TRAVEL: Madaz’s Mad Excursions – Hawaii | Madaz Money
TRAVEL: Madaz’s Mad Excursions – Hawaii
Living that #traderlifestyle yo!

Well guys, it’s summer and if you’ve been trading long enough you know that summer means ZzzzzZzz when it comes to the markets.  This is when most of us decide to time our vacations as opposed to just sitting in front of the computer all day and making unwanted donations to the market makers.

Ah, the Aloha State.  Been meaning to visit Hawaii for the longest time and finally got around to it, of course thanks to the #TraderLifestyle and the freedom that comes with it! 😀

In this blog, I’ll give you a recap of my adventures in Hawaii as well as give you guys some awesome tips on things you can do as well as ways you can visit the Paradise of the Pacific without breaking the bank as Hawaii is notorious for being on the pricey side of things.

I was in Hawaii for a total of 10 days and was able to visit 2 of the 8 islands: Oahu and Maui.  While 10 days feels like a long time, there was still so many things to do that I was finding myself still pressed for time to fit in everything into the itinerary.

Getting There

Given that Hawaii is a very popular tourist destination, it’s a fair assumption that the plane ticket is going to be expensive.  Thankfully, because of the volcano situation recently on the Big Island, I was able to get tickets to Honolulu on the cheap for the summer.  But overall the rule of thumb is the off season is late spring (April to June) and late fall early winter (September to early December), so if cost (or avoiding crowds) is an issue look to plan your trips during that time.

TIP: Travel during non-peak seasons if you’re on a budget.

Wacky Weather

Be prepared to pack clothes for all possible weather conditions from beach attire to a rain coat because Hawaii is full of crazy micro-climates.  You can literally go from relaxing in warm temperatures  on the shores of Waikiki to experiencing thunderstorms while doing a hike to the summit of a volcano and these places are probably just 20-30 minutes away from each other!    The reason why this is, is because Hawaii has some pretty wild jumps in elevation resulting in warm weather in the lower spots and very cold weather in the higher spots.  Also be prepared to experience a lot of humidity and therefore lots of mosquitoes.  Invest in some insect repellent or you might end up like me.  Due to Hawaii’s location close in proximity to the equator, it experiences an nearly equal amount of sunlight and nightfall all year long.  Sunrise was around 6AM-7AM and sunset is 7PM when I was there.

Get bug spray and you won’t end up looking like me here.

TIP: Pack for all weather conditions.  Bring appropriate shoes if you plan on hiking.  Get bug spray.

Staying There

While it’s easy to give into the temptation of staying at the Four Seasons after hearing about how so many couples have had amazing honeymoons there, the fact of the matter is you can get a solid condo right next to the Four Seasons while paying 1/4 the cost plus the benefit of having a kitchen to cook your own food and save a lot of money on eating out.  The condo I stayed at in Waikiki was literally 5 minutes from the beach and walking distance to everything, from food to shopping and I still definitely got the same full experience had I spent 4 times as much on a hotel.

I was able to do this through Airbnb, which I’ve been using for some time now all over the world and highly recommend.  Read the reviews and do your due diligence to ensure you have the best possible experience.  I’ve yet to run into any issues yet with Airbnb.  If you’re new to Airbnb, here’s a coupon for $40 off your first reservation.

TIP: Don’t stay at a hotel if budget is an issue, use a service like Airbnb instead to save massively on accommodations.

Getting Around

A car is probably not necessary if you’re visiting Oahu as Honolulu is the main tourist spot and therefore most places there are walking distance from Waikiki or you can just use Uber when you need to go further.   If you’re visiting Maui or any of the other islands, you’re probably going to need a car as everything over there is going to be more spread out and Uber has much less of a presence there.  Highly recommend a car that’s capable of driving on unpaved roads as there are a lot of those on those other islands.  Gas is expensive and I’m saying that as something who is from California.  Expect prices well north of $4/gallon.

TIP: Skip to car in Oahu as the majority of the main attractions are walking distance or have a shuttle but on Maui it’s pretty much required if you want to get out and explore the island.


One word.  Expensive.  Even the groceries are pricey like $5 for a gallon of water and $9 for a gallon of OJ, pricey.  I didn’t eat out so much because honestly Hawaiian cuisine isn’t really that appetizing to me.  I didn’t fly 2,000 miles to go eat burgers or food that I can try at home for cheaper.  But to be honest, I stayed in a touristy area, so I was probably in an area had a lot of “Americanized” items on the menu which didn’t really offer a true authentic Hawaiian dining experience.  However, Hawaii is known for a lot of exotic fruits and some really good desserts, namely shave ice, so indulging in a pineapple smoothie or trying out some malasadas should be a few things that would be worth spending a few bucks on.  They also have a good selection of locally caught fish as well as a lot of a good selection of Japanese cuisine.

A fan of Japanese food? Oahu is full of options such as this Ramen combo with a big bowl of ramen, a side of gyoza and fried rice.
If you love Matcha like me, you’d love this Matcha Green Tea ice cream float here in Waikiki.
Shave Ice is a very popular dessert here and a must try.  I suggest getting something with lilikoi in it, which is a Hawaiian-native passion fruit.
This cream puff/donut type pastry of Portuguese called Malasadas which can be found at many places but is most popular at a place called Leonard’s just outside Waikiki is a big tourist attraction.
A gallon of water here costs 5 bucks. You’ve been warned!

