Hawaiian Happy Hour: Dinner with a View and on a Budget in Kona

sunset huggo's kona big island hawaii

By 5pm in Hawai'i, I want to have sand stuck between my toes, a good layer of salt water dried to my skin and have exerted enough energy to be hungry for a good meal. I don't want anything fussy or uptight. I want to throw on a sundress, pull my sun-bleached hair on top of my head, bring out the big earrings and settle down for a relaxed meal with front row seats for the sunset. In Kona, you'll be hard-pressed to not find a spot for a cold drink, affordable local chow and a comfy, casual seat to watch the warm, red sun set into the sea.

Cheap Eats: Kauai

savage shrimp poipu kauai

When you go out for an expensive meal and it's good, you expect it. When it's bad, you regret it. Of course, cheap meals too can be bad; but you chalk it up to bad luck and just move on to your next one. But, when a meal is cheap AND excellent, you've found a real treasure - one you share with friends. On our recent trip to Kauai we found lots of our own great cheap eats, and we couldn't wait to share them with you.

Cheap Eats: Austin, TX

Funny BBQ Sign in Austin, Texas
Image: _cheryl.
Can't believe it's been a year since we visited Austin, Texas. But it's SXSW time again, and if you're looking for some good eats, be sure to plan some time in for food exploration. The Torchy's Tacos and its neighbors in the South Austin Trailer Park and Eatery are definitely worth the walk.

If you're planning on visiting Austin, but haven't figured eating into your schedule, it's time to change your plans. Austin has no shortage of exceptional food, and you don't have to spend a fortune to enjoy it. Below you'll find some places the check out, and pig out at, when you go.

Cheap Eats: Vancouver, BC

Image: qousqous.

Vancouver. Host of the 2010 Olympics and host to an abundance of reasons for a traveler to visit. But, if you're a traveling foodie, you simply can't find a reasonable excuse not to be planning a trip in the near future. It's home to both vibrant immigrant communities (with their food culture in tow) and a burgeoning foodie culture, which means that there are like-minded folks, out finding the best of the best. This includes the best of the cheap. Check out what I've found, so that the next time you find yourself in Vancouver, you won't ever go hungry.

Cheap Sites: Chicago

kids in fountain
Image: discopalace.

Big cities can be expensive and Chicago is no exception. But what I love about big cities is that they're vibrant, alive and there's always something going on. I can get lost in wandering around, exploring, and just window shopping my way through the day. But when inspiration is lacking, here are a few great ideas for seeing Chicago without spending a fortune (or jumping in a fountain.)

Cheap Eats: Chicago


There's an almost infinite amount of good food in Chicago: pizza, hot dogs, sausages...the list goes on forever. But no matter what kind of food is around, especially I love finding the the cheap, the local, and the quick. The windy city doesn't disappoint; check out all the great cheap food for your next trip to Chi-town. Be warned, I intentionally strayed from including pizza...that's enough for an entirely separate post.

Una Mezza Pizza

half a pizza
Image: su-lin.

Ever wondered how those Italians eat SO much? The truth is, they don't. They don't always order every course (a myth I'm convinced is perpetuated by industrious restauranteurs.) We were at dinner and you wouldn't guess what they ordered...

Travel Tip: Avoid Downtown Hotels

Downtown Los Angeles
Image: vgm8383.

We originally posted this a few months ago, but found it particularly compelling given our recent stay outside of downtown Austin. Getting yourself away from the tourist hub may mean a bus ride and some planning, but these tiny inconveniences will be rewarded twofold.
Often, when planning a trip to a city, we find ourselves looking downtown for accommodations. After all, on paper, business districts are attractive because they tend to have more transit, more well-known museums and attractions, and swankier hotels. However, in reality, staying downtown often leaves the traveller surrounded by homogenous financial buildings, lunchtime-only or high-end restaurants, and department-store shopping. If you're looking for a more offbeat trip, then staying downtown may not be for you.

Cheap Sleeps: Austin, TX

austin  motel sign

Texas. Known for its wide open spaces, larger-than-life nature, and rugged independence, is a place unlike any other. Austin, its capital, stands out from the rest of the state as a bastion for people who stood out from the crowd, the weird ones. Why should you visit this oddball capital? It's home to an overabundance of great food, live music, great parks, and a vibrant culture that might just make you want to stay. With all these reasons to visit, there's no shortage of people coming to visit. But finding an affordable hotel in Austin is possible, just as long as you don't try to visit during South by Southwest.