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Waikiki on The Cheap!

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Waikiki on The Cheap!Aloha! We’re back from our quick 5 day Waikiki getaway. This was an affordable vacation and we spent around $600. That’s pretty good for a family of 3 in one of the most expensive locations in the U.S. How did we do it? Well, I cheated quite a bit on this trip and we weren’t really that cheap this time. Mrs. RB40 was actually on a business trip and we just tagged along. Her employer paid for her hotel and transportation so our expenses were minimum. We still had a ton of fun and it was a perfect beach vacation for me and RB40Jr. Unfortunately, Mrs. RB40 only had one day off. πŸ™ Next time, we’ll have to stay a bit longer so she can enjoy Hawaii, too. Alright, here is how we spent so little on our Waikiki vacation.

Getting to Waikiki

Here is a quick overview of how we got to Waikiki. First off, we took an Uber ride from home to the Portland international airport, then flew from Portland directly to Honolulu. Lastly, we took the city bus from Honolulu airport to our hotel in Waikiki.

Our flight was at 7 am and it was too early to take public transportation from home so we ordered an Uber car instead. I gave Mrs. RB40 my Uber referral code and she got $22 off her first ride. That’s a great discount to start our trip. We paid $3 for this ride.

*My Uber code –Β joeu792ue. If you haven’t tried Uber yet, you can use this code and get $22 off your first ride. We don’t use Uber much, but it’s been very convenient when we did.

Next is our flight. Mrs. RB40 was in Hawaii for work so her employer paid for her flight. I used my credit card reward points for RB40Jr and my tickets. The flight cost 85,000 points so that’s not too bad. We flew separately from Mrs. RB40, though.

Once we landed in Honolulu airport, we took the city bus to Waikiki. That cost just $4 for two of us and gave us a glimpse of Honolulu. Mrs. RB40’s coworkers got a rental car and they drove to the other side of the island to visit a work site that day.

Staying in Waikiki

This was a work trip so Mrs. RB40’s employer paid for the hotel for most of our stay. We stayed an extra night and that cost us around $150. Our hotel, the Aqua Oasis, is a solid 2 star hotel in Waikiki. It was a few blocks from the beach, but that was perfectly fine with me. We arrived around 11 am and it was a bit too early to check in so we left all our bags and went out to explore a bit.

Our room was ready by the time we got back at 1 pm and we got upgraded to a bigger room on the Penthouse level. Score! We even had a glimpse of the Pacific ocean. The staff was very nice and I enjoyed our stay here. This hotel also includes a basic continental breakfast so we didn’t have to go out every meal. All in all, I thought this hotel was a very good 2 star hotel.

View from Aqua Oasis

Getting around Waikiki

We contemplated renting a car, but it was more trouble that it was worth. The hotel charged $30 per day for parking. That’s pretty expensive. I figured we’d rent a car for the day if we really wanted to go for a drive. I’ve been to Oahu before and have seen all the touristy sites around the island so getting out of Waikiki wasn’t a big priority for me. I didn’t think our 6 year old kid would enjoy driving around Oahu all that much either. He was perfectly fine exploring the 2 mile long Waikiki beaches and seeing the local sites. There are plenty of stuff for us to do in Waikiki. Next time we come to Oahu on vacation, we’ll stay on the North Shore and skip Waikiki completely. Also, Mrs. RB40 already went to the North Shore to visit her work site on the first day so she had no desire to drive anywhere on her day off.

Luckily, our hotel had a free shuttle which stopped at various Aqua hotels along Waikiki and Ala Moana shopping center and beach park. This was just enough for us. We took the shuttle to Ala Moana and the Waikiki Aquarium. Other riders were dropped off near Diamond Head so they could go for a hike. The upshot was that we didn’t spend any extra money on local transportation. Nice!

The driver was awesome, too. He gave us some really useful tips.

Activities

Waikiki Beach is 2 miles long and has many different sections so there was plenty to explore on a relaxing beach vacation. RB40Jr really enjoyed playing in the warm ocean. That’s a big contrast from our usual beach trips in Oregon where you wear your jackets and you can’t even go in the water. For us, the best time to enjoy the beach was before noon. The sun got way too hot once it was high in the sky.

