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Prices of store merchandise, groceries, etc... on Big Island

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Prices of store merchandise, groceries, etc... on Big Island

Hi, some people are telling us to pack a bunch of snacks and whatever else miscellany we might need in a suitcase for our trip to the Big Island. I was planning on buying most of the little stuff there.

I know that there are Walmarts and other stores there, but are their prices really a lot higher than our Texas stores? I know that you probably don't know about the prices of things here, so here a few things to give you an idea:

Coca Cola products, 2-liter -- $1.25

Bag of Pepperidge Farm Goldfish -- $1.50

Ritz Crackers -- $3.00

8-count Kelloggs Nutri Grain bars -- $2.50

12-count box of Kellogg's Pop Tarts -- $2.50

Loaf of bread -- $1.00

Big Box of Kellogg's Corn Flakes -- $2.50

Purell Hand Sanitizer (8 oz pump bottle) -- $3.00

Eggo Frozen Waffles -- $2.00

Syrup. butter, etc....

So, are HI stores in line with these prices?

I was also planning on buying Energizer batteries, several underwater/waterproof cameras, ponchos, beach towels, etc.

Should I get them here, or just pick them up there on the Big Island?

Thanks for your help!

Palm Springs...
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1. Re: Prices of store merchandise, groceries, etc... on Big Island

your prices are more than here.... I get coke for under a dollar on sale and others at 79C !

Safeway and KTA are excellent... get a card when you arrive

everything is here and for the most part pretty close to Calif prices... your not going to Borneo........

bread will cost 1.75 to 3.50 a loaf.... I paid the same at a walmart in Glascow Kentucky recently and found prices in the mid west to be about the same as Hawaii/

In my opinion you are overreacting to stories you have heard.... Buy stuff on sale and adapt your style

relax and enjoy..................our walmart has no food

Washington DC...
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2. Re: Prices of store merchandise, groceries, etc... on Big Island

The prices you cite are less than grocery store prices in my town, so I am sure you will find sticker shock in a grocery store in Hawaii. However, check for local brands and store brands (Mountain Apple, etc) and they are less than, say Tropicana. The WalMart here is 20 miles away in hideous traffic so I don;t shop there and don't know if they have same price or higher in HAwaii.

One suggestion is to get more fresh, local food (produce, etc.) and less of the shipped-in stuff that costs more to get there.

I'd say get your beach towels on the BI.

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3. Re: Prices of store merchandise, groceries, etc... on Big Island

I hope your list is just to give information -- not that you are actually considering bringing bread and frozen waffles in your suitcase with you.

When we travel to the BI we do not carry food in our luggage but I know that some people do. I'd say buying the underwater camera in TX is a good idea and whatever snacks you need for the flight but the rest I'd buy once in Hawaii. We've traveled to The BI from various states (we've moved several times over the years that we've been going to Hawaii). I can compare the prices to more than just one location, in other words. Some products are higher (remember everything in Hawaii arrived on a boat or an airplane) but an awful lot of things are not any more expensive than they are on the mainland. So why bother with the extra luggage?

Naalehu, Hawaii
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4. Re: Prices of store merchandise, groceries, etc... on Big Island

Dairy and bakery products are way more expensive, other than that it's about the same. KTA, Sack & Save and Longs Drugs have sale papers with good prices.

Omaha, NE
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5. Re: Prices of store merchandise, groceries, etc... on Big Island

Unless you need these items on the plane, I wouldn't mess around with trying to bring them to Hawaii. Chips, crackers, cookies, and cereal will get crushed, leaving you with crumbs. Frozen food will thaw unless you use an insulated cooler as a suitcase. Film will be exposed by X-rays if you put them in a suitcase that you check.

Yes, the prices are going to be higher on many items, but not dramatically so. Certainly not worth it when the risk is that you are going to throw it all away when you unpack and head back to the store to buy new in the end anyway.

It's not a bad idea to pack along some snacks in your carryon now that the airlines are charging for meals and you never know if you are going to get delayed. But I usually find it getting smashed in the end.

If you do insist on trying to pack perishables, I'd suggest investing in one of those new super-insulated coolers for two reasons. One, they will help keep the cold stuff cold. (You can also probably put some of your boxed stuff in there as well and hopefully it will keep it from getting too smashed.) Two, you'll probably need a cooler for outings during your trip, and it's much more enviromentally friendly to use a reusable cooler than buying a styrofoam cooler when you arrive and having it end up in the landfill after you head home.

We've successfully brought frozen tropical juice home from Hawaii in our cooler, though it's usually thawed by the time we get home. Not an issue with juice, as it refreezes well. (I even stuck some leftovers from Cafe Pesto in there and they arrived in good shape as well!) But I wouldn't trust meat unless it was froze rock solid. The airlines will not allow you to put ice or dry ice, so it will have to stay cold on it's own.

Keep in mind the airlines keep a close eye on baggage and are eager to charge you extra for overweight bags. Packing light is a smart way to travel in this era of heightened security and airlines in financial trouble. A $50 charge for an overweight bag will not only negate any savings, but also could have paid for an entire meal at a restaurant.

