How to Live It up in Luxury and on the Cheap in Hawaii

Waikiki, Hawaii, USA  - January 5, 2014: People jogging, cycling and walking along Waikiki Beach.

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Hawaii is one of the ultimate vacation destinations. It seems like at any given time, someone you know is saving up to go. Though Hawaii isn’t exactly cheap, there are ways to travel to the islands that lets you see the beauty without breaking the bank. However, if you have the means, you might want to splurge and squeeze everything you can out of your time in The Aloha State. There’s really no wrong way to do Hawaii, so here are some ideas of how to live large on your vacation, or travel affordably.

Read: 50 Ways You’re Throwing Money Away
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Start the trip off in the lap of luxury with a first class flight. A ticket from LAX to Maui will cost you more than $3,600 a passenger on American Airlines. However, while on board you’ll be treated to premium dining, free drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and extra wide seats to sit back and relax in, plus you’ll be able to check in and proceed through security faster. 

On the Cheap

If you’re saving your money for more of the attractions while you’re in Hawaii, consider flying into Maui from LAX for as low as $360–a whopping 10 times less than first class on American Airlines–using Delta and Alaska Airlines. Though you won’t get the gourmet food and free alcoholic drinks that first class promises, you’ll still get complimentary soft drinks and snacks and the ability to connect to Wi-Fi. 



Hawaii is all about resting and relaxing, so staying at an exquisite resort will definitely let you unwind with ease. If you want to go big, consider Espacio: The Jewel of Waikiki. For $6,600 a night, you’ll experience Waikiki from an oceanfront penthouse suite with two bedrooms, three bathrooms, a hot tub on the balcony and a den. You’ll also have access to a complimentary premium car service to make it easy to get around the island, plus complimentary admission for two to Bishop Museum and to the Honolulu Museum of Art. 

Staying in Maui? Check out the 4,200 square foot oceanfront Lokelani Suite at Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea for $26,000 a night. That price tag comes with 3 bedrooms (all with a private bathroom), large private lanais with outdoor lounge furniture, private bar service, complimentary cabana access and transport to all destinations in Wailea.

On the Cheap

For just $257 a night, you can stay in a private studio at the Aloha Surf Hostel 0.3 miles from the beach in Waikiki. The studio has a queen bed, a futon, and free WiFi, plus free tours to all of the top destinations on the island. The hostel is located near tons of restaurants, bars and great locations for surfing. 

In Maui, a similar room in a hostel will cost you around $111 a night at The Northshore Hostel Maui. Located in Wailuku town in Central Maui, visitors are near cafés, shopping and galleries, and only a 25 minute walk from Maui Nui Botanical Gardens. 



If you’re going to go all out, do it “Succession” style and get a yacht. In Oahu, you can charter a 47-foot yacht with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen and a hot shower lounge. You can choose a sunset cruise, a snorkeling expedition or a daytime sail. The price for this starts at $2,400 for 2 hours and goes up in price by the hour. Up to 10 people can come aboard, and you can choose to either bring your own food and alcohol, or have a catered meal for an additional fee. 

If you’re looking to see the sights with a larger group (up to 14 people), or maybe you just want to keep things intimate, you can opt for a private tour of Oahu, Maui, Kauai, or the Big Island starting at $2395.99. These private tours leave everything in your hands: you start when you want, go where you want and stop whenever you’d like. There’s also transportation provided to and from wherever you choose to start and stop. 

On the Cheap

Luckily, taking in the nature Hawaii has to offer is absolutely free. You can take a hike near the Diamond Head State Monument in Honolulu which gives you a great view of the city. You can also spend a day at the picturesque Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve for free where you can take in amazing waterfront views in Honolulu. 

If you want to see underwater life up close, snorkeling can be as inexpensive as $80 a person in Maui. You can also see the gorgeous Upper Waikani Falls, or take a walking tour through Maui’s most historic town of Lahaina

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About the Author

Sam DiSalvo is an LA-based comedian, writer and actor who’s performed all over the country. Her written work has appeared in numerous digital publications. As a copywriter, she’s worked with a variety of major brands including GoldieBlox and Thrive Causemetics. Sam loves dogs and is currently perusing leisure suits to buy for her corgi mix, Barry