With its stunning beaches, lush landscapes, and rich cultural heritage, Hawaii is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world. And while it’s easy to get lost in the beauty of one island, there’s so much more to explore beyond the shoreline, and that’s where island hopping comes in.
By hopping from one island to another, you can experience the unique offerings of each place and truly immerse yourself in the beauty of Aloha State. But island hopping can also be an expensive undertaking, with airfare, accommodation, and activities adding up quickly.
That’s why it’s important to know how to save money while still enjoying all that Hawaii has to offer, and to help you out in that, in this article, we’ll share some Hawaii travel tips for budget travelers and tricks for island hopping on a budget, so you can make the most of your Hawaiian adventure without breaking the bank.
6 Best Islands For Island Hopping In Hawaii
Island hopping in Hawaii is the ultimate way to explore the diverse landscapes, rich culture, and stunning beaches that the Aloha State has to offer. If you’re looking to embark on this exciting adventure, here are some of the best islands to visit in Hawaii when you’re going island hopping:
Known as the “Valley Isle,” Maui is a popular destination for island hopping due to its stunning natural beauty and diverse range of activities. You can explore the winding Road to Hana, hike to waterfalls, go whale watching, or simply relax on some of Hawaii’s most beautiful beaches.
Home to Hawaii’s capital city of Honolulu, Oahu is the most populous of the Hawaiian Islands. It is known for its iconic landmarks like Diamond Head and Pearl Harbor, as well as its bustling nightlife and world-class shopping.
Also known as the “Garden Isle,” Kauai is a nature lover’s paradise with lush rainforests, stunning waterfalls, and some of Hawaii’s most scenic beaches. Visitors can explore the Napali Coast, hike the Kalalau Trail, or take a helicopter tour for a bird’s eye view of the island’s natural wonders.
Hawaii Island (Also Known As The Big Island)
As the largest of the Hawaiian Islands, Hawaii Island offers a wealth of experiences for visitors. From the volcanic landscapes of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to the stunning beaches of the Kona coast, there’s something for everyone on this island.
With a population of just over 7,000 people, Molokai offers a more laid-back and authentic Hawaiian experience. Visitors can explore the island’s rich history and culture at the Kalaupapa National Historical Park or simply relax on some of Hawaii’s most secluded beaches in this American state.
Known as the “Pineapple Island,” Lanai is a small and secluded island that offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life. Visitors can hike to the top of Puu Pehe (also known as Sweetheart Rock) for stunning views of the island’s rugged coastline, or simply relax at the luxurious Four Seasons Resort Lanai.
Remember, each of these islands offers a unique experience for island hopping in Hawaii, and they are all worth visiting for their own reasons.
5 Tips That Will Help You Save Money When Island Hopping In Hawaii
Here are 5 insider tips that will help you out in saving a lot of money when you’re Island hopping in Hawaii on a budget:
Time your trip right
Timing your trip right is one of the key factors to saving money when island hopping in Hawaii. The peak tourist season in Hawaii is from mid-December to mid-April when prices for accommodation, flights, and activities tend to be higher. Therefore, if you want to save money, it’s recommended to avoid traveling during this peak season. Instead, consider visiting Hawaii during the low season, which is typically from April to June or September to mid-December. During these times, prices for flights, accommodations, and activities are typically lower, making it easier to save money.
In addition to considering the time of year, it’s also important to keep an eye out for airline sales and promotions. Many airlines offer sales throughout the year, so be sure to sign up for email notifications from your preferred airlines to stay informed about these deals.
By timing your trip right and taking advantage of airline promotions, you can save money on flights, accommodations, and activities, allowing you to make the most of your island hopping adventure in Hawaii.
Eating out can be one of the biggest expenses when island hopping in Hawaii, but there are ways to enjoy delicious meals without breaking the bank.
One way to save money on food is to eat like a local. Skip the fancy tourist restaurants and opt for small local eateries, where you can find delicious food at a fraction of the price.
Another tip is to look for happy hour deals at restaurants and bars, where you can often find discounted food and drinks. Additionally, consider cooking your own meals if you have access to a kitchen or BBQ. Shopping at local grocery stores and farmers markets can be a great way to try fresh local produce and save money on meals.
Finally, don’t forget to pack snacks and drinks for your day trips, which can help you avoid expensive convenience stores and vending machines. By being mindful of your food choices and taking advantage of local options, you can save money while still enjoying delicious meals during your island hopping adventure.
Find Free Things To Do When Island Hopping
Who says you have to spend a fortune to have a blast in Hawaii?
With these 10 Top things to do in Hawaii for free, you can make the most of your island hopping adventure without breaking the bank:
With its stunning beaches, Hawaii is the perfect place for beach hopping. Try to spend a day exploring the different beaches and soaking up the sun without spending a dime.
Hike To Scenic Viewpoints
Hawaii is home to many scenic viewpoints that offer stunning views of the islands. Take a hike to one of these viewpoints and enjoy the view for free.
Visit Local Markets
Multiple towns in Hawaii have local markets where you can find fresh produce, handmade crafts, and other unique items. Take a stroll through these markets and experience the local culture.
Hawaii has some of the best snorkeling spots in the world, and the best thing about them is most of them are free. So all you have to do is grab your snorkel gear and explore the underwater world.
Watch A Sunset
Hawaii is known for its beautiful sunsets. Find a spot on the beach or a scenic viewpoint and watch the sun go down because it’s 100 percent free!
Take A Self-Guided Walking Tour
Many towns in Hawaii have historic districts that you can explore on foot. Pick up a self-guided walking tour brochure and learn about the history of the area.
Attend A Cultural Festival
Hawaii is rich in culture, and many towns hold festivals and events throughout the year. Check the local calendar and attend a festival to experience Hawaiian culture.
