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How much does it cost to go to Hawaii?
One of the most common questions that I get is “how much does it cost to go to Hawaii?”
You probably already know that Hawaii vacations are fantastic. Perfect weather, clear water, pristine beaches, incredible hikes, and some of the friendliest people in the world are some of the incredible things Hawaii has to offer.
As you might imagine, that comes at a price. Most people assume that Hawaii is expensive, and they aren’t wrong!
That said, some people don’t understand why it costs so much to visit Hawaii. That’s why I’m writing this blog post.
I’ve had a few people message me and ask if it’s possible to visit Hawaii for $1500-$2000, and the answer is, probably not. Just keep in mind that these are averages, and of course, you can spend less, or quite a bit more, on a Hawaii vacation.
How much does a trip to Hawaii cost?
Let’s break down how much it costs to go to Hawaii by the basics:
- Rental cars
The prices of the first 3 things will vary based on the time of the year, how early you book, and several other factors.
Even with these variables, this post should give you a good idea of the average cost of flights, accommodations, car expenses, and more.
It doesn’t matter where you live, Hawaii is a long way away. The Hawaiian Islands are the most isolated center of population in the world!
The first thing to consider with how much it costs to go to Hawaii is flights. There are a couple of cruise options to get to Hawaii, but they take several days and cost quite a bit.
Cruising for weeks isn’t ideal for most people. The cost of flights to Hawaii depends on quite a few things. First, which airport you’re flying from. Second, what time of the year you’re visiting Hawaii. Third, when you book your flights.
If you want to go to Hawaii, you’re probably going to have to fly. Flights from the West Coast start around $300. Yes, Southwest Airlines has had sales with cheaper flights. On average, your flights from the West Coast will cost about $300-$500 per person.
From the midwest, flights range from about $600-$750 per person. From the East Coast, you’re looking at around $700-$850 on average. Flights out of major airports in major cities (think Chicago, Dallas, San Franciso) will likely be less expensive than smaller airports or out of smaller cities.
How to find a cheap flight to Hawaii
As of 2021, flights to Hawaii have been cheaper and will likely remain cheaper until travel is back to “normal.” Most aspects of Hawaii vacation prices have not changed, but you may be able to get flights that are quite a bit less than average.
The best way to find a cheap flight to Hawaii is to be flexible! Look at Google Flights and see which days it’s cheapest to fly. This is typically midweek, but not always.
If the flight seems a bit high, set an alert so that you will be notified if the price of the flight goes down.
When you fly to Hawaii matters
The timing of the flights also matters. If you’re flying around the holidays, waiting until the last minute will be a disaster.
Typically, you’ll see the best prices about 2-4 months in advance. If you’re traveling during the summer or any school holiday, it’s best to book your flights as soon as possible to ensure you get the flight and seats you want.
I could make an entire blog post about flying to Hawaii I have! Check out how to survive the flight to Hawaii and how to fight jetlag to read more.
Accommodations in Hawaii
Accommodations are one of the expenses of visiting Hawaii that will range by a lot. If you want to camp in Hawaii, your costs will be minimal. If you’re going to stay at the Four Seasons, it will be quite a bit more than average. You get the idea.
To start, you can check out my favorite resorts in:
The average hotel in Hawaii cost $264 per night in 2018. Yes, that’s more expensive than most parts of the mainland.
That is the price of paradise. Everything from real estate to labor costs more in Hawaii, so it would make sense that those prices are reflected by the hotels and resorts.
A standard resort like the Hyatt, Sheraton, or Westin will likely cost between $300-$400 per night for a standard room. Again, this can depend on the time of year, but these are averages.
The Kahala Hotel and Resort is one of my favorite 5-star resorts on Oahu.
You can stay in a vacation rental like Airbnb, which will often save money but is a different experience.
Expedia also has vacation rentals which range from cheap rooms to luxury homes.
Resort Fees in Hawaii
Another thing to keep in mind is that most resorts, and even some hotels, charge a resort fee. This fee can vary from $10-$50+ per night, with most resort fees being in the $25-$35 per night range.
This fee includes the use of resort amenities and will be paid directly to the resort rather than upon booking.
Many high-end resorts do not have a resort fee, and some basic hotels do not have a resort fee either. Free breakfast isn’t offered very often, although most resorts have packages that include breakfast.
