The Best Spots To Stay In Hawaii On A Budget, According To Trusted Booking Sites

The newest state in the country, Hawaii became part of the U.S. in August 1959 and is truly a paradise. It's a remote realm of swaying palms, sultry beaches, commanding volcanoes, and outsize topography. Paradise, however, doesn't come cheap, and Hawaii is one of the most expensive states in the country. From its location deep in the South Pacific, the islands are so far away from the continental United States that they are considered part of Polynesia. As such, Hawaii is heavily dependent on imports of food, gas, machinery, building materials, and more. High tourism numbers, and the growing trend of mainlanders retiring here, have also pushed up property and ancillary costs. 

The result is that Hawaii, a bucket-list destination for many travelers, is a place that can make a serious dent in your bank balance. But coming here doesn't have to cost a fortune, and a bed for a night at the main four tourist islands can be surprisingly affordable. For this story, we've excluded dorm rooms and concentrated on accommodations that have their own bed, in a private room that can be locked. The list of budget-friendly Hawaiian accommodations was compiled using online travel agents and booking sites, blogs, and reviews, ensuring a mix across the four main tourist isles of the Big Island, Kauai, Maui, and Oahu.

Aqua Aloha Surf Waikiki, Oahu

The rooms at this property have a soothing design and color scheme, with simple furnishings, and beige and white hues that will put a guest at ease. The artwork in guest rooms is kept to a minimum, with sober sculptures of a small school of fish adorning a wall, adding a sense of place to the decor. The Aqua Aloha Surf Waikiki sits in the heart of Waikiki, which guests can see clearly through their windows or from balcony accommodations while seated out in the open. 

For beach lovers, the location is dreamy, only two blocks from Waikiki Beach, and it's close to the International Marketplace shopping mall and the Ala Wai Golf Course. Visitors here will get in the tropical vacation spirit from the get-go, thanks to the lobby decorated in greens and blues that recall the nearby ocean. For travelers on a budget, this property is a steal, with rooms starting at about $100 per night.

Backpackers Vacation Inn & Hostel, Oahu

Located on Oahu's North Shore, this hostel is set in verdant surroundings and is a pleasing departure from the urban feel of Honolulu. The property sits close to Waimea Bay Beach Park, a popular, rewarding spot for surfing in the winter, as well as snorkeling and swimming in the summer. Accommodations at Backpackers Vacation Inn & Hostel come in a variety of configurations, from dorm rooms in the Main House, which sits a stone's throw from a marine sanctuary, to buildings with private bedrooms. The section called Plantation Village features cabins that date from the time when the land was part of a plantation, in the 1940s. 

The inn and hostel sit among lush, tropical landscaping, with bougainvillea, hibiscus, and vines everywhere, joined by plump papayas hanging from trees. The cabins come with a large deck, a kitchen, a living space, a bathroom, and several bedrooms (everyone has a lockable door) — each individual bedroom can be booked separately, and starts at $85 per night, with a 10% discount when booked for one week or more.

Banana Bungalow, Maui

This property on the west of the island, near the West Maui Forest Reserve, brims with color. Guests can walk around and see a range of hues, from the bright blue exterior, a shade also recreated on some interior walls, to the vibrant blooms and landscaping that is a hallmark of the hostel. There are four different types of rooms at Banana Bungalow, with dorm rooms kitted with four or six beds. But the property also has private rooms, with sleeping options of either two twin beds or one queen bed. Private room rates start at a competitive $160 a night — Maui isn't cheap! 

There is much to admire at this place, from the funky public areas to the lush gardens with hammocks where guests can chill out and drink in the ambiance. Guests can also avail themselves of the freebies that Banana Bungalow offers to all that stay here, from free tours of the island in the hostel's vans to pancake breakfasts to enjoy on the communal picnic tables.

Beach Waikiki Boutique Hostel, Oahu

Travelers staying at this property in Honolulu might actually be able to hear the noises of animals residing at Honolulu Zoo — the wildlife facility is only a block away. The beach is also a short distance from Beach Waikiki Boutique Hostel, with the Waikiki Walkway, a stone pier that juts out into the Pacific, the nearest waterfront landmark. Private rooms start at $85 and feature red tiled floors, exposed brick walls, and a queen or bunk bed; bathrooms are shared at this price. 

For an ensuite bathroom, the room rate jumps to $120 per night for the Junior Suite. It's a fun spot to stay, with hammocks where visitors can unwind, and a rooftop with plenty of comfortable wicker seating, wooden decks, and loungers for catching some rays. For fans of pizza, the property puts on a free pizza night every week, making the property even more of a bargain for those on a budget.

Cabins at Kokee, Kauai

From the trails of Koke'e State Park, set 4,000 feet above sea level, the views take in the green beauty of the Kalalau Valley. It's a gorgeous part of the world, with hikes in the rainforest running along the edge of the Waimea Canyon. The natural attractions — from observing endemic plants to fabulous birdwatching, or even the chance to pick plums during certain seasons — make this a part of Kauai that should not be missed. Visitors can find camping spots for tents in designated parts of the park, but for a little more comfort, they can book one of the Cabins at Kokee. 

