Are you looking to go on a great holiday? We spent 6 months in Hawaii Planning ahead, my husband worked 2 small side jobs along with his regular job. We put aside every penny and when the time drew close, rented out our house, and set off for Hawaii. We origionally planned to do the trip on bicycles. We even had a pull along for our 5 yr old son. Very quickly we realized that the heat in Hawaii and the steep hills were not going to work, sold the bikes, and rented the smallest car imaginable. My husband obtained an Hawaiian drivers license. This allowed us to camp for free and gave us “local” discounts on many things. Mostly we camped. I highly recommend Spencer Beach on the Big Island. Its a lovely and rustic campground with loos and hot water showers and best of all, is right on the water. Every morning we would snorkel with the sea turtles in the beautiful and amazingly blue water. There were also a number of homeless people camping on the beach, but in our opinion, it only made it more interesting. Traveling as a family, local people were more receptive to us.
We were invited to several homes and once a homless man also camping at Spencer Beach treated us to a fish dinner with fish that he had caught less than 10 minutes ago. Imagine eating fresh fish on a paper plate using only your fingers and the only spice being a little salt that the man carried in a plastic bag. Better than any 5 star restaurant meal! Another thing we did to prepare was to join a timeshare group, but not the regular kind where you purchase ownership time. This group rented out last minute time share flats for $99 USD per week. So we mostly camped on the beach, but every 3 weeks or so, we used our timeshare membership. For $99 USD we spent one of those weeks in a 2 level, 3 bedroom flat right on the famous Princeville golf course. That particular place normally rented for $300 USD per night. One day we encounted a man selling some sort of food out of a cooler. It was called laulau. Laulau is a piece of pork or chicken, along with a piece of butterfish wrapped up in a taro leaf and then wrapped again in a banana leaf. This is steamed for 4-5 hours and became one of our favorite treats. Our days were passed hiking, swimming and laying in the hammocks we had brought with us, while our son hunted down little hermit crabs and played with other kids on the beach. Sometimes we visited other beaches. We went to a black sand beach and a pink sand one. We visited a taro farm and tried poi, the famous Hawaiian glop that you eat with your fingers. It looked and tasted like grey school paste! Not very good at all to us!.
This is kind of funny and a little embarassing…we discovered that if we dressed well and walked in with confidence, that we could walk right into a very expensive hotel lobby, and right out to their pools and beach front areas. So we might be sitting side by side with someone that had paid $500 USD for their fancy hotel room and there we were enjoying the same amminites for free. Bad I know, but fun! One of these hotels offered swimming with the dolphins. Outragously expensive, but with all the money we saved by camping, we signed our son up and got wonderful pictures of him all wide eyed and smiling with the dophins. Everywhere in Hawaii are people offering freebies in exchange for visiting their timeshare. Yes it is a hard core sales pitch with lots of pressure to buy, but if you practice saying “no” you can get some interesting gifts. One of the best that we earned was a free half hour helicoptor ride over a volcano for our son and my husband.
They even got a free video of their ride. Another time we got coupons for free meals at a very expensive restaurant. While we mostly stayed on the Big Island, you can purchase flights between the different islands at a reasonable cost. Kauai was one of our favorites, being more rural than most of the other islands. In Kauai, we hired a local man to take us on a hike in the mountains. He showed us edible plants and amazing waterfalls and pools where we could swim. We hired that same man another time to take my husband kayaking to a different island where they went wild pig hunting (thankfully did not get one) and camped for 3 days. In conclusion. Travel does not have to be expensive. A wonderful holiday can be had on any budget. Camp, stay in a hostel, use Airbnb. A backpack holds plenty. You don’t need to lug suitcases. We traveled lightly even with a small child and washed clothes each time we took a shower. See the world and meet people. Our son is now 23 and still talks about his stay in Hawaii and how much it makes the way he looks at the world different from many of his friends views.