Hawaii is one of those dream vacation destinations that just thinking about planning can give you an immediate headache. From the long flight to staying at a hotel and budgeting for things like a rental car and food; it all adds up pretty quickly. There are ways you can still visit Hawaii on the cheap. Here are a few tips on getting to Hawaii without breaking the bank.

When to Visit:

We went in March. Traditionally, March is one of the cheapest months to fly to Hawaii. It's not during the summer when many people have time off. It's just before spring break which gets pretty crowded. It's not in the dead of winter where people want to escape the cold. If you have the option, make it a March vacation.

Flying Out

When you think about flying to Hawaii, you think about flying 'Hawaiian Air' which isn't bad. Know that Alaskan Air also flies to Hawaii. The Alaskan Air plane isn't as large as the one Hawaiian Air uses. There are pros and cons to this, but if your credit card has Alaskan Air miles you can use, this is the way to go. See if your card also has a companion fare which means you fly out and you can bring someone else along for something like $100.

We fly out of Yakima, but you could save even more if you drove to Seattle to fly directly from Seattle to Hawaii and back.

Where to Stay:

Although there are several really nice hotels that feature things like exercise room, pool, private bar and other amenities, I'm going to Hawaii to enjoy the outside, not to stay at the hotel. Many of these hotels have rooms starting at $150 - $200 for just something humble and basic. I stay at a place called the Ewa Hotel. Rooms there are a low as less than $100 with the least expensive being $89 a night. It's only a couple of blocks away from the beach, two blocks away from the zoo and has everything you need. A bed, a lanai (balcony), a working bathroom and maid service. The rooms I've seen all seemed to have had fridges and even a working stove so you can cook at home instead of going out to eat every night. Again, I don't go to Hawaii to just stay in my hotel so this is pretty much all I need.

What to Eat:

I love food. I love trying new food, I love eating out at fun restaurants. Doing so can add up quickly but there are some great places to eat in Hawaii without going over your food budget. There are a few restaurants you can find quickly that offer food at a budget. When in doubt, you can always grab something quick and easy at any ABC store. Remember that the cost of every day items are more expensive (ie. $6 for a box of cereal that would cost you $2 here) but that's still not as much as going out to eat every night. There are Safeways, Food Pantries and other grocery stores on the island. My parents even go so far as to pack some non-perishable food items in their luggage. I haven't gone to that extreme, yet.

Rental Car?

Completely optional, but if you're planning on renting a car, they usually go for about $50 a day. It's not bad if you wanted to drive to the other side of the island but, really, just about anything you need is within walking distance and anything that isn't, like going to a luau or checking out some of the attractions like the waterpark or the Ala Moana shopping center, they have a great public transportation service from busses to trolleys to shuttles that can take you where you need to go. If you have trouble walking, I might recommend a bus pass.

These are just a few things I do to save as much money as possible and I'm not even that good at it. Every little bit helps, though. I can use that extra money on souvenirs.