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Important coronavirus travel update: Many of CheapTickets’s trusted airline partners are waiving change fees for eligible new bookings. Find an updated list of airlines here, and stay informed about your flexible travel options.

If you think there’s no such thing as a “cheap” Hawaii vacation, you’re partially right. Airfare can be pricey and hotels, food and just about everything else cost more than they do back home. But if you’re looking to flee the chill of winter and don’t have a fortune to spend, consider a cheap Hawaii vacation on lesser-visited islands like Molokai or Kaua’i. Molokai offers pristine waters and clear blue skies, which are the perfect setting for affordable adventures. It’s off the tourist path so you won’t see a lot of large resorts and tour operators. Meanwhile, Kaua’i is known as Hawaii’s “island of discovery,” and is perfect for adventure seekers. Here you can zipline through the island’s lush valleys, sail along the Napali coast, or ride horseback in Princeville. Whichever you choose, here are some of our favorite affordable places to stay.

RELATED: 7 affordable spring break alternatives

Castle Molokai Shores

Castle Molokai Shores, Hawaii

Castle Molokai Shores, Hawaii

Featuring oceanfront condos and a large, grassy courtyard, the Castle Molokai Shores invites guests to relax amidst lush tropical surroundings. It’s also centrally located in the town of Kaunakakai and close to local markets and shopping. But the real attraction is the breathtaking sunsets and nearby waterfall hike!

Aston Islander on the Beach

Aston Islander on the Beach, Hawaii

Aston Islander on the Beach, Hawaii

With nightly rates starting at just $98, this oceanfront resort covers six acres on Kaua’i, offering killer views and high value. Activities like snorkeling, tennis, and golfing are all located nearby.

ALSO: Earn CheapCash, good toward your next trip!

Kauai Beach Resort

Kauai Beach Resort, Hawaii

Kauai Beach Resort, Hawaii

This deluxe resort sits atop 25 beautifully landscaped acres, covering Kaua’i’s longest strolling and exploring beach. Reviewers rave about the friendly staff and gorgeous ocean views.

Molokai or Kaua’i’ vacation rentals

Oceanfront Molokai Condo with Pool & Grills

Oceanfront Molokai Condo with Pool & Grills

Another way to save on accommodations is to book a Kaua’i’ or Molokai vacation rental, and CheapTickets is a great place to do that. Browse vacation rentals starting at $90 a night, choosing from garden settings, ocean views or easy beach access.

Cheap Hawaii vacations don’t mean you have to skimp on luxury. Breathtaking Hawaii vacation packages are available in all price points. Just be sure to book your hotel and cheap Hawaii flights together to earn additional package savings, and ensure that you get the best possible winter travel deals.

Tagged: Beach, Cheap Tips, Destinations, Hawaii, Types of Travel

Note: CheapTickets compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

Susan Johnston

Susan Johnston

Susan lives and writes in the Boston area, but she can’t wait to return to the sunny shores of Hawaii!
Susan Johnston

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It’s not always such a bad thing when the groundhog sees his shadow. Sure, it means another six weeks holed up with cabin fever. But why fight it? Join that furry little rodent in the rest of his hibernation, or if you are feeling adventurous, climb underground with him. There are plenty of places this world has for us to explore beneath our feet. Check out a cave, hike a cavern, or join some of the many communities around the world that live underground year round. And don’t worry, if Punxsutawney Phil doesn’t see his shadow, you’ve still got plenty of time before the warm weather returns. Here’s our list of subterranean adventures and cool things to do underground.

Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day is Feb. 2. Photo: Shenandoah National Park – Flickr

Skaftafell Ice Caverns, Iceland — Located about four hours east of Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik, Skaftafell is located at the foot of Vatnajökull glacier, the largest glacier outside of the polar regions. Ice caverns from in Skaftafell only in the winter, when glacial rivers react and the water freezes. The caves are filled with an azure, glacial light filtering through the ice. New caves are formed every year, and tours are very dependent on the weather.