Visit A State Park
Hawaii has many state parks that offer hiking trails, scenic drives, and other activities. Visit one of these parks and enjoy the natural beauty of Hawaii.
Learn To Hula
Many hotels and resorts in Hawaii offer free hula lessons. Take advantage of these lessons and learn about the traditional Hawaiian dance.
Hawaii has some of the clearest skies in the world, making it a great place for stargazing. Grab a blanket and head to a dark spot to admire the stars.
Stay In A Hostel
Staying in a hostel can be a smart choice for island hoppers looking to save some cash without sacrificing comfort. Hostels offer budget-friendly accommodation options that allow travelers to allocate more of their budget to exploring Hawaii’s stunning islands.
Not only do hostels cost less than hotels, but they also provide a chance to meet other travellers and potentially share expenses like transportation or tours.
Plus, many hostels offer amenities like communal kitchens, free breakfast, and Wi-Fi to help make your stay as comfortable as possible.
While you may have to compromise on privacy, staying in a hostel can be a great way to save money and make new friends while island hopping in Hawaii.
Take Public Transportation
Taking public transportation, such as the bus, can be a cost-effective way to get around and explore different islands. Not only are bus fares cheaper than rental cars, but you’ll also save money on parking fees and gas. Additionally, some bus systems offer unlimited ride passes, which can provide even more savings if you plan to do a lot of sightseeing.
Another benefit of taking public transportation is that you’ll be able to experience the local culture and interact with the friendly Hawaiian people. It’s also an eco-friendly way to travel, as you’ll be reducing your carbon footprint and contributing to a sustainable tourism industry.
When using public transportation, it’s important to plan your itinerary in advance and check the bus schedules to avoid any delays or missed connections. You may also want to consider using ride-sharing services or taxis for shorter trips or to reach destinations not covered by the bus system.
By following these 5 tips, you can save hundreds, or maybe thousands of dollars while island hopping in Hawaii.
Itinerary For Your Island Hopping Trip In Hawaii
Discover the stunning beauty of Hawaii and explore multiple islands with our ultimate itinerary for your island-hopping trip:
Day 1-3: Oahu
You’ll begin your trip in Oahu, one of the most popular and vibrant islands in Hawaii. For your first day, start by exploring the island’s capital, Honolulu, and visiting some of its most iconic landmarks such as Diamond Head Beach Park, Waikiki Beach, and Pearl Harbor.
On the second day, take a scenic drive along the eastern coast to see attractions like Hanauma Bay, Kailua Beach, and the Nuuanu Pali Lookout. You can also spend the afternoon visiting the Polynesian Cultural Center to learn about the history and culture of the Pacific Islands.
On your final day, go on a hiking adventure to Manoa Falls or Makapu’u Point, or spend the day snorkeling and kayaking at Kaneohe Bay.
Day 4-5: Maui
Next, you’ll head to Maui, the second-largest island in Hawaii. For your first day on the island, explore the quaint town of Lahaina and visit historic landmarks such as the Lahaina Banyan Court and the Baldwin House Museum. You can also take a stroll along the beautiful Ka’anapali Beach and watch the sunset.
On your second day, visit the famous Road to Hana, a scenic drive that takes you through lush rainforests, waterfalls, and beautiful beaches. You can also explore Haleakala National Park and hike the Pipiwai Trail.
Day 6-8: Big Island
Your next destination is the Big Island of Hawaii, known for its diverse landscapes and active volcanoes. On your first day, explore the town of Kailua-Kona, and visit attractions like the Hulihe’e Palace and the Mokuaikaua Church. You can also take a snorkeling tour or go on a whale-watching excursion.
On your second day, drive to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and see the Kilauea volcano, walk through the Thurston Lava Tube, and explore the park’s many hiking trails. On your final day, visit the beautiful beaches of Hapuna or Kua Bay, or take a scenic drive to Waipio Valley.
Day 9-10: Kaua’i
Kaua’i, also known as Garden Island, is your next destination. On your first day, explore the charming town of Hanalei and visit Hanalei Bay and the Limahuli Garden and Preserve. You can also go on a boat tour of the Na Pali Coast or hike the Kalalau Trail.
On your second day, visit Waimea Canyon, known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, and walk the trails that offer breathtaking views of the canyon and the coast.
Day 11-12: Molokai
Molokai is a small and tranquil island with beautiful beaches and historic landmarks. On your first day, visit the Kalaupapa National Historical Park, a former leper colony, and learn about the history of the island. You can also visit the Kapuaiwa Coconut Grove, a historic landmark with over 100 coconut trees.
On your second day, relax on the beautiful beaches of Papohaku or Kumimi and watch the sunset.
Day 13-14: Lānaʻi
Your final destination is Lānaʻi, a small island known for its secluded beaches and luxury resorts. On your first day, visit the Garden of the Gods, a unique rock formation that offers stunning views of the island. You can also go on a snorkeling tour to see the colorful marine life or visit the Lānaʻi Cat Sanctuary.
On your final day, relax on the beautiful beaches of Lānaʻi, which include Kaiolohia Beach, Hulopo’e Beach, Manele Bay Beach, Polihua Beach, and Shipwreck Beach.
Island hopping in Hawaii can be an unforgettable experience, but it can also be expensive. However, by following the tips mentioned in this article, you can save money without sacrificing any of the fun.
By timing your trip right, eating for less, finding free things to do, staying in a hostel, and taking public transportation, you can enjoy all that Hawaii has to offer without breaking the bank.
Additionally, by planning ahead and sticking to a budget, you can make the most of your island-hopping adventure while still keeping costs under control. So go ahead and start planning your dream trip to Hawaii – with these tips, you can make it a reality without breaking the bank!