These accommodations are simple, can sleep between 4 to 6 guests, and can cost less than $100 per night, excluding taxes. Travelers should not expect plush amenities — the cabins are heated only by a wood-burning stove and can get cold due to the elevation. Coupled with regular rain, this might not be the spot for everyone, but for an authentic stay in a lush rainforest within a wild state park, this place is hard to beat.

Cabins at Wai'anapanapa State Park, Maui

For some iconic, rugged Hawaiian scenery, this Wai'anapanapa State Park on the eastern coast of Maui checks all the boxes. It sits just off the Road to Hana, a 50-mile stretch of tarmac that twists through hairpin turns, rumbles over scores of bridges, offers jaw-dropping vistas throughout, and one of the most famous drives in the United States, if not the world. The park distills some of the sights of that drive, with excellent hiking that brings adventurers to stone arches, groups of seabirds, an island temple, dense forests, kinetic blow holes, and striking rock formations offshore. There is even a black-sand beach where travelers can get right by the hypnotically blue water. 

While camping is a cheap way to stay in the park, the cabins are also very reasonably priced, costing $100 nightly (there is typically a two-night minimum). Their forest-green exteriors help them to merge with the landscape. They have almost everything that guests will need, from bunk beds to hot showers, and a kitchen with an electric stove and microwave, though towels and linens aren't provided.

Hamakua Guesthouse, Big Island

Describing a stretch of the shore on the northeastern part of Hawaii's Big Island, the Hamakua Coast is known for its mesmerizing greenery. The consistent rainfall here is largely to thank, with more than 80 inches of precipitation dropping annually. The result is dense, verdant rainforests with towering waterfalls prosper and lush, deep valleys. It is within this magical realm that travelers will find Hamakua Guesthouse, which sits on the southern part of the Hamakua Coast. The retreat comprises two buildings across the road from each other, each offering a slightly different experience — one has views of the ocean, the other flanks the Kapehu River. 

It's an environmentally conscious place, with all electricity generated by solar panels, and water sourced only from rain collection. Guests who want to cool off can take a dip in the on-site swimming hole and waterfall. Private rooms start at a little more than $100 per night, though guests who stay two nights or more receive generous discounts.

The Iso, Kauai

While rates at The Iso change throughout the year, based largely on the season and governed by supply and demand, this waterfront property recently advertised rooms starting at $174. The pick of accommodations is close to the Pacific, though all lodging comes with a balcony or lanai. Inside, the hotel features bright, tropical upholstery, dressers that have an aged-wood effect, and sleek ceiling fans. This is a small property, with buildings that are only a few stories high, so they don't dominate the landscape, and amenities that include fine landscaping and a welcoming pool. 

Fans of seafood will find plenty of fresh catch on the menu at the Bull Shed, named for its location on a part of the coast where herders in the 1800s corralled cattle into cargo ships. The food also includes steaks, prime rib, and vegetarian options. 

Kalaheo Inn, Kauai

Situated in the southern half of Kauai, and named for the town where it resides, the Kalaheo Inn is a simple refuge with lodging in a variety of configurations. There are only 15 rooms, all suites, and they mostly sit in a building surrounded by tropical landscaping, where banana plants, star-fruits, and colorful blooms set the tone for the stay. 

The simplest of rooms is a studio set-up, located at the back of the property, and furnished with either a queen bed or two twins. This option costs $100 per night. All rooms have fridges and kitchen facilities, while some add gas stoves to the equation. The largest lodging choice is a house, with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living and dining space, and sleek slate floors; for $191 per night, it's a steal. Golfers will appreciate the proximity of the inn to the Kiahuna Golf Club, a short drive away.

Ohia Waikiki Studio Suites, Oahu

A hop, skip, and a jump from the International Marketplace and a couple of blocks from the beach, Ohia Waikiki Studio Suites is another Honolulu property with a top-tier location that comes at an affordable price. Rooms here are apartment-style and can be less than $100 per night. Guests are welcomed by snack baskets filled with local goodies, which are replenished each day of the stay. Accommodations are bright, with sunny walls that reflect the weather, and pictures of cityscapes and landscapes of the Hawaiian islands. 

All lodging choices come with a balcony that looks over the skyline of Waikiki, and some feature a kitchen. Larger groups might consider the City View Deluxe category which comes with three beds, so six guests can stay together. Visitors opting for longer stays can avail themselves of the laundry in the building, while any guest will enjoy the property's pretty pool and loungers.

Open Gate Hostel Hawaii, Big Island

There's something so unique about this lodging option close to shore on the southeast of the Big Island — it sits right on top of an old lava flow, and the black rock below its buildings forges a very real connection to Hawaii's natural environment. Open Gate Hostel Hawaii hostel looks like it has organically grown across the land, a jumble of brightly colored buildings and modules that appear like a work in progress. Rooms come in many different shapes and sizes, with dorm rooms that espouse a Tibetan theme, and private rooms that celebrate the ocean, Bob Marley, the jungle, and more. 

These individual accommodations currently cost $115 per night and feature their own bathroom. Elsewhere, the property has a tiki-style bar, a living space where guests can relax in a hammock or unpack a board game, a studio for yoga and meditation, and a communal kitchen for fixing a bite to eat.

