The secret of enjoying your vacation to the fullest is to have everything planned. In order to do this, you should make preparations beforehand. In this entry, I will mention all the Deals in Hawaii that I’ve researched about before the trip or I encountered when I was in Hawaii.

Deals in Hawaii

  1. Go-Oahu Card

This card is offered by Smart Destinations. It is an all-inclusive pass, having access to over 30 attractions in Hawaii. You pay upfront (the options are 1 day, 2 days, 3, 5 or 7 days). Customers can use the card for a certain amount of time over a period of 2 weeks. You can buy a card online first and claim it once you’re in Hawaii. If you stay in Waikiki, I think the nearest redemption center is Coconut Hotel Waikiki (450 Lewers St, Honolulu). Don’t forget to print your voucher and bring your ID to get the card!

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Speaking of Go-Oahu Card, it sounds like a great deal if you read from Smart Destinations website. Indeed, you can save a fairly amount of money if you travel around 7 days. You have time to enjoy your vacation AND do different activities. However, think carefully before purchasing Go-Oahu Card if you travel alone like me.

You should make use of this card by planning all the activities that you wanna do in Hawaii first (there are 34 activities on the list). Or consider Customised Go-Oahu Card (20% off). Only pay attention to the ones that you’re truly interested in. Don’t try to do everything as you will be really tired at the end of the vacation. It’s not like every activity is worth it.

Tips:

Remember to group all activities by locations, as it actually takes quite a lot of time to move from one place to another.

Remember to make a reservation beforehand, as Go-Oahu Card doesn’t guarantee you’ll have a spot for the tour that you like for that specific time that you walk in.

Be noted, normally, when making a reservation, you will be asked for a credit card, so that they can charge in case you don’t show up or cancel on the same day. If that happens, basically you have to pay twice for one tour that you don’t attend. In my case, I personally didn’t really make use of the Go-Oahu 2-Day Card because I forgot to reserve ticket online the day before (Pearl Harbor).

Also, look at all activities in Go-Oahu Card. Access to individual activity from those activities’ website to see if they charge anything. Because sometimes, the cost of the tour is actually the cost of transportation. And trust me, public transportation in Oahu is really convenient, you can go anywhere by TheBus.

  1. The Bus

If you plan to rent a car in Hawaii, then you can skip this part. Good news if you don’t want to rent a car, TheBus can be your best friend in Hawaii. I went everywhere with TheBus. The fare is $2.5 if you’re over 17 years old (Adult fare), and it’s free for young children younger than 5 years old. The coolest thing in the world is that with each ticket, you can use 2 times. They give you the coupon on the first ride, you keep the rest and use it on the second ride – as long as you travel within the mentioned time on the ticket. Ticket for different days have different colours, so don’t try fooling the drivers! Smartass haha!

Bus 19 runs every 20 minutes, reach Waikiki area after around 40 minutes – you will pass China Town, Ala Moana Center and tons of other famous attractions on the way. Paying $2.5 for the public bus – as opposed to roughly $20 for shuttle bus – to go from the airport to Waikiki is a pretty good deal, don’t you think? Or else, if your group has several people and you have data or the Internet, you guys can go with Uber taxi and share the money. I just think any shuttle bus ranging from $16 – $20 isn’t worth it, considering there are cheaper options.

Unlimited-ride passes

Especially, for visitors exclusively, they offer 4-day unlimited-ride passes, which cost $35. Travellers can use this card on 4 consecutive days instead of any 4 days. I find it very annoying that you can’t buy this pass at Honolulu International Airport. As I said earlier, the airport was really small, there wasn’t even anything there, including Currency Trading Stores or fast food stores. If you only have carry-on luggage (7kg), you still can catch the bus to Waikiki, even though there is a sign on the bus station: “No baggage” or something like that. In case you only have a small suitcase that fits the room underneath your chair, you’re good to go.

Once I found out about this pass, I really slept on it: Should I get this pass or not? Because I would be in Hawaii for only 5 days. There was one day I wouldn’t need to travel around by bus as I already booked a Hawaii Five-0 Location Tours, I would have a personal tour guide for that day. I personally think the policy of using the same ticket for 2 times is good enough. With the 4-day passes, you can use TheBus for 14 times ($35 divided by $2.5), it is too much for 4 days. It might work for you though, so try calculating carefully before buying this pass, especially if you’re a student trying to save as much as you can, like me. Haha!

Once you reach Waikiki, you can hop in any ABC Stores or 7-Eleven Stores to purchase the pass. It seems to me that ABC Stores chain is way more popular than 7-Eleven Stores chain in Hawaii. But I heard that if you want to buy the $60 monthly pass, ABC Stores don’t have them! Oops, sorry!

  1. Sim Card & Data

I spent the whole lot of time on researching to find out the cheapest option when it comes to SIM card and data. Clearly, there was a thing called Teleway. The problem was that when I read all the reviews that I ran into, I was doubtful about the reliability of this provider. If I ordered a SIM Card from them, I would have to wait for 2 weeks and it was too long. Eventually, I decided to just grab a prepaid SIM Card once I reached Honolulu. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to buy one at the airport – which is ridiculous. Because normally, we buy anything in the airport, especially local currency and SIM Card, right?

Where to buy?

I ended up picking a store called Hoku Wireless (http://www.hokuwireless.com/), which was located near my hostel. The store owner helped me to choose the best option for me. That was according to him, I hope that was indeed the cheapest option. I’ve gotta say the data in America is crazily expensive comparing to in Australia. At the end, I bought a T-mobile SIM Card for $50 for 5 days, with unlimited texts, calls and data. It was free to call to Australian landlines, but of course, I didn’t need that. Gotta repeat that it is crazily expensive in comparison with what I’m paying in Australia. But without Google Map, I couldn’t survive. I was so active on social media, so I tried not to complain.

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