I love to travel and explore the world and it’s backyards. The most rewarding part of travelling for me is to meet new people, learn about their culture and customs, share life stories and get to know the mother nature up close and personal. Being a single mom on a single income can be challenging and definitely challenged me to get creative and look for ways to afford even more expensive places to visit – beautiful Hawaian islands and all 4 of them.
My current trip to Hawaii is the second visit. I fell in love with Aloha land in 2016 and I had a full year to save up enough air miles and aeroplan points to go back in 2017. The points I collect are mainly from grocery shopping (thanks to my 2 amazing young men sons who’re still living with me 😉). It is harder if you live alone and don’t buy much groceries but not impossible, I have a friend in that situation who sometimes travells with me. She did it and she also a single mom! It is definetly more affordable to travel in two or more and split costs for cars, accommodation and food.
The trick is to buy items that give you the most points. Usually it is paper towels, kleenex, toilet paper but I also bought maple syrup and candles with lots of bonus miles. The best stores to collect them is Safeway, Sobeys and Rexall. I also use my Airmiles Master card or Visa Aeroplan card to pay for groceries to get extra miles.
The best is to get a credit card that gives you sign up bonus points. I applied for a new AMEX recently and got 2,500 Airmiles. I choose the ones that include rental car insurance so that I can decline the one from the car rental company. They can add up to $40/day extra just for the insurance. It costs me usually $70-$100 CDN to rent a car for a week instead $$300-400 (in Hawaii). The other reason to get a good credit card is the purchase protection. My nick name is “The gadget girl” and I love technology and buying new toys. Good credit card is another excuse to decline extra warranty on your techy purchase because you’re getting extra warranty automatically if you pay with that credit card. And of course it is advisable to keep your balance at zero, they’re not going to give you low interest as well. When the first smart phones came out I bought one for close to $1,000 only to drop in the toilet on a trip to Las Vegas! I did get my money back! Via the credit card.
This is a great website to compare credits cards https://www.ratehub.ca/credit-cards
Sign up for Airmiles https://www.airmiles.ca/arrow/Enrollment
Sign up for Aeroplan https://www4.aeroplan.com/enroll.do
My costs – trip to Hawaii – Kauai and Maui (January 2017)
Aeroplan 45,000 miles for a return flight + $213 (taxes only) with Air Canada – Calgary-Lihue-Kahului-Calgary
$99US Hawaiian Airlines one way Lihue-Kahului direct flight
$20US/night accommodation in a private residence Hanamaulu, Kauai (this is pure luck bumping into a beautiful soul on this island and my outspoken friend who saved us from rainy nights in our tent). You never know! Just ask the locals!
$20US/night/pp for camp site or $40 in a tentalow (we’re doing both). This is a privately owned campground https://www.campolowalu.com
$40US/2 nights/tent in Hana, Maui. This is state Park and you need a permit to camp here http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dsp/parks/maui/waianapanapa-state-park
Food (I will update this section while traveling in Hawaii):
Fresh food markets are everywhere. Not only you’ll be supporting local farmers but everything you buy there is organic! Price for veggies and fruit $1-$5US. Cheaper than grocery stores.
Depending on which month you get here, free fruit grows on trees. Right now in mid January there are mandarin oranges, oranges, papaya so far that we’ve seen..
Very good veggie Pho Kapaa $9.99 US
Happy Hour at Sam’s in Kapaa is from 4pm-6pm. Draft beer $3.50US. Sam’s Ocean View Restaurant + Bar is known for it’s fabulous Kauai Ocean Views, ambiance, great food and drinks.