Honolulu Travel Tips from a Lone Budget Traveller

Flashback Friday : Honolulu travel tips from a lone traveller on a budget

It’s only been a couple of months, but I seriously miss Honolulu. I was a little nervous to go on a trip there by myself, but then once I got there I felt comfortable and at home. Ocean and palm trees. Friendly people and good food. Honolulu is definitely not a destination that you want to skip, especially if you like running marathons. (Seriously still have to complete my Honolulu Marathon recap!)

Although there were thousands and thousands of people there for the big race, I travelled to Oahu alone, but never really felt lonely. Also, you may not know this about me, but I don’t drive. Yep, I said it. So, this can make travelling alone interesting. How do I get to the sites? Do I spend a fortune on taxis? To get around when I am travelling, I try to stay budget conscious and patient. Patience and enjoying the moment is key because I mostly take local transit around places to see the sites. It’s a great way to see local happenings, while also getting to my destination pretty cheap.

So, here’s some stuff you can do around Honolulu if you don’t drive:

– I rented an Airbnb near Waikiki for a really good rate, so I walked everywhere. Why not?! There’s so many sites to see and local atmosphere to take in, all while getting some good exercise. I would walk down the main strip or really enjoy the scenery by walking along the beach walk. So many gorgeous sunsets to see this way. Also, the weather was warm in December even when it was raining, so no excuses!

~ Note: if you’d like to be even more budget conscious than a good deal on Airbnb, I also stayed a few nights at the Seaside Hawaiian Hostel and it’s definitely a cute little place. A hostel is a hostel, but this place was relatively clean and very cozy. A little noisy being close to the street, but still managed to get a decent night’s sleep. Front desk staff also really awesome and friendly, which is great for lone travellers! (I met a gal also named Crystal from Edmonton, how funny is that?!)

– I walked/jogged to Diamond Head and then hiked up it. This is a good workout! The hike up this crater isn’t too bad, but don’t wear flip flips – it can be slippery if it’s raining. Also, if you have an injury or mobility concerns, definitely take the quick bus ride up and, ideally, hike it with a friend or group. Everyone should take their time and enjoy the scenery on this trail.

Manoa Falls Honolulu Hawaii

Stunning Manoa Falls

– You can bus to Manoa Falls and it doesn’t take that long! You’re surprised, right? Before I left, I was looking at $50 USD hiking tours to the falls and I kind of thought that was a little steep. Some quick research and I realized that I could take the bus for $2.50 and hike on my own… come to find out, I wasn’t the only one doing this! At the bus stop there were some other lone travellers doing just the same thing, so a good way to make a new acquaintance too! This hike is a little challenging, so no flip flops here either. The trail is relatively quiet, but the Falls were busy with people going in the water, taking pics, etc. You can still find space to relax at the Falls, but just something to keep in mind depending on how introverted you are. 🙂

– You can also bus to awesome food places outside of Waikiki. Quick bus ride took me to an awesome Poke place – Ono Seafood – which was totally worth it. You could also run or cycle to this area if you’re feeling energetic!

– You’ll need a little more time for Hanauma Bay, but if you have a good book or some awesome music on your phone, take the bus. One bus from Waikiki will get you there, just be sure to look up the times and be ready to get to the stop early. No problem here, because I was super excited to go. The bus can be quite busy, but once you get to the Bay you are relaxed again. Tours for the Bay looked pretty expensive as well, so unless you’re going snorkelling with a guide, you can easily take the bus, check out the Bay, hike around, and relax, before jumping on the bus back later in the day.

Hanauma Bay Hawaii

Gorgeous Hanauma Bay, how much do I love thee?

– I highly recommend surfing if you’re in Honolulu! Now, this I did not do completely alone. I paid for a private session with the Ohana Surf Project, but you can also lower your costs by doing a group session (I’m a terrible swimmer, so I spent a little extra on this outing for my own peace of mind). I only had to walk a few blocks from where I was staying and they picked me up in their van to head to the site. This whole experience was awesome and I hope to go back and do it again someday. Great staff and instructors, super helpful, and fun. After the session they can give you a ride back to your pick up location, but I decided to take the afternoon to walk along Waikiki Beach back to where I was staying. I always try to get as much ocean time as I can!

It may be surprising, but you can easily get around a lot of places when travelling if you don’t drive or if you want to save money on rentals. You just need a keen interest in taking in the local atmosphere and a little patience. Walking, biking, running, and bussing while travelling can really make for a unique experience!

Do rent cars while travelling or rely on walking and local transit? How do you enjoy the experience?

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