Snorkeling – I got a full face snorkeling mask for RB40Jr and convinced him to try snorkeling at Prince Kuhio beach. There is a seawall enclosure there and it was the perfect place for little kids to try snorkeling. We saw a bunch of silvery fishes near the seawall so it was a cool experience. There weren’t any of the colorful reef fishes, though. We’d probably have to go out a bit for that. We’ll try snorkeling again when he’s a bit older. I also got an inflatable life vest to help him stay afloat. He can swim a bit, but can’t stay afloat for any length of time yet.

Stand Up Paddle board – I’ve been hankering to try one of these SUP for a while now. We see people paddle down the Willamette river all the time and it looks like a lot of fun. There are some stands on the beach that rent a SUP for $25/hour. That’s not too bad if you’re by yourself, but I thought we’d need a little more time than one hour. Luckily, our shuttle bus driver told us about Quality Surfboard Hawaii. We rented a SUP for $30 for the day and carted it to the Hilton Lagoon. The lagoon was a perfect place for us to learn how to paddle. RB40Jr rode with me and we had a great time paddling around. He also tried his hand at paddling me around and he did pretty well for a little kid. Mrs. RB40 also tried a bit, but her right arm was hurting so she didn’t do it for long. It was the perfect first SUP experience with a kid along. We fell off the board a couple of times and I was glad we weren’t in the ocean. Carting the SUP around was no fun, though. It was less than half a mile from the shop to the lagoon so it wasn’t too bad.

Fort DeRussy Army Museum – We had a good time at the free army museum next to the beach. RB40Jr enjoyed looking at the old and new guns and other army weapons. There were also 2 tanks near the entrance and an old Cobra attack helicopter on roof. The Cobra gunship was so awesome. Even an out of commission Cobra looked lethal.

Waikiki Aquarium – We enjoyed seeing some colorful sea life up close at the Waikiki Aquarium. The entrance fee was $12 for adults and $5 for kids, 4-12 years old. It was nice to get out of the sun in the middle of the day too. RB40Jr picked up a stuffed turtle in the gift shop for $15. That was the only souvenir we purchased on this trip so I’m okay with that. I highly recommend the Waikiki Aquarium for little kids.

Free hula

Free music and hula – There are free musical and hula performances at various locations around Waikiki. At the Kuhio mound, they have a free hula show every Tuesday and Thursday around 6 pm. There are free musical performances and cultural activities throughout the day at the upscale malls – the Royal Hawaiian Center, the International Marketplace, and Ala Moana. It’s a cheap way to get a taste of the local culture. We didn’t go to a luau on this trip because I don’t think RB40Jr would appreciate it. We’ll go when he’s a bit older.

Shopping – Waikiki seems like a shoppers paradise. There are a ton of fancy shops there. Unfortunately, all the high end shopping experience is wasted on the RB40 family. We didn’t buy anything and didn’t even step foot in any store. It’s amazing how many high end shops are in Waikiki now. The new International Marketplace is a very impressive outdoor mall. It’s open and airy and has many trees throughout the bright and shiny space. I miss the old International Marketplace, though. It was more fun to browse the little stalls to see if you could unearth some treasures.

Our shuttle driver told us many of the vendors moved to Duke’s Marketplace nearby. This is on Duke’s Lane, one street over from the new International Marketplace. We walked by and saw a lot of kitschy stuff and clothes for sale. If you’re looking for cheap gifts, Duke’s Marketplace might work. I heard you should bargain here.

Duke's marketplace

Fireworks – There is free fireworks show at the Hilton Lagoon every Friday around 8 pm. We went to the beach near Ft DeRussy museum and had a pretty good view. It was a nice quick show.

Activities we didn’t do on this trip

  • Pearl Harbor – I don’t like to visit tragedy sites so we didn’t go. Maybe we’ll visit someday.
  • Diamond Head – I’ve done this hike before and did not enjoy it. It was so hot! RB40Jr can go with his mom when he’s older.
  • Waterfall hikes – Hiking to various waterfalls sounds interesting, but we didn’t rent a car this time.
  • Driving around Oahu and visiting other towns and beaches – I was too lazy this trip and I didn’t think RB40Jr would enjoy it. Mrs. RB40 was busy working and only had one day off. We took her to try the SUP and she enjoyed that. I would have liked to visit Kaimuki, Kaneohe, and other smaller towns, but that will have to wait until next time.

Food!

Now the best part of the trip – the FOOD! I visited Oahu for the first time 20 years ago and the food felt ridiculously expensive. We (me and 2 buddies) had just graduated from college and didn’t have much money. I think we ate a lot of fast food and convenient store packaged food on that trip. We had a lot of fun exploring Oahu, but food wasn’t a memorable experience back then.

This trip seemed a lot different. Now, it feels like the food isn’t much more expensive than eating out in Portland. I guess Portland is a much more expensive city now than 20 years ago as well. Even the gasoline costs about the same. Our financial situation changed a lot over the last 20 years also. Now, I’m a lot more comfortable financially and I don’t mind spending some money when we’re on vacation especially since we paid very little for lodging and transportation.Β I checked out all the good cheap eats, though. Being frugal is a hard habit to break.

A couple of tips for US travelers. First, bring cash. Many of the cheap eateries only take cash. Two, eat dinner a bit early. Hawaii time is later anyway so it’s okay to eat dinner a bit early and take advantage of happy hour. We might as well take advantage of the discounts, right?

Cheap Eats

Murakame Udon Waikiki

Marukame Udon – Wow, this udon restaurant always has a long line of people waiting to get in. It’s no wonder because the noodle is freshly made right up front, the soup is decent, and the price is very affordable. Don’t worry about the line because it moves surprisingly fast.

Marukame Udon is a cafeteria style noodle house. You grab a tray, order your udon soup, and pick up some side orders (mostly tempura and rice balls.) The udon starts at $3.75 for a plain bowl of noodle and goes up to about $8 with more stuff added. Not bad at all. I got a curry udon Β ($5.25), Mrs. RB40 got a Nikutama ($6.25), and RB40Jr had a bunch of sides. The curry udon was pretty good, well worth the price.

musubi IYASUME

Musubi & Bento IYASUME – This is a hole in the wall takeout joint with a few branches around Waikiki. You can pick up a variety of musubi, onigiri, and bento from here and take them to the beach. The musubis are actually quite good because you can get one with more stuff added. Mrs. RB40’s favorite was the musubi with spam, egg, bacon, and avocado. Interestingly, RB40Jr’s favorite was a simple kombu onigiri (rice ball stuffed with seasoned seaweed.) We went by here quite a few times to get some snacks for our beach outings. It’s easier to snack at the beach rather than packing up all our gear to go find a restaurant.

Once I dropped by after 6 pm and all the bentos were discounted to $4. Pretty good deal. Cash only.

Steak Shack

Steak Shack – The Steak Shack is a takeout place next to the Ft DeRussy beach park. Their steak plate was plenty of food for me and RB40Jr to share. I ordered medium rare and got medium. The steak was good and it was a terrific deal for $8.75. RB40Jr didn’t have much trouble chewing the steak so you know it’s tender. Some of the salad was a bit wilted, but that’s a minor complaint. Cash only.

Maguro Brothers

Maguro Brothers Chirashi Poke combo

Maguro BrothersΒ – Yet another take out shack that serves up awesome food. We got a chirashi (sushi on rice) & poke combo and added an order of uni (sea urchin) on the side. There isn’t a place to eat so we took it back to our hotel. Everything tasted like it was caught that morning and RB40Jr was scarfing down sushi as fast as he could. This is the only place where I wish we could have eaten more than once. There were too many eateries to try, though. Don’t miss the Maguro Brothers if you’re in Waikiki. It is a bit hidden on Lewers Street. Cash only.

Moderate price

Ramen Bario

Ramen Bario

Ramen Bario – This awesome ramen restaurant is part of the Waikiki Yokocho, a food court filled with authentic Japanese eateries. The Yokocho is in the basement of the Waikiki Shopping Center, right off Kalakaua Ave. I wish we stayed longer so we could try all the restaurants here, but we settled for Ramen Bario because I read good things about it on Yelp.

I tried the tsukemen ($12), Mrs. RB40 had ramen ($11), and RB40Jr had gyoza ($5.) This was the first tsukemen I tried and it was fantastic. You’re supposed to grab some noodle on your chopstick and dip it in the rich concentrated broth. Tsukemen is big in Japan, but I’ve never seen it in Portland. I really enjoyed the tsukemen and still salivate every time I think about it. So Ono! I’m sure it was a sodium bomb, though. One ramen per trip was enough for us. You have to drink a lot of water when you go to a ramen restaurant so you don’t feel bloated afterward. This place automatically adds 15% for tip.

Gyu-Kaku Waikiki

Gyu-Kaku BBQ Waikiki

Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQΒ – This yakiniku restaurant was right across the street from our hotel. The dinner menu wasn’t cheap, but the lunch specials were very affordable. We got 2 lunch specials ($12 each) and a side of gyoza ($5) for Junior. This was the first time we tried yakiniku at the table and it was a fun experience. I enjoyed grilling our meat and everything was delicious. The yuzu beef tongue was the best of the bunch. We also got rice, salad, and edamame with the meal so it was a great deal for around $30.

Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin

Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin – Tonkatsu is Japanese style deep fried pork cutlet. The dinner here is pretty expensive, but lunch wasn’t too bad. I got the mix katsu plate for $13 and it was a ton of food. The lunch special doesn’t look like a lot of food in the picture above, but I barely finished it. The mixed katsu plate has 4 different kind of katsu on it. The lunch also came with all you can eat shredded cabbage and rice. The shredded cabbage was great with the house sesame dressing and I had a 2nd helping. The tonkatsu was really good too. The breading was light and crispy, and it wasn’t greasy at all. The meat was tender and juicy too. I rarely order katsu when we go out, but I enjoyed this meal. It was delicious. This restaurant automatically adds 15% for tip.

Somewhat expensive

Yuatcha dim sum

Yuatcha dim sum

Yuatcha dim sumYauatcha – This upscale dim sum restaurant is on the 3rd floor of the new International Marketplace. We went for happy hour and sat at the bar. Yes, RB40Jr sat at the bar with us. This is different than Portland. I’ve never been to a restaurant that allow kids at the bar. They have $6 dim sum and $8 drinks during happy hour so it’s a great way to try some fancy dim sum.

RB40Jr had shui mai (pork and prawn dumpling) and xiao long bao (Shanghai soup dumplings). Mrs. RB40 and I shared the shrimp shui mai, roasted duck pumpkin puff, crispy prawn dumpling, and har gaw. Everything was good and our favorite was the pumpkin puff. I’d say go with something you haven’t tried before if you visit Yauatcha.

The desserts are supposed to be really good too, but we were already stuffed. We had a big lunch earlier at Gyu-Kaku BBQ. RB40Jr didn’t eat much lunch there so he pestered us to eat dinner early. Oh well, we’ll make sure to save room for dessert next time.

All in all, we had many great meals in Waikiki. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to restaurants outside of Waikiki. I heard that the Rainbow Drive-in and Helena’s have very good Hawaiian food, but we’d need a car to get there. I think that’s okay, though. It’s good to save something for next time.

Back to regular life

It’s always tough to come back from a nice vacation. My early retirement lifestyle in Portland is almost ideal, but I already wish I’m back in Hawaii. The weather was great and there are so many good things to eat. Someday we’ll spend extensive time in Hawaii and see what’s it really like to live there. Being a tourist is different than living there. Honolulu’s traffic is pretty bad. We’d probably go with one of the smaller towns, though.

Anyway, RB40Jr has to go back to school tomorrow and he has soccer practice in the afternoon, too. I have to go back to the gym to work off those great meals. Life goes on.

Have you been to Waikiki lately? How do you like it there? I hope you didn’t go to the Cheesecake Factory. There are so many other interesting places to try. Mahalo for reading!

{ 60 comments… add one }
  • Mr. Tako September 25, 2017, 12:30 am

    Looks like a great trip! I loved all the food pictures Joe! You guys ate Japanese almost every meal! Now I’m hungry! πŸ˜‰

    Waikiki is probably the most affordable Hawaiian location (flights to Honolulu tend to be the cheapest and hotels are numerous), but I definitely prefer the quiet of the Big Island or Maui to the shopping extravaganza of Oahu. Expensive stores aren’t very entertaining. I’d much rather be snorkeling or hiking through a bamboo forest.

