10 Motivational Steps For an Adventurous Backpacking Trip in Hawaii

By: Guest Author
Getty Images / Shobeir Ansari

There probably isn’t one human being on Earth who wouldn’t want to visit the Hawaiian Islands.

We have heard and seen so much about Honolulu, Maui, and many other places in literature, movies, and TV series that it is almost impossible to not want to explore them. Let’s look at what we can do and see while backpacking in Hawaii.

Traveling to Hawaii for many of us seems like a mission impossible, as we tend to think that we need loads of money for such trips. We believe this because it is presented that way in the media. We always see either rich people vacationing in Hawaii or people who saved their entire working lives for their dream travel. We are here to show you that it doesn’t have to be like that if we consider Hawaii as an adventure vacation. What do we mean by this? 


Step 1: Visas

There are a few things that you need to check when you are planning your trip. One thing for sure is to verify if you need a visa or not. Generally, everyone who is not a resident of the USA or Canada will need a visa to go to Hawaii. 

Step 2: Budget

Next, you have to plan your budget. But don’t let the ideas of wealthy people vacationing or having a honeymoon in Hawaii frighten you. There are a lot of things you can do with a smaller budget, but you need to plan it thoroughly. 

Step 3: Get Informed

When you are traveling, it is always good to know something about the place you want to explore. There are many islands, and each has some details that make it unique; thus, it is rather difficult to pick one best Hawaiian island. We decided to mention here some of them that left the biggest impression on us.

Hawaii Big Island

This is the biggest island in the archipelago officially called Hawaii. The natural wonders you will find there are fantastic, and you can truly enjoy lots of things, from Volcanos National Park to Tropical Botanical Garden, as well as diving or snorkeling with manta rays. 



Maui is the second-largest island and is somehow, what we would call, reserved for rich people. There are also plenty of things you can enjoy, but since it’s quite difficult to find cheap or free accommodation, it is not really for backpackers. However, if you get a chance — don’t miss out on seeing the sunset on Mount Haleakala or Humpback whales. 


Kauai, the fourth largest island and the home of waterfalls, abundant vegetation, and beautiful beaches. If beaches are the reason for visiting Hawaii, then this is the best Hawaiian island for you. If you are a passionate hiker, then you must make the Kalalau trail and be sure to bring your camera and shooting stick.  For those who choose water over land, we have to say that there is a special treat for you — snorkeling with sea turtles. 


Maybe you have never heard of this island name, but this island is where Honolulu, Waikiki Beach, Diamond Head, and Pearl Harbor are all located. This is one of the most visited Hawaiian Islands; therefore, the prices are adjusted to accommodate everyone’s budget. There are many options for cheap accommodation and free activities — ideal for backpackers.

Step 4: Plan Your Trip

The best way to plan your trip properly and decide where exactly you want to go is to check out the Hawaii Islands map. That way you will have a clear picture of all the places Hawaii has to offer and check what is the most interesting for you to see. You will need some time because Hawaii Islands truly offer many fantastic sightseeing spots and lots of things to do. 

Bardocz Peter / Shutterstock

Step 5: Calculate Your Costs

Once you’ve planned the itinerary and checked how much money you can spend on your Hawaii adventure vacation, you can calculate your costs and see how they fit in your budget.  Remember once you get to visit Hawaii, it would be a pity to stay in only one place, and that’s why backpacking is the best and, of course, the cheapest option for your travel. 


Step 6: Accommodation

Could you imagine that it would be possible to travel to Hawaii Islands and find a place for sleeping for free? It might sound like a fairytale, but it is actually true. A few options can enable you to enjoy your stay on wonderful islands without spending a cent.  Some families would be willing to host you for free in exchange for some work, such as, English lessons or something like that. If you don’t want to work at all during your holidays, you can check house sitting, home exchange, or couch surfing options. 

Step 7: Transport

There are several ways you can move around Hawaii while backpacking. You can rent a car or borrow one if you have a host family. Another option is to go by bus. The best way to know the timetable of transport and the nearest bus stops is to download “Da Bus” app that will give you all the necessary information.  You have Uber as well at your disposal. 

Step 8: Food & Drink in the Hawaiian Islands

You have probably heard the expression ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do’. Well, it’s the same in Hawaii with food — when in Hawaii, eat like a Hawaiian. There are many food trucks everywhere around that offer delicious traditional food, perfect when you are traveling on a budget. 

Step 9: Safety in Hawaii

Hawaii is probably the safest U.S state, and it’s perfect for backpackers. The only thing that you have to pay attention to is not to leave valuables in the car you rented.  Locals can easily notice a leased vehicle, and they tend to break in and steal things they find inside. 

Step 10: Visit Hawaii Off-Season

If you choose to go backpacking in Hawaii in late spring or early fall, you will see all the benefits. It will be way easier to find cheaper tickets and accommodation. Also, the islands will be less crowded, and you will be able to enjoy your backpacking adventure fully.