Hawaii & Your Travel Money – what you need to know

Wed, 12/07/2017 - 9:45am
Read Time: 3.5 mins
Most of us know the official currency of Hawai’i is the US Dollar (USD). But when it comes to other aspects of spending money including tipping, everyday costs and advice on how to get the best rate…. a lot of us are a bit lost.
Our friends at Travel Money NZ have created the below “what to know” guide to help you get the most from your hard earned spending money, and ultimately your Hawaiian adventure. 


Researching, planning and booking a holiday can be a lot of fun.  Often, the budgeting side of things can be significantly less exciting.  There’s a lot to consider when starting your trip budget, but Travel Money NZ recommends starting with the basics – knowing the everyday costs you can expect at your destination. 


Tipping is standard practice in Hawai’i, and it’s a social fax paus if you fail to do so. 
In New Zealand, the minimum wage is around $15.75 per hour. In the USA, minimum wage is at about $11 per hour (US$7.25), but, legally employers are allowed to lower their wage to as little as US$2.13 per hour. Therefore, tipping substantially supplements workers income.  
Often the trickiest part of tipping is knowing how much to leave. This varies across different services. 
As a rule of thumb….
  • In restaurants, it’s standard practice to leave around 15% to 20% tip (of the value of the bill)
  • If you’re at a bar, the standard is US$1 tip per drink
  • At a hotel, you can work on US$1 per bag for the porter carrying your luggage and US$2 – US$5 per day for housekeeping
  • If you take a taxi anywhere, then work towards a tip of 10% to 15% of the fare.
Try break up your larger notes when you arrive so you have smaller change ready for tips.
For more information on tipping around the world, read blog on Tipping Etiquette Across The World


The team at Travel Money NZ are often asked “when’s the best time to buy my foreign exchange?” Unfortunately, like you, they don’t have a crystal ball to know exactly when the best time is. But, what they can tell you is how to ensure you’re getting a good rate, and ultimately, what to avoid doing!


1. Leave your foreign exchange to the last minute and purchase at the airport.
Most of the time, by purchasing at the airport you’ll end up paying for that “last minute convenience” in the form of not-great-exchange-rates and high service fees and commissions.
Instead, look at your pre-departure options so you’re sorted before you go. These days you can order online, or in store. You can even set up a Currency Alert where you’re able to pick a rate you’d like to see, and then Travel Money NZ will email you once the rate hits that mark.
2. Rely solely on your bank.
We all need our bank, but not necessarily for foreign exchange. Often if you’re looking at purchasing your foreign currency through them you’ll have to wait several days for the currency to arrive and are charged a commission fee on top of the base exchange rate.
This also means not relying on your bank card for all payments. These days there are numerous pre-paid travel money card options that offer great features such as the Multi-currency Cash PassportTM where you lock in the exchange rate the day you load^, you’re given a backup card and can use the card at over 35million locations worldwide, essentially wherever MasterCard is accepted.
Hopefully this gives you some information to prepare you for Hawaiian escape. 
Travel Money NZ are the FXperts and are always on hand to help you with any of your travel money needs – you just need to visit your nearest store for information on your foreign currency options, international money transfers and more!  
 Because you’re a valued Flight Centre customer, we want to give you something extra to leave you with more foreign exchange in your pocket…

Receive VIP rates on your foreign exchange at any Travel Money NZ store by mentioning Uncover Hawai’I before 31 December 2017.  This blog is provided for information only and does not take into consideration your objectives, financial situation or needs.  You should consider whether the information and suggestions contained in any blog entry are appropriate for you, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.  While we take reasonable care in providing the blog, we give no warranties or representations that it is complete or accurate, or is appropriate for you.  We are not liable for any loss caused, whether due to negligence or otherwise, arising from use of, or reliance on, the information and/or suggestions contained in this blog. ^The prevailing exchange rate is locked in for the initial load value only. Subsequent card reloads will be processed at the then prevailing exchange rate on the day of the reload transaction.


Travel Money NZ

Travel Money NZ are Flight Centre’s foreign exchange specialists. With 20 stores across NZ, including AKL International Airport, they are the FXperts in foreign exchange, pre-paid travel money cards, international money transfers, budget planning and more. Click here to find your nearest store.