Many Americans dream of visiting the distant state of Hawaii. In their mind’s eye, they can see themselves winging their way across the Pacific and stepping out into a tropical paradise. A Hawiian vacation has the feel of international travel, but without the need to acquire a passport, learn a foreign language or exchange your money. But that’s only part of the appeal. Most of the desire to visit Hawaii stems from its diverse nature—from the mountainous peaks to miles of golden beaches, there is something for everyone. And if you happen to be flying solo, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy all the Aloha State has to offer. With only one person’s expenses to cover, you may be able to return that much sooner. If you are visiting Hawaii by yourself, follow the guide below to find the most economical deals for singles.
Plan your trip well in advance. By booking at least six months ahead, you get the best selection of available accommodations, and you may get an early bird discount. Also, try to plan your trip outside peak travel periods. The largest price reductions are offered on both flights and hotels for those visiting Hawaii in August through November, or in the early spring months of April and May.
Use hostels rather than standard hotels—they charge by the person, not by the room. This means the solo traveler is not charged the dreaded “single supplement” that hotels regularly add to the bill. Hotels justify this extra fee by claiming it helps them to recover the income they would have generated with a second lodger.
Go camping. There are public and private campsites all across the islands that offer a range of settings, from sandy beaches to the volcano ledges. Campsites charge per tent, not per person. Like all things Hawaii, rates are higher in the winter and during holidays, but even at peak season, campsites offer showers with hot water, flush toilets, well-maintained hiking trails and breathtaking scenery for a fraction of the cost of staying in a hotel. A modern dome-style tent and light sleeping bag can easily be transported within your regular luggage.
Consider joining a tour group made up of other single travelers. Search the Internet for like-minded individuals or companies that specialize in making these types of arrangements. Group rates often extend beyond travel and accommodations to include discounts on area attractions and local transportation. On the downside, you may be assigned a roommate whom you may or may not like.
Visit sites off the beaten path or spend your time on the beach or hiking the hills. Alternatively, ask some of the folks who work at the hotel what they recommend or how they spend their free time and you may discover some true hidden gems. You’ll get tan, have fun, avoid the crowds and still save money.
Eat at the local delis, sandwich shops or farmer’s market, not at the hotel, unless it is included in the price of your room.
Make lunch your main meal. Hawaiians are masters of the plate lunch—an overflowing tray of hearty, stick-to-your-ribs food, snapped up by the locals every day between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Offerings range from ribs to beef curry to teriyaki chicken. The main dish is accompanied by two giant scoops of rice, macaroni salad and cooked vegetables. These gastronomic bargain plates are sold by mobile catering vans for less than the price of a burger at McDonald’s, and they’re a lot more filling.