Go Oahu Card Review

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In true youngandthrifty.ca fashion, I want to share with you what I am a big fan of to use to save money, even when on vacation. I have bought the three day Go Oahu card for my last trip to Oahu, and this year, decided to buy the five day card for a nine day vacation.

Basically, the Go Oahu card is an “all you can do” activity card (kind of like an All you Can Eat) on the days that you have the Go Oahu card active. You don't need to use the card in five consecutive days in a row. The catch is that most activities happen between 8:30am and 5:30pm and therefore you are limited by time. A lot of activities take at least 3-4 hours (if they are tours).

It is best to get the Go Oahu card online (they have 15% off the 3 day, 5 day, and 7 day Go Oahu cards about every two weeks on their website) so you can plan your vacation ahead of time.

The Go Oahu card might not be for everyone. It is most suitable for those who like to fit in activities and take advantage of the day (e.g. wake up early) while traveling. It is not for you if all you want to do when you're in Hawaii is to chill by the beach, read a book, and do nothing but relax for the time you're in Oahu.

The list of activities that you can use with the card when you're in Oahu is on the Go Oahu website. To take advantage of all the activities available, you will need to pre-plan and call ahead to book the tours, otherwise there won't be very many activities available to you (maybe the museums and the trolley pass). When I mean ‘call ahead', I called ahead by a month and some tours were booked up already on certain days. It definitely pays to pre-plan your itinerary.

Another downside is that you need to call again to re-confirm when  you get there.  This might not be economically feasible if the hotel charges you and arm and a leg for local calls (and it can also be annoying to do- you're having fun- how can one remember to do mundane things like reconfirming??).  Thankfully local calls were free for us.

It also pays to pick the activities that “cost” the most were you not to have the Go Oahu card. To satisfy my frugal side, I like to calculate how much money it would cost per day to ensure I get the most out of my card.

Here was my actual itinerary with the Go Oahu card:

Day 1:

Snorkeling (including pick up and drop off and snorkeling gear) $20 value

4 hour Moped rental $40

Total: $60

Day 2:

Breakfast catamaran sail (including light breakfast) $40

Boogie board rental $15

Umbrella rental $15

Total: $70

Day 3:

Snorkel Rental $12

Temple admission $3

Kayak rental $40

Total: $55

Day 4:

Golf Tee Time including pick up and drop off $100

Total $100

Day 5:

Trolley Hop on Hop off Day Pass $30

Iolani Palace Tour $25

Manoa Falls Hiking Tour $20

Beach Gear (umbrella): $15

Total: $90

Total for five days: $375

Total cost of Go Oahu Card: $185

Savings: $190

I like how it is a good way to keep myself occupied, so that I don't get too bored on vacation and end up doing something I don't intend to do, like shopping for example.

I give the Go Oahu cards two big thumbs up. Except for the logistics in getting the card (you have to get to the designated pick up spots or end up paying more for them to ship the Go Oahu card to you), everything else is pretty seamless. It didn't seem like anyone on our tours knew about the Go Oahu card. They were asking BF and I what the Go Oahu card was and how one uses it.  Hopefully next time you go to Oahu you think about getting the Go Oahu card to save you some cashola on activities.

The Go Card is available for other North American destinations like Boston, Toronto, Miami, Las Vegas, Maui, NYC to name a few too.  I haven't used the Go Card in those cities.

Readers, have you ever used to Go Oahu card? If so, what did you think? Any other money saving ideas for activities in Oahu?

Have you used the Go Card for other cities?  Good or Bad?

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Young is a writer and former owner of Young and Thrifty and the main "twitter' behind Young and Thrifty's twitter account. She lives in Vancouver, BC and enjoys long walks on the beach, spending time with her anxious dog, and finding good deals. If you like what you read, consider signing up for email updates.

16 Comments

  1. Steve Zussino on November 10, 2010 at 9:34 am

    My wife and I were going to buy one on the last trip but I didn’t think it was a great deal. We already had the entertainment book that had some great deals.

    Golf included was nice though!



  2. krystalatwork on November 10, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Wow that’s a pretty good deal! We will have to look into it for the next time we’re in Maui! Touristy stuff sure gets expensive.



  3. SavingMentor on November 10, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    Thanks for posting about this. I plan on going to Hawaii sometime in the next few years so it will definitely come in handy. I already knew about these types of cards but this is a great reminder to make sure I remember to get one before I go.

