We loved being stationed in Hawai’i. If you’re preparing to PCS to Ft. Shafter, Schofield Barracks, Kaneohe, or any other duty station, then by now you’ve done a Google search or two. You may have found some bloggers that have negative things to say about those beautiful islands. I’ll just say this: you get what you give. I’m going to write a post someday about how to be a good guest of the state (and Kingdom) of Hawai’i sometime soon, but in the meantime, I want to talk about saving money while you live there.
The thing about Hawai’i is that if you’re doing it right, you’ll try to see as much of O’ahu as you can, and if you have the ability, you’ll visit the other islands, too. And, you may have guests. We had a lot of visitors while we lived in Hawai’i and the cost of playing tour guide quickly added up. It didn’t take long before we got a clue about the best ways to save cash and help our visitors save money, too.
Visit Leisure Travel Services.
Do this first thing. When you get to Schofield Barracks or where ever you are stationed, take a minute to stop into Leisure Travel Services. Tell them you’re new to the post and that you would like brochures, fliers, the list of free or low-cost things to see and do, and if they have a copy, the tickets and events price list. Some LTS offices offer lists of cool hikes that you can do, too. This office can save you a ton on tickets to events of all types and they have the inside scoop on the best things to see and do to fit your budget and audience (kids, elderly parents, etc.)
Join Groupon, Living Social, Amazon Local, Restaurant.com
Sign up and get the apps on your phone and tablet for services like Groupon, Living Social, Amazon Local, and Restaurant.com. You’ll find great deals on luaus, tours, events, concerts, and incredible restaurants. We would get tickets via Groupon for the Pirate Ship in Honolulu and our favorite luau, Germaine’s, though LTS has good prices for those too! (Hey, just a hint: use some of that money you save to leave decent tips for folks! They work hard to make you happy!)
Sign up for ALL of the email lists!
When a company in Hawai’i asks if you want to join their email list, your answer should be yes. Because you will be rewarded with awesome deals and you’ll get updates on cool events that are happening. For instance, the Polynesian Cultural Center will send you discounts and event updates as will places like the Pacific Historic Parks. If you want to get info discounted air tickets between islands, sign up email lists from all of the local airlines – big and small! We flew to Maui for $35 one way because I saw an email for a flash sale.
Ask about military and kama’aina rates.
Many places have military and kama’aina discounts. (Kama’aina, means local, but most places just want to see that you have a local driver’s license.) When checking out or purchasing tickets, ask if they offer a special rate. Take note that some places have discounts for military or kama’aina only on specific days of each week or month.
Just do all the amazing free stuff!
Hawai’i has so many beautiful beaches, hiking trails, parks, festivals, concerts…I could go on and on. Something as simple as a long walk through downtown Honolulu and in Waikiki can be a fun adventure. Stop at the local library or on-post library and check out the “Hawai’i Revealed” books. I ended up purchasing a copy of “O’ahu Revealed” and we found so many great little hikes, quiet beaches, and other free things to see and do.
So, that’s a start on saving money during your adventures.
Photo by me, Christine, aboard the Hawaii Pirate Ship in Honolulu. Go during the day for a kid-friendly adventure, and go at night for a pirate-themed dance party!