TIP: If you plan on taking my advice of getting a condo make full use of the kitchen to save eating out costs.  There really isn’t anything you’re missing out on to be honest and eating out every single meal isn’t worth it, in my opinion.

Sights and Activities

I feel that there are two types of people that go to Hawaii.  You have the people that come just to chill at the resorts and beaches while sipping on mai tais and you have the explorer-type people that venture into the nature to experience the world in its rawest form.  I tried to do both which was why I felt like I was pressed for time during my trip.

Let’s start with the more touristy activities for all you chill and laid back folks.

Doing my best Daniel Craig-era Bond impersonation on the beaches of Waikiki

The easy place to start is obviously the beach.  Waikiki and Ala Moana are two of the main beaches in the most touristy part of Oahu.  Expect them to be very crowded with Waikiki being the more crowded of the two.  Despite that though, it doesn’t make it any less enjoyable.  I was only a short 5 minute walk from the beaches of Waikiki and definitely took full advantage of that every day I was there.  The water was a beauty light blue color and warm.  It was a great spot to relax and hang out.  Food and shopping are just a short walk away from the beach.

Basking in the warm waters of Kaanapali beach in Maui at Sunset

The beaches in Maui were a little bit more spread out so you’re going to have to drive to get from one to the other.  Kaanapali in West Maui, which kind of has that Atlantic City-boardwalk feel to it with the line of hotels on the beachfront, and the Wailea-Makena area in South Maui are the two main tourist beach locations with Kaanapali being the busier of the two but generally they’re both less crowded than Waikiki so you’re more likely to find a little bit more space here.  I stayed in Kihei when i was in Maui which is about a 15 minute drive north of Wailea and when i went to the beach there, there was probably only about 10 people total at sunset.

Here’s a short list of common popular activities that most people do in Hawaii:

    • Ziplining – Kualoa Ranch (a popular filming location for movies including Jurassic Park)/Keana Farms on the North side of Oahu are two popular locations for this and also Flyin Hawaiian Zipline in Maui is the longest zipline in Hawaii

    • Snorkeling – Hanauma Bay is the most popular spot to do it in Oahu.  In Maui, you can do it in most beaches just watch out for rocks

    • ATV Rental – You can find this in lots of locations as well, but I ended up combining it with my trip to Kualoa Ranch.

      Got to ride with some dinosaurs!

    • Hiking – Popular trails in Oahu: Diamond Head, Manoa Falls, which are both easy and the illegal and much more difficult Stairway to Heaven which I didn’t get a chance to do due to the weather and it’s technically illegal because you’re trespassing on private property.  A lot of the hiking trails in Maui are stops on the Road to Hana drive.

    • Biking – Lots of options here, just ask your bike rental shop for a map and list of trails.  I ended up doing a quick morning bike ride from Waikiki to Diamond Head, hiked to the top and back, then biked back for a total of 9 miles on the bike and about 4 miles hiking.

    • The Road to Hana in Maui – Considered one of the most scenic drives in the world due to the epic scenes of untouched nature along the way.  This is an all day trip and highly recommend you start in the morning like 6AM.  Lots of people say it takes only 5 hours or something, I say with stops and break give it more like the entire day.  Be sure to rent a car that can handle some rough off-roading as you will run into a lot of unpaved roads.  The drive itself is also notorious for being dangerous because of the blind spots and the roads that sometimes only have one lane…total (not one for each direction)!  Can’t stress this enough, the drive is quite challenging!  I won’t go into detail about every stop on this drive here as that would probably require a separate blog for it but you can look it up easily on the internet.

      This is the route that I took from my condo in Kihei.  It was about 125 miles round trip, most of which you’re driving like 15-30 MPH.

    • Jet Skiing – Lots of options for this as well.  I ended up doing it around Waikiki

  • Parasailing
  • Boat/Catamaran Rental
  • Surfing
  • Pearl Harbor – This  one of the activities that will require you to drive or Uber to get there as it’s a little bit out of the main tourist area.  There were issues with the landing dock at the actual memorial itself so the boat only took us by it to take pictures instead of actually taking us there.

    This was as close as the boat took us to the Pearl Harbor Memorial

As you can see, you can easily have a full schedule on your plate if you try to do everything.  Plan out in advance (in many cases well before you even arrive) as these activities book quick.  Each activity will probably run you about $100+/person and in Oahu they usually will shuttle you from where you’re staying to the location of the activity for an extra $10 to $20 or so a person.  You can realistically probably squeeze in 2 things a day as they usually take up 3 hours each.

TIP: Plan your activities well in advance even before you arrive if you can as everything gets booked quick especially if you’re planning on coming during peak seasons like the summer.

Concluding Thoughts

I had an absolute blast in Hawaii.  Yeah it sucks if you’re a trader (market opens at 3:30AM there) but because it has a little bit of everything for everyone, I now see for myself where so many people want to come here.  There are so many things to do that you can’t even do everything in one trip and have to probably go back a few more times to finish it.  For instance, I really wanted to see the sunrise/sunset at the Haleakala Crater in Maui but never got around to it because it was a 3+ hour roundtrip drive to get there, despite it being only 20 miles away! Definitely after looking at some of the pictures, it’s now on my bucket list.

Time and money are two valuable commodities when it comes to visiting Hawaii so plan out your days and rent a condo through Airbnb vs. staying at a hotel to save a chunk of cash.

Happy Travels!

-Max (madaz)

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