Monday, May 9, 2011

Hawaii on a budget

Realistically we never thought we'd go to Hawaii.  It seemed like something only rich people did. It's in the world would we ever afford to go there once...let alone twice!  Well when Honey's dad died we made kind of an unspoken decision to just go for things in life.  It is so short and the kids will only be little once, so let's not put things off.  

With that in mind we started researching and found that Costco travel had really good rates.  Because honey is in the tax business we always end up taking a vacation in late April...which happens to be in the off season.  Low and behold it's not much more than any other vacation.  So we started planning.

By the way I tried snorkeling (which was really brave for me) and hated it!  Probably had something to do with panicking with my face under water...gasping for air and then gagging on salt water.  Not the most enjoyable experience in the world...but hey I tried it:)

We always go for a condo versus a resort because for one it's cheaper and we love the idea of having our own bedroom.  I'm just sayin' privacy is nice;)  And condo's always come with a kitchen, which in my opinion is a must.  Food in Hawaii is really pricey!!  It's sickening actually.  So the first thing we do is head to Costco or find a local's grocery store way off the beaten path and stock up on things for breakfast and usually lunch.  Dinner we splurge and eat out.

For some reason this time we had trouble finding food we liked.  Restaurants are few and far between.  The resorts have them, but you are going to pay out the nose.  We finally stumbled onto a great little Mexican place in the town of Waikoloa Village called Chica's. 

This gal is Nickie and she became a very familiar face by the end of the week.  She actually gave us some free sour cream...score!  She liked us so much that she had us email pics of our visit to Chica's for a local commercial they are putting together.  Wouldn't that be the coolest thing evah?!!!  We could be celebrities in Hawaii...ha!

Even though we don't stay at resorts we LOVE visiting them.  The best time is right at sunset.  They always blow this horn thing and you can hear luau's going on in the distance.  The view is perfect and if you want to save money you could eat at the food court before and then just get dessert to split and have the experience for much cheaper!


The sunsets on the Big Island were beyond gorgeous!  It was postcard perfect every night.  I asked one of our waiter's if he ever got sick of them, and he nodded his head YES!  He said it's the same thing every single night.  That is SO hard to believe...but I guess it could happen. 

One day we visited the outdoor market in Kona.  This is a great place to buy fruits and vegetables for much cheaper than you could get at the store.  Oh and the variety is unbelievable.  I didn't even know what half of the stuff was!  We also got a few little trinkets for the girls to give their friends when they got home.  Little friendship bracelets etc....for like a buck a piece.  Much less expensive than one of the souvenir places.

We spent Easter in Hawaii.  I grand dreams of finding a church on the beach or at least watching the sunrise.  Neither happened.  We did however dye Easter eggs and I had the forethought to bring a little Easter surprise for the girls.  Being flexible is part of vacationing.  For me that's hard because I'm a planner.  I usually have a whole itinerary mapped out, but this time we didn't and it was actually nice.  I need to remember that for next time:)

At home we eat healthy most of the time, but on vacation that's all out the window.  I think one day I had pop tarts, donuts, brownies, cookies AND ice cream!  Okay maybe that's a little excessive, but for this sugarholic it is a vacation from the norm and oh so fun:)

Ahhhh sweet memories:)

As far as shopping goes we love the store Cinnamon Girl!  It's just this sweet little boutique...I think they have one on every island.  LOVED this hat, but of course it was like $100, so a picture will do instead.  We bought a lot of souvenir type stuff last year so this year we didn't take home very much. 

The girls were in heaven when we found a store that had hula Barbie clothes.  Needless to say they can now have their own luau's in Minnesota:)

I took almost 900 pictures.  For me it's just a way of capturing every single memory I can.  That is the best souvenir of all right? 

It was incredible.  It really was.  I'm so thankful we've been able to share these experiences with the girls.  I know they won't forget...and if they do I'll be able to remind them with all those pics:)


It was a blessing to go and a blessing to come home.  Nothing like a trip to make you appreciate your own bed and the smell of your house.  Thanks for coming along with us:)   

Have a blessed day.

