The South Pacific on a Budget

I swear that’s not an oxymoron.

At least, not entirely…

I will just come out and say it: we spent more money on our trip to Mo’orea than we’ve spent on any other vacation. We knew that those fancy overwater bungalows came with a hefty price tag, and I soon learned that a flight to Tahiti was also, not cheap. However, that doesn’t mean that a trip to Paradise on Earth is impossible; it just takes planning, some strategy, and a little luck, and today I wanted to share a few of my strategies to help you plan your next trip to Paradise.

Hilton Mo'orea

Let’s start with the two most expensive parts of any vacation: Lodging and Flights

These two categories also happen to be where the luck comes in. When I first looked at the price of an overwater bungalow the sticker shock was, well, shocking. 🙂 I looked at the Hilton Mo’orea Resort and Spa ‘Special Offers’ page OFTEN, and ended up finding a deal where not only was the regular price 40% off but if you booked four nights the fifth night was FREE! Unfortunately for me, the special offer ended in May and we were planning a trip for June, so I reached out to the hotel directly to see if they had other offers in June or if they would extend the current offer into June for me. Not only did they end up extending the offer but they also threw in Continental Breakfast for two for FREE. (You may remember my overly excited post here).

Relaxing in Paradise

Hilton Mo'orea

Balcony at the Hilton Mo'orea

I’ll be honest, when I looked at the price of a round-trip ticket to Tahiti I kind of wanted to cry. I then seriously considered just going to Hawaii for a few extra weeks, but alas, my determination to explore my Ultimate Bucket List item was fierce and I was set on finding a decent deal. I turned to one of my favorite airline websites to get a base cost: Google.com/Flights. By checking out the monthly calendar view I was able to see the best days to fly to and from Tahiti and ended up saving more than 60% compared to some of the advertised prices on that calendar.

HIlton Mo'orea

Jumping for Joy for great travel deals!

Hilton Mo'orea

A few years back I shared one of our travel secrets when it comes to food expenses. And after a little research I knew that our typical food budget would not cover much in Mo’orea so I increased our budget to $60 per person per day. Now when a fancy cocktail costs you $17 a piece, $60 isn’t going to last you through lunch, so we improvised. When we booked our private transfer from the port of Mo’orea to the Hilton we arranged to have the driver stop at a local market so we could pick up a few essentials (mainly booze, snacks, fruit, and did I mention booze?) We also received a complimentary bottle of champagne from the Hilton to celebrate our anniversary (Mauruuru, our Hilton friends!). Let’s just say that when it came to libations, we were covered for the week. Luckily for us, the complimentary continental breakfast also saved us quite a bit over the course of the week; on most days we filled up on breakfast, enjoyed snacks throughout the day, and had an early dinner, and in the end we came in right around budget in this category.

Continental Breakfast at the Hilton Mo'orea

Desserts at the Hilton Mo'orea

Hilton Mo'orea Birthday cake

Hilton Mo'orea

Obviously when you’re spending a significant amount of time and money to get to such a magical place you don’t want to spend your time worrying about money while you’re there; so by making a few tweaks and being aware of costly choices (aka: booze) we not only completely enjoyed ourselves, but our stomachs — and our wallets — thanked us.

Anniversary trip to Mo'orea

Overwater bungalows at the Hilton Mo'orea

I love finding great travel deals. The more money I save, the more money I have for another adventure, so of course I’m always looking for ways to save money where it makes sense. I hope that you’ll find your dream vacation is not as far out of the realm of possibilities as it might first appear. Research, think outside of the box, plan, budget, and most importantly, envision going on that dream trip. The next thing you know you’ll be sipping Royal Tahiti’s off of your own private balcony in the South Pacific.

Relaxing at the Hilton Mo'oreao


What’s your favorite way to save money on travel?

7 Comments

  1. November 17, 2016 / 4:22 PM

    What a wonderful time you must have had! We were in Moorea last September and stayed at The Sofitel and just LOVED it. We even managed a wedding vow renewal on our anniversary at Tiki Village. Such fun!

    • November 20, 2016 / 11:47 AM

      Hi Belinda,
      A wedding vow renewal sounds so romantic! I would love to renew our vows somewhere like Mo’orea. I’ll have to keep that in mind for future adventures. Glad you enjoyed the Sofitel, I’ll have to look into it. Thanks! 🙂 Hoping to make it to Bora Bora on our next visit to the South Pacific.
      Have a great week!

  2. November 18, 2016 / 1:10 AM

    Looks amazing! Great tips and enjoyable read.

    • November 20, 2016 / 11:48 AM

      Thanks, Amy! 🙂 It is definitely one of my favorite places on Earth.

  3. November 29, 2016 / 8:43 PM

    I have seen so many pictures of these places,and dream about being there, so glad you got to go. Tell me about that jump, the water doesn’t look deep enough to sustain that energy.

    • November 30, 2016 / 11:10 AM

      The jump definitely took some strategy. We had to make sure we didn’t hit any of the small reefs around our bungalow. The water was only about four to five feet deep, so after I hit the water I tried to curl into a ball and make myself as small as possible so I wouldn’t hit the sand below. 🙂 We had waaaayyyy too much fun jumping off that balcony! I’m ready to go back!
      Have a great day!

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