Staying Cheap in Hawaii

It’s a pretty well-known fact that the main costs in traveling are transportation, lodging, and food. In reality, these are the main costs of life in general, but they become ever more apparent when one is traipsing around carelessly. Transportation can be tough to save on, while food can be much easier. When it comes to lodging, savings can be had if one is willing to battle any number of elements, including crappy websites, minor shams, and taking chances.

We went through all of these problems as we looked for cheap places to stay when visiting Maui, Kauai, and Oahu. Given that I make no money off this blog (well, $20 or so a year in AdWords I guess), I felt that I might as well share what I found in the hopes it helps others out there in either saving money or avoiding rough places. So, here we go…

Joe’s Place – This is one of the (if not the) only places to stay in Hana on the east end of Maui for less than $100 a night. It’s on the $55 a night cost of a double that I assume the place stayed in business. It’s not luxurious. It’s barely even basic. It is a place to stay if you want to stay in Hana and not pay a lot. For one night or maybe even two, it can be tolerable. We stayed for three and it was a bit much. Not only is there not a lot to do in Hana, but our room had a funk to it that can really only be described as “warm heaving fart”. I do need to add that apparently our room was shampooed just before arrival and it seems the shampoo man did something nasty in there as the other rooms didn’t smell like this.

While it is a cheap place, you do get stuck with other cheap guests and in the morning, these cheap guests are a serious pain in the communal kitchen area. If you can tolerate this and move on to greener pastures after two days, then enjoy. If not, get ready to pay $150+ a night for something like the Hana Hale Inn which was right across the street from Joe’s and looked like a very nice place to stay. Hana Hale is also off the road a bit, and I gotta tell ya, this road sucks. It’s incredibly busy despite how small Hana is.

Peace of Maui – This family-run affair is quite nice, situated up near the small town of Makawao. It’s pretty convenient to the airport, Haleakala Crater, and most anywhere you need to go. Tammy is a super host and keeps the rooms very clean. She opens up her wifi free of charge and even has a communal computer for folks to use, although, she can’t guarantee that these items will always work (I managed to get us two free t-shirts gratis for fixing the communal computer while we were there).

At $55 a night, you really can’t beat the place and it’s no wonder it always gets recommendations in every guide there is on Hawaii. The only downside are the often aggressively outgoing guests who don’t leave you alone to relax and have loud conversations in the communal kitchen in the wee hours of the morning. Hit a quiet group and you’re golden. Hit a noisy group and they’re worse than chickens on Kauai.

Kauai Palms Hotel – Nothing mind blowing about it. It’s pretty clean and a decent place. The rooms are small, but the beds are big. They have cable TV there for when boredom hits after the sun goes down and it’s a convenient place to the airport, which also means you can hear the few planes that take off out of Lihue.

It costs about $65 a night, which isn’t terrible, but also isn’t the cheapest deal on Kauai.

One bright side to the place is this cheeky cat with a lot of personality who waited outside our room for three hours just so that it could play with something. Another bright side to the place is that it’s a two minute walk around the corner from the super cheap Hamura Saimin which has some of the most kickass food on the island.

Aloha Estates at Kalaheo Plantation – The long title is undoubtedly to avoid saying that it’s a “hotel” so it can stay under the radar with the license issues. But, this is a very nice place in Kalaheo, which is in the middle of the south side of Kauai. The place has been nicely remodeled and each room has a pleasant theme to it.

That being said, the owner is a bit of an ass. The website says, $45 a night for the Bamboo Suite where we stayed, but the owner slipped through charging $55 a night for it. This was cheeky by itself, but the room also has a massive funk to it that makes it smell like a locker room. The other rooms might smell better as they don’t have bamboo coverings on the wall, but we wouldn’t know as we didn’t stay in them. There is also the issue of the damned roosters in the back yards of neighbors, which will inevitably wake you up.

It’s all quite a shame, as the place seems to have a lot of charm and I might recommend staying in one of the other rooms or suites as long as the owner doesn’t mess with the price and you bring some earplugs.

Waikiki Hostel – Yes, that’s right, we stayed in a youth hostel. Only being in Honolulu for one night made this the cheapest and most sensible option and overall, it’s not all that bad. For $60 a night, you get a very basic, yet clean bed in a small room with a private bath and shower that you don’t get the creeps about using.

We feared that there would be constant noise of party goers in the area, yet despite being the center of Waikiki, it’s surprisingly quiet. It may have had to do with it being a Sunday night, but we saw plenty of nyuk-nyuks heading out to the bars as we were heading home to sleep, so the night was definitely alive.

As weird as it is, this was probably the most quiet night and restful night we spent in all of the three islands we visited.

2 Replies to “Staying Cheap in Hawaii”

  1. Thanks for the insights above. We want to stay the night and maybe two in Hana and needed something affordable. Sounds like Joe’s will fit the bill. We can deal with it for a night or two.

    Again, thanks.

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