Hawaii’s island of Oahu is on many “Dream Holiday” lists. With year-round sunshine, golden beaches and great seafood -- not to mention world-famous surfing competitions and some of the best hiking trails around -- it ticks all the boxes. However, Oahu is becoming increasingly more known for its expensive nature than its natural beauty. Here are a few of tips to help you keep the cost down in paradise:
- When you arrive at Honolulu Airport, be sure to pick up free maps and information guides in the Arrivals hall. There’s also an abundance of free local magazines around the island’s most famous holiday resort: Waikiki. Most of these offer discounts and deals for tourists at nearby bars, restaurants and shops. Pick up as many of these as possible in order to find the very best offers. Don’t forget to recycle when you’re done!
- To escape the rafts of holiday-makers in Waikiki and explore more of the island, the cheapest option is the island’s public transport service, TheBus. It’s extremely easy to navigate, prompt and very cheap. Tickets start at just $2 and TheBus stops at top sights including Diamond Head Crater, Pearl Harbor and even up to surfing paradise, the North Shore.
- Restaurants in Waikiki are not cheap. To avoid paying over the odds, try heading a little further back from the popular oceanfront. Even one road inland holds a host of more affordable eateries including sushi bars, all-you-can-eat seafood joints and hearty American favourites.
- A variety of hotels hold their own luaus and hula shows – but these can knock up steep costs of up to $100 per person. A wallet-friendly alternative is the Torch Lighting and Hula Show held at Kuhio Beach Park several nights a week – it’s completely free. The event starts around sunset at near the famous Duke Kahanamoku statue.
- For a two-in-one holiday, combine your Hawaii break with a stop in Los Angeles, Las Vegas or San Francisco. Chances are, you’ll have to transfer at one of these airports anyway. Many tour operators will build these twin-centres for you, or alternatively, the US Travelzoo site offers some great hotel deals in all three connecting cities.
- If you’re hoping to book any excursions, it’s worth having a look around at the different local tour companies. A lot of hotel companies will arrange transfers direct from your hotel, making it easier on the day, but if budget is key, the tour stalls in the street are often more willing to negotiate on price.
- If you’re travelling with kids, a cheap way to entertain the whole family is the island’s Dole Plantation. The canned-fruit company -- who appear to rely largely on a gift shop filled with pineapple-shaped oddities -- is home to the World’s Largest Maze, stretching over three acres. Entry is just US$6 per adult or US$4 per child.
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