June 28, 2017

You Had Me At Aloha: Hacks For An Affordable Vacation

FILED IN: Travel

I was on my way home from work one day and my boyfriend text me and said, “I booked our timeshare in Maui June 18-June 23.” It was spur-of-the-moment with only about three weeks notice, and we had just gotten back from Cabo earlier that month, but he had me at aloha. I was obvs in.

I got a lot of questions asking why we were vacationing back-to-back (because who actually does that?), so here it is: he’s moving to Texas and I’m staying in California (surprise). I will elaborate more on this later, but we decided to take a relaxing vacation before embarking on the craziness that’s sure to follow a long distance relationship.

And let me tell you— relaxing it was.

I love Hawaii. I’ve been to my fair share of beaches— locally and internationally— but none of them quite measure up to the rainbow state. The food is great, the locals are unbelievably nice and the aloha vibes are real. It’s paradise in the simplest form and we took full advantage.

We’ve always been on the same page when it comes to vacations— plop us down in front of the ocean and we’ll be there until we have to catch a flight home. We don’t need the extravagant dinners and the ridiculous, commercialized tours— we just need a bed to sleep in, a big breakfast to keep our bellies happy and full, swimsuits and the water. That’s our idea of a good time.

Because we stayed in his family’s timeshare, we were able to travel for super cheap. I realize not everyone has that luxury, but here are a few hacks for a more cost efficient vacation;

Be picky when choosing your flights — We sprung for more favorable flight times, and although it cost us a bit more, we were able to have six full days in Hawaii without paying for an extra night in the hotel. We chose a 6am flight out Sunday morning, which gave us all day to explore once we landed, and a red-eye home at 10pm Friday night, which gave us a full day before heading to the airport. I highly suggest considering the time changes when flying both ways, it makes a world of difference and you’ll likely end up saving money in the long run.

Stay somewhere with a kitchen, or at the very least, a refrigerator — Like I said, we stayed at a timeshare, so we had a full kitchen stocked with pots and pans— the works. We decided to grocery shop for snacks, drinks, coffee and breakfast foods so that we weren’t eating out three times a day, everyday. This saved us so much money. If you don’t have access to a timeshare, peruse Airbnb for condo rentals, you may find a couple of deals and promotions.

Pick one activity that’s nonnegotiable — Thankfully, we aren’t big on parasailing or helicopter rides. We picked two activities that we really wanted to do— me, a luau, and him, a sunset cruise— and narrowed it down to one that our schedule permitted. We ended up doing a sunset dinner cruise, and got a $40 discount just by shopping around and weighing our options from the different salesmen. Don’t settle for the first pamphlet you see.

Booze wisely — We didn’t drink much on this trip, which was nice for two reasons; 1) we obviously saved oodles of money 2) we were able to wake up early and beat the crowds to the beaches. If you do decide to grab a drink, find a beachfront bar offering an “aloha hour”— you can snag yourself a mai-tai for four bucks. Another option is to buy booze at a local convenient store and make your own cocktails, which we saw plenty of people doing on the beach.

 

xx, jordan

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