Don't go broke at breakfast. Skip the resort breakfast buffets, which can cost $35 per person or more, Beal says. "Your wallet and waistline will thank you," she says. She recommends ordering breakfast menu items a la carte, which often costs $10 to $18 per person.
"You may need to request the menu, as most staff assume guests will opt for the buffet," Beal says.
Want to spend less on breakfast? Pick up fresh mangos, bananas and guavas from a grocery store or farmers market, and store them with milk in your minifridge.
Say 'mahalo' (thanks) for meal savings. Skip dinner and spend some time at a restaurant happy hour, where you'll give your wallet a break with discounts on pupus, or appetizers, and a mai tai. In the evening, pupus are a Hawaiian tradition in many restaurants and bars. Pick from seafood, meat or veggie options, including many delicious Hawaiian foods such as poke, sashimi and kalua pork.
Court your food discounts. "For cheap fresh eats, try the food courts anywhere in Honolulu," suggests Pam Mandel, a freelance writer and photographer who visits Hawaii at least once a year and blogs at NerdsEyeView.com.
"There's sushi, tacos, noodles, bento and amazing desserts," Mandel says, influenced by the international populations that have moved to Hawaii. "You just won't have the charm of the seaside hotel restaurants," she says. You probably won't miss the prices, either.
"In Waikiki, the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center has expansive seating at the food court, and you can share your table with tourists and locals alike," she says.
Fill up on culture. Hawaiian culture, art and history are compelling reasons to visit the islands and a way to experience authentic Hawaii. Many museums and cultural institutions offer free admission on certain days, and some are free year-round, such as the WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument in and around Pearl Harbor.
Hotels may include admission passes with a night's stay, says Fisher. Or purchase an activity and attraction pass, such as the Go Oahu Card or the Big Island Museum discount pass, if you plan to visit many attractions in just a few days. Pay attention to fliers and signs; for example, you can enjoy a children's daytime hula show in Maui at a local shopping center.
Free fun on Hawaiian vacation. Check the convention and visitor bureaus' websites for a listing of free and almost-free activities, museums, national parks, festivals and events, including the articles "101 free and exciting things to do on Oahu," "Affordable Kauai: Top 10 free (or nearly free) ways to enjoy the garden isle," and "Free (and almost free) on Hawaii, the Big Island."