How to Find Cheap Accommodation in Hawaii

It can be hard to finding cheap accommodation in Hawaii, travelers are getting more and more creative in how they sustain themselves when traveling to the beautiful island, that is Hawaii. 

There are loads of cheaper accommodation options you can take on for a small exchange of your time. These take a bit of organizing but are well worth the fun (and the savings).

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House Sitting

House sitting is an affordable way to travel slowly around Hawaii for free. There are plenty of job ads posted year-round to suit all different people.

You can do pretty much anything, from watering plants to minding cats to feeding fish or a couple of pups. Whatever you feel comfortable doing could end up staying at a quaint apartment in Maui for free.

This does require the ability to communicate well though. The person on the other end of that message wants to hear that their beloved pet is going to be in safe hands.

If you’ve grown up with pets or house sat before, or just feel that you are able to do the job, house-sitting is probably going to be the option for you.

Here Are a Few Websites You Can Have a Look Through:

  • Trusted Housesitters
  • Mind a home
  • Happy House Sitters
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Couchsurfing

The whole idea behind Couchsurfing was to help like-minded travelers who are passing through a town or city and just need a couple of days to get their bearings. Hawaii has some nice options scattered throughout the island.

Couchsurfing is really awesome accommodation option that’s only really suited for short-term stays and when I say short-term I mean a few days.

The stay is free, and you’ll be staying on a couch or a small nook in the house and you get to meet people and learn a bit of the culture while you’re staying there. 

Camping

While camping is a fun experience, and slightly cheaper and more economical than staying at a hotel, you can’t camp just anywhere in Hawaii. There are designated camping grounds at state and country parks and you need a permit. 

The cost of permits is $32 for a 3-day site and $52 for a 5-day site and you need to be at least 18 years old to get one. You’re only allowed two tents and three vehicles per permit.

I’d recommend reading the Hawaiian government website for more information about camping. And you can purchase a permit here.

Hawaii is a beautiful country with a lot of beachside and mountainous landscape views to take in, so I do recommend camping. Some great spots in Kauai are Waimea Canyon, Hanalei Bay and Ke’e Beach; and in Maui, Haleakala National Park.

Instead of Airbnb I’d recommend Hicamp. There are tonnes of unique camping places on this website.

They can cost between $30 – $50 a night but come with all the amenities, like showers and a place to cook, so it’s a little more comfortable than just camping in the wild and even though it’s not dirt cheap, at least you get all the bits and pieces to be comfortable!

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Travel in the Shoulder-Season of Off-Peak Seasons

The best time to go to Hawaii when the weather is generally pretty good, tourism is cheap, and the crowds have dissolved, is the shoulder seasons; April and May; and September and October. Of course, it won’t be summerly hot, but it will be cheaper!

During Spring and Fall, you’re going to get the cheapest accommodation, and airfares for that matter. Definitely avoid going around December or the holiday season. 

Doing this is economical, because hotels, and flights, all drop down to reasonable prices.

Book Your Accommodation in Advance

Another thing to do is book your flights and accommodation months in advance.

This involves a bit of planning ahead and organizing but half the reason why accommodation and airfares are so cheap when you book them in advance is that they’re not in demand as of yet—so companies can’t really afford to charge high prices.

Volunteer in Hawaii

In Hawaii, the state established a volunteering program where applicants can volunteer and receive a night free at a hotel. It’s called the Malama program and it’s still available in 2023.

Volunteering activities include wildlife and rainforest conservation, cleaning up beaches, reforestation, and agricultural work. There are loads of things you can choose from. 

Workaway is a website that facilitates voluntourism exchanges. You can pay $50 and get a year’s worth of free accommodation for doing volunteer work. 

 Workpackers.com is the same. 

Work Exchange in Hawaii

There are plenty of work exchange activities that you can do in Hawaii where you’re given a room and meals in return for helping out. Doing work exchange keeps you busy as a traveler and is a great way to immerse yourself in authentic Hawaiian culture. 

Most of these stays require you to stay for a minimum amount of time, so there is commitment involved in doing these sorts of stays.

cheapest-place-to-stay-hawaii

HelpStay

Help Stay is a great website if you’re looking to do some casual help in exchange for food and a room.

Help Stay do charge a yearly fee though. It’s 42 Euros for a one-year membership, so it’s a good deal if you’re definitely planning a long stint away in Hawaii where you’d probably be paying at least a few thousand in hotels. 

Light House Duties 

These jobs can include helping at a small inn or helping an elder person around the house. In return, you’re given either full board, half board, and meals.

This sort of work is more casual and you will be living with a family or someone, but a great experience if you’re looking for cheap accommodation.

Work at Bee Farm

In Haleakala, Maui there is a Bee Sanctuary that is looking for volunteers to help set up their bee farm. The accommodation is an off-grid camp with an outdoor kitchen and private showers.

It’s a 3-week minimum stay and an expected 25 hours of work a week from participants, usually 5 hours a day over 5 days.

Some of the jobs at this farm include:

  • Herb & Flower Garden – beautification for visitors, creates new sources for bees
  • Gift Shop – selling products and interacting with the public
  • Road stand – shaved ice and food for locals and tourists
  • Online Promotion – helping with social media, the website, and the online store
  • Food Gardens – caring for the vegetable beds
  • Beekeeping – helping with the honeybees and harvesting honey
  • Learning how to make products – make products that we sell such as lotion bars, candles, lip balms, jewelry, and any other crafts that we can think of to contribute to our road stand
  • Construction – Using re-purposed shipping pallets to build structures, building beehives
  • Painting – artistic painting for beautification and making signs

Organic and Vegan Farming

In North Kohula, Big Island a non-profit vegan organization hosts educational farming experiences for anyone who wants to help. They offer free accommodation and require 30 hours per week of work. They accept volunteers from April to December.

This is a community-based, self-sustaining lifestyle where you learn to grow and cook vegan food. 

Author: Britt

I am Britt. I have been house-sitting and pet-sitting for the past 7 years. I have cared for 25 dogs, 35 cats 1 turtle, and 1 rabbit over 80+ houses in 15 countries.

The opportunity to experience different homes, cultures, and communities has been extraordinary.

Through house-sitting platforms like Aussie House Sitters and Trusted House Sitters, I’ve connected with homeowners seeking reliable sitters. This unique way of living has allowed me to save money on accommodation, explore new cultures and meet new people.

Being a member of these platforms has broadened my horizons and opened doors to short- and long-term house-sitting jobs. I’ve found joy in providing excellent pet care and ensuring the home is well-maintained.

I get many questions about how to start as a housesitter, so if you have any questions, please reach out! I want everyone to enjoy this incredible lifestyle as well!

You can read more about Jay and me here!

Or connect with me on Facebook or in our house-sitting community on Facebook.

House Sitting in Salon-de-Provence
Me (Britt) House Sitting in Salon-de-Provence, France

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