Hawaiian Travel: Great Vacations For Less

The Island of Hawaii is a perfect vacation destination for families. Hawaii is a beautiful, clean, family friendly place with something for everyone. You will want to become familiar with the island so you have an idea of how to cover all the major sites you would like to see. Create a list of activities, attractions, and restaurants that you really want to catch, with each person going on the trip giving input. Then fill in your extra time with low cost or free activities. A great vacation does not have to cost a lot. This page focuses on our favorite paid attraction on the island of Oahu and then provides additional free activities that you can enjoy, and proven money saving vacation tips.

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The Polynesian Cultural Center

Located on the north shore of Oahu, the Polynesian Cultural Center is a cultural theme park that allows you to experience the people and cultures of seven island nations of Polynesia - Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti, the Marquesas, Fiji, Aotearoa (Maori New Zealand), and old Hawaii – in one location. The Polynesian Cultural Center also features The Alii Luau, Hawaii’s most authentic traditional feast, the Rainbows of Paradise Canoe Pageant, and a 600 Seat IMAX Theater featuring MacGillivray-Freeman's Coral Reef Adventure. In the evening, Hawaii’s largest and most spectacular show, Horizons: Where the Sea Meets the Sky, is presented. This 90-minute, world-famous, award-winning show featuring a cast of over 100 young Polynesians, is one that you must not miss and will never forget. The quality of the Polynesian Cultural Center is so rich that if you were to go to Hawaii and do nothing else but visit the Cultural Center, your trip will have been worth it. Splurge on this one and cut back on other activities if needed.

Free Oahu Activities

Ala Moana Shopping Center

The open-air Ala Moana Shopping Center is Hawaii’s premier shopping, dining, and entertainment destination. Located across the street from Ala Moana Beach Park, Ala Moana has over 260 shops, 70 restaurants, and beautiful, lush landscaping. Enjoy free entertainment by local groups and visiting national and international entertainers at Ala Moana’s Centerstage, which features over 500 performances a year including the weekly Sunday morning Keiki Hula Show.

1450 Ala Moana Boulevard
Honolulu , HI 96814
(808) 955-9517 

Aloha Flea Market

Located at the Aloha Stadium it is recommend by many that you go here first when you do your shopping. Manufacturers and vendors sell goods such as local arts and crafts, clothing, souvenirs, jewelry, luggage, sunglasses, shoes, accessories, house wares and much more at this Waikiki flea market.

Aloha Stadium is right next to Pearl Harbor
99-500 Salt Lake Boulevard
Honolulu , HI 96818
(808) 486-9555

Diamond Head

Hike 760 foot Diamond Head, the most famous volcanic crater in the world, for a breathtaking, unparalleled 360 degree view of Honolulu, the Pacific Ocean, and Waikiki. Diamond Head is located on the south-east Coast of Oahu at the end of Waikiki overlooking the Pacific Ocean. From Waikiki go east along Kalakaua to the intersection with Monsarrat Avenue at the Honolulu Zoo corner. Turn left onto Monsarrat and go 1 ¼ miles until the road becomes Diamond Head Road. Follow this road for ¼ mile to the access road to the crater. Proceed through the tunnel into the interior of the crater and proceed to the designated parking area.

Hawaii Temple Visitors' Center
55-600 Naniloa Loop
Laie, Oahu, Hawaii 96762

Enjoy the beauty and serenity of the Laie Hawaii Temple Visitors’ Center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Often called the Taj Mahal of the Pacific, the Hawaiian Temple was the first built outside of the continental United States by the Church. There are free tours in the Visitors’ Center and lush gardens to explore on the temple grounds.

Kings Guard of King’s Village

Dressed in uniforms reproduced from King David Kalakaua’s Palace Guards, Kings Guard is a trick riffle team that performs the nightly changing of the guard ceremony at King’s Village in Waikiki.

131 Kaiulani Avenue
Honolulu , HI 96815
(808) 955-2816

Maui Divers of Hawaii Ltd

Maui Divers of Hawaii provides free transportation to its museum from many hotels. Here visitors see an exhibit of coral trees in their natural state, view a film that highlights the harvesting of coral to the creation of world famous jewelry, and tour Hawaii’s largest fine jewelry showroom.

1520 Liona St
Honolulu , HI 96814
(808) 946-7979

U.S.S. Arizona Memorial Tour

The Memorial is located about 2 miles west of the Honolulu Airport in Pearl Harbor. The75 minute tour consists of a brief introduction by a park ranger, Pearl Harbor survivor, or volunteer at the shore side visitor center. A 23 minute film about the history of the December 7, 1941 Pearl Harbor attack follows. After viewing the film, visitors board a boat that travels to the Memorial which is built over the remains of the sunken battleship USS Arizona.