Does Hawaii have all-inclusive resorts?
It’s also a good time to mention that there aren’t any all-inclusive resorts in Hawaii. The Travaasa Hana offers an all-inclusive option, but even that isn’t like what you’re used to comparing to, say, an all-inclusive resort in Cancun.
Some resorts do have meal packages, but you won’t find all you can eat and drink deals like you do in Mexico or the Caribbean.
If you’re looking for a high-end all-inclusive resort that is on the more affordable side, check out my Hyatt Zilara Cancun review.
Hotel prices in Hawaii
As you can see, accommodations can vary widely, but you should expect to spend at least $200 per night for a basic room. One of my favorite budget hotels in Hawaii is the ISO Kauai. You can check out my review to learn more about this affordable, boutique hotel in Kapa’a, Kauai.
Rental Cars, Parking & Gas
I can’t say enough that I always recommend having a rental car in Hawaii. The only time that it might be okay to skip a vehicle is if you plan to stay on Oahu in the Honolulu/Waikiki area.
Otherwise, you’ll need a car. Instead of sharing all of the details here, you can check out why to rent a car in Hawaii.
It generally costs somewhere from $40-$100 per day to rent a car in Hawaii. The cost will depend on the type of car, the time of year, and when you book it. If you don’t have a rental car yet, I recommend Discount Hawaii Car Rental. You’ll find the best deals on any of the Hawaiian Islands.
You can also check the cost of booking a car directly through Hertz.
It’s essential to book a car when you book your flights and accommodations. Rental vehicles can and do sell out in Hawaii, so make sure to book early to get the vehicle that you want.
If you plan to use Uber or a taxi in Hawaii, make sure to factor that into your budget. I would not recommend doing anywhere but Oahu, and even then I think you should rent a car.
I once had someone email me regarding my “why to rent a car in Hawaii” post and tell me that there were not renting a car because they were choosing to stay at their resort in Maui.
Ummm… that’s dumb. (No offense, but seriously, it’s dumb.) Save your money and go to Mexico or Jamaica if you want to stay in a resort! Hawaii is meant for exploring.
While we’re on the subject of rental cars, let’s talk about parking. Some resort fees include self-parking and most do not. Make sure to check if your resort has resort fees or parking fees so that you won’t be surprised.
Parking comes at a premium in the Waikiki area, so be prepared for that if you decide to rent a car on Oahu.
Parking can cost anywhere from $20-$50 per day, and valet parking is a bit more than self-parking.
Gas is the biggest factor that travelers forgot when planning a Hawaii vacation. If you have a rental car (and you should,) you’ll have to put gas in it!
Don’t forget to budget for gas, which costs about 40% higher per gallon than the national average. Expect to pay $3.50-$4.00 per gallon. The islands are small, but you’ll probably do a lot of exploring!
Activities are another area where costs can vary widely. If you plan to bring your own snorkel set and hang out at the beaches all day, activities can cost little to nothing.
If you plan to do more significant, more expensive tours every day, the cost can be quite high.
In general, activities do not cost much more than they would anywhere else.
I’m sure a luau is on your Hawaii bucket list. A luau is about $125 per person. You can check out the best luaus in Hawaii, the best luau on Maui, and the best luau in Oahu to choose which one is right for you.
Snorkeling is one of the best things to do in Hawaii. A half-day snorkeling tour will cost about $100. Don’t forget to check out the best places to snorkel in Hawaii or my review of snorkeling Molokini Crater in Maui.
A surf lesson might range from $50-75. Let’s be honest, what better place to learn to surf than Hawaii?
- Surf lessons in Maui
- Surf lessons in Kauai
- Learn to surf on the Big Island
- Surf lessons on Waikiki Beach
I am not going to spend much time talking about food because it’s too much of a variable.
The average cost of food in Hawaii is $61 per person, per day. This can vary wildly and depends on how you like to eat on vacation.
I find that food in grocery stores costs about 10-30% more than the mainland, but restaurants seem to be priced comparably.
Of course, resort restaurants are generally pricier than off-site restaurants. That is the case anywhere.
You can stay in a condo with a kitchen and make your meals, or eat at a resort restaurant for every meal. There is no wrong way to eat in Hawaii, but the price will vary from person to person.
And yes, Hawaii has “normal” stores like Costco, Target, Walmart, as well as grocery stores, etc. to buