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Are you struggling finding the perfect place to stay on the Big Island? Picking just the right spot is usually one of the hardest parts for me when I’m planning a trip. I love staying at fancy beach resorts (pretty much more than anything!), but it just doesn’t always make sense to pay so much money when I’ll be spending most of my days hiking in Hawaii Volcano National Park or visiting amazing colored sand beaches.
Luckily, I’ve figured out the perfect way to save some serious cash and still get amazing amenities by staying in an Airbnb on the Big Island! And yippee for you…I’ve got a $35 credit for you to use towards your stay! You can grab that right here.
But before I let you in on some of my favorite Big Island Airbnbs, you probably have a few questions…
But before I get started, not super familiar with the Big Island? Check out this post to get the lay of the is(land) so you can decide where is the best part of the island for you to stay.
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.
25 Fantastic Big Island Airbnbs
Beautiful studio steps from the bay: This cute condo near the bay in Hilo is rustic chic and starts at $89/night.
Adventurous lava rock hale: Staying in this hale will be a truly unique experience. The property is luscious and gorgeous and starts at $84/night.
Amazing paradise encounter in Hilo: This spacious Hawaiian inspired hut is centrally located on the Hilo side of the island near Kilauea, and it starts at $109/night.
Tropical modern eco-farm loft: You won’t want to leave this trendy eco-loft. It’s equal parts modern and equal parts tropical and starts at $125/night.
One-bedroom suite in Hilo: This cozy one-bedroom suite has a wonderful lanai and starts at $77/night.
Peaceful Balinese teak cottage: This little jungle hideaway starts at $92/night.
Private garden studio in the south: This well equipped studio near the southern most point of the island is a great place to explore a less visited part of the island. Pricing starts at $85/night.
Dreamy tropical tree house: If you’ve ever dreamed of staying in a luxurious tree house in the middle of the jungle, you’ll loooove this dreamy tree house near Hawaii Volcano National Park. Pricing starts at $200/night.
Luxury studio in Volcano: This bright studio is cozy but modern and conveniently located for exploring Hawaii Volcano National Park. Pricing starts at $115/night.
Paauilo far from the madding crowd: This cute bungalow with a loft is far from crowds and tourists and the perfect place to get away from it all. Pricing starts at $110/night.
Noelani of Waipio: This cozy little two-bedroom bungalow on the north shore is the perfect basecamp for exploring the breathtaking Waipio Valley. Pricing starts at $99/night.
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Waimea garden getaway: This one bedroom retreat in Waimea comes with a hot tub and starts at $125/night.
Deluxe studio ohana: This airy studio comes with amazing views of nearby Mauna Kea and starts at $99/night.
RELATED: 15 Things to Do on the Big Island
Magical coffee farm and bioplantation: Why stay in an ordinary Airbnb when you can stay on a coffee farm with an infinity pool and epic ocean views? Pricing starts at $195/night.
Kealakekua Bay cottage with view: This bright and airy cabin near Kealakekua Bay has everything you need plus amazing ocean views. Pricing starts at $115/night.
Aeolani with panoramic pool views: This modern home with an infinity pool offers amazing views of the ocean and starts at $139/night.
Beautiful condo in downtown Kona: This traditional condo is just a stone’s throw from downtown Kona and starts at $72/night.
Cozy apartment in Holualoa: While the apartment is nice and cozy, the lanai is the really star of this property (ocean views in the distance!), and it starts at $89/night.
Kale kea Kona: This efficient and cozy apartment in Kona has great ocean views and starts at $99/night.
Kealakekua Bay Bali cottage: This intricate Balinese inspired cottage just steps from Kealakekua Bay starts at $153/night.
Luxury resort feel condo: This two-bedroom condo in Waikoloa has a luxury feel as a budget price. It starts at $130/night.
Mauna Lani Golf Resort townhouse: This 3-bedroom townhouse in the gorgeous Mauna Lani Gold Resort starts at $199/night.
Individual bungalow across from the ocean: This luxury bungalow with major tiki vibes is just steps from the ocean and starts at $180/night.
Spectacular ground floor condo: This bright and airy condo with resort amenities starts at $143/night.
The pool house in Waikoloa Village: This super nice pool house in Waikoloa is just steps away from an amazing pool and starts at $155/night.
Are you all ready to book an Airbnb for your trip to the Big Island? Not so fast…read through these tips before you book!
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.
Are you ready to book yet?? If you’re thinking about trying out Airbnb on your trip to the Big Island, use this link to get $35 off your stay!
Feeling a little overwhelmed with trying to plan the perfect Big Island itinerary? I’ve got just the thing for you!
Big Island Bound! I’ve put together the BEST Big Island itineraries you’ll find anywhere! These are the itineraries I use on my trips to the Big Island (plus a few tweaks because hindsight is 20/20 right?) and they’re perfect for first time and repeat visitors who want to see the very best of the Big Island.
Check it out here.
I’ve included everything from the best snorkeling spots, beaches, and excursions and it’s all broken down by each part of the island so you won’t waste any time backtracking.
So what exactly do you get? With Big Island Bound, you’ll get FOUR six day itineraries: 1) classic Big Island itinerary, 2) Big Island honeymoon itinerary, 3) Big Island for adventure seekers itinerary, and 4) Big Island foodie itinerary. I’m not just talking about a bullet point list of to dos. Each itinerary comes with 10-15 pages of commentary explaining why I recommend doing certain things (plus various options to suit your interests). Each itinerary also comes with its own Google Map (broken down by day). You’ll also get an itinerary template that you can use to make your own, along with extensive tips on creating your own itinerary, a huge list of things to do on the Big Island, and directions for making your own Google Maps.
This is basically vacation in a box, friend! Just add a bit of salt water and you’re in for the trip of a lifetime!
Click here to grab the Big Island Bound itinerary bundle.
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