I haven’t taken a real vacation since I was in college… That was years ago! One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to LOVE LIFE in 2014! Before I get too old and have a ton of things tying me down, I want to travel as much as I can. I don’t make huge bucks, but I still want to be able to see the world, have fun and make a ton of memories. Here are some of my tips to save you some serious dough.

Hawaii can be extremely expensive. So here is how I saved and splurged.

Be a Vacation Detective. First, I searched, price checked and scanned the net to find THE BEST deal I could on a flight. I found a round trip ticket from Spokane to Honolulu for $280. I had to pay an additional $45 for my carry-on.

Pack your own food. Because food on the plane is super pricy and super salty, I packed some protein bars, crackers, beef jerky and some gummies. I also packed an empty, reusable water bottle. This way, I don’t have to pay for the overpriced water in the airport. After I pass through security, I can fill the bottle in the water fountain. I also packed an empty lunch box and extra Ziplock bags (for ice) that way we  can go to the store when we arrive, buy some lunch fixings and that way I only have to eat dinner out (the hotel serves a free continental breakfast.)

Take the bus and get a free tour of the island. It might take a little longer, but enjoy the ride and the view! This way you don’t have to pay for a rental car and you will save hundreds on parking fees (you have to pay to park nearly everywhere you go.)

Purchase an all-inclusive pass like this one. If you plan out all your stops before you go, this could save you big time in the end and you will have a blast all over the island.

Know when to splurge. Rather than staying at the pricy hotels, stay at a cheaper one off the water, then splurge for dinner at a nice ocean front hotel, or get dolled up and head out for drinks and appetizers at one of the many 5 Star resorts.