In recent years the Hawaiian Islands have become a popular destination for many Australians, but as our exchange rate has suffered, the once-bargain prices there are harder to find. However, there are plenty of things travellers can do to stretch their budgets, and still enjoy luxe-for-less perks. If you choose to fly Hawaiian Airlines, for example, it has fitted a section of its A330 planes with “extra comfort seating” which only costs a few hundred dollars more. Besides a seat with a 36 inch seat pitch, which is more than economy, you’ll also enjoy priority boarding at the gate, an express security pass for Australians to use in Honolulu airport, in-seat power, a complimentary entertainment pack, an amenity kit, and a pillow and blanket. All that on top of a generous 64 kilogram free baggage allowance per person is well worth the investment. Another great way to see the Hawaiian Islands once there is by ship. Norwegian Cruise Line’s Pride of America operates week long cruises taking in the primary islands, giving you transport, accommodation, food and entertainment. The ship has been recently renovated too.
Another way to save money where Hawaii is concerned is to travel off peak, typically in September, February, November and April, avoiding the Christmas holidays, also the northern hemisphere summer months and spring break. If you’re planning to hit the shops or do some sightseeing on Oahu, make use of the open-air Waikiki Trolley; the Green Line stops at the Honolulu Zoo and Waikiki Aquarium, as well as Diamond Head Crater, where you can enjoy a two kilometre round-trip hike to the top for panoramic views. Also on Oahu you can its excellent public transportation, TheBus, to tour around the island.If you check a local website like Yelp, you’ll find that some restaurants have discounted menus on certain days of the week or for early diners. Hawaii, and in particular, Oahu, has an impressive lineup of free activities to enjoy beyond the beaches, hiking and sunsets. Be sure to put these on your list: the USS Arizona National Memorial in Pearl Harbor; Punchbowl National Cemetery; Byodo-In Temple near Kaneohe; and Puu O Mahuku. And finally there are free fireworks shows from Waikiki Beach at the Hilton Hawaiian Village on a Friday night, and a free torch lighting ceremony and hula show at Kuhio Beach Park in Waikiki at either 6pm or 6.30pm depending on the time of year.