush garden on Oahu. Opened in 1982, this garden in Kaneohe features plantings from major tropical regions around the world, grouped geographically. Special emphasis is placed on conserving plants native to Hawaii.
  • Koko Crater Botanical Garden showcases 200 grand acres at the slopes and basin of Koko Crater. Here, selective planting and water conservation techniques transform this landscape into a garden where plants suitable to these desert-like surroundings can thrive and flourish.

5. Spend a Day at the Honolulu Zoo

Open daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., the Honolulu Zoo is a great place to see dozens of varieties of mammals, bird life and reptiles. Admission for adults is only $14 and children under 2 are free!

The low admission price makes for a budget-friendly vacation outing for the entire family. The sunny weather of Hawaii makes a trip to the zoo a viable option for any day of the week you have free. Locals also enjoy a nice jaunt to the zoo on the weekends, making it a good place to mingle.

Enjoy your trip! If you’re looking for a few more ways to save money, take a look at our articles on visiting Hawaii on a budget and eating cheaply during your vacation!