    Thanks for sharing your fun trip! We have less than a week until our big trip to Japan. I’m excited!! πŸ˜€

    I can almost guarantee countless food photos!

    • retirebyforty September 25, 2017, 8:33 am

      There are so many good Japanese meals to eat in Waikiki. That’s because there are so many Japanese tourists there. It’s probably the best place to eat Japanese food in the US.
      I think the Big Island is more affordable. The flight is a bit more expensive, but the hotels are a bit cheaper. I’m looking forward to reading about your Japan trip. It should be a ton of fun.

  • Ernie Zelinski September 25, 2017, 12:45 am

    I was in Honolulu in the first week of February this year. I am going again in the second week of February in 2018. Heck, I may even go to Honolulu three times (for a week each time) between January and the end of March just to break up the winter.

    • retirebyforty September 25, 2017, 8:34 am

      Honolulu is a great place to get away from the wintery weather of the PNW. Hopefully, Mrs. RB40 will get to work there again sometime soon.

  • GYM September 25, 2017, 2:23 am

    Ooh lovely food pictures! I’ll have to try Maguro brothers that looks very fresh and I cannot ignore your bolder recommendation of wanting to eat more there! Also Steak shack is always good and does not disappoint for under $10 πŸ™‚

    We will be going soon for 5 weeks so I’m excited to try all the food suggestions that I haven’t tried before on our usual trip to Waikiki. Probably won’t be going to Cheesecake Factory lol.

    • retirebyforty September 25, 2017, 8:36 am

      Maguro brothers has great food. They also have a branch in Chinatown, but the Waikiki branch is so much more convenient for tourists. They work in Chinatown in the morning and lunch time, then work in Waikiki until 9 pm. I’m sure they’re up very early to get the fresh fish too. These guys hustle hard.
      Enjoy your trip!

  • Pennypincher September 25, 2017, 2:37 am

    The hardest, most painful part of visiting any Hawaiian island is leaving.

    • retirebyforty September 25, 2017, 8:37 am

      Exactly. It was tough to get back into the routine at home. We’re both dreaming of moving to Hawaii…

  • Jeff @ Maximum Cents September 25, 2017, 3:36 am

    Excellent recommendation for Gyu-Kaku. One of my favorite restaurants in Waikiki. Some people don’t like it because you are cooking on the grill on your table, but the meat and sauces are delicious. Also the Japanese beer is cheap.

    • retirebyforty September 25, 2017, 8:38 am

      We’d never have known about Gyu-Kaku if it wasn’t across the street from our hotel. It’s a great affordable restaurant to have lunch in. Grilling at the table was fun. Mrs. RB40 was about to order bibimbap, but I vetoed her. πŸ™‚ We’ll be back the next time we’re in Waikiki.

  • Ember @ An Intentional Lifestyle September 25, 2017, 3:49 am

    I haven’t ever been to Hawaii, although it’s on our bucket list. Wherever we go, I swear food is always our biggest expense and probably a huge part of our focus. We love to eat! πŸ˜‰

    Those food pics look so good! It’s super early in the morning but now I’m hungry. That all only cost $600? That’s an awesome price for such a cool trip! Tagging along on work trips is fun, although not so much for the one who is working on the trip. We do that for my husband’s trips if we can, and try to add a couple days at the end to enjoy wherever we go.

    As if I didn’t have itchy, go on a trip feet, I definitely do now! I’m glad y’all had a good time! Thanks for the financial breakdown!

    • retirebyforty September 25, 2017, 8:40 am

      Food is more expensive in Hawaii. I guess it really depends where you live now. Portland is expensive too so we don’t feel it as much. Yeap, $600 was a great price for a Waikiki trip. We could have gone cheaper, but we wanted to eat well.

  • Mustard Seed Money September 25, 2017, 3:54 am

    I have to admit that I’m incredibly tempted to visit Waikiki but haven’t had a chance to go yet because the flights just seem so long. Especially when there are quick flights to the Caribbean. But I keep telling my wife that we have to get out to Hawaii and you prove exactly why we need to get out there. Thanks for sharing!!!

    • [email protected] September 25, 2017, 5:18 am

      Same here MSM! We can use our Southwest Companion Pass to get to the Caribbean and it is much faster from the East coast. But we definitely need to do this too. I guess we could use the SW pass to get to the West coast and then find a cheaper flight from there.

    • retirebyforty September 25, 2017, 8:41 am

      You’re right about the long flights. I’d opt for the Caribbean if I was on the east coast too. You’d probably have to stay longer than one week to make a Hawaiian trip worth it. I’m sure you’d love it, though.

  • Budget on a Stick September 25, 2017, 5:00 am

    Sounds like a blast! Next time you can sneak me there is a checked bag ?
    I’ve always wanted to go to Hawaii. My wife’s family likes to rent a condo and make most of their own food to save money.

    • retirebyforty September 25, 2017, 10:32 am

      We’d go with Airbnb if we were staying longer. This was just a short trip and we wanted to try all these restaurants. πŸ™‚

  • Ms. Frugal Asian Finance September 25, 2017, 5:04 am

    OMG the food looks SO good! I’m glad you and your family had a great trip to Hawaii. This one of our dream vacations!

    I really like it when I go on a business trip and get to do a bit of sightseeing too! Every time I went on work travel, Mr.FAF would ask me if he could tag along. But he was stuck with his work, and I was on the road and in the office pretty much until late at night, he had to stay at home. Next time!

    • retirebyforty September 25, 2017, 10:33 am

      I think you’ll like Hawaii. It’s so different from the mainland. There are many more Asians and Polynesians there.

  • Money Beagle September 25, 2017, 5:55 am

    We haven’t been since our honeymoon ten years ago. Great memories. SOunds like you had a wonderful time.

  • Mrs. Picky Pincher September 25, 2017, 6:07 am

    Ohhhh that food all looks so amazing!!! I was just trying to think of vacation ideas for Mr. Picky Pincher and myself. We’ll probably opt for something in the contiguous US to save on airfare (we save our credit card rewards to fund Christmas gifts). Thanks for the tips!

  • SMM September 25, 2017, 6:13 am

    Looks like a jam packed trip of fun! Glad you didn’t get sucked into the high price shopping, but did enjoy the local cuisine (can’t believe there are so many activities and then some that were missed). All the best for Junior’s school year!

    I’ve never been to Hawaii; it’s on the bucket list more so on the bottom at the point I suppose πŸ™‚

    • retirebyforty September 25, 2017, 10:35 am

      I think the high price shopping is geared for the Japanese and rich Chinese tourists. Regular tourists are there for the beach. πŸ™‚

  • Jonathan September 25, 2017, 6:42 am

    I have no idea what any of the following words mean πŸ™‚

    Marukame
    Nikutama
    musubi
    onigiri
    tsukemen
    bento
    gyoza
    yakiniku
    gyoza
    katsu

  • [email protected] September 25, 2017, 7:02 am

    Sounds like a great trip . It’s nice to get away and recharge.

  • Jim @ Route To Retire September 25, 2017, 7:08 am

    Wow, looks like a great trip you and the family had, Joe! All this talk and pics about food is making me hungry though… is it lunchtime yet?! πŸ™‚

    — Jim

    • retirebyforty September 25, 2017, 10:36 am

      I was thinking about putting a warning before the food subject. Even I got hungry posting the pictures. They were delicious. πŸ™‚

  • Lily @ The Frugal Gene September 25, 2017, 7:15 am

    AHHHH food porn!!!! Thank you πŸ™‚ I love finance not ahhhhhh the food news is such a nice break. Yummy!!!! Oh gosh $600 for 3 is a great deal. I would do nothing but eat. Is that eel musubi?

    I really want to try maguro brothers now. The sushi in the Pacific Northwest is.. lackluster. I know there’s fresh fish here but it’s not in Japanese form. Yuck! I’ve worked at a high end sushi bar for a year and it’s all the same frozen stuff you order online like most Americanized fusion Japanese food.

    • retirebyforty September 25, 2017, 10:37 am

      That’s not eel musubi, but they have one. Maguro brothers are from Japan. They used to work at the Tsujiji market. Hawaii has a fish market too so you can get fresh tuna there. Not sure about salmon, though. Salmon is probably frozen.

