When you’re dreaming about a Hawaiian vacation, you’re likely picturing black sand beaches, tropical drinks served with those cute little umbrellas, and crystal blue water. However, even if you happen to be the most serene of sun worshippers and are devoted to relaxation, you might stress a bit if the costs climb too high.
From the day-to-day cost of island life to undisclosed fees at the resorts, it can be all too easy for your dream vacation to become a financial nightmare complete with even more hidden costs. Forewarned is forearmed though, and to arm yourself, keep reading.
Hidden Resort Fees
When you make a hotel reservation, you’re likely expecting amenities such as wake up calls, daily maid service, and pool access to be included in the price of the room. However, don’t bet on it when you’re in Hawaii. These days, you can count on resort fees up to $40 per day, and that can quickly have you thinking about refinancing a personal loan to pay for them. That said, some hotels forego these charges. While you’re shopping for a hotel to stay at, keep these fees in mind and at least try to find one with fees less of than $20 per day.
Visitors to this state are considered to be transients and as such, they’re required to pay a special tax for the privilege of being there. The 9.25% TAT, or Transient Accommodations Tax, will be added to any booking for accommodations. This means for a $300 per night hotel room or vacation cabin, there’s an additional $27.75 tax. If you stay for 10 days that’s nearly $300, which equals another night. You’ll need to remember to account for this tax while planning your vacation budget.
If you plan on hiking to the local waterfall or lounging around the pool all day, you may not want to eat a big meal in the morning. That means that the hotel breakfast buffet might be a waste of money. While they’re incredibly enticing, they can cost more than $40 for each person! Instead, see if they have an a la carte menu and then you can get what you want for about half the cost.
It might surprise you to learn that in Hawaii, there are tons of things you can do at no cost. From lounging at the beach to hiking tropical trails, there are innumerable opportunities to get your fill of paradise and not spend a penny to do them. On top of that, you might choose to take free tours at Pearl Harbor of the USS Arizona. Some companies do charge for these tours, but if you reserve your tickets before you get there, you can go for free. There’s no sense in paying for the cost of a tour when you can visit the memorial for free.
Activities and Excursions
From ziplining to parasailing, dolphin swims to shark dives, there’s a myriad of activities for you to enjoy on your vacation to Hawaii. That said, the costs for these experiences (yes, they’re once in a lifetime experiences) tend to be budget busters. However, you can bring those costs down if you’re savvy. If you or a member of your group is military, be it active, reserves, or retired, ask for the military discount…especially in Oahu, where the military base is. You might also want to sign up for LivingSocial or Groupon before the trip if you’re looking for excellent deals on your fun.
If you know what to look for and are careful, you’ll be able to lessen or mitigate most of the hidden fees of taking a vacation in Hawaii.