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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:
Snorkeling (including pick up and drop off and snorkeling gear) $20 value
4 hour Moped rental $40
Breakfast catamaran sail (including light breakfast) $40
Boogie board rental $15
Umbrella rental $15
Snorkel Rental $12
Temple admission $3
Kayak rental $40
Golf Tee Time including pick up and drop off $100
Trolley Hop on Hop off Day Pass $30
Iolani Palace Tour $25
Manoa Falls Hiking Tour $20
Beach Gear (umbrella): $15
Total for five days: $375
Total cost of Go Oahu Card: $185
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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