If there's anything I love more than traveling...it's saving money!! Sometimes money can be a taboo topic, but not here. I love to talk all things money, because when you allow yourself to have a conversation about money it stops being scary. I'm going to break down our Hawaii trip and tell you exactly how we spent 8 days in Hawaii for just under $1000, including airfare, adventures, and accommodations!!
If you've read my travel blogs before, you know where my priorities are. But if you haven't, let me recap for you! We are very picky about what we spend our money on, especially on vacation! We spend our money on what we value, which for us is mostly experiences. Which means we tend to bypass souvenirs, Instagram-worthy meals, and lavish hotels. That doesn't mean its wrong to spend your money on those things, it just means that's not what we value when we travel. We tend to skimp in those areas so we can have a lot to spend in other areas!
This trip we did something a little different, which I would 100% recommend doing!! We only used a credit card for ALL of our purchases. We have a travel bank account, and we only go on a trip when we know we can afford it. So in our account for Hawaii we had $700 after buying tickets, so we had a budget to stay under. We liked putting everything on the credit card because instead of seeing that we had $500 left to spend, we saw that we had already spent $200. When we saw exactly how much we had spent, we were more careful in our spending. It was a total mind game, but it worked!! Plus we got all the travel points from our trip, so DO IT!
We also tried something else new this trip. WE COUCH-SURFED! We used couchsurfing.com for the first time. We were a little nervous to do this, but after doing it I never want to go back. For those that don't know what couch-surfing is you should check it out here! We stayed for 7 nights in Hawaii for FREE! And we had the best time doing it. We met so many great people and built amazing friendships. The couch-surfing community is so welcoming and SO FUN! We easily saved $1000 by doing this.
As always, we saved money by buying groceries. Even groceries are expensive in Hawaii, but it saved cost a lot. When we ate out we split meals. In total we spent $121.78, which comes out to $7/day for each of us. We definitely could have done a little better, but overall it wasn't too bad.
We played A LOT this vacation! We wanted to experience everything so we didn't hold back. Our big splurge was the Polynesian Culture Center ($224), but it was definitely worth it. We got a lot of our excursions from Groupon, we went on a catamaran ride (normally $95/ea but off Groupon it ended up being $18/ea), and parasailing (normally $135/ea, we got it for $32/ea). We had rented a car from Turo and drove all over the island. And we went snorkeling so we bought equipment ($8 vs renting for $25). But everything else was free! I highly recommend renting a car, you'll save so much more than taking an Uber everywhere.
The only thing else we spent money on was our airfare. I saved this for last because..I'm not going to lie...it's something I'm kind of proud of. As you know, I am the QUEEN of finding cheep flights! This trip was no exception. DRUM ROLL PLEASE!!! We scored flights for $200 round trip! CRAZY RIGHT?! When I found those I just had to jump on it, I didn't have any other choice ;) We found these deals through Pomelo flight alerts (at this point they should just sponsor me because I'm so in love with them that I tell you all about them ALL the time!!!). But seriously, if you aren't signed up for Pomelo, stop waisting your time!! Go sign up.
We had the BEST time in Hawaii, and it's so hard to be back. It was 100% worth it! Throughout our time there we had several people ask us how "two college kids could afford a trip like this". We love showing people that you can afford to travel! Even to expensive places like Hawaii. If it's what you love to do, and what you value, MAKE IT HAPPEN!! It is definitely possible.