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The most difficult part of planning a Hawaiian vacation for me is deciding where to stay. While I love luxurious beach resorts as much as the next girl, most of my trips to Hawaii tend to be pretty active (especially Kauai!), and it just doesn’t make sense to pay an arm and a leg to stay at a fancy place when I’ll be spending most of my days hiking in Waimea Canyon or boating down the Napali Coast. But…sometimes I like a little more comfort than a budget hotel provides. Luckily, I’ve figured out the perfect way to save some cash and still get amazing amenities by staying in a condo or vacation rental!
Hawaii has a great variety of accommodation options, which makes it the perfect place to try out a vacation rental. Since Hawaii is a major vacation destination, there are of course MANY condos to choose from 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.
There are several ways you’ll save money on a trip to Oahu by staying in a condo or vacation rental. 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. Rental units are perfect for larger parties who can rent an entire house or multi bedroom condo and split the cost. Another big benefit that rentals 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.
What should you look for in a vacation rental?
Before you start looking around for specific condos or rentals, it’s best to have a general idea of where you want to stay. If you’re not very familiar with Kauai, you should read this post to get the lay of the is(land) and decide which area you’d most like to stay.
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 studio? Be clear about what you want before you start searching.