Kona, Hawaii
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6. Re: Prices of store merchandise, groceries, etc... on Big Island

Aloha, We stay about 5 months out of the year here and live in the Boston area the rest of the time. My grocery bill ends up being the same. Somethings are a tad more and some less. Produce is much less, go to the Farmers Markets and save BIG and get such higher quality. I find that everything else is within the ball park of my store at home.

Try the local breads, much nicer than the ones at home. Maui Chips are very tasty. The local honey we use over the Syrup. Butter and milk are about the same.

I guess if you bring your favorite snacks and eat them up you will have lots of room to pack up fun things you buy here to bring home!!! BUT you will have lots of weight to deal with and you are coming a long way.

New Jersey
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7. Re: Prices of store merchandise, groceries, etc... on Big Island

We just got back from 11 days on Oahu/BI/Maui (BOO HOO!).

Being from the East Coast, I didn't have too much sticker shock in the grocery stores. Things were a little expensive but not shockingly so.

The most expensive grocery store was the Safeway in Kailua-Kona. I only stopped there for snacks and beer as we were heading to the Sheraton for two nights. The cereal and snacks seemed way high and out of line with other grocery stores I had been in.

The biggest food sticker shock was restaurants, in which the entrees were way high but the groceries stores seemed more in line with home.

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8. Re: Prices of store merchandise, groceries, etc... on Big Island

If you're going to Waikoloa, whatever you do, don't plan to buy much in the way of groceries at the Whaler market in the King's Shops. OUCH!!!

I loved the fresh produce at the farmer's market (Kona). I thought most other items we shopped for (KTA and Longs) were more expensive than home, but as a total vacation expense, not that much. If you were thinking of getting Lay's chips, for instance, they were about $4/bag. Go with the Maui ones (is that what they're called?)! Name-brand jam was costly, but they had the local ones that were delicious and economical. Cereal was very expensive and so was cheese. Still, compared to buying breakfast or lunch at a restaurant, it saved money.

If you're staying in a hotel and using a cooler to supplement the mini-fridge, you might consider bringing things like plastic utensils and bowls. We bought them there, but I think you could pack them pretty easily. I wish I'd had a toaster--for a hotel stay you might consider taking a really cheapo one. I've heard of people taking the littlest, cheapest microwave they could find from home (like from a thrift store), but I'm not sure I could squeeze something like that in my suitcase :) If you're a coffee drinker, you might want to bring your own. I didn't, but wish I had. What was available where we shopped was either outrageously expensive or crappy coffee. I know there is good coffee to be had (after all, we're talking KONA), so take these comments with the disclaimer that we only shopped in a few stores and did not visit any coffee plantations.

BTW--we used our mini coffee pot that came in the room at the Hilton to make hot water for instant cocoa for the kids. I also used the hotplate part to make quesadillas, since we had leftover tortillas and cheese from the condo we'd been in prior to that, and it worked but wasn't a huge hit.

Oh yeah--don't forget a bottle opener. We had this lovely Kona brewery beer, all nice and cold in our ice chest, and no opener. Luckily dh remembered he had one in his golf bag, because the thought of leaving the Hilton to go buy an opener was not appealing.

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9. Re: Prices of store merchandise, groceries, etc... on Big Island

Thanks for all the tips.

I figured that the prices wouldn't be so high. I just couldn't believe the things I was hearing from well-meaning people offering advice about our trip (not you guys, I mean non-TA people, LOL). I felt like I was supposed to pack even our kitchen sink!

I feel better about packing light, and buying stuff there!

We plan on eating out quite a bit, but have to worry about our son. He's very picky about his food, like me, but I LOVE seafood, so I know I'll be fine in Hawaii. He, on the other, is very specific about what he likes or doesn't like, and he won't eat it if it doesn't taste familiar to him. He's a weird kid, I know. But other than that, he's a great kid, who gets good grades and doesn't give us any problems, so we just put up with his weird eating habits.

I will be buying a toaster, (and maybe even a cheap microwave) there for him. Just in case, he ends up not eating while we're out sightseeing. He loves Pop Tarts, and some of the Eggo toaster products... Not exactly a meal, but great for a last resort sort of quick fix.

I didn't think about this until now, but surely there are fast food places on the island like McDonalds, Whataburger, Burger King, etc.... Those places are always safe choices for the kid.

I guess we'll go eat out, and if my son doesn't find anything on the menu for him, he'll just sit there with a drink (sometimes munching on a small appetizer). Then after dinner, we go drive thru and get him something from one of the fast food places. We do this quite a bit -- even here at home!

Anyway, thanks -- for helping me decide to pack light!

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10. Re: Prices of store merchandise, groceries, etc... on Big Island

Glad to hear you are packing light as you will find plenty of foods in Hi. It always amazes me how folks go on a vacation but have to eat the same foods as at home. For me the adventure of traveling is to experience new and different tings especially food. Plus I love to hang with the locals and stay far from the resort glitz.