Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Oahu on the Cheap!

Hawaii--America's paradise.

I consider myself somewhat well versed on the island of Oahu, since I have spent 3 recent weeks of my life on the island. I was fortunate to have stayed with a local while I was there, so I got some insider information, as well as islander rates (everything is cheaper if you're a local). :)

In my opinion, one of the biggest myths about Hawaii is that it has to be a budget-busting vacation. I completely disagree. Of course, like anything else, you can MAKE it a budget-busting vacation, but it certainly does not have to be that way.

My own personal photos from my trips to Oahu. Yes--it really IS that beautiful!

Ashley's Money-saving tips:

1) Remember that the most exciting things to do in Hawaii are FREE! Rent a car (of course, that's not free, but you'll want one anyway), and spend a day touring the island's beaches (you are REALLY missing out if you only see Waikiki). Find some waterfalls, and hike them. Head over to Haunama Bay and snorkel. Check out the Pearl Harbor memorial. Head up to the north shore to watch the sun set. THESE are the things that make Hawaii amazing!

2) Talk to your hotel coincierge or a local you meet along the way to find out where the inexpensive meals are. Hawaii is famous for its plate lunch--it's local food AT ITS BEST (Yummy!) and it is RIDICULOUSLY inexpensive. Usually around $5.

3) Avoid steak--it's NOT cheap on the island. I repeat--Avoid steak. Check out the local sea food, which is of course, incredible, or if you enjoy Japanese food, this is the place for you--you'll find it everywhere! Of course, make SURE you have some pineapple.

4) If you're in the mood to drink, consider an excursion. We took a catamaran cruise on the mai'tai (can be found on Waikiki beach) for about $25, and not only was it a FANTASTIC time, but drinks were $2 each. Now, you may be thinking "Yes, but you paid the $25 fee to get on the boat", and you'd be right. BUT, when you compare that to the $12 drinks at Planet Hollywood, you've got yourself a heck of a deal!

5) This is an easy one (if you've been to Hawaii, you know what I'm talking about)--Find an ABC store--there's on on every corner in Waikiki, and they are a fantastic place to pick up souveniers, sunblock (wear it! TRUST ME), and even alcohol on the cheap.

There is one thing that I absolutely encourage you to splurge on, however--a luau! You CANNOT skip this experience! It isn't as expensive as you will think at first glance--when you consider that it's a night of entertainment, fantastic food, and free-flowing drinks, it's actually a pretty great value. We went to germaine's luau and had a fantastic time!

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