No. 1 Arizona Memorial Place,
Honolulu , Hawaii 96818.
(808) 422-0561 or (808) 422-2771

U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii

The U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii is a Coastal defense battery that displays military memorabilia from early Hawaiian period through Vietnam War. There is a Gallery of Heroes honoring Medal of Honor and Distinguished Service Cross recipients.

Saratoga and Kalia Road
P.O. Box 8064
Honolulu , HI 96830

(808) 955-9552

Go snorkeling. Bring your own mask, fins and snorkel. Even if you have to buy a set for the trip this will most likely be cheaper than renting especially if you use the gear more than once. There are ample coves and reefs to choose from.

Take a hike. Take advantage of the spectacular views available. Wearing sturdy shoes is a must. Consider bringing an older pair of shoes if you don’t want to worry about getting your shoes dirty.

Spend time at the beach. Bring sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, towels, food, and whatever else you need for the day. In Hawaii most beaches are free. There are many beautiful, unique beaches to be explored.

Findfree entertainment, exhibits, and music by visiting various hotel lobbies and market squares.

For other ideas you could consult travel books such as Hawaii for Free: Hundreds of Free Things to Do in Hawaii by Frances Carter. Instead of buying a book, check it out from your local library or bookmobile. If a book is not available in your library, ask your librarian to do an inter-library loan. Your librarian will locate and borrow the desired book from another library for you.

Other Money Saving Tips

Use the Hawaiian public bus system for inexpensive, clean, reliable transportation to your chosen activity destinations. For just a few dollars a day, you can ride buses and take in many of the island’s major sites and most beautiful shores. For moreinformation visit the Honolulu public bus system web site at www.thebus.org. Routes, timetables, fares, passes, popular attraction tips, and other general information is available here. Recorded information can be heard by calling (808)296-1818.

Take water and your own camera when you go exploring for the day so you do not have to buy them along the way.

Be sure you have all your travel documents, necessary medicines, credit cards, money, etc. before leaving home.

Packing wisely can reduce having to purchase extra items during your trip due to forgotten necessities. Pack layered, easy-care clothing, and an item or two for rain or unseasonable temperatures. Bring a pair of comfortable, walking shoes, sandals, hiking boots if you intend to do much hiking, and a small umbrella. Bring casual and dressier clothing. Choose clothes that match each other so you can reduce the clothing items needed.

Airlines have been cracking down on overweight and oversized bags, and you will be charged fees for bags that exceed airline limits. Check your airline’s restrictions before you go to avoid unwanted infraction fees.

Having laundry done professionally by the hotel can be very expensive. Do your own laundry. Bring some detergent from home or buy it at a grocery store instead of in the hotel laundry room or local laundromat. Or bring sufficient clothing so you do not have to wash.

Prepare for the sun. The sun is strong in Hawaii. You don't want a bad sunburn to spoil your trip. Bring good sunscreen and lip protecting balm as well as a hat. A collapsible hat packs very easily. Those in your party will feel better strength throughout the day and get more out of their trip, if they simply will wear sunglasses and hats and use sunscreen.

Wear good reliable walking shoes when touring about. This will help reduce the risk of strains, sprains, and blisters all of which can waste valuable vacation time and money.

Hotel rooms with refrigerators or mini kitchen units will save you money. Prepare a portion or all of your own meals and save on restaurant expenses.

If you need 1 or 2 more beds ask for roll away beds instead of obtaining another room. Or bring along a few extra ultra compact sleeping bags.

Take advantage of the free breakfasts offered at many hotels.

If you have extra room in your suitcase, pack some of your favorite food items. Food, even at the grocery store, is more expensive in Hawaii. You will consume this food during your vacation and have extra room in your luggage to bring home the items you desire.

There are many enticing shops and souvenirs available in Hawaii. If you will be allowing your children to make purchases, set a budget ahead of time so your children know their spending limits. This will prevent blowing their spending money in one day and may reduce the number of souvenirs that were neat at the time but are soon neglected and a waste of money.

The Ohana Malie Sky Court is a nice hotel with cheap rates for Hawaii. They offer military discounts for even more savings. 2058 Kuhio Avenue Honolulu, Hawaii (808) 947-2828

To find cheap airline tickets, vacation package deals, and other useful money saving travel tips, click on 101 Ways To Save Vacations and Cheap Airline Fares links on the left side of this page.



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