Popular belief goes that a vacation in Hawaii is for the richer end of society, who can afford glamorous lifestyles. If youíve been taken in by such a notion too, it is time to get a reality check. Hawaii offers a world of exciting possibilities for the regular budget vacationer. In fact, if you can rough it out outdoors and survive cheap resorts, the beauty and splendor of Hawaii really doesnít cost a thing. Here is how you can survive on a budget in the paradise of Hawaii.

The Places to Stay

All the Hawaiian islands, except Lanai, have several cheap vacation rentals, bed and breakfasts, hostels (including YMCA hostels) and innumerable camping spots. In short, Hawaii is a haven for the budget traveler, wherever you go! Stay free of cost in a camp (tropical climate all year round) or for as low as $15 in a hostel. If you are on the popular Big Island, bear in mind that Hilo is a better choice than Kona, of the two major cities. Kona is very touristy, and full of expensive resorts.


Eating out is expensive in Hawaii, because most of the food is imported. However, there are ways to work around this. To begin with, you could buy basic things from the supermarkets and fix your own simple meals. Most of the cheaper places come with kitchenettes. Additionally, there are farmers markets on all the islands that sell a variety of tropical fruits. However, one of the best options is bentos and musubi. This is an inexpensive local delicacy made from rice and meats wrapped in a seaweed product. It is an excellent meal on the beach, inland or on hikes. In fact, if you want to eat out, try to make it a practice to choose the local, non-fancy joints, available on every island.

Scour the beaches

As far as activities go, one of the best parts of Hawaii is its beaches. Most of them are freely accessible to everyone (even those on which private resorts are set). If you are fond of water sports, it is cheap and easy to hire most equipment in Hawaii. Kayaks can be hired anywhere between $20-25 per person for a day, and snorkels and boogie boards come at a fraction of the cost. Some vacation rentals even offer these on the house. You could also explore the miles and miles of quiet virgin beaches in Hawaii. It is one of the only places in the world that has black, red and green beaches.

Camp and hike

Hawaii is full of astonishing natural wonders. Massive volcanoes, extinct craters, tropical reserves, coves, waterfalls, hot springs, tide pools and cliffs all adorn its landscape. This is what makes Hawaii an excellent camping destination. And if you are moderately fit, you can explore hiking trails and see the kind of sites someone on an expensive ferry or behind the rolled up windows of a car is sure to miss. If you are on big island, camping in the countryside in Waipeo valley or the Pahoa district (both count amongst the most beautiful and geographically varied destinations in Hawaii) is a great idea.

Historical and Cultural Sites

In Hawaii, there are several museums, zoos and historical areas, all costing less than $10, that will fascinate children as well as adults. Place of Refuge and the Hulihee palace and museum on Big Island are examples. Oahu has the famous USS Bowfin Submarine Museum Park at Pearl Harbor with real World War II artifacts.