your guide to island hopping Hawaii on a budget


How do you island hop in Hawaii on a budget?  Yes, you read that right.  I always travel on a strict budget so I am not over spending and only traveling on what I could afford.  My apologies for my long and overdue itinerary of my recent Hawaii trip. Below you will find a detailed spreadsheet of how I like to organize my trips.  I island hopped Oahu and Maui with my brother and two friends. No matter how long or how far I travel to, I always have a spreadsheet on Google Sheets detailing the time, dates, things to do, costs, and additional notes that will be handy while I’m away. I like to keep things organized on the Google Drive so I could share it with the people traveling with me.  There’s one question I always get when I am traveling with my friends, that is, “What are we going to do when we’re there?”.  I tell them to always refer to the Google Sheet for the breakdown. It is especially helpful to collect an idea of how much the entire trip will cost as we all need to know how much we are expecting to spend on a particular trip.

Normally, I bring enough cash that I expect to spend on food per day including excursions and any admission fees to museums, parks, etc. For this trip, I brought $800 USD but only spent $550 USD.  It is extremely a good amount considering how expensive Hawaii is or I just didn’t eat as much as the others.  Each meal of mine did not exceed $20 and my it wasn’t hard to eat healthy as almost every restaurant were very kind to cater to my dietary restrictions and allergies.  Shopping purchases are usually made on my credit card so I could hold onto my cash in case of emergency.

The only list I did not include in this guide was my generic packing list for every trip I go on and usually I have a separate sheet of outfits itemized by tops, bottoms, dresses/jumpsuits/rompers, shoes, bags, sunglasses and swimwear.  Yes, it gets very detailed to every single outfit I pack into my luggage because I hate over packing as well as I want to maximize as many items as I can into more than one outfit. It doesn’t make sense to wear a new outfit each day. The less you pack, the more room you have in your luggage for souvenirs and other findings you’ll purchase along your trip.



Visit a Hawaiian luau, trek the Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden (open daily 9-4pm), sun bath along Wakiki Beach (2 mile stretch of paradise), and drink at Tiki bars.  Watch the best sunsets at Kakaako Waterfront, Wakiki, Barber’s Point, North Shore, and Poka’i Bay.  Find peace at Byodo-in temple, eat a plate lunch, swim with turtles at Hanauma Bay, and climb the Stairway to Heaven.
Sun Jan 28 5:55 PM – 11:20 PM Flight from Toronto to Honolulu Air Canada Flight #1823: Toronto @ 5:55 PM to Honolulu @ 11:20 PM $517.00  Points used
7:30 PM My brother arrives to HNL 10:20AM-7:30PM (Layover in LAX) and will pick up car rental when he lands then pick me up
8:00 PM Pick up car rental – Jeep $648.48 $162.12
12:00 AM Check into hotel:
Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach 2490 Kalakaua Avenue, Waikiki, Oahu Hawaii, United States 96815
$2,252.00 $563.00
Mon Jan 29  10:00 AM Walked around the Royal Hawaiian Centre. Lunch at Cheesecake Factory. Lei making class at 1-2pm, then walk along Wakiki beach. Dipped into the water at sunset.
Tue Jan 30 9:00 AM Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden to Makapuu Point – the greatest lookout located at Oahu’s easternmost tip provides picture perfect coastal views; Byodo-in Temple; Poka’i Bay; North Shore for sunset, drinks at Tiki bar
Wed Jan 31 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM Hike the trail up to the Stairway to Heaven


4:00 PM Pick up water and snacks at Long Drugs then have lunch at some Vietnamese restaurant. Headed back to hotel to shower and change into fresh clean clothes. Shopping at Ala Moana Shopping Center then dinner.
Thu Feb 1 12:00 – 9:00 PM Visit the town of North Shore, Killer Tacos for lunch, Waimea Falls / Botanical Garden (better than the Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden), then Chinatown for dinner at The Pig & The Lady (must try the Duck confit pho!)
Fri Feb 2 9:00 AM Breakfast at Island Vintage Coffee (fave place for acai bowls), Ukelele class at 2pm, short shopping trip, and drive around the city until dinner time.
Sat Feb 3 10:00 AM Check out of hotel
10:30 AM Leonard’s bakery (best custard filled doughnuts ever!)
11:30 AM Fill up gas $54.17 $13.54
12:00 PM Drop off rental car


Sat Feb 3 2:10 PM Flight to Kahului, Maui $521.94 USD $223.19
3:00 PM Pick up car rental – Ford Mustang AVIS Car Rental $677.00 $169.25
4:00 PM Check into Maui Beach Hotel
170 W Kaahumanu Ave, Kahului, HI 96732
$1,156.77 $289.19
Maui Beach Hotel Amenity Fee $78.13 $19.53
7:00 PM Dinner at Da Kitchen ($10-25) closed at 9pm – teriyaki chicken quinoa bowl with steamed veggies
8:30 PM Pick up snacks & water from Wholefoods
Sun Feb 4 10:00 AM Grab breakfast @ Kihei Caffe – whale pancake
Kihei city – beach, lots of strip malls, seaside stuff, little market shopping – bought soaps, lace dress
Wailea city – Mokapu & Ulua beaches; The Shops at Wailea, lunch & Super Bowl, luxury resorts along the coast (Four Seasons etc)
Makena Beach – Big beach & Little Beach
Ululani’s Shaved ice (closes at 6pm)
2:00 PM drive to Molokini Crater crystal clear waters
5:00 PM catch the sunset at 6:18PM in Lahaina lookout peak
Dinner @ Tiffany’s Bar & Grill – kimchi fried rice, nino’s chow fun noodles, butterfish, bento box
Mon Feb 5 10:00 AM Cafe Mamba in Paia town (great photos of the colour town) – veggie omelette
12:00 PM Drive to Kannapali, Napili Beach; Kapalua beach (posh golf resorts so to avoid the glitz altogether, swoop past the resort amd drive the rugged northern coast for untamed views Kapalua, Nakalele Blowhole, Kahakuloa hilltop for photos, and Waihee
3:00 PM Queen Ka’ahumanu Center (biggest mall in Maui)
4:30 PM Dinner at Acevedo Haiwaicano Cafe (Mexican/Haiwaiian cuisine)
8:00 PM Early night in for the long drive to Hana next day
Tue Feb 6 9:00 AM Drive the famous Road to Hana (1h30m from HNP) – stunning Garden of Eden ($15pp) and get a bird’s eye view of the Puohokamaka Falls from the garden; then take drone shots here of the winding roads and Twin Falls; waikamoi falls, access to Haipuaena Falls; keep your camera handy for the magnificent run of roadside cascade popping up between mile markers 19 through 25 (3 Bears Falls); Summit Area for the Leleiwi Overlook (pg 413)
Hookipa Beach Park & Lookout
Haleakala National Park, Iao Valley State Park – Maui’s fave green landmark
Hike through the bamboo forest Pipiwai Trail
Fill up gas $42.76 $10.69
Wed Feb 7 10:00 AM Breakfast in Lahaina – Koa’s Seaside Grill – greek yogurt w/ granola & berries; walk around historical district & do some shopping; gelato by the seaside
Kamaole Beach, shoot some photos & dip in water; walk around Kamaole beach area
Dinner at UMI – Calamari salad, steam baos, baked salmon dish (check website for ramen days)
Tropical Gardens of Maui (9-4:30pm) (7min from hotel)
Kula – Maui’s gardenland, fresh veggies – onions, lettuce & strawberries even Oprah wants a piece of this action to start her own line of Kula grown produce, “Ophrah’s Organics”
Thu Feb 8 9:00 AM Check out of hotel
10:00 AM Breakfast Paia Inn Cafe – Avocado toast & Salad
1:00 PM Queen Ka’ahumanu Center (biggest mall in Maui) – Starbucks, do some work
3:00 PM Fill up gas $49.00 $12.25
3:00 PM Drop off rental car
5:23 PM Flight to Honolulu, Oahu
Hawaiian Airlines – HA245
9:45 PM Flight home
TOTAL $1,462.77


Solid & Striped top & bottom /

Quay sunglasses

Ivy Swimwear

Zara skirt /

Top made by me /

Madewell heels (similar) /

Hat bought in the market

Tobi love me knot black romper

Tobi Love Sierra Mauve Multi Floral Romper

Wilfred Le Fou dress


Photography by Brian Ngo

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