Once you get the the travel bug it's hard to stop traveling as I learned studying abroad in Spain as a 19 year old and then moving to Mexico at the age of 21.
Over the last twelve years while living in Mexico, we've had a chance to do a bit of travel. There's so much to see locally and things are priced well for the most part.
But getting to places farther away can be harder. Like when we decided to go to Hawaii for our wedding 7 years ago. On a teacher's salary it wasn't necessarily affordable to get there, but since we were traveling to Hawaii in lieu of having a big wedding and party, we had some money to put towards our trip and found some great ways to save for the week long honeymoon and wedding on the beach.
So here's 6 tips to help you save some money and get where you want to go!
Your two most expensive parts of the trip will be your flights and accommodations. We've always been able to save money with these first two tips on the list.
1. Award Miles
Open up a credit card that gives you award miles. We chose United (which at the time was continental airlines). If we spent $3000 within 3 months of opening it they gave us 50,000 miles. So we had saved a bunch of our expenses for right when we opened the card (and paid them off right away, I'm not encouraging credit card debt) and within a couple months we earned our 50,000 miles and immediately were able to use those miles to get ourselves 2 free round trips to Honolulu.
**Click on this link to get 40,000 free miles if you spend $2000 in the first couple months of opening your card!
Hotels are expensive in Hawaii. Find an Airbnb to save yourself some money. Click on this link to save $50 on one of your nights! Note: read the reviews. These reviews are golden as it gives you a real account from people just like you. You'll want to be on the beach or exploring most of the time anyways. Another great option I use when traveling is hotels.com as it rewards me with free nights after every 10 nights I stay
**Click on this link and get a $50 coupon on hotels!
3. Make Some Meals
Make some of your own meals, yes, I know this may not sound like vacation to you but making your own Kona coffee in the morning and being able to make a couple pots versus buying that latte down the street saves you some serious spending money. We always like to do this when we travel and usually make a hearty breakfast, a light lunch and can then enjoy nice dinners out. (Buying a bottle of wine is always cheaper at the grocery store or the ABC stores than a restaurant. And you can still toast your champagne on the beach during the sunset and get some stellar photos - I helped a couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary take pictures this past trip - so cute!)
4. EarlyBird Rates
Schedule a couple activities ahead of time as you can sometimes get early bird tickets or discounts. But don't plan everything (I've learned this the hard way after over-planning way too many trips in my life and being too exhausted to enjoy the trip.) Give yourself some breathing room and space for spontaneity. You never know when you walk into a Tesla store and they will just offer you a couple hours to test drive a car for nothing, no strings attached. (That actually just happened this week, not on my honeymoon 7 years ago). And a few activities we enjoyed were snorkeling, a Hawaiian luau and a trip to Pearl Harbor. If you want to plan any sort of tour or activity, we used www.robertshawaii.com to plan the Hawaiian Luau and it was very touristy, but very fun!
5. Get away from the tourists
Be willing to get off the path every now and then. The touristy places are always going to be more expensive and crazy busy. Waikiki is fun and easy to get around, but go to a different island if you can or travel to the other side of Oahu, there's way more Hawaii to see. (I recently got to go to the big Island for a day for work - wait for an update on my post)
6. Avoid Rental Cars and Parking
If you are going and staying in Waikiki as we did 7 years ago, the beauty is that everything is close. You really don't need to rent a car and you really don't want to pay for the expensive parking in Waikiki. Uber is so easy and affordable around the islands. (Get a discount for your next uber ride using this link!) And there's opportunities to rent a car for just a day if you're wanting to explore the North Shore or other parts of the island. Something Waikiki has added in the last few years are bikes you can rent to explore as well - definitely worth checking out! We got married on Waimanalo Bay and it was such a nice, less-crowded beach than you will find near Waikiki.