Spotlight: Honolulu, Hawaii
Aloha mai e! In Hawaii, the locals say this to one another to "invite Aloha to you." For anyone who has ever been intrigued by the warm, welcoming attitude of the locals and island natives, or for those who lust for flower-scented air, juicy and exotic fruit, and ocean waves seeming to rival the skyscrapers of New York in height, the time to journey to the Pacific is right now. Airfare is, brace yourself, around $400 from NYC. (For perspective to those infrequent travelers, my airfare to Dallas two weeks ago was $489 from La Guardia.) If encouraging travel feels uncharacteristic of this site, let it be known that we here at Recessionista Roadmap encourage a balance of savings and savvy indulgence. Part of that process is, eating while the pineapple is ripe, so to say.
1. Be a Tourist: As a frequent traveler, I normally advise individually to do as locals do. Fortunately, in the context of Hawaii, what the locals "do" has become a point of fascination for tourists. Luaus (a must, in spite of any cheesiness you might apprehend), flowered leis, and small tokens and gifts (similar to the Japanese concept of Omiyage)
2. Hike...Everywhere: And bus it, and bike. Not only will you enjoy the luxurious climate and once-in-a-lifetime views, you will save the cost (and carbon monoxide) of a car rental. Plus, trust me when I tell you there is no experience in the world like hiking a mountain in Hawaii - it seems you tour the place where clouds are made. Bonus: If you lack an internal compass, the local Sierra Club will provide a guided hiking tour for $2-4 dollars.
3. (Try to) Surf on the Northshore: Surfing is exhilarating. Surfing is a tremendous workout. Surfing is really, really challenging. Glean the bragging rights you deserve for learning to surf in one of the most famous surfing venues in the world - lesson are more reasonable than you expect. Oahu's Northshore is even the location of the Pipeline surf competition.
4. Volcanoes: If you prefer to stay on Oahu, Diamondhead is an excellent hiking option. I would not be fairly representing Hawaii if I did not suggest day jaunts to Maui or the big island. Warning: they can get very expensive (the helicopter tour runs almost the cost of airfare these days). Prioritize and bargain shop your tours, but don't feed the lava.
5. Dole Plantation: Trust me. The Dole Pineapple ice cream ALONE is worth the trip. They have deals on ticket, tours, and items purchased on location. You can ride around the plantation on a train, enjoy a garden tour, and, did I mention the pineapple ice cream? This is an Oahu must.
Recessionista Tip of the Day: Time to come out of the closet - literally! Grab your wallet and head to Old Navy, the Gap or Banana Republic with this coupon in tow. Not only with you save 30 % on purchases, but 5% of purchases goes to the Leukemia/Lymphoma Foundation. Cancer will touch all of us in our life, so do a little Recessionista shopping to help contribute!