Big Island, Small Budget

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What is keeping people from visiting Hawaii? Is it the long plane ride, family members’ schedules, work related issues and/or money? It mainly comes down to the aspect of money. Let’s pretend you just won a free trip to Hawaii! When winning a trip most people will get over the long plane ride, talk their family into coming, and somehow get the time off from work. No one gives up a free trip, especially to Hawaii. If money was an issue then it causes stress, and a lot of saving. I’m surprised I only spent around $1,500 (not including the plane ride) for the four months I was there. This is profoundly shocking because with the amount of places I’ve been and the activities I’ve done, you would be surprised that I didn’t spend more. I’m here to help you explore Hawaii on a tight budget.

First, I have to thank The University of Hawaii at Hilo. For every college student out there, I highly recommend this school! UHH has an extraordinary program that allows students free trips every Saturday during the semesters of school. Yes, I said free, you did read that correctly. The University of Hawaii at Hilo lets their students explore the beauty of the Big Island with Outdoor EdVenture.  Through this program I have hiked Green Sands Beach, Waipio Valley, learned how to sail and paddle board, went on a submarine, visited Rainbow Falls, Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, Mauna Kea Summit, Anaeho‘omalu Beach, Kaumana caves, The Hilo Zoo, Kua Bay, Hapuna Beach, A Bay, Kona, black sand beaches located in Hilo, and lastly, Kilauea, one of the most active volcanoes in the world.

Now, for my readers who are not college students, you can also save money!  If you can’t afford to rent a car do not worry! The public bus goes all around The Big Island for only $2.00! You can take a bus ride from Hilo and ride two hours to Kona for only $2.00!  That itself is amazing! What’s also expensive on vacation is food. Please skip those fancy restaurants and go to a local farmers market where you get fresh fruit and veggies for cheap. At the Hilo Farmers Market they will teach you how to open up a coconut to drink. It was fun and informative yet very hard to do.

Next, we’ll move on to hotels. They are actually surprisingly cheap on the Big Island! For spring break I stayed at Royal Kona which is a beautiful hotel with a breath-taking view at only $120 a night! For Kona this is an amazing deal because Kona is such a popular spot for tourists. Kona’s atmosphere will delight you with rich culture, beaches, water activities, tons of shopping, great restaurants, and fun bars. When buying souvenirs in Kona there is a famous store called ABC that has all the perfect little knick knacks and t-shirts to bring home to family and friends for a reasonable price.  There are t-shirts from $5-$10 dollars that beat out all the other stores’ prices.

The best thing about the Big Island is that the beaches are free. Here, in Massachusetts, I pay $20 to park for Good Harbor Beach in Glouster. On the Big Island you get to experience black sand beaches, a green sand beach, nude beaches, and of course the typical white sand beaches all at no cost.

The only two things you cannot save money on are plane tickets and luaus. For the plane ticket, good luck. I have no advice on that as my round trip from MA to HI costs me $1,400. Ouch. On the other hand, a luau is such a positive experience! A luau is a Hawaiian celebration that enriches the audience with culture.  A luau involves Hawaiian hula dancers, food, and stories about the island that will fulfill your night for a heart warming experience. Hawaiian Luaus are worth the money. They are so popular that they’re almost impossible to book last minute, so book in advance!
I hope this post will help you save money! For a little recap; take the bus, eat fresh fruit and veggies at the local markets, visit beaches, and shop at ABC!


2 thoughts on “Big Island, Small Budget

  1. I am so beyond jealous that you lived in Hawaii for 4 months! I love that you are giving insight to how to visit Hawaii on a budget. I would love to go there someday and reading your tips will definitely help me get the most for my money if I ever make it there.


  2. WOW, what a grey read! Thats absolutely amazing that you only spent $1500 minus the airfare! Its really cool that this blog reaches two audiences the college goers, and the non students. I can’t wait to see more pictures posted and see your experiences traveling through Hawaii. You seemed to do many fun things is there something that you never got to do, but wish you had done?


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