A trip to Hawaii can be a once in a lifetime experience, but wow can it be hard settling on a good place to stay!
If you’re on a budget and trying to avoid paying resort prices, or you’re just looking for a little something different (maybe a more local experience?) then an Airbnb rental is perfect for you.
And I’ve got a treat for you, friend! I’ve got $35 off your Airbnb rental if you sign up right here. Once you’re all signed up (go ahead, you know you want to grab that $35!), I’ll let you in on a little rundown of how Airbnb works…
What is Airbnb? Airbnb is an online booking platform that connects people who are looking to rent out their home (or condo, guest cottage, garage apartment, etc.) with people who are looking for that type of accommodation. Operating in over 200 countries and 35,000 cities, Airbnb has over 10,000 listings in Hawaii alone!
How does it work? By doing a simple search by island, you’ll be able to find a wide (price and type) range of accommodation. Some Airbnb listings are for a shared or private room in the “host’s” house and some are for an entire apartment, condo, or house. You can refine your search to fit certain criteria (part of the island, price, style, etc.) before you start weeding through specific properties. Once you settle on a property, you’ll work out the details with the host and submit your payment through Airbnb’s online booking system, which mediates the transaction.
Why Airbnb in Hawaii? Airbnb is a popular accommodation source all over the world, but Hawaii is an Airbnber’s dream. Hawaii has a great variety of accommodation options, which makes it the perfect place to try out Airbnb. Since Hawaii is a major vacation destination, there are of course MANY condos to choose form but besides condos, Hawaii has a ton of “ohanas.” Ohana means family (any Lilo and Stitch fans out there???) and in Hawaii the term is applied to separate living units located on the same property as the main house. Many homes in Hawaii are divided up into multiple spaces (each with its own private entrance, bathroom, kitchenette, etc.) while some have a guest cottage on the property. Because so many homes are configured this way, it’s easy to find a private apartment or cottage on the same property with a local host.
How does it save me money? There are several ways you’ll save money on a trip to Hawaii by staying in an Airbnb. The biggest way you’ll save money is that it’s soooo much cheaper than staying at a resort or hotel. On many islands you can find condos or ohanas either right on or just a block or two from the beach. Plus, resorts can get expensive really fast if you have more than two adults staying in a room. Airbnbs are perfect for larger parties who can rent an entire house or multi bedroom condo and split the cost. Another big benefit that Airbnbs offer is the full kitchen (or kitchenette depending on what you book). Having a place to cook some meals and a fridge to store snacks and drinks can really save you a lot. Another big plus to staying in a hosted Airbnb is that they often provide gear for you to use. If you’re staying at a beach resort, they’ll only provide chairs and umbrellas for you at their beach, but an Airbnb or condo will often have chairs, umbrellas, beach towels, coolers, and snorkeling gear for you to use during your stay. This is a pretty big bonus if you’re the adventuresome type who likes to check out different beaches and do day trips to explore the island.
Not very familiar with Oahu? Read this post to get the lay of the is(land) before you decide where to book.
And now, here are some of my favorite Airbnbs on Oahu:
^1.Waikiki Studio with an Ocean View: This bright and airy studio on Waikiki has beautiful ocean and mountain views and world famous Waikiki Beach is just steps away! The price starts at $85/night + parking.
^2.Beautiful Sunset Beach Cottage: This newly renovated beach cottage for two is right across the street from Sunset Beach (famous for the surfing at Pipeline). Enjoy the miles of bike trails along the north shore with the complimentary bikes provided. You’ll also love the proximity to Haleiwa town (the famous Ted’s Bakery is right across the street!). The price starts at $129/night.
^3.Beachfront Cottage in Kailua: Just 50 yards from one of the most beautiful beaches in Hawaii, this cozy little cottage is just perfect for two. It’s also just a 10 minute walk to the shops and restaurants in Kailua town. The price starts at $175/night.
^4.Chic Studio in the Middle of Waikiki: If you like to stay right in the middle of the hustle and bustle, this is the place for you! This adorable little studio is centrally located in Waikiki right off the Ala Wai Canal. The price starts at $99/night.
^5.Valley View Haven: This modern and trendy open concept apartment in Honolulu overlooks the Makiki Valley and is seriously swoon worthy. Warning though: you many not want to leave! The price starts at $109/night.
^6.Ocean View Studio at the Illikai Hotel: This spacious Waikiki studio in the Illikai Hotel will give you the convenience of staying in a resort with the comforts of staying in a home. It’s just a short walk to the beach and to the Ala Moana Shopping Center and the Hilton Hawaiian Village is right next door. The price starts at $209/night.
^7.House on a Sea Cliff: This place is a stunner! It has panoramic views of Laie Bay and is basically just a dream come true. And it’s a great bargain for big groups! It sleeps up to 10 people with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. The price starts at $550/night.
^8.Condo at the Turtle Bay Resort: This cute condo sleeps four and has great amenities (including pool access!) plus being walking distance to the Turtle Bay Resort on the north shore. The price starts at $119/night.
^9.Super Luxe Apartment in Waikiki: This luxury apartment is out of the main tourist area of Waikiki but still a close walk. This place has great amenities and is perfect if you’re traveling on business or want to live more like a city local. The price starts at $140/night.
^10.Cozy Hideaway in La’ie: This cute little cottage is easy walking distance to town and the beach and is super close to attractions on the north shore. This is the perfect place to get a taste of real Hawaii living. The price starts at $125/night.
