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If you’re traveling to Hawaii and wondering where to stay on the Big Island, I have a great recommendation for you! The first time I went to Hawaii, we stayed with family. The second time I stayed at a resort, and this last time we stayed in a vacation rental condo with an extra day at a regular hotel.
Assuming that you don’t have the option to stay with family, which of the 3 options of where to stay on the Big Island is the best? I choose a vacation rental condo, hands down! Keep reading to find out why the vacation rental condo is my first choice of where to stay on the Big Island.
Where to stay on the Big Island
We decided to stay in a vacation rental condo during our recent Hawaii trip and it was a great experience. It was so nice having a washer and dryer in the condo. We packed pretty light but since we had a washer and dryer, we probably could have taken even less.
We didn’t fully take advantage of our kitchen because we wanted to try some different restaurants, but we did use it quite a bit. The condo where we stayed had everything that you could possibly want in a kitchen, and I’m sure most other vacation rentals are the same way.
There are two other major options when you stay in Hawaii, hotels or resorts. We stayed in a hotel for one day due to an error in our flight plan. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in Kona. I love the Holiday Inn Express, but the price was the same as the beach front condo where we stayed, even though we booked through Hotwire.com. I love using Hotwire but in this situation, it wasn’t the better deal. The hotel wasn’t on the beach and the room was tiny compared to our two bedroom, two bathroom condo, the condo is a much better deal!
I have stayed in a resort before and they are very nice, but I feel like staying at a resort might keep you in one place instead of exploring. I stayed at the Hilton Waikoloa, and while it’s a very nice place to stay, I probably wouldn’t stay there again. The basic rooms (which cost more than what we paid for a condo) are nice, but nothing is included. When I go to Hawaii, I want to explore rather than spending all my time in one area.
5 reasons to choose a vacation rental condo
1.It’s cheaper. Seriously, staying a a vacation rental is typically a lot cheaper than staying at a resort or a hotel. The resorts tend to be up around $200 per night, and that is for the cheaper rooms. The hotel was $120 booked through Priceline, and the condo was about the same price.
Of course the cost varies based on time of year and where you stay. Again, our condo was ocean front and neither the resort that I stayed at or the hotel were quite as close to the ocean, although it was an easy walk from either of them. There are slightly cheaper hotels and condos, but I think it’s worth a little more to stay somewhere safe and clean.
2. You can do your own laundry. Well that doesn’t sound fun, does it?? Really though, being able to do your own laundry is really important if you want to pack light. It can also save money too, because checking bags is expensive and it’s very easy to pack in a carry-on if you have laundry facilities. Our condo also had laundry soap and other basics for us to use.
3. You can go out to eat less. I am not advocating sitting at the condo all day and never leaving, but it’s nice to be able to eat 1-2 meals per day at the condo, and it saves a lot of money! Our condo had a coffee maker, so we bought our own Kona coffee and saved quite a bit of money just from making our own coffee.
There are awesome farmers markets on the island, so you can always buy local produce or fish and cook them in your condo. You can also head to Target or Costco and get reasonably priced food.
4. The amenities are better. We had a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo for the same price as a small hotel room and even less than a small hotel-like room at a resort. We also had a huge ocean front lanai (deck) which was really nice. Our condo was equipped with basics like trash bags, soap for dishes and laundry, but also things like boogie boards, beach chairs, and snorkels. Rental all of these things would cost extra, so being able to have to use whenever we wanted was really nice!
Related post: 7 Best Things to do on the Big Island
5. It’s more like home + there’s more room. If you’re traveling with family (which we didn’t do) staying at a vacation rental condo is definitely the best idea. There is so much room, and it really feels more like being at home than a small hotel room. Another bonus is that the condos typically allow more guests that a hotel room, which is really important if you have a large family. The condos vary in size, but we saw several that could accommodate fairly large groups.
If you’re planning a trip and wondering where to stay on the Big Island, I highly suggest staying at a vacation rental condo. I love using AirBnb to book vacation rentals anywhere. Make sure to use my link and get $40 off your first stay! Vacation rentals can be anything from a shared space to luxury mansions. You will pay anywhere from $25 for a shared space, to around $100-200 for a nice condo or home, and the prices go up from there. Prices will vary depending on the time of the year, and how close you want to be to the water. I have stayed in an oceanfront condo for less than $130 per night, cheaper than a hotel!
Do you have any tips to share?
If you have any tips to share about where to stay on the Big Island, I’d love to hear about them! I will continue to stay in vacation rental condos for my trips to Hawaii, and I hope you check out this option too!
P.S. I wrote a post about How to save on a Hawaii vacation, you should check it out!