  • Martin September 25, 2017, 8:08 am

    Nice trip and great descriptions. I think I have mentioned it before, but you have a great style for writing about budget travel – I think you could turn that into a new blog.

    • retirebyforty September 25, 2017, 10:37 am

      Thanks! I’ll write more about travel when we go on our RTW trip. I think it’d be a lot of fun.

  • Sam @ Financial Samurai September 25, 2017, 8:21 am

    Dang, business trip to Hawaii?! I want THAT job! What was the business about, if that is open for disclosure?

    No Fresh Catch?! Best Poke in the world for cheap! But, you’d have to drive a little bit there πŸ™‚

    Sam

    • retirebyforty September 25, 2017, 10:40 am

      She went to teach a class at a branch. Her employer is the biggest employer in Hawaii. I’m sure you know who I’m talking about. πŸ™‚
      Didn’t make it to Fresh Catch because we didn’t have a car. Maguro brothers is pretty new, but they get rave reviews. Check them out next time! Even better than the Poke Shack on the Big Island.

      • Financial Samurai September 25, 2017, 5:27 pm

        Cool. Never been to Maguro Brothers. Will check it out in the future.

        What a business trip. Envious! Don’t think I’ll be going for two more years.

        How old is your son now?

        • retirebyforty September 25, 2017, 9:14 pm

          Our son is 6. We flew to the Big Island when he was 3 and he didn’t have any problem. I think 3 is a good age to fly to Hawaii.

  • Done by Forty September 25, 2017, 9:25 am

    So much good food! You guys cleaned up on those eats.

    We were amazed at all you can do riding Da Bus on Oahu. We took it to the North Shore one day and were able to enjoy the beaches and some adult beverages, without worrying about having to drive home. And I think it was only a buck or two to ride: surprisingly good public transport on the island.

    • retirebyforty September 25, 2017, 10:40 am

      We didn’t ride the bus too much this trip. It wouldn’t be fun for our kid. Next time we’ll explore more.
      Yeap, they need good public transportation because the cost of living is so expensive.

  • Miss Mazuma September 25, 2017, 9:54 am

    I am bookmarking this for future use!! I have never been to Hawaii but my airline will soon be flying there (2018?). I need to start gearing up. πŸ™‚

    The Maguro Brothers looked AMAZING. I’ll definitely be checking that out. And nice work on the tag along discount staying in the wife’s room. I often tag along on my boyfriends work trips but they have yet to send him anywhere so beautiful!!

    • retirebyforty September 25, 2017, 10:41 am

      Nice! I hope you get a chance to visit next year. The Maguro Brothers made awesome poke and sushi. Best I’ve had in a long time.

  • Mr Crazy Kicks September 25, 2017, 10:08 am

    Oh man, now I miss Oahu! You did really well on that trip. We used to pull the same trick when I was travelling out to Mountain View. I’d plan my work trips for two weeks, and over a long weekend. That way Mrs CK could fly out for the long weekend, and we would have all expenses covered πŸ™‚

    You really nailed it on the food too! I could go for some of that sushi and udon πŸ™‚

    • retirebyforty September 25, 2017, 10:42 am

      Oahu is great. I just wish we had more time to explore outside of Waikiki. Next time.

  • Adam September 25, 2017, 10:51 am

    My wife and I had dinner at Yauatcha in London on our honeymoon in 2011. Didn’t realize they’ve since expanded. I’m glad they (and the island) treated you well!

  • Veneta @ Becoming Life Smart September 25, 2017, 11:11 am

    That looks amazing! We’d love to go to Hawaii but may have to wait for a few years since we have two little ones. I’ve never taken my kids on a plane and I’m not sure how they’ll do (and also how I’ll do!). Kudos to you for taking RB40Jr on flights at such a young age.

    All of the food is making me hungry. That’s one of the things I love the best about visiting new places – trying all of the delicious food. Great job on the expense as well – $600 for everything you got to do, eat and see was a steal!

    • retirebyforty September 25, 2017, 9:11 pm

      We took a 90 minutes plan ride when he was 2 years old. Then we went to Hawaii when he was 3. He loves flying and he behaves pretty well.