^11.Windward Oahu Getaway: This gorgeous 2 bedroom home on the windward side of Oahu is perfect for families who want to stay away from the craziness of Waikiki and see the real Oahu. This is “country life.” You’ll also be close to amazing beaches, snorkeling, and hiking trails. The price starts at $125/night.
Not sure where to begin with deciding where to stay in Hawaii? I mean, even once you’ve settled on an island (or two), deciding which part of the island to stay on can be tricky, especially if you don’t really know the lay of the is(land). I’ve created a guide that breaks down the different resort areas (and more off the beaten path parts) of each island to make your planning process easier. Sign up below to get your FREE where to stay guide (it’s 6 pages y’all!) and get started planning your vacation.
^12.Peaceful Studio in the Country: Get a feel for country life in this bright little studio in Hauula on the north shore. It’s a stone’s throw from gorgeous beaches and the perfect place for a local experience. The price starts at $110/night.
^13.Honolulu Studio with a View of Diamond Head: This cute little studio sleeps 4 (two on a pullout couch) so it’s perfect for a family looking for a home base to explore the island. The price starts at $95.
^14.Aloha Cottage in Kailua: This cute little cottage is within walking distance to the beach and Kailua town. It’s the perfect place for a small family. The price starts at $159/night.
^15.Beach Retreat on the North Shore: This brand new studio on the north shore is sooooo cute! It’s just a few houses from the beach and you’ll get a real feel for what “country” life is like on Oahu. The price starts at $129/night.
RELATED: 15 Things to Do on Oahu
^16.Oceanfront House on Ke Iki Beach: This gorgeous beach house is everything a beach house should be. It’s bright and airy and the perfect place for a getaway on the north shore. The price starts at $325.
^17.Spacious North Shore Retreat: This large 3 bedroom house in La’ie on the north shore is perfect for a big family vacation. You’ll get a feel for the local community and the beach is within easy walking distance. The price starts at $299.
^18.Condo on a Gorgeous Secluded Beach: This fourth floor beachfront condo on the west side of Oahu is the perfect place to wile away a week or so. You’ll have access to all of the amenities at the Hawaiian Princess resort and all your gear is provided. The price starts at $160.
^19.North Shore Cottage Near Pipeline: This cute little surf cottage on the north sleeps four and is near the world famous Pipeline surf break. During the winter months, Oahu’s north shore is hopping with surf competitions and is THE place to be. The price starts at $225/night.
^20.Awesome Sandy Beachfront Cottage: This two bedroom cottage is right on a sandy beach and is the perfect place for a small family or group of friends to catch some rays on the north shore. The price starts at $295/night.
^21.Lanikai Cottage: Lanikai Beach has got to be the prettiest beach in all of Hawaii and this little cottage is just steps from its gorgeous white sand. It comfortably sleeps 3 and comes with all the gear you need for bumming around the beach. The price starts at $175/night.
^22.Budget Friendly Bright Studio: This super cute studio is just 100 feet from Waikiki Beach and you’ll get a pretty good partial view from the patio. If you’re looking for an economy option right in the heart of Waikiki, this is it! The price starts at $109/night.
^23.Banyan Guest House: This artist studio converted to guest house in Kailua is just a block from the beach and comfortable sleeps two adults plus a couple of kids so it’s perfect for a small family or a couple’s getaway. You’ll truly feel like a guest when you stay here. The price starts at $149/night.
^24.Lanikai Beach Retreat: This lovely one bedroom apartment is just steps away from the most gorgeous beach in Hawaii. There’s no view (that is until you pop down to the beach!) but the amenities are lovely and you’ll be in one of the best neighborhoods on Oahu. The price starts at $150/night.
^25.Waikiki Ocean View Studio: This bright and airy studio in Foster Tower has THE BEST views of Waikiki and is the perfect spot to explore the island from. The price starts at $120/night.
Did you find something you love?? Don’t forget to snag $35 off your stay by signing up with Airbnb here.
What should I know before I book an Airbnb?
Here are some tips for booking for Airbnb:
- Consider what you need. What’s important to you? Are you looking for a specific location near a certain beach or resort area? Do you need a full kitchen? Reliable Wi-Fi? A full house or just a room? Be clear about what you want before you start searching.
- Read reviews. Reviews are the lifeblood of Airbnb. Before you even consider staying at a property, you should read up on what people who have stayed there have to say. Remember, you’ll only hear the good points from the host but reviews usually give a much more honest story.
- Read all of the property rules. Different hosts have different rules for their property so be sure to read up on them and make sure that they’ll work for you.
- Ask plenty of questions. When you’re seriously considering staying at a specific property, you should correspond with the host and ask them any questions you may have. There are some Airbnb properties that you can book without approval from the host (a pretty high percentage of the ones in Hawaii), but many require approval from the host before you can book. If you’re a good communicator and you ask thoughtful questions, it will go a long way to showing that you’re a serious guest who will treat their property with respect.
- Count the extra costs. Be sure to factor in any security deposits and cleaning fees.
- Know the cancellation policy. Each property and host will have different terms so know what they are before you commit.
- Contact Airbnb within 24 hours of checking in if you have problems. When you submit your payment to Airbnb, they actually withhold it from the host until 24 hours after you check in. So if you have any issues with your host or your property not meeting your expectations, report it to Airbnb within 24 and they’ll sort out your refund. Once the payment is released to the host, you’ll have much less room to negotiate.
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