Honolulu is the best city on Oahu by far. It’s where you’re most likely to fly into, so why continue on anywhere else? While you’re there, it is so easy to get caught in the tourist-trap activities, so below are 5 great suggestions of activities to keep your vacation on budget.
1. GO TO THE BEACH
Many hotels are within walking distance to the beach, so you can easily wander down there for the day. You can come and go as you please with no entry fees! If you’re not within walking distance, Honolulu has a great public bus system. Most visitors come to Hawaii for the water activities, so don’t under estimate this free option. Warm, clear water – what more do you need?
2. VISIT PEARL HARBOR
Even if you’re not into American war history, Pearl Harbor is a must-see. There is so much more to the story than we are taught in those few days of primary school, and there is something so powerful about visiting such a historic landmark where so many lost their lives aboard the USS Arizona on December 7, 1941.
Pearl Harbor is one of the tourist traps I was referring to; many tour companies sell tickets for as much as $100 per person, when entry to the memorial is free! You can reserve your tickets online two months in advance or get walk-in tickets when you arrive. Walk-in tickets can go fast, so plan to arrive before noon if you want to tour the site that day. You can also pick and choose what you’d like to see additionally and buy your own tickets for the USS Missouri, USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park and the Pacific Aviation Museum for much cheaper than any travel company.
The greatest expense involved in visiting Pearl Harbor, or around Oahu in general, is transportation. Public transportation is always the best option. It may not be the fastest, but it is definitely the cheapest.
3. TAKE A WALK AT DIAMOND HEAD
If you’re more into greenery than the beach, take a hike up to the Diamond Head State Monument summit. Just a short bus ride away, the hike is worth the amazing, sweeping views of where the mountains and the ocean meet.
NOTE: This park is cash only. It costs $1 per person if you walk in or $5 per car if you drive in.
4. SNORKEL IN HANAUMA BAY
Booking a snorkel excursion is a sure-fire way to get the most bang for your buck. Hanauma Bay State Park is a great snorkelling spot, with clear, shallow waters, for our family to spend the day in the ocean. Many snorkel trips take you by boat out about one mile off the shore, so Hanauma Bay is a great option if your group has varying levels of swimming ability.
Though it is cheap to get to and enter ($7.50 park admission), this park is known for charging visitors for amenities upon arrival, like locker storage and snorkel rental. If you plan on snorkelling a lot during your trip, I definitely recommend renting a snorkel set for the whole trip or even buy your own mask and goggles. Hanauma Bay State Park also offers their own tour, which includes transportation from Waikiki and snorkel rental. This tour is $22 per person on top of the park entry fee, and this is quite the steal given that the average snorkel tour costs at least $60 per person.
5. RENT A CAR AND SEE THE ISLAND
Oahu has so much to offer and you can only do so much locally. If you rent a car and spend a day driving around the island, you will still spend less than you would’ve on any guided trip from a tourist company. You will also have the freedom of not being on someone else’s schedule. Maybe you want to spend more time on Lanikai Beach, but the tour company had allotted more time to be spent in Waialua Bay or the Dole Plantation. Don’t leave your trip up to someone else. -make your own itinerary and not live off of theirs
6. NOT-SO-CHEAP BONUS SUGGESTION
When you visit Hawaii, you must set aside some time and money to go to a luau. They are surprisingly expensive, but it is a fun night to experience and learn more about Hawaiian culture. All of the larger hotels usually have them, so they are not few and far between, but to save as much money as possible, research different luaus – especially the reviews – so you get the most bang for your buck!
For the full article from MSN Travel, click here.