  • [email protected] September 25, 2017, 1:02 pm

    Great timing for your post, I am off to Hawaii in November. So far I have been amazed by how expensive everything seems to be. In Waikiki, our hotel charges $33/day for parking so we will just rent a car the days we have to. I will be sure to check the free shuttle after reading your post. We are staying in Oahu, Maui and Big Island:)

    • retirebyforty September 25, 2017, 9:12 pm

      Have fun! The parking in Waikiki is crazy expensive. You can also take the bus or buy the tour trolley ticket. Those works really well too.

  • Tom September 25, 2017, 1:52 pm

    New to your site. I like your “about” page. Nice post too. Great pictures and very inspiring. Mrs. Dividends Diversify and I need to get away from home, travel and have fun more often. πŸ™‚

  • Darren @ Learn to Be Great September 25, 2017, 4:09 pm

    Joe!
    Awesome! You tried Marukame Udon! I hope you loved the place as much as I do. Cheap but good eats. Did you get a chance to try the poke at the ABC Store? If not, put that on your list the next time you’re in Honolulu. πŸ™‚
    There’s nothing like a business/vacation trip to semi-travel hack. Love this! Glad you had a great time.
    Darren

    • retirebyforty September 25, 2017, 9:13 pm

      We went wit poke at Maguro Brothers. πŸ™‚ There are so many good poke places so I didn’t go with the ABC store.

  • Solitary Diner September 25, 2017, 7:04 pm

    I always forget how different restaurant portions are in the US compared to Canada. I saw your picture of your meal from Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin and thought “Wow, that’s a lot of food”, only to read that you thought it looked like it wasn’t.

    • retirebyforty September 25, 2017, 9:16 pm

      It looked like there wasn’t much food because the tonkatsu were lumped together. There was a ton of food and I barely finished. Amazingly, the Japanese ladies at the next table were scarfing down the same portion size as I did. Maybe they were hungry.

  • Felipe September 26, 2017, 5:59 am

    Dang that makes me want to go! You should get a fee from the tourism board. I’ve never been but have always been afraid I’d just go and not come back. What’s not to love? Mountains, ocean, far from the rest of the world, seafood. Great post.

  • Angela @ Tread Lightly, Retire Early September 26, 2017, 10:10 am

    One of our favorite things to do on vacation (other than the food of course!) is to try and use local public transportation if it’s an option.

    I think some of this stems from our son being a major struggle in the car for the first year and a half of his life, but it also allows us to get a drink if we feel like it.

    These are some great tips for whenever we finally make it to Hawaii (food and bus) since it sounds like your priorities are similar to ours, though it sounds like our 2.5YO son might eat more than yours. He’s going to get pricey as he gets older!

    • retirebyforty September 26, 2017, 10:19 am

      Our kid doesn’t eat much unless it’s something he really likes. We’re trying to get him to eat all different types of food, but it’s a big challenge. I’m sure he’ll grow into it.

      • Angela @ Tread Lightly Retire Early September 27, 2017, 6:02 am

        He sounds like a totally normal kid! Amazing what a toddler (and young child) size portion is compared to an adult’s – no wonder it seems like a lot of them consist on air πŸ˜‰

  • Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life September 27, 2017, 12:23 pm

    Welcome back! But, Joe, no malasadas?? That’s half the reason I need to go back to Oahu! πŸ˜‰
    Thanks for sharing your eats, that’s my favorite part of any travel post. I’m plotting our next Hawaii for under $1000 trip, probably 2018? Maybe?

    • retirebyforty September 27, 2017, 5:24 pm

      I didn’t see any malasadas in Waikiki. Maybe we didn’t look hard enough. I guess we don’t miss what we never had. πŸ™‚

      • Adam and Jane September 27, 2017, 10:01 pm

        Joe Joe,
        Say it aint so! You must go to Leonard’s for malasada 933 KAPAHULU AVE
        https://leonardshawaii.com/malasadas/

        We went there every other day for malasadas.

        We may go to back to Oahu next year.

        Adam

        • retirebyforty September 28, 2017, 9:10 am

          Mrs. RB40 would love this, but I’m just not a big fan of sugary fried dough. πŸ™‚ I enjoy them. Just not very healthy.

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