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Students share their tips for island hopping in Hawaii for around $200 per person

A small white boat drives across a bay with a mountain in the background and the rocky shoreline in the foreground

While students would like the opportunity to travel to a neighboring island, or “island hop,” the potentially high costs can be a bit discouraging. Here are some ways students of BYU–Hawaii have afforded island hopping while on a college budget.


Denzyl Dacayanan, a freshman exercise & sport science major from Las Vegas, Nevada, planned a trip with his some of his guy friends to Kauai last semester. Dacayanan said he encourages students to include as many people as possible when planning to island hop because it saves money.

He explained the majority of costs such as food, hotel and rental car fees were split between himself and his friends.

Dacayanan said he and his friends were able to go hiking, surfing and interact with community members living on Kauai. “Of course, it’s a beautiful place, but the people there, you can’t find them anywhere else.”


Sydny Short, a junior from Washington majoring in intercultural peacebuilding, said she and her female friends decided to visit the island of Maui because of the cheap flights.

Instead of paying extra for an Airbnb or hotel, she said she and her friends rented a car that included a tent. Some of them slept in the car, the tent or even a hammock, shared Short. She explained they found a camp spot on the south shore of Maui with a beautiful view.

Short said the only costs were food, gas, a rental car and the flight. “Most fun [activities] are free.”

After splitting the costs between herself and six others, aside from the individual airfare, Short said the total cost of the trip ended up costing between $200 and $250 per person.

Big Island

Mara Smith, a sophomore from Washington, said she went to the Big Island with some of her female friends as a last-minute trip. Smith is majoring in intercultural peacebuilding and hospitality & tourism management.

With only one week’s notice, Smith said she researched flights with the help of her friend to find the lowest price. They found round-trip flights for under $100.

Smith traveled to the Big Island with four of her friends, and the five of them split the cost of a rental car, in which they all slept, she shared. “If you’re looking to save money, that might be the best way to do it.”

Packing snacks and participating in free activities such as Rainbow Falls, Pe‘epe‘e Falls and even just hammocking at the beach are other ways she said she and her friends kept costs at a minimum.