Hawaii

7 Money Saving Tips for Waikiki

Waikiki Beach

Waikiki is tourist central, so don’t head here for a holiday expecting to find cheap prices. And that’s before you even start hitting the shops! To keep your Hawaiian holiday on budget and have a cheap Waikiki vacation, consider the following money saving tips for Waikiki. Additionally, you may also want to consider using a free budget template so that you can track your holiday expenses and plan for any extras in advance.

1. Book a Package

Try to book a package deal for your Hawaiian vacation, including airfares and hotel, especially if you plan to just visit Waikiki. Hotel rates are quite expensive in Waikiki, especially when you compare stand-alone prices to the package deals on offer. A package deal is a great way to afford a vacation in Waikiki.

2. Take Advantage of What Your Hotel Offers

Check to see what your hotel offers guests for free. Many hotels offer beach towels, or even complementary beach seats – a great idea for lounging away the afternoon at the beach.

Come evening time, many hotels have complementary drinks once a week with the managers. Alternatively, if you have a fridge and kitchenette in your room, hit up the closest ABC Store for drinks and snacks, then enjoy them on your balcony for a cheap evening.

Need an affordable hotel recommendation in Waikiki? Check out the Aqua Ohia Waikiki

3. See a Free Hula Show

Money savings tips for Waikiki: The free Kuhio Beach Hula Show

The free Kuhio Beach hula show on multiple times a week

You can’t visit Hawaii without catching a hula show, but you don’t need to splurge on an expensive evening out to do so. 

There’s a free hula show held multiple times per week at Kuhio Beach, near the bronze Duke Kahanamoku statue. The show is generally on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, starting around sunset at 6:30pm (or 6pm in November, December and January). Call 808-843-8002 to double check.

Starting with the lighting of torches and the blowing of a conch shell, the hour-long show features authentic Hawaiian music and hula dancing by some of Hawaii’s finest hula troupes. Just make sure you get there early to get a decent spot on the grass, or else you’ll have to stand!

Want more ideas for free or cheap things to do? Check out this list of 10 free or cheap things to do on Oahu

4. Book Your Car Hire Before Leaving Home

Something that’s more of a splurge is renting a Mustang convertible for a day trip around the island.  But make sure you get the best prices, rather than expensive last minute rates, by booking your rental before leaving home.

We rented our car through Discount Hawaii Car Rental. One extra trick we noticed for foreigners is that the price was even cheaper when we viewed them back home in Australia.

To make sure we received the cheaper price (when leaving the booking until the night before), including the option to include insurance, we used a VPN to pretend we were still booking from Australia. It’s easier to just book in advance when you find a great deal!

5. Find a Cheap Meal

Money savings tips for Waikiki: Marukame Udon

Cheap but healthy food at Marukame Udon

We were surprised that there weren’t many places to eat in Waikiki (compared to the number of hotels and tourists), and the prices weren’t that cheap. For instance, our “cheap” Mexican meal one night ended up being far from cheap, especially once we added on drinks and tips.

If you know where to look, there are a few cheap spots to eat in Waikiki. For instance, Marukame Udon on Kuhio Avenue offers up authentic Japanese udon noodles at rock-bottom places – just be prepared to wait! The Farmers Market at King’s Village Shopping Centre on Kaiulani Avenue used to be a great choice, but the centre has now closed down to make way for a new development. 

It’s also worthwhile to head away from the beach area towards Kapahulu Avenue for restaurants frequented by the locals.

6. Or Eat Big at Lunchtime

Money saving tips for Waikiki: Lunch at Duke's at Waikiki Beach

Head to Duke’s at lunchtime for a good value buffet

When dining at both Duke’s Waikiki and the Cheesecake Factory, I noticed cheaper menus or specials for lunchtime dining. Many people head out on day trips away from Waikiki, so if you’re spending the day hanging at the beach, have your big meal at lunchtime.

Duke’s do a great lunchtime buffet that’s still only $19 per person between 11:30am and 3:00pm! While a lunchtime visit to the Cheesecake Factory will also mean shorter (or no) queues.

7. And The Best Things in Life are Free

Money saving tips in Waikiki: Waikiki Beach at Sunset

There’s no charge for visiting the beach or watching the sunset

Finally, remember that it’s completely free to laze on the beach, swim in the lagoon, stroll along the sand and enjoy the sunset each night! And isn’t that mainly what you’re staying at Waikiki for?

Plus a final cheap treat: if you’re in Waikiki on a Friday night, keep an eye out for the firework show put on at 7:45pm by the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort.

Do you have any other money saving tips for Waikiki? If so, share them below!

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