The Costs - Grampies Hawaiian Escape (with brief 2019 update) - CycleBlaze

February 14, 2016

The Costs

There is no doubt that Hawaii is more costly to visit than almost any other place, for us at least. The reason is that while you can certainly find costly food, accommodation, and entertainment anywhere, Hawaii is short on good options on the lower cost side.

That is, Hawaii has no cheap campgrounds, limited wild camping options due to no trespassing signs (and rough lava) everywhere, high prices on basic wholesome groceries, quite high prices for basic restaurant meals, and high admission charges for most museums or tours.

While there are three or four "plantation style" accommodations on the Island (Manago, Arnott's, Wild Ginger, and Hotel Club Honokaa), these only look cheap by Hawaii standards - $70-100. Otherwise you can pay $200-500 for many a B&B or resort hotel. The Kona Seaside was quite a bargain for us at $115, given that it had a pool, coffee maker, fridge, etc. Paradise Inn in Pahoa was pretty good, assuming you like loud music, and yes, Waimea Country Lodge was acceptable and fairly reasonable at $90.

The cost for us of Hawaii this year (not including air fares) was $US 138 per day. That is down from last year's $US 154, mainly because we were able to research hotels in advance. Last year, failing knees threw us into any place we could quickly find. The costs for both years were lots higher than the $US 112 per day that it cost to cycle in Europe for us in 2015. That is, Hawaii was from about 1/4 to 1/2 again higher than Europe (depending on the year).

Was it worth it? In absolute terms, we love cycling and we loved the land, people, history, and weather in Hawaii. So we definitely got something for our money. However right now those 138 US dollars are 192 Canadian dollars. It is really hard to justify that kind of expenditure just for cycling and a tan!

Travel costs are a "hot" topic not just for the Grampies. The lead story on the Business page of today's Vancouver Sun is headlined "Snowbirds are feeling the loonie's pinch". A word of explanation for non-Canadians, that headline contains two code words: Snowbirds are Canadians who head south (usually to Florida) in Winter, and the Loonie is the nickname for the Canadian Dollar. The name Loonie derives from the bird - the Loon - pictured on the one dollar coin. Of course, Loony also means crazy!

American readers, of course, are not facing a currency problem, since the Euro, Australian dollar, and other major currencies are declining against the US dollar. So this is your big chance to get out and see the world!

The situation with Hawaiian prices and currency means that for a while, anyway, we will be looking elsewhere for Winter cycling. Let's see. The forecast high temperature for the weekend (in Celsius) here is 9. The high for Kona is 28. The high for Malaga, Spain is 17. And the high for Havana is 27. Hmmm, some good choices there.

By the way, the weekend high for Ottawa will be -4, and they just got buried in almost 2 feet of snow. I think we can safely scratch them from the list.

Camping is hard to find in Hawaii, while souvenirs and tours are very tempting.
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Travel costs are headline news for Canadians right now.
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