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If you are going to Hawaii on a budget you have to travel like the Europeans. You must sleep in a hostel, use public transportation, participate in hostel activities and food preparation, and tap into adventure activities that do not require you to be part of tour groups. While you may not get 5-star service and pampering, you will be guaranteed to have a real world Hawaiian experience.
When you land at Honolulu International Airport, look for the ‘Waikiki Express’ shuttle signs just past the baggage claim area. The airport shuttle leaves every 20 minutes. It is $9.00 for a one way ride to whatever hotel you are going in Waikiki and $15.00 for a round trip.
The three hostels are the Waikiki Beachside Hostel, Polynesian Hostel Beach Club, and the Hokondo Hostel. They are located on Lemon Stree, only one block form Waikiki Beach. The rooms are basic, cleaned daily and run from $22.00 a night for a dorm room to $65.00 for a semi-private room. Hostels today provide free breakfast, wireless Internet access, and air conditioning.
In Waikiki, you don’t need a car, everything is within walking distance or available by public transportation. The hostel guest and employees know all the cheap places to eat. Buffets after 10:00PM are the rage and are half-off for really decent food.
The Hostel can connect you to several transportation companies that will take you to the Hanauma Bay National Marine Preserve for $12.00 per person, round trip, complete with snorkel gear.
Try free yoga on the beach in the morning. Nothing beats a sun salutation as you look across the meditative pacific ocean. Once you have warmed up, go to the beach and rent a 10 to 12 foot long board for $15.00 for the day. Don’t forget a rash guard and dive booties. Head out to the beach and stop and listen to an instructor teaching his class. Then head out to the water and climb aboard. You will fall a few times, feet first hopefully, but you will be able to surf. Plus some local beach bum will help you in between sets; after all, there is nothing else to do but sit on the boards.
Take entire days in between activities just to go to the beach to swim, snorkel, and boogie board. The hostels all rent this stuff for cheap. Don’t get hung up on over packing for the beach day. Take a towel, wear your swimsuit, bring sunscreen, a bottle of water, and flip flops. Don’t get weighed down by too much beach stuff; you don’t need it.
If you want to rent a car, the hostel has those also and they can be rented for just a day to branch out and see other parts of the island of Oahu. The North Shore has the small surfing villages with kite boarders and wind surfers galore.
Hostels become their own adventure and don’t be surprised if you find yourself ripping your clothes off at the south end of Waikiki beach at 2:00 AM after a night of partying with your new friends from Australia, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, England, and Iran. Swimming out to the concrete barrier, everyone stands under the full moon as the waves crash with thundering gusto against your bodies.
This is what a Hawaiian vacation is all about and you saved thousands of dollars, made new friends, and discovered how to travel like the Europeans do.