If you employ these 8 simple strategies, you will save money on any Hawaii vacation. However, If you just show up with an open wallet and no plan or strategies, your 1-2 week vacation could be as expensive as a car that you are supposed to drive for 5 to 10 years. Follow these strategies and have just as much fun for maybe half the money.
1. Start watching airfares to Hawaii now. Use a fare tracker. You need to know what an average price is and what a deal is. If you check prices every day chances are good you will see fluctuations, and then you will be prepared to whip out your credit card and buy when you see one airline offering prices at half of what everyone else is. It happens. I see it all the time.
2. Plan your trip during the low season. The difference between an airfare from the east coast to Hawaii in July and in January is $1000 or so. It's crazy! Take the kids out of school if you have to. They'll learn far more in Hawaii than they will in any classroom anyway. Low and shoulder season is easy to figure out - any time kids are in school less people are coming to Hawaii. However, don't try to travel within 3 or 4 days of Thanksgiving, New Years, Christmas, or Spring Break.
3. Use a discount card. Several of these are starting to pop up. These are cards that you buy at a fixed price and then you can do as many activities as they support and as you can fit in a day. If you are a very active traveler these will save you a lot of money. Best on Oahu and Maui.
4. The Hawaii Entertainment book is a wonderful way to save on dining. If there are two of you, the amount of Buy one get one free meals worth $10 or more at nice restaurants is staggering. Best on Oahu, Maui, and in Kona.
5. Never pay full price for activities - almost all activity vendors have a standard rate and then most offer 10% off online or in one of the coupon books that are available at the airport, your hotel, and on the streets in Hawaii.
6. Try a consolidator - if you know what your airfare and hotel rate are going to be seperately there is no harm in checking Orbitz or Expedia to see if they really can get you that $200 savings they promise when you book them both together. You can also check your desired hotel and see if they have a room and car package that will save you money.
7. Name your own Price on priceline. It really does work. I have gotten rates that are way below what I even can get as a local resident. The only caveat is that you don't know what hotel you will get - you just pick an area and a class.
8. Go to Walmart or a grocery store and get all your bottled water and snacks at half of what you would pay in the local or hotel convenience stores.
I wish you a wonderful, stress-free, wallet-full vacation.
Lisa Weber writes extensively about Hawaii vacations at http://www.andhawaii.com/
Lisa lives in Hilo on the Big Island. Her favorite articles are ones that expose huge savings or huge ripoffs. See an article about Oahu and Maui Discount Cards that exposes huge Hawaii money and angst savings for the right kind of traveler here: http://www.andhawaii.com/gooahucard.html