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Can Honolulu, Hawaii be a Budget Destination?

When you think of Honolulu, Hawaii – do you think of an expensive island getaway or a frugal travel destination?

I know that I imagined Honolulu being quite expensive, until I looked into some of the options for budget travel there. I discovered that there are in fact plenty of ways that you can have a good time in Honolulu without spending a fortune.

The capital and the largest city of Hawaii, Honolulu is located on the island of Oahu and is the centre of government, transportation and commerce. An energetic tropical metropolis, it offers an array of experiences from the noodle joints of Chinatown to the historic Victorian brick buildings to the only royal palace in the USA.

If you want to make the most of your time in Honolulu on a small budget, here are some tips:

Use TheBus to Get Around

The public transport system in Honolulu is known as “TheBus” and it is much cheaper than taxis or rental cars. An adult fare is $2.50 one way, but if you will be travelling around the city a lot the $35 four day pass might be more economic.

Don’t Stay on a Hotel Right on the Beach


Photo by Jana Uyeda via Trover.com

If you want to be able to open your hotel curtains and look out directly at Waikiki Beach, you will certainly pay for the privilege. It is better to look for hostels and hotels in Honolulu that are just a few blocks away from the beach. You will enjoy lower prices but you will still be able to walk to the sand within a few minutes.

Travel During the Off Season

Travel to Honolulu during the off season and you will enjoy cheaper flights and accommodations as well as fewer crowds at the beaches and attractions – and the weather will still be gorgeous!

The busiest time to visit is between the winter holiday season and late spring, which is when many people up north want to escape the snow. Instead, book your trip for between mid-April and mid-June – after spring break vacation but before the swing of summer. Another great time to plan your visit will be from September to mid-December.


Photo by Jodi Dangerous via Trover.com

Finding Cheap Food

Although many of the touristic restaurants are overpriced, it is possible to eat on a budget here. Zippy’s is a popular chain of Hawaiian style fast food and it offers local cuisine like saimin and chili for affordable prices. Hukilau Café is another modest local favourite with humbly priced yummy food. Also, look for a hotel room with a fridge and a microwave so that you can hit the grocery store and make your own breakfasts and lunches.

The Answer is Yes, You Can Enjoy Honolulu on a Budget


Photo by Emma-Lisa Pettersson via Trover.com

There are many free things to do in Honolulu and most of the beautiful beaches and parks don’t have an entrance fee. With these tips in mind to help you save, you can have a great time in Honolulu – even on a small budget!

Feature Photo by Mizzamzz via Trover.com


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  1. We went to Hawaii a number of years ago and were shocked at how reasonable it was to stay there. We added Kawaii to our trip for only a couple of hundred dollars – including a car rental. We had a special price for the airfare – 2 for 1 cost us $500, but all-in we spent less than $1,500 for 10 days!

  2. Yes, this a good advice which can be applied almost everywhere.
    If I choose a hotel placed farther from the beach, I pay less money for the room, but I pay the same price for my place on the beach where I can rest my body on a bed equipped with parasol.

  3. I went to Honolulu and was shocked that it was so commercial and expensive. Luckily, a new friend took me for a ride around the island and I got to see the real Hawaii!

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