Author Topic: Honolulu vacation in about 10 days...Mustachian Tips?  (Read 4594 times)

Done by Forty

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Honolulu vacation in about 10 days...Mustachian Tips?
« on: March 24, 2013, 09:13:35 PM »
My apologies as I think this may have been covered in other threads, but would love some tips on Mustachian vacationing in Honolulu.  My wife is presenting at a conference there so we're trying to make a fun & affordable vacation from it.

We will be hoofing it or taking public transportation for the most part.  A couple we know is renting a car for the week so we may chip in some for that if we want to visit other parts of the island.  We own a scooter so if you can recommend a specific rental, that'd be great, but the places we're finding so far seem to charge quite a bit.

I'd really love any recommendations you might have for cheap eats, good happy hours, and, of course, ways to avoid that scene all together via good grocery stores, public places to barbeque, and other free sorts of entertainment.  Oh, and a good place to rent snorkeling gear would be cool, too. 

Oh, and we'll be there from 4/2-4/9 if anyone wants to meet up!


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Re: Honolulu vacation in about 10 days...Mustachian Tips?
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2013, 11:31:15 PM »
The subject has come up on MMM's blog, with some of your questions answered in this post:
More links to other MMM posts at the bottom of his summary post:
You can use the search results from this page:

You've set a tough standard by your spouse presenting at one of the island's most expensive locations yet wanting to get a frugal trip out of it.

Since you have a little time before you fly, you could try posting your questions on It has a very busy section of people asking about moving to or vacationing in Hawaii, and a lot of the board members live to know it all share their experience. You'll get a lot of kama'aina recommendations, and you might even find rental home bargains that you'd never see on a consolidator's website.

Ideally your spouse could get comped or discounted lodging at wherever she's presenting.  If that doesn't work then take a look at:
You're arriving at the end of the high season, so landlords aren't desperate yet.  I'm not sure that you'll find many discounts, especially if the snowbirds are loitering here until Mainland spring really gets started.

Waikiki lodging is relatively safe but some is noisier than others (traffic, karaoke bars).

For activities, start with the "101 Things to Do" website and pick Oahu.

I've set up my blog with a 3D Travel widget that uses Google Earth to "fly" around Hawaii.  It's pretty realistic:
Note the "HulaCopter" logo for some locations which offer major discounts on last-minute activities.  You can stalk your chosen entertainment on your smartphone to see if you can get 30%-70% off for being able to jump in at the very last moment.  Of course this also requires transportation and a Plan B.

You're probably expecting to do this trip around Waikiki. Hanauma Bay, the Diamond Head Lookout hike, & Makapu'u Point whale-watching are right around the corner.  (Hanauma Bay is closed on Tuesdays.)  There's Sea Life Park, the Polynesian Cultural Center, and plenty of shopping/browsing. Waikiki even has a zoo and an aquarium, which are surprisingly good for their age & location.  The airport baggage claim is stuffed with flyers and activity calendars like "This Week Oahu".

The most convenient public BBQ for you is probably the park just Diamond Head of the Hilton Hawaiian Village.  (Site of the last MMM meetup.)  It's set back from Kalia Road by a few hundred yards, behind the Hale Koa Hotel.  Supplies are available at ABC stores (one on just about every block in Waikiki) or you could take Da Bus to a grocery store.

Bus schedules are at , and there may be smartphone apps that use the API behind this utility:

I would not ride a scooter around Waikiki, even with body armor and a helmet.  Too many drivers are watching too many other things to pay any attention to you. 

Depending on how much snorkeling you plan on doing, you might want to stop by Wal-Mart now (before you leave) to buy a mask/snorkel that makes you happy.  Fins are "nice to have" but not essential.  Otherwise you could rent just about any beach gear from one of the concessions on Waikiki Beach.

If you can swim then you can surf.  Even if you can't swim, the lifeguard can probably still teach you:

If you come out to the USS ARIZONA Memorial (the #1 attraction on Oahu) then plan to make a day of it.  Don't use a tour provider, although there are many of them.  Instead book your reservation at the Memorial through the NPS: and travel to the site by bus.  Arrive early for the Visitor Center museums and to stroll the grounds.  Plan to stay later for the USS MISSOURI Memorial (a free shuttle to Ford Island, leaving from the VC) or the USS BOWFIN Submarine Museum (next door to the VC).  Eat your meal at the lanai of the Submarine Museum.  If you're really into military museums then buy a pass that also includes the Pacific Aviation Museum.  You could easily spend two full days among those four activities within a few square miles.

If you're looking for souvenirs or omiyage then eschew the International Marketplace and visit the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet on Wednesday, Saturday, or Sunday mornings.  It's only one block away from the USS ARIZONA Memorial, so your two-day military museum trek could be extended for a third day of shopping...

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Re: Honolulu vacation in about 10 days...Mustachian Tips?
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2013, 01:34:19 AM »
Aloha Done By Forty, Hawaii has a lot to offer that is free. Moanalua gardens is pretty and calm, among other botanical gardens.

As far as grocery, it's really expensive, even cereal costs $$. Try to buy away from the hotels into town like Food Land, etc. to save money. I shop at the Military Commissary. If you have a Costco membership, take advantage of their organic produce.

If your hotel is off Waikiki, then they usually offer free movies on Friday on the beach and free fireworks by the Hilton and visit the outdoor penguins there. I love Hale Koa, it's pretty there. Hiking is always free and fun, like Diamond Head, Pill Box, Moana Falls. I suggest doing a google search for more free activities to get lots of ideas.

Warning, traffic is absolutely NUTS after 2:30pm. Try by all means to be off the road around then unless you want to waste your precious vacation time looking at someones bumper.

Hope that helps! Hope your stay here is fantastic.


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Re: Honolulu vacation in about 10 days...Mustachian Tips?
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2013, 02:30:36 AM »
Happy Hours  On Lewers/Boardwalk are PF Changs and Moose's  Both have pretty good food and drink specials.
Sand Villa is as fun as Dukes but not on the beach and much cheaper.  Great food/selection and lotsa locals.
Dukes is fun/crowded/on the beach Eat in the bar, smaller portions but way cheaper.

Last Sunset on the Beach movie was in December, The Avengers. and nothing on their schedule.
Fireworks at the hilton every Friday nite.

Foodland in Ala Moana or Don Quxiote's just outside of Waikiki are your best food shopping places.  My minimum stay is a month so Costco works great for me, not so good for a 7 day stay.  i have a Costco cooler bag and I always have stuff that I can't put into a carryon so i pay $25 for a checked bag so I pack frozen meat and snacks that cost double on island. There are a couple of farmers markets in and near Waikiki that are good for fruit.  The saturday KCC market is a destination in its self and near the entrance to Diamond Head. 

Definitely drive the circle around the island. 


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Re: Honolulu vacation in about 10 days...Mustachian Tips?
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2013, 07:48:34 PM »
There are plenty of awesome hikes around the island if you and the wifey are interested in that. is a decent place to start.  One of my favorite places is the Makapu'u tide pools.  If you want to check out the Manoa falls, I'm in walking distance to the trail.