    Also, thanks for the Entertainment book comment Steve. I’m a big fan of coupon books but never would have thought one was available for Hawaii. I will definitely look into that before I go as well.



  4. young on November 10, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    @Steve Zussino- You know, I even signed up for “groupon Honolulu” before I went- but there wasn’t really anything that piqued my interest in the daily emails. I didn’t get the entertainment book- that’s a great idea especially when they have the “one day 50% off” sales!



  5. young on November 10, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    @krystalatwork- Yeah, I know- touristy stuff is soooo $$! I like the idea of “pay first” and then play, kind of analogous to a ski/snowboard pass for a season (still jealous you got your ski pass this year and I didn’t because this year is supposed to be epic snow!)



  6. young on November 10, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    @SavingMentor- No problem! I thought I would share what it’s all about since people didn’t seem to know too much about it when I was down there. There are some downsides like picking up the card, but I like how it MAY prevent those from spending money shopping otherwise (like yours truly).



  7. Money Reasons on November 11, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    I never heard of that card before!

    In late 2011 or early 2012, we might go to Hawaii or Europe. I haven’t decided yet 🙂

    Thanks for the great tip! I’ll google that card now that I know it exists 🙂



  8. young on November 12, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    @Money Reasons- Europe!! The Euro is still cheap, isn’t it? Yeah, that card is quite popular in a lot of major touristy destinations, hope you save some money! 🙂



  9. Little House on November 17, 2010 at 6:57 am

    I think if you’re planning a bunch of activities, this card sounds like the way to go. Although the waking up early part would get me. 😉



  10. young on November 17, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    @Little House- It was actually kind of easy waking up early 🙂 The sun came up so early (like 6:30-7am) and most things don’t start until 9am. But I guess you can’t really get hammered and hungover cus that will negate the early morning pleasantness. 🙂



  11. Fantastic4us on April 4, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    Is there any other way to purchase the Go Oahu Card other than on-line. We
    are planning a family vacation this May to Hawaii but is a bit hesitant about doing so before we leave. I also understand that you can purchase this card at Costco much cheaper than on-line. Any feedback will be much appreciated



  12. young on April 5, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    @Fantastic4us- I believe you can purchase it from Costco, but I’m not sure where you can get it. you could always get them to mail it to you, since your vacation is in May, you have the luxury of time 🙂 When I got it, it was a bit of a rush, because we needed to get it in the early morning and it was a bit of an ordeal because one of the shops wasn’t open until 9am. Anyhow, I would plan beforehand (e.g. plan what you want to do for those days you are using the card) and just get the card when you get there. That’s what I did. Hope that helps!



  13. Hanna on February 6, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Nice itinerary!

    Go Oahu card is a good way to save money on your Hawaii vacation.
    Now they even have more activities to consider, and include the extra bonus like Polynesian Culture Center luau or a day car rental, if you are buying 3, 5, or 7 days card.

    I recommend it to the readers, who want to save on Hawaii vacation on my blog!



  14. young on February 7, 2012 at 11:49 am

    @Hanna- Yeah, that’s what we picked so we could get the extras. I think we got the car rental both times.



  15. investlike1percent on May 29, 2012 at 12:09 am

    thanks for the headsup. was in oahu and maui in march. definitely will be going back. so tempted to move there. do they have a lifetime membership? haha…



  16. Sylvie on November 28, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    Hello, I would like to says thank you for the wonderful info you give to all of us. I’m Canadian and for us it is very expensive to travel with the exchange. Hawaii /Oahu is wonderful for kids. lot of free activity. Entertainment book is one I personally use a lot with my kids , meal , activities, rental car, Also I don’t like crowded beach in vacation so try the east side of the island beautiful and quiet. First I always book with VRBO most of the owner let you use there board ,snorkel, lot of free stuffs. Also rent a car easy to drive and try the mobile truck/ cantine all around the island food is good. I don’t mind cooking in vacation few time so I got myself a card at the grocery that give you back money to redeem on each grocery. Turtle and seal are everywhere in the island don’t pay to see them the big one was at www.yelp.com/biz/l…ch-haleiwa
    Also shopping, go local Saturday or Sunday local market ask a local people for more info. In North shore is my favourite, for best fruits and more. In Turtle Bay North they have a shrimp farm is free to visit and the shrimps are so good ( You have to cook them) They sold them by pound. Have fun you could also follow me in Trip adviser. Bon Voyage



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