Pahoa Village Hostel, Big Island

With its distinctive turquoise exterior, visitors will easily be able to spot the Pahoa Village Hostel, located in the heart of the town of Pahoa. The property promises reasonable prices to guests, with rooms costing less than $70 per night. There are three private rooms in total, though all share common bathrooms (of which there are two), a kitchen, and a lounge area. Even with such a reasonable price tag, rooms place a premium on comfort, with memory foam mattresses, soft cotton sheets, and black-out window shades as standard. 

Travelers have a sense of autonomy, as they're allowed to check in and check out themselves. The building was constructed in the 1920s for hospitality, with the lower floor serving as a restaurant and the lodging located above. Check out the art in the hotel, mostly created by the owner, while just beyond its doors, cafes and restaurants are a short walk away.

Polynesian Hostel Beach Club, Oahu

Next door to Beach Waikiki Boutique Hostel, this property also benefits from being near the Honolulu Zoo. The dorm rooms can pack in quite a crowd, with some able to house up to 10 guests at a time. Semi-private rooms come in two formats: a queen bed or two twin beds. Prices for these rooms currently start at $85 per night. They are unfussy, devoid of ornamentation, but enlivened by small details like a potted plant or a platform bed frame. All guests share a bathroom, as the Polynesian Hostel Beach Club does not offer rooms with ensuite bathrooms. 

Outdoor attractions are close at hand, as the Diamond Head Crater is a short walk away, and the beach is not much further. Guests have access to beach toys at the hostel to take with them to the waterfront, though hammocks and colorful murals onsite make the property an equally fun place to hang out.

Royal Grove Waikiki, Oahu

There is a feeling of old Hawaii at this property, which is a five-minute walk from Waikiki Beach. First opened in 1953, the building has pink exteriors and balconies that extend across its entire width. The rooms at the Royal Grove Waikiki have a largely white palette, making them bright, and start at $135 per night. They also come in a variety of configurations, from standard rooms to two-bedroom suites with complete kitchens. 

Accents add a little flair to them, such as sliding shoji screens to separate bedrooms and artwork that ranges from small framed pieces to larger, wall-filling images. The hotel welcomes pets, and for guests staying a week or longer, provides discounted rates. Travelers will no doubt want to spend time at the beach, but an onsite swimming pool lets them get wet without needing to hit the ocean.

Shoreline Hotel Waikiki, Oahu

Right in the heart of a plethora of shopping options, the Shoreline Hotel Waikiki is also a quick walk from Waikiki Beach. The vibe here is certainly tropical, which is evident as soon as you step into a room. The colors are bold and lively, with strong blues, reds, and yellows dominating the interiors. Each room offers an ensuite bathroom and comes with a wall panel where the islands of Hawaii are presented in white relief. 

Accommodations are also affordable, starting at around $165 per night, and for that, guests can expect a welcome basket with tasty Hawaiian nibbles, 300 thread-count cotton sheets, and a private balcony. The bright patterning continues in public areas, from the paper-mache birds that hover above the lobby, to the vibrant, leaf-print mural by the swimming pool (the chairs around the pool are also bright pink).

Stay Hotel Waikiki, Oahu

This hotel in the center of Waikiki is only one block from one of Honolulu's most iconic statues — Duke Paoa Kahanamoku. Made of bronze, the statue shows Duke with arms outstretched and a surfboard behind him. The statue is much more than a totem of welcome to the waters of Hawaii; its cultural significance is immense. Duke Kahanamoku was a Hawaiian legend in the water, winning Olympic gold medals for swimming, and he was a driving force for popularizing surfing around the globe. 

The Stay Hotel Waikiki features a clean, simple design, and tourists can snag a room for less than $100 per night. Entry-level rooms come with a queen bed or two twins, and higher-category digs feature a sofa bed and balconies. The decor in rooms is calming, with white linens, wooden floors, and tasteful artwork often depicting flowers. Guests can enjoy free coffee in the lobby, and belt out some tunes at the lobby karaoke bar in the evening.

Volcano Inn, Big Island

A place of immense hidden potency and an eye-opening spectacle for tourists and locals alike, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's home to two especially frisky volcanoes — Mauna Loa and Kilauea — that rise high above the ocean. Their powerful presences are softened by the park's huge ferns. Volcano Inn, a small hotel where room rates begin at $119 per night, offers guests ideal proximity to explore this popular park.

The views from many vantage points take in the rainforest, visible from the dining area, the hot tub, and the gardens. Guests can admire ferns, Ohia trees with their bright red blooms, rhododendrons, and much more. Breakfast is included for all room categories, and the inn celebrates local produce, so expect to enjoy papaya, banana bread made on-site, and Hawaiian coffee.


For this story to have some practical utility, we sought properties on the four islands of Oahu, Kauai, the Big Island, and Maui. We used data from online travel agents and trusted booking sites like Expedia, Travelocity, and, as well as incorporated info from the properties themselves. We also consulted blogs, reviews, and tourism board information to provide a list of spots to stay in Hawaii on a budget.