[captionid=”attachment_7771″ align=”aligncenter” width=”1000″]Mammoth Cave A view of Mammoth Cave in Central Kentucky. Photo: Beatrice Murch – Flickr[/caption]

Mammoth Cave National Park — Located in Central Kentucky near Brownsville, Mammoth Cave is the largest known cave system in the world. It has 400 miles of surveyed passageways, making it twice as large as its next closest competitor, the Sac Atun underwater cave in Mexico. Legend has it the first European to discover the cave found it while on a hunting trip, when he pursued a wounded bear into the mouth of thecave. The National Park Service offers routine tours of the cave.

Whittier, Alaska

Most of the residents of Whittier, Alaska live in this 14-story building. Photo: Jessica Spengler – Flickr

Whittier, Alaska Most of Whittier’s 220 year-round residents live in one 14-story building that was built as somewhat of a bunker during the Cold War. Actually, every part of the town is in that building — the hospital, the school, the grocery store. And for good reason. The southwestern Alaskan town withstands 22 feet of snow a year and six months of rain. Most of the town’s residents are commercial fishermen, and cruise ships come into town sometimes, delivering patrons to the local watering holes. But it’s probably safe to assume that Whittier residents don’t rely too much on the predictions of a groundhog.

 

Marble Caves

Marble Cathedral at Marble Caves in Patagonia.Photo: Javier Vieras – Flickr

Marble Caves, Patagonia — Carved smooth by more than 6,000 years of waves washing against the calcium carbonate, the Marble Caves reflect the blue waters of Lake General Carerra beautifully. The remote, glacial lake spans the border of Chile and Argentina in the Patagonian Andes. The caves are only accessible by boat or kayak, and the weather has to be just right. But the trip is worth it. Catch a tour from the nearby town Rio Ibañez, on the Chilean side of the lake.

 

Ape Cave

A view of Mt. St. Helens from Ape Cave. Photo: Greg Willis – Flickr

Ape Cave, Mt. St. Helens — Ape Cave is the longest lava tube in the continental U.S., stretching over 2 miles. There are a couple different routes hikers can take through Ape Cave, which is open year-round and located about an hour’s drive from the Mt. St. Helens’ visitors center. Upper Ape Cave, the more strenuous of the hikes, takes about 2.5 hours to complete and involves scrambling over boulder piles and scaling an 8-foot lava wall.

 

Coober Pedy, Australia

Many residents choose to live underground where it’s cooler in Coober Pedy, Australia. Photo: Martin – Flickr

Coober Pedy, Australia — Temperatures in this southern Australian town often exceed 100 degrees F in the summer, and most of the residents prefer to live in below-ground residences called “dugouts.” A dugout can be carved into the hillside for about the same price as an above-ground home, but it remains cool in the scorching heat and saves money on air conditioning. The name Coober Pedy comes from the Aboriginal term “kupa-piti,” meaning “white man’s hole.” Most of the shops and restaurants are underground too, including an abundance of jewelry stores. Coober Pedy is the world’s leading supplier of opal, and is surroundedby more than 70 opal fields.

Ordinskaya Cave, Russia — One of the largest underground glaciers in the world lies in the western Ural Mountains outside Orda, Perm Kai in Russia. The area was completely inaccessible to outsiders during the Soviet Union days, as many of the mountainsides around it housed tank and missile factories. The cave stretches 3.2 miles, most of which is under water struck crystal clear by its mineral-rich surroundings. Divers usually have visibility for more than 50 yards. The cave is cold, though, with temperatures hanging well below freezing, facilitating its icy nature.

Tagged: Holidays, Off-season, Uncategorized

Note: CheapTickets compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

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Cheap Right Now gives a snapshot of a cheap weekend getaway each month.

Whistler, British Columbia is a real-life winter wonderland, and what better place to visit during the most magical time of the year. The resort area near the town, which is north of Vancouver, covers nearly 8,000 acres over Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. It’s the largest ski area in North America, gets nearly 40 feet of snow a year and is still tingling with some of the energy the 2010 Winter Olympic athletes left in the mountains. But traveling this time of year can be tough, what with the pockets growing so shallow after all that Christmas spending, and ski trips have some expensive fixed costs that can’t be avoided (i.e. lift tickets). We’re here to keep your time off the slopes down to earth and affordable in Whistler in December.

