Waikiki is tourist central, so don’t head here for a holiday expecting to find cheap prices. And that’s before you even start shopping at the luxury boutiques that line the streets! To keep your Hawaiian holiday on budget and have a cheap Waikiki vacation, consider the following money saving tips for Waikiki.
1. Book a Package
Book a package deal, including airfares and hotel, especially if you plan to spend a while in Waikiki. Hotel rates are quite expensive in Waikiki, especially when you compare stand-alone prices to the package deals on offer. A package deal is essential for a cheap Waikiki vacation.
2. Take Advantage of What Your Hotel Offers
Check to see what your hotel offers guests for free. As well a beach towels, they may have complementary beach seats – a great idea for lounging away the afternoon at the beach. Many hotels also have complementary drinks once a week with the managers. Alternatively, if you have a fridge and kitchenette in your room, buy groceries and your own drinks, and enjoy them on your balcony for a cheap evening.
3. See a Free Hula Show
Each week on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday nights, there is a free hula show at Kuhio Beach, near the bronze Duke Kahanamoku statue. Starting with the lighting of torches and the blowing of a conch shell, the hour-long show starts around sunset at 6:30pm (or 6pm in November, December and January) and features authentic Hawaiian music and hula dancing by some of Hawaii’s finest hula troupes. Yes, you need to get there early to get a decent spot on the grass, rather than standing, but when you’re not paying a dime…
Want more ideas for free or cheap things to do? Check out this list of 10 free or cheap things to do on Oahu
4. Book Your Car Hire Before Leaving Home
While in Waikiki, we decided to hire a Mustang convertible for a day trip around the island. Heading to Discount Hawaii Car Rental, the car hire prices weren’t that cheap, plus we didn’t get the option to select that we were Australian and to include insurance, like the other car hires we booked in advance on the site before leaving Australia. We got around this by using a VPN (short for Virtual Private Network), to pretend we were booking from Australia, after which we quote almost half the price for the exact same booking! Skip the hassle and just book in advance before arriving.
5. Find a Cheap Meal
We were surprised that there weren’t many places to eat in Waikiki (compared to the number of hotels and tourists), and the prices weren’t that cheap. For instance, a “cheap” Mexican meal ended up being far from cheap, especially once we added on drinks and tips.
If you know where to look, there are a few cheap spots in Waikiki. For instance, at King’s Village Shopping Centre on Kaiulani Avenue, there’s a Farmers Market held every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 4-9pm. As well as reasonably priced fruit, there’s some hot Asian food for sale. Buy a simple Thai noodle dish and take it down to the beach to eat at sunset.
Alternatively, Marukame Udon on Kuhio Avenue offers up authentic Japanese udon noodles at rock-bottom places – just be prepared to wait! It’s also worthwhile to head away from the beach area towards Kapahulu Avenue for restaurants frequented by the locals.
6. Or Eat Big at Lunchtime
When dining at both Duke’s Waikiki and the Cheesecake Factory, I noticed cheaper menus or specials for lunchtime dining. Many people are away on daytrips, so when you’re hanging around the beach, have your big meal at lunchtime. Duke’s even do a lunchtime buffet for $19 per person between 11:30am and 3:00pm!
7. And The Best Things in Life are Free
Finally, remember that it’s completely free to laze on the beach, swim in the lagoon, stroll along the sand and enjoy the sunset each night! And isn’t that mainly what you’re staying at Waikiki for?
Do you have any other money saving tips for Waikiki? If so, share them below!