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  1. I am glad you had such a lovely time! How could you ever tire of a magnificent sunset? I don't know. Beautiful girls. beautiful family!

  2. As usual beautiful pictures = beautiful memories! Somehting your girls will never forget! :D

  3. I love your - enjoy the moments while the kids are young philosphy ~ you did it so well here. Glad you had such a great time. Your family is so adorable.

    I have friends that buy all their meat at Costco in the States and pack it in dry ice and take it on the plane to Hawaii. I guess now it would depend on if the airlines charges too much for baggage.

    Isn't coming home sweet?


  4. I loved reliving Hawaii with you!! Glad you had a great time!

  5. You're going to need to find 900 frames on a budget. Because every picture is frame worthy! Such gorgeousness!!! We did our Hawaii honeymoon the wallet friendly way too. Its the best way.

  6. Did I read that right?? Nearly $10 for a gallon of Milk??!!! Holy Moly!! I will never complain about the price of Milk in MN ever again.

    Such great pictures!! Thank you for sharing.

  7. Wow...your Hawaiian vacations sound so fun & amazing! What wonderful photos and memories:) I so want to take my girls there...gonna make it happen!

  8. great tips, becky...i too have always thought that hawaii was super expensive, you've given me some insight :) thanks for the great slideshow, too!!

  9. fun post! i love the idea of hula outfits for the girls! your man looks like he really loves his donut which is funny! I wish i could go to the outdoor hawaiian market! LOVE the pic of the shaved ice.

  10. Gosh your pics
    are fabulous,
    Becky! Looks like
    you guys did it
    up right. I'm
    suddenly longing
    for a sunset and
    a shave ice!
    xx Suzanne

  11. so many gorgey photos, becky! my veryfaves are the kona swap meet ones, though the shave ice image has me salivating...

    ps horn thing = conch shell. my bro used to sneak up behind me and blow one straight in my ear...could explain my selective hearing these days. ;)

  12. thank you, thank you for sharing your Hawaii vacation! I love the pictures and since I'm not fond of planes, this is probably as close as I will ever get! :o)

  13. Becky!!!! Your photography is so gorgeous. SO so lovely. You have come a very long way in such a short amount of time...great job! The pic of your and the chicks at the end is just fabulous. I really enjoyed reading all of this. Oh, and that pic on the lined up sno cone treats....oh yummy!!!

  14. Great pictures. And you are far richer than you probably realize. You have an amazing family life--what a treasure! God bless!

  15. Sweet memories! Your gorgeous pics make me want to head on back.

    And, girl!!!!
    You're in my new Romantic Homes!
    Secret keeper! ;-)

    Big congrats!!!!


  16. my kids are dying to get on an airplane...we may have to start saving. hawaii just sounds like so much fun right now! and as always, your pictures are fabulous!!!

  17. Gosh, the pictures are fabulous! And I must say....I LOVED happening upon Cinnamon Girl. I think I visited that store at least 3 times in my week there. :) I had to find the small things from there to purchase. I couldn't go home without something from the store. :)

  18. love,love, love the pic with your daughter and her drink, wearing glasses

    If we don't stay in a place with a kitchen, we make sure breakfast is included in the price of the room. That helps save around $30 a day.

  19. Growing up my family would always leave for Spring Break and Easter. In fact I don't remember spending an Easter at home traditionally in the last 8-10 years. It was always on vacation for us. In Mexico we were able to find a church and attend service there. Hawaii, we found a church on the beach once in Maui. It was always an adventure.

  20. Becky Strahle!!! You have become a photographer extraordinaire! I am drooling over some of these photographs. I love you so stinkin much... Just can't wait to talk to you!

  21. Once again, FANTASTIC photos!!! I love so many of them...the one of you with the nachos, your girls with the horses (which is a very cool statue!!!), the sunsets!!, the one of your little chick with the drink and you in the sun name a few! ;)

    I felt the same way as you the first time I tried snorkling. The only way I could do it was to start breathing well before putting my head in the water. It's weird but it worked and I've done a few snorkling trips since thanks to that!

