5 Weeks in Hawaii has been amazing so far and as I write this apparently it’s storming rain in Vancouver because of Pineapple Express. Meanwhile in Hawaii I am enjoying pineapples (not the meteorological kind) on the lanai.
Of course, I am enjoying this trip is even more so because it is relatively travel hacked (using the ‘sharing community’ e.g. Airbnb/Uber/Turo and points). Although our Airbnb was pricey… our flights and transportation was not. Here’s how I travel hacked our flights and transportation, to a degree. Of course, I probably could have travel hacked it to a greater degree but I haven’t been able to concentrate on my computer for more than a 1-1.5 duration with baby GYM around, hence it is difficult to do hardcore research.
How I Travel Hacked Honolulu: 2 Flights, 3 Days Rental Car, and Airport Transportation for $277
flying to hawaii
Our flights cost $75 for each ticket (it was $75 for the taxes!), our baby traveling with us to Hawaii was free since he is under 2 years of age. Each ticket was 40,000 Aeroplan points. I collected these Aeroplan points over the span of a few years using credit card sign ups, going to Esso stations for gas, and traveling on Air Canada. Normally these flights are around $370 return (if you find them on sale) to $700 per ticket.
We tried to go with one check in luggage but this was pretty much impossible when staying for a month and with baby gear. We had to check in two pieces of luggage. This cost us $50 ($25 per piece of luggage).
The total flight related expenses were $200.
Once we arrived, we headed to the car rental place.
Getting to and from waikiki
Our flight arrived late. It was midnight Vancouver time by the time we arrived (around 10pm Hawaii time) so we had a sleepy baby. Renting a car to get to our Airbnb would be the best option as it would take the least amount of time.
I had some American Airlines points that were expiring in a month (I think under 7000?), and they were just enough for a car rental for a day. The one bad thing about collecting airline points through different airlines is that they are hard to transfer over to each other without getting dinged (e.g. I can’t move my American Airlines points into my Cathay Pacific Asia Miles without losing points or having to pay).
We had to pay some extra taxes after using the points, and the car rental taxes were $11.80. We brought our car seat from home so we didn’t have to rent a car seat. We had to return to car to the airport or pay $30 to drop it off in Waikiki. Since we wanted to see what taking the bus is like from Honolulu International Airport, we opted for the former option.
That night, we drove from the airport to our 1 bedroom condo. It’s only about a 20 minute drive to Waikiki. The next day we loaded up the car with groceries to save money on food at Don Quijote’s and Walmart. We also drove about 30 minutes to the Waikele Premium Outlets. Then, in the early evening (after rush hour traffic) we returned the car to the airport and then we took the bus back to Waikiki. It is about a 1 hour bus ride. The bus ride was $5 for two adults. Unfortunately we had to get off the bus before our stop and walk a bit because baby GYM woke up and started wailing on the bus. It was a long day just to save a few dollars, but the plus side is that I got to use up my American Airlines points that were about to expire (this is a glimpse into the crazy mind of an IRRATIONAL points addict).
For our return trip to HNL (Honolulu International Airport), I signed up for Uber and got a promo discount for $22 off the first ride. For a one way trip to the airport, it will cost us $13.50 (we are still here so I’ll let you know how Uber goes! I am an Uber virgin).
In total, our To and From the Airport Transportation cost us $30 and this included a rental car for the day. Not too bad considering it would cost us $40 for a shuttle roundtrip to get from the airport to Waikiki and back and we had flexibility to pick up some groceries on the way in.
ACCOMMODATION IN WAIKIKI
We rented a 1 bedroom 600 square foot condo through Airbnb for about $3700 CAD. It had everything we needed including:
- A pack n’ play for baby GYM to sleep in at night (because he refuses to nap it in during the day despite our many attempts)
- A washer and dryer (this is so essential for traveling with baby!)
- A full kitchen
- Walking distance to food and groceries
- A gym and a pool (these weren’t ‘musts’ for us but it was nice!)
Also it was much nicer than the place we rented last year, that was through VRBO. Click here if you want to read the unpleasant experience.
This Airbnb condo was clean and without ants (read the VRBO experience if you are curious about the ants)!
It also has a gorgeous view of the ocean from the rooftop:
Here’s the pool where baby GYM had his first dip in a pool (he really liked it surprisingly even though the water was pretty cold):
renting a car in Honolulu
Renting a car in Waikiki is at minimum $50-60 a day for a compact car. We paid $17 for our 24 hour car rental because I signed up for Turo.com and got a $25 discount (Turo is like the Airbnb for car rentals). We rented the car through Turo.com but it was a local car rental company (ACE Rent a Car) instead of a private owner. Even the car rental place employee said using Turo is cheaper. We rented the car to drive to the North Shore for some garlic shrimp at Fumi’s shrimp truck and down to Kailua and Lanikai for some beach time (though it was very windy that day so we didn’t do much beach time unfortunately).
On another day, we rented the car to drive to pick up more garlic shrimp and head to Kailua and Lanikai again (those are our favourite beaches in the world, because of the white sand and warm crystal clear turquoise water) and this time our friend from Calgary signed up for Turo and we split the cost of a Sienna mini van after the $25 discount. This was $30 for us because we opted for extra insurance through Turo. We traveled with his 2 and 4 year old boys and they were well behaved but baby GYM was crying a lot by the end of the day. We figure he doesn’t really like car rides too much.
We didn’t have to rent a car very much because everything is walkable (including Walmart and Don Quijote’s, our food source) from the condo.
Total rental car cost for 3 days (including the first day when we drove from the airport): $47.
Well, that’s my mini trip recap so far, transportation was $277 for us to get to and around Oahu.
Readers, have you been to Honolulu before? Are there other budget places to rent a car?