Oahu, Hawaii: How to Have a Great Time with Little Cash!

Flight and accommodations have been paid for and now your wallet is feeling a little light?  No problem.  Here’s how to spend a week in Hawaii and have a great time with very little cash. 

Giovanni's famous shrimp truck on Oahu's North Shore by Sheree ZielkeMoney Saving Tips for Vacationing in Hawaii 1.    From the airport, opt for a hotel shuttle or bus instead of a cab.  If taking a cab, you’ll need $35-40 to get from the Honolulu airport to the Waikiki Beach area.

2.    Get settled in…throw on your bathing suit and then stop at an ABC store (they are on almost every street corner). Essential Hawaiian beach equipment by Sheree Zielke.Buy an air mattress for $3.00…pay an extra 60 cents to have it blown up.  This is both your beach mat and your ocean toy.  It will easily last a week as long as you don’t tear it.While at the ABC store, purchase a 4-day bus pas for $20.  Best investment ever.  No need for a rental car because this pass will get you anywhere on the island as many times as you like.

3.    While you are walking, grab several tourist mini publications like “The Best of Oahu” booklet.  The brochures are full of great maps, both city and island.  In addition, you’ll find lots of coupons like “two-fer” specialty coffee drinks and Beard Papa’s cream puffs.  4.    And speaking of food, if your accommodations have even a tiny fridge and or microwave, use them.  Stock up on essentials like butter, eggs, cheese, bread, and juice at an ABC store or the Food Pantry on Kuhio Avenue.  If you are really feeling adventurous, do what the perennial tourists do and head to a major grocery store.  A quick call to “The Bus” and you will know exactly where and what bus to catch to get to Foodland or Safeway or Wal*Mart.

5.    As to Wal*Mart, there is no better place to buy cheap souvenirs, bathing suits, towels, and other beach essentials you may have forgotten in your rush to get away from the snow.  But if you can’t get there, an ABC store is always near by and they are well stocked with oodles of clothing and sundries. 

6.    Want a free ride?  Hop on a Hilo Hattie shuttle.  You’ll be chauffeured in an open air trolley all the way to the main store.  Here you’ll be greeted with shell lei…and fruit punch.  Wander through the store and exit into a bus depot.  As long as you are wearing your shell lei, you will be taken back to Waikiki for FREE.  And if you managed not to spend anything in the store you will truly have had a free ride.7.    Love to window shop?  Board a #8 or # 42 bus on Kuhio Avenue and travel to the Ala Moana shopping centre.  This gorgeous open air mall has everything from Prada to Longs Drugs.  The food court covers every taste from Asian foods to great cheeseburgers at the Cheeseburger Factory.  If you want a bus map, ask for one at Customer Service.Waikiki Beach sunset by Sheree Zielke.8.    Nighttime entertainment?  Watch the Waikiki Beach sunset for free and then make your way to the Banyan Tree by the police station right on the beach.  There is always a free hula show.

Or go to the Waikiki Town Centre or the Waikiki Mall for more free hula shows.  Excellent entertainment and it’s all free.

9.    Want tropical drinks but the prices are ridiculous?  Make your own in your room.  ABC stores sell everything from wine to beer to Cognac with Passion Fruit juice.  Just add your own choice of juice, ice, and enjoy at a fraction of the cost.10.                       Ready for an adventure?  Then grab that bus pass and board a #52 Circle Island bus from the Ala Moana shopping centre.  Put up with an hour of city driving and finally you’ll be in the Hawaiian countryside heading for the North Shore.  Hop off and hop on as many times are you like as the buses run on a 30 minute schedule.  Make your first stop the charming village of Haleiwa.  North Shore of Oahu Hawaii by Sheree Zielke.Ride up to Waimea Beach, Shark’s Cove, and Sunset Beach.  Pack a picnic lunch and your Circle Island trip won’t cost a dime.  Oh, and be sure to pack your camera, bathing suit, towel, and sunscreen as some of the most beautiful beaches in the world line this coast.

Hint:  If you can afford to splurge at least once, you must budget $12 for a plate of garlic shrimp from Giovanni’s shrimp truck in Haleiwa.  Absolutely delicious!  Sign his truck while you are there.

11.                       Continue around the island towards beautiful Kailua or catch the bus back in the direction you came and make your way back to the Ala Moana shopping centre.12.                       Want to snorkel?  If you have your own gear, take the #22 bus to Hanauma Bay.  This ocean preserve is a great place to see all kinds of bright tropical fish and green sea turtles.  If you don’t have your own gear, Snorkel Bob offers a complete snorkel kit for $9 for the week.

And there you have it!  If you can’t have a good time in Oahu, Hawaii following these instructions, then your pleasure meter is busted.

Best advice:  Use sun screen or budget your time in the hot Hawaiian sun.  After all, do you really want to lose 2-3 days to a nasty sunburn?  That’s one terrible and completely unnecessary price to pay.

Cheers,
Sheree Zielke

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4 Responses to “Oahu, Hawaii: How to Have a Great Time with Little Cash!”

  1. Max Says:

    Hey!! Found your blog on yahoo – thanks for the article but i still don\’t get it, J.Kopler

  2. John Smith Says:

    Maybe it can get a little complicated if used in a different way.

  3. John Smith Says:

    I found your blog via Google while searching for hawaii vacations and your post regarding Oahu, Hawaii: How to Have a Great Time with Little Cash! looks very interesting for me

  4. victor Says:

    The tips you have given to save money are really worthwhile and I would recommend you to update such tips always.
    ____________________________________________________
    victor
    Addiction Recovery Hawaii