  22. I loved coming along for your memory tour of Hawaii!
    Your story telling just flows and I just love hearing every detail.
    Now when I was your girls age, Barbie dolls were everything to seeing Hawaiian outfits would have made me drool!
    Your photos are spectacular Becky and they always have so much life and love in each one xo

    Deborah xoxo

  23. These photos are gorgeous and I seriously think the same way...that Hawaii is for rich people! You've got me wondering "What if..." and I'm not sure that's a good thing! lol :)

  24. I loved all of your Hawaii posts. Looks like you had an amazing time. I'm totally with you regarding the whole snokeling thing. Doesn't it sound like such fun until you get out there? So not for me. I hate it. I've tried twice now and now I know it's not my thing so don't even pretend. P.S. You looked great in that hat. Such a pretty picture of you. Take care.

  25. So enjoyed sharing in your trip. We've been to Hawaii twice, once with the kids, once without. Now, we need to go and take the kids, their spouses and the Grans. Yikes! talk about a budget! So glad you and yours could make such wonderful memories!

  26. I believe I saw some pictures from the Hilton Waikoloa Village Resort, right? That's where we stayed when we were BEAUTIFUL! We loved that Farmer's Market, too! Did you happen to try a mountain apple? I have had the best time relieving Hawaii through your's been FUN!

  27. great tips, Becky! I hope to get there one day! :)

  28. I love how you and your family have made the decision to go for it and find a way to make it work. You are so right Becky, that time slips away so quickly and before you know it your little chicks will be adults! But oh the memories they will have of family times like your special vacations and the ways you use your imagination to make it ever so more special. You could write a book on this ya know. How to go on these vacations on a budget! It would be a best seller!

    Loving your photography! Oh the talent that keeps springing from Y♥U!

    ♥Lee Ann

  29. Loved your pics. Thanks for taking me on the journey!!

  30. What a fantastic trip! It's been years since I've been to Maui and besides loving it, one of the things I really noticed was the high cost of food!

  31. :( it's over? the more I know you the more I see myself in you...I too, am a planner..hard core at that. I am wanting to be more spontaneous it just doesn't come easy! Good job "trying" snorkeling..I don't think I would like it either..and the chips..I would be in heaven to eat mexican for one whole week! That is my favorite food and I never tire of it. Your pictures capture so much of the energy you all them. How did the trip go?

  32. oh, gorgeous photos... and i love that you stay in a condo, not a resort. and that you do your own cooking there. and find cute little places to eat at. you are a very cool person miss becky. xo

  33. I loved seeing your vacation photos, Becky! What fun! And diet on vacay? Nope! Glad you indulged and ate all that yummy stuff! That hat looked sooo cute on you, girl! Too bad it was that pricey. And $10 milk? Wow. Great idea staying in the condo. We'd do that, too, since we need our privacy, too. Thanks for sharing, Becky! ♥

    xoxo laurie

  34. The best way to appreciate your own home, bed & pillows is to go away for a week! Your pictures are gorgeous Becky ~ as per usual of course. I love all the shots and the memories you captured. That drink looks suspiciously like the one I fell in love with on our trip ~ they were so so yummy. Hugs. xo

  35. Oh Becky, you had way to much fun and it sure was well planned! I laughed about you snorkeling! I had the same experience! Your pictures are amazing! Glad you had a wonderful time! Lucky you!


  36. I know it has been a long time... I took a long break! and now even then... I only make it on once a week! Look at you all in Hawaii twice... I agree... life is short... enjoy every moment to build sweet memories!! if we weren't spending our life savings on my mouth (i hate the dentist & my bad luck with genetics) but anyway... ;) *sigh* You are a lucky girl!! he he! I miss Hawaii.. only been twice ... both in the last 10 years... we budget just like ya all... and do the market, condo thing! I like it... feels more cozy! ;) Oh... and snorkeling made me panic!! hate it!! *shudder** ;) I dream of living there.. just for a time in life... not the rest of my life... maybe one day??!! he he Such a beautiful place to absorb God, eh?? *sigh* =)

  37. Ha, some of the Roy's blow the conch at sunset!

    Great idea to stay at a condo... we really want to make a trip to Hawaii- hubby has never been and I've only ever been to Maui. When we do we'll be asking you for suggestions!


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