 

Vancouver International Airport

Vancouver International Airport. Photo: JamesZ_Flickr – Flickr

Plane, train or automobile — A trip to Whistler is much more feasible as a weekend getaway for those on the West Coast, as it’s only about a five-hour drive from Seattle. For the rest of us, plane is the most efficient way to get there. Fly into Vancouver International Airport and take the 2.5-hour scenic drive to Whistler. The Pacific Coach Line (which has Wifi) offers frequent daily transport from the airport to the resort, but it costs $72 per adult, and must be booked in advance. If you bring travel companions, it would be more economical to rent a car.

 

Whistler car rental

Renting a car is probably your best and most affordable transportation option for Whistler. Photo: kcxd – Flickr

Cheap local transit — The hub of Whistler is a compact village ripe with chalet-style lodges, and most of it is walkable. For longer distances, rely on the BC Transit system, which connects the valleys and villages near the ski resort and allows skiers another route to a new slope. One ride is $2.50, and day passes go for $7. Also, make sure you don’t forget about that car you rented. It could beyour route to beautiful vistas.

Coffee

Coffee. Photo: waferboard – Flickr 

Energize your day — Carb up before you hit the slopes with a ham and egg breakfast panini and cup of joe at Mount Currie Coffee Company. Prices vary, but whatever breakfast delicacy you decide to indulge in, it won’t put you behind on your budget before the day is even in full swing.

 

Snowshoeing in Whistler

Snowshoeing outside of Whistler. Photo: pfly – Flickr.

Strap on your snowshoes — There are hundreds of miles of trails in the mountains surrounding Whistler, many of which are traversable even in the winter by snowshoe. The Sea to Sky Trail is a great placeto start. It stretches 20 miles through Whistler, from Lost Lake Park north of the village to Green Lake, and is wide and easily navigable via snowshoe or ski. If you’re feeling ambitious, extend your expedition — the whole trail runs more than 111 miles from D’Arcy to Squamish.

 

Burger and Fries

Burger and fries. Photo: Maya83 – Flickr

Taste the valueEl Furniture Warehouse, or El Furny, as it’s so fondly referred to, offers all meals for only $4.95. All day, every day. They use ingredients sourced as locally as possible to create dishes that are sure to make your altitude-adjusting stomach growl—think everything from green apple and quinoa salad to braised beef dip sandwich au jus. You can also warm up with their alcoholic hot beverages.

 

Brandywine Falls near Whistler

Brandywine Falls before the freeze. Photo:Matt Swern – Flickr.

Fathom the falls — Head to Brandywine Falls Provincial Park just outside the city. The parking lot is closed during the winter, but snowplows create a makeshift lot nearby. It’s about a 20-minute snowshoe trip to the majestic falls, where you’ll watch the water plunge into hole carved out of the frozen pond below. Keep going to the Bungee Bridge if you have the energy. If you don’t have snowshoes, check out the path anyway and see if someone has already packed it down enough to walk on.

 

Whistler Olympic Park

The Olympic spirit is still alive and well in Whistler. Photo: Jon Wick – Flickr

Follow the paths of Olympians — Visit Whistler Olympic Park, where one-third of the medals awarded in the 2010 games were won. There is plenty to do at the park, but watch the hours, it closes at 4:30 p.m. most days. The park offers  tobogganing, skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and more. $25 will get you a shuttle ride from Whistler village to the park and a snowshoeing excursion.

Whistler mountain views

Check out the vistas surrounding Whistler. Photo: chispita_666 – Flickr

Utilize your rental car — If you ended up renting a car for this trip, take advantage of it. There are too many beautiful vistas in the area to even comprehend, so pile in and go.

CTIXblog CTA _ cheap of the week

Tagged: Cheap Tips, Food & drink, FREE!, Holidays, Seasonal, Sports, Tips & advice

Note: CheapTickets compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

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Cancellations and delays. Courtesy of Chris Waits.

Cancellations and delays. Courtesy of Chris Waits.

When mother nature gives you heavy rain or high winds, airports get flight delays andcancellations. This could be a blessing or a curse for the casual traveler who was just trying to escape to some warmth over the weekend. When you get that notification from your airline saying your flight home has been canceled, you are either celebrating because you get more time in the sunshine, or weeping as you worry about the extra day’s effects on your wallet. Airlines are not required to compensate its customers for any extra costs incurred due to a delay or cancellation. They are even less likely to do so if those delays and cancellations are caused by something they cannot control, such as the weather. Here are some tips to help you make the most out of your extra days in a cheap way.

Remain calm.

This may seem obvious, but it will go a long way in making the scheduling debacle work in your favor. Stay optimistic, and look at this as an opportunity for more time on vacation, not a huge disturbance in your schedule. If you panic and get upset with the airlines, not only are you making things harder on yourself, you probably aren’t helping the airline out very much either. Be cool, and let them find you an alternative return flight. If you try to take things into your own hands and book another flight, you are likely to end up paying more. The airline you were originally scheduled to fly also may not give you your money back. So let them do their thing while you sit back with your toes in the sand.

Look twice for lodging.

Vacancy. Courtesy of Lauren Mitchell.

Vacancy. Courtesy of Lauren Mitchell.

This may fall into the “remain calm” category, but when you are scrambling to find somewhere to stay after you find your flight is cancelled, do not pick the first room that pops up on a google search. It will be tempting because the pressure is on, but investing some time in the search will save you in the long run. Some airlines may offer to help compensate, but don’t count on it. The rates at some hotels skyrocket if you book the day of, but others drop as hotels struggle to fill vacancies. Take your time and find one of those options. Check search engines such as Cheaptickets.com that will do some of the leg work for you.

Keep your eyes on the skies.

A snowy O’Hare International Airport. Courtesy of Cliff.

A snowy O’Hare International Airport. Courtesy of Cliff.

If your flight was delayed because of weather, chances are dozens of other flights were delayed as well. Depending on the size of the storm that hit your home airport, it may take a couple of days to get things flowing smoothly again, meaning more delays in the days following the original cancellation. As a traveler, you are basically at the mercy of the airlines in this department, but being aware of the higher possibility of another delay can help save you money. Make time to eat a meal before going to the airport, and stock up on a couple snacks for the voyage home. That way, if you do end up getting stranded in the airport for hours, you are not forced to choose between starving and forking out $10 for bag of Cheez-Its.

Spend time outside.

The hike to Alamere Falls in Point Reyes National Seashore in California. Courtesy of Alexi Ueltzen.

The hike to Alamere Falls in Point Reyes National Seashore in California. Courtesy of Alexi Ueltzen.

One of the reasons the great outdoors is so great is because it’s free. If you spent a weekend full of activities that were accounted for in your travel budget, take your extra day or two to deviate from the expected. Explore the nature of whatever area you are stranded in, and enjoy the climate before you are shipped back to the frigid north. If the beach was your main draw south in the first place and you’ve had enough sun, check out a nearby town. Do some window shopping and see the sights.

Cut down on transportation costs.

Bike share in San Jose, California. Courtesy of Don DeBold.

Bike share in San Jose, California. Courtesy of Don DeBold.

When planning out your extra time, account for the fact that you probably do not have a car. Pick a spot you can head to in the morning and remain at for most ofthe day, cutting down on transportation costs. Renting a car for an extra day can tack a pretty penny onto your budget. Ask your airline about accommodating you with a rental car, but it is unlikely they would provide you one free of charge. If your location allows, check into alternative transportation such as Car2Go or a bike rental. Most cities with bike rental programs rarely charge more than a dozen dollars a day.

Tagged: Beach, Cheap Tips, Family, Flights, Florida, Food & drink, FREE!, Last minute travel, Tips & advice

Note: CheapTickets compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.