Enjoy Hawaii Even on a Tight Budget

30 Jan

(Re posted for those who will avail of the deal above)

Last December, my family of four spent four-day vacation in the island of Oahu. I initially had second thoughts of going  due to our present financial situation; taking a vacation is the farthest thing in my mind. But how can you passed up a deal of $1,400 for a family of four that includes plane, hotel and taxes? Also,  it’s been a long while since my family had went altogether for a trip. It was, in fact way back August 2005 when we drove and visited friends in Canada.

We left on Thursday morning and decided to fly-and-park nearby LAX which costs us $40. After an hour flight delay Via United, we landed in Honolulu at 1:30 pm. We proceeded to pick up our rental car from Budget that costs us $85 for the entire stay and unlimited mileage. On our way to Castle Ocean Resort where we were booked, we passed by Costco. We bought some bread, milk, bottled water, etc. and enjoyed a late lunch at Max’s next to the store.

We found the room to be really nice with 2 queen beds and a bonus twin bed. It has a kitchenette with a mini-fridge, microwave oven, coffee maker, cook top and all pots, dishes and utensils. The room is on 8Th floor with a balcony where we can view the city. Our first night was spent strolling in Waikiki Beach which is about 5 minutes walk from our hotel. We saw Hawaii nightlife while walking down the International Marketplace.

The next morning, we had a $3.59 spam-egg breakfast at L&L and headed towards the Polynesian Cultural Center on the North Shore. The tour with dinner and show for 5 people (including my youngest brother who joined us), cost $350. Before proceeding there, we passed by Dole Plantation and enjoyed samplings of pineapple, coffee, float and ice-cream. We didn’t go to the Pineapple Maze because there was a downpour of heavy rain. As we continued driving, we passed by Kualoa Ranch, Sunset Beach and Waimea Bay Beach. We also tried shrimp scampi from the shrimp truck. Oh, it was so good!!!

By the time, we finally arrived at the cultural center, the rain had stopped. We started touring the different Polynesian villages which showcased the different cultures.  We enjoyed the boat parade and even tried the boat ride.

At 5 pm, we proceeded to the pavilion for the dinner buffet. We were greeted with orchid leis (which we even brought home in Burbank). We feasted on a lot of Hawaiian food which is too many to mention here. While waiting for the show to begin, we decided to join the bus tour to the Mormon Temple and the Brigham Young University.  When we got back, the magical show “Ha Breath of Life” started and oh boy, we were extremely pleased!!!

On our third day, we decided to visit Pearl Harbor. There, we were shown a documentary film about the attack. Then we boarded a navy launch to the Arizona Memorial on top of the sunken USS Arizona where more than 1,000 soldiers perished and buried.

We decided to forgo the other tours and explore instead the nearby flea market. We bought fruits and souvenirs like ukulele, shirts and Bobble head figurines which we found to be a lot cheaper than shops and stalls in the market place. We also discovered Pali Lookout on our way back where saw the view of the island. We even went on a short hike towards the waterfall. The view here is really breathtaking!!!

We ate lunch in Chinatown before heading back to our hotel.  A spectacular view of sunset was witnessed when we arrived. That night, we drove downtown East Oahu and joined the locals for the “Festival of Lights”.

On our last day we planned to wake up at 5 pm to see the fireworks and witness the start of the Waikiki Marathon. Due to exhaustion, nobody was able to get up.  Since our departure is not until 1 pm, we went to Waikiki Beach and spent a couple of hours enjoying the white sands and a nice swim to the ocean. We had Hawaiian barbecue, soup and spamusubi at L&L (again) for lunch.

We really enjoyed our stay here so much so that we are planning to go back. We find the four-day stay , too short. There’s so much more to experience and see. Anyway, we still have a year to use that United credit voucher. Until then….Mahalo!!!


Posted by on 01/30/2011 in Blogs, Travel


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

13 responses to “Enjoy Hawaii Even on a Tight Budget

  1. Bella

    01/25/2011 at 4:34 pm

    What $70 for Polynesian Cultural Center including Ha!, buffet and other shows? We paid $135+ … we got ripped off!

    • USpinay

      01/25/2011 at 5:08 pm

      We met a very nice lady who gave us a lot of discounts. I suggest that you haggle with the price.

  2. Little Nellie

    01/25/2011 at 4:39 pm

    My family is looking for affordable trips like this. I’m glad to know that such a thing still exists. May I asked how much total budget do I need for my family of four? Did u use a travel agent? Where do I find deals like these?

    • USpinay

      01/25/2011 at 5:06 pm

      The airfare/hotel promo was found in For our party of five, we spent $2,500 for the entire stay (plane, hotel, car, meals and shows). A trip to Costco before anything else was a great help to stretch our wallets. I recommend that you buy tickets for shows and activities while there because you can haggle with the price.

  3. Cesar

    01/26/2011 at 9:10 am

    This is the best price I ‘ve seen so far. I will definitely look at this. Thanks for posting.

  4. AuTrader

    02/01/2011 at 1:08 pm

    Now, I have to review this blog to get prepared for that good deal. I’m getting hooked now.

    • USpinay

      02/01/2011 at 1:17 pm

      Email me if you want more info on where to buy tickets for shows and activities.

  5. byebyebirdie

    02/02/2011 at 4:41 pm

    After missing out the last minute deal, I feel worse after reading this. Man, I feel jealous. This is the best Hawaiian vacation I’ve seen and yet very easy to the pocket.Give us more tips of this kind. Got to apply this on my next trip. Good job on this post. I salute you!

    • USpinay

      02/02/2011 at 4:54 pm

      Thank you, byebyebirdie! It’s my pleasure.

  6. Bobby E

    08/12/2011 at 6:02 pm

    Wow, incredible prices there. Honestly, i just try not to think of ever going on vacations because the amount of money involved gives me a headache. I’ve paid more than that for family day trips to much less exotic ( and far more boring, I imagine) places.

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