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Slow travel on a budget

By Patrick Robertson

Half of your day is spent inside your accommodation. This is the most important part of a trip.

Vacation rental prices have skyrocketed with HGTV shows promoting vacation rental prices of $500 and $600 a night, Airbnb hosts asking for $200 to $1,500 a night, and VRBO asking for $500. at $5,000 a night or more. Four-star hotels cost $350 a night. Three-star hotels cost $200 a night. At these prices, a two-week vacation rental will cost between $5,000 and $10,000. Out of the price range for a budget traveler.

Travelers move for a variety of reasons. In November, I like to leave the mountains because it is a month of wind, rain, sleet, snow, thunderstorms and gray skies. This November is the first since the pandemic began in 2020. In my mind, it’s always about staying away from large groups and breathing in the shared air of others. A time of caution that makes it more difficult to plan our trips.

In addition to expensive accommodation, air travel is more expensive than before the pandemic. A flight to Mexico costs $1,200 round trip. So when flights under $300 arrived for Maui, Hawaii for flights in November, I took note. Maui is not my favorite island but it is Hawaii and we love Hawaii.

Cheap flights but Hawaii has become very expensive during the pandemic. Nightly accommodation has skyrocketed from $150-300 a night to $650-800 a night for the same location. Demand exceeded supply.

Now that I had a deal to work with, I thought I’d check the timeshare dealers to see availability and prices for a week in Maui and maybe I could find something reasonable. I was able to find three consecutive seven-day timeshare rentals at three different resorts for $1,500 per week. Not bad; $1,500 per week is our new budget price for a week’s rental, up from $750 per week 10 years ago.

Then I thought I’d check Craigslist for Hawaii vacation rentals. There were a number of them for different times of the year. I contacted two advertisements. They seemed legit. Both replied the same day and said they had availability at reasonable prices of US$150 a night or C$200.

The problem with Craigslist is that there are many scammers and you have to be very careful. In this case, one of the owners provided the complex number to verify that he owned the condo. I called and he owned the property and rented it with a state license.

The other owner gave his business number which I passed to the Hawaii state government to verify he was a legitimate property manager. There was a company registered under that name, but the website was amateurish. A Google search turned up a different phone number than he gave me. I called both numbers but they didn’t work. I didn’t feel well so I gave up that contact.

You should always ask if they accept credit cards. A legitimate property management company will accept credit cards. Never transfer money. If the advertiser asks you to wire money or use an unfamiliar money platform, drop the transaction. It’s a problem with a capital, T.

The next place to check out rental accommodations is Facebook. There are a number of groups for owners and renters for the different islands. You can post a request and someone will contact you with availability and rates. These are often newcomers to the rental market or those wishing to maximize their rent. There are no bargains here. If you find one, take it.

After all the research I decided it wasn’t worth going to Maui for a month. Cheap flights but accommodation is too high for a budget traveler and private transport costs on the island are the highest ever.

I ended up deciding to go to the Okanagan and visit my family instead. I will try to find time to bike the Okanagan Rail Trail. If I do, I’ll write about it in my column.

Those of you still dreaming of Hawaii, prices in Kauai over the next few months have just come down to around $600 back. Kauai is my favorite Hawaiian island. Check out my Kauai destination guide on my blog.

main picture: A newer home hosting Patrick – the Kleemann House in Custer, SD. Photo submitted

–Patrick Robertson is a travel writer and longtime resident of Fernie. He is an expert in independent travel planning and finding budget travel deals. Go to his website for more information and photos from this trip to Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta (pictured above).

Read more travel articles like this HERE. Like him on Facebook at for travel tips.

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