11 simple hacks for enjoying Hawaii from locals who live here

The internet is overflowing with travel hacks to save you money by racking up credit card reward points, using discount hotel websites and rental car loyalty programs.

But what about when you’re actually there — don’t you want to do as the locals do?

Hawaii can get pretty expensive, especially if you’re a tourist. That’s why we’ve got some great “insider” tips to make your Hawaiian vacation more affordable, pleasant and enjoyable. Here they are:

Eating and drinking

Bring your Costco card

No matter how badly you want to, you just can’t escape Costco — not even in Hawaii. The popular warehouse chain offers the best gas prices on all islands hands-down, and if you’re planning on dining in, food prices are also relatively reasonable.

Costco’s also a great place to find local treats like poke, chocolate-covered macadamia nuts and Kona coffee.

Learn when to eat cheap

Happy hours – they’re everywhere, and if you find the right place you can eat and drink like a king or queen for cheap. Happy hours are also good times to meet locals.

One thing to note is that happy hours in Hawaii tend to be 1-2 hours earlier than they are on the Mainland, like from 3-6 instead of 4-7. Many establishments have late night happy hours, too.

And where to eat cheap

If it’s fresh-grown fruits, veggies and local speciality foods you’re after, definitely buy your food outdoors, direct from farmers and merchants. And by outdoors we mean on the side of the road, at farmers markets, fish sellers, etc. (It’s safe to eat, don’t worry).

Sometimes you don’t even need money to buy food — it grows everywhere, and you just might be lucky enough to stumble on a wild tree or patch of something yummy.

Wear “Locals”

In Hawaii, we wear “rubbah slippahs,” which are basically basic flip-flops made of rubber.

The slippers you want are called “Locals” — and you can find them at Longs or Foodland for about $5 a pair. TOTALLY worth it — they’ll last for years if you treat them right, plus you’ll also have an easier time fitting in with — you guessed it — the locals. (Note: Locals slippers are mainly for the guys. Girls don’t wear them much.)

Minimize your other footwear

If you plan on being athletic, all you really need to bring is one pair of running shoes. That’ll cover you for running, hiking and your hotel fitness center. Leave the hiking boots and high heels at home — you won’t need ’em.

The beautiful thing about Hawaii is we rarely cover our feet. Slippers rule.

Go cheap on sunglasses

No need to get all fancy pants with sunglasses, either. They’re easy to lose, like at the beach or restaurant on the other side of the island you were just at.

Cheap sunglasses are cheap, easy to come by and work just fine for a vacation. And as far as we know, nobody here judges you by the sunglasses you wear (or don’t wear).

Go in the ocean daily

Yes, it’s so obvious, but we really mean it: go in the ocean at least once a day. You will feel the difference — in your pores, your blood, your skin tone, your soul. It also helps with weight loss and, ahem, when you need to sober up.

The Hawaiian ocean is full of beauty, wonder and benefits, and it just feels amazing. Big plus: you can jump in any day of the year.

Wake up with the sun

If you can pull it off, try to rise with the sun — it’s virtuous. Hawaii at dawn is a magical time when calm of the day rests quietly over the sky, land and water. The colors are glorious and it’s nice and cool.

Plus, you’d be surprised what you can accomplish by noon.

Be social

If you take just one of these tips, take this one: talk to people, be open, be friendly and be as generous as you can. Do it often and it will come back to you tenfold. You’ll meet countless locals and visitors who are eager to share their stories and listen to yours.

This doesn’t happen everywhere. Hawaii is wealthy because of its people.

Be in nature

You know all that exotic tropical Hawaii stuff you see in magazines and movies and billboards? Yeah, that’s all real — and once you’re here, it’s all free, too.

The outdoor habitats of Hawaii are way too breathtaking to ignore, so it’s best to plan your trip around beaches, hikes into lush valleys and mountaintops and visits to natural wonders you won’t see anywhere else on Earth.

So…get all the rest and poolside lounging you need, but not a tidbit more.

Just relax

Whatever you do here, just relax. After all — you’re in Hawaii — and there’s seriously no need to stress here. As they say on that bumper sticker, “Slow down. This ain’t the mainland.”

Photo credits: integralfocus, mauilocal, michaeljwood, randysonofrobert, greenteamochi, scottwilli, theroamingboomers, gomaba, paddyo66081532@N07100855181@N04

We would be delighted to be part of your next Maui vacation. If we can assist you with planning your perfect Maui vacation, please contact our Sunny Maui Vacations’ team at info@sunnymauivacations.com or at 808-240-1311 Extension 21. Let us help you reserve your vacation rental condo in South Maui and assist you with island recommendations and activity planning through our in-house Concierge at 808-240-1311 Extension 71.

Need a hand with your next Maui vacation? Please contact the Sunny Maui Vacations team at info@sunnymauivacations.com or call 808-240-1311, ext. 21. We’ll find you the best vacation rental condo or rental home in South Maui and help you with any and all recommendations and activities across Maui.