Guest Post By: Mariele Ventrice, Travel Writer, Smart Destinations
A Hawaiian honeymoon is the ultimate dream vacation. Romantic lodging, beautiful scenery, perfect weather, and fun attractions add up to wonderful honeymoon memories that will last a lifetime. The popular Hawaiian island of Oahu was even named the number one destination for couples by Travel & Leisure magazine!
However, if you don’t plan carefully, a Hawaiian honeymoon can really but a strain on your wallet—and no one wants to return from a honeymoon only to deal with a stressful financial situation. So should you give-up your honeymoon plans for Hawaii? Absolutely NOT! With a little bit of research and planning, you and your honey can enjoy a perfectly affordable, incredibly romantic, and simply magical honeymoon in the Hawaiian Islands. Here are some of the best tips for saving on the five biggest expenses: airfare, accommodations, food, car rentals, and sightseeing.
The cost of your flight to and from the Islands may be one of the biggest factors in your Hawaiian honeymoon budget, depending on where you’re coming from. Unfortunately, the cost of airfare simply cannot be avoided. However, there are effective ways to greatly reduce your costs. First of all, you’ll want to book your flight as early as possible—we’re talking several months in advance. The best airfare deals usually sell out fast, and you won’t want to miss out! Second, try to plan your trip for an “off-peak” season. The climate in Hawaii is pretty stable (with daily temperatures in the 70’s and 80’s), so you won’t miss out on warm, sunny weather, but you do want to avoid the spring break crowds and the summer family vacationers. The best months to travel to Hawaii are generally mid-April to mid-June or September to mid-December, when you’ll pay up to $200 less for your flight. Finally, don’t forget to shop around on the many bargain sites on the Internet before making your final purchase. Use Kayak to compare the rates from different sites and on different days. A little time spent researching can make a big difference.
The fact of the matter is that the typical “luxurious” Hawaiian resort is expensive—really expensive. The good news is that you don’t have to stay in one of these overrated resorts, and certainly not for your whole vacation. In fact, your other options are not only more affordable, but likely more romantic, intimate, and customizable. Your best option is to take advantage of apartment-style accommodations, like condominium-style hotels, vacation rentals, and timeshares. You’ll likely be able to find a perfectly suitable room or apartment in a great location for a fraction of the price. Home Away, for instance, has cottage rentals in Hawaii for as low as $79/night. Many of the vacation rental apartments in Hawaii also offer weekly rates, like Polynesian Plaza, where you can stay a whole week for $505 (just call in advance to request a king-size bed). Plus, you’ll save additional money by being able to cook your own food and do your own laundry. If you want all the services offered by a hotel (apartment-style accommodations don’t include maid service, room service, etc.), look into one of the many quaint bed and breakfast inns scattered around the islands. If you absolutely must stay in a resort, refrain from reserving the “ultimate-presidential-first-class-honeymoon suite.” A regular suite will be more than good enough!
On any vacation, the cost of food tends to sneakily add up until you’ve dished out hundreds of dollars on (often mediocre) dishes. You can make sure this does not happen if you are aware of all your choices. The word “buffet” sounds affordable enough, right? Think again! The typical resort buffets in Hawaii tend to cost upwards of $25 per person! We strongly suggest you stay away from these. The cheapest way to eat, of course, is to go grocery shopping and cook some of your own meals and snacks in one of those apartment rentals we talked about. (Even many of the resort guest rooms include kitchenettes). Of course, we’re not saying you shouldn’t enjoy some of the delicious and fresh Hawaiian cuisine. But look for coupons in brochures and online at sites like DailyDealsHawaii.com.
4. Car Rental
Renting a car is almost a necessity for a honeymoon in Hawaii. The islands are big and diverse, and the public transportation system is lacking in many places. To get the best deal on a car rental, book weeks in advance, and preferably through the airport as they often have better discounts—you can expect to spend between $30 and $50 per day. Rent a small, practical car for a cheaper rental and less money wasted on gas. It may be tempting to rent a jeep or convertible, but it’s really not necessary or worth it. Also remember that you may not need a car for every day of your vacation. For example, if you’re spending the day at the beach down the street from your lodgings, your rental car will sit around unused for an entire day. Finally, avoid the offers for valet parking! Sometimes it can be tough to find a parking spot in places like Honolulu, but paying for valet parking is very expensive in Hawaii—usually $26 and upwards.
5. Sightseeing & Fun in the Sun
One of the best things about Hawaii is that one of the main attractions is absolutely free. Of course, we’re talking about the world-famous pristine beaches. However, Hawaii has so much to offer that you probably won’t want to spend all your time on the beach. After all, you won’t want to miss out on taking tropical jungle excursions, hiking the infamous Diamond Head crater, honoring history at Pearl Harbor or hula dancing at a traditional Hawaiian luau. Fortunately, it’s easy to find discounts on these kinds of attractions through travel discount websites like Smart Destinations, where you can get free admission to over 30 attractions with the purchase of one pass. Typical savings are up to 55% over regular gate prices.