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Saving for a Vacation to Kauai in Just Four Months

Man backpacking through Kauai with a beautiful waterfall in the distance

The sun is setting earlier, the temperature is dipping lower, and you’re swapping summer clothes for heavier garments. Winter is coming, and summer is slowly drifting away.

It’s normal to feel a craving for sun, surf, and sand this time of year. While it’s easier to save for an escape for the winter blues over a year or more, sometimes you just want to get going–the sooner, the better. Combine serious budgeting with some money saving tips, and you could be en route to a tropical paradise–how does Kauai sound?–well before spring.

Plane ticket

The first expense you’ll want to tick off your list is your plane ticket to Kauai. Try to book early. Last minute flights can cost you.

Keep in mind that the cheapest way to get there isn’t always the most straightforward. Instead of searching for flights from your hometown to Kauai, look for flights that take you to Honolulu Airport. You might find that it’s cheaper to fly to Honolulu and take an inter-island flight to get you to Kauai.

Another way to save a few extra bucks? Travel on a weekday, and avoid peak times like Christmas or Spring Break.

Round trip flight to Kauai
$800

Accommodations

Forget four-star hotels. Those are for a trip where you have plenty of time to save up. Instead, consider renting a condo or guest house. They’re typically cheaper and more spacious than a hotel room, plus they come with full kitchens and all the necessary gadgets to cook at home, saving you even more.

One week in Kauai
$1200

Car rental

You definitely want to rent a car for your time in Kauai. There’s a lot of island to explore, and your range for adventuring will be limited if you rely on public transportation.

Take the time to compare quotes from different car rental companies. Read the fine print: the base price may look good, but taxes, insurance, upgrades, and extra fees can be considerable.

Car rental for one week
$400

Experiences

You won’t find yourself with a shortage of things to do in Kauai. There are helicopter tours, boat tours, zip lining, and all sorts of other fun excursions. With a limited time to save, you may not be able to afford to do everything. Pick one adventure that you just can’t miss, and opt to skip out on other touristy activities.

If this sounds limiting, consider this. The island’s main attraction is its natural beauty, and there are many spots to take it in. Make plenty of time to hit the beach or go for a hike. When you’re swimming under waterfalls, checking out the local wildlife, and smelling fresh, neon-colored flowers, you won’t be missing a crowded tour.

One special activity
$200

Food and drinks

As tempting as it is to splurge on three meals out a day, you’ll get more out of your money if you try your hand at some local cuisine. Hit up the local grocery store and have fun cooking with some unbelievably fresh fruit, fish, and local produce.

You don’t have to pass on dining out altogether. Visit the restaurants on your “Must Go” list at lunch rather than dinner to save a few extra dollars.

Finding the best deals will take you off the beaten path. Follow a local friend to their favorite hole-in-the-wall diners and cafes. This may help you avoid overpriced hot spots in touristy zones.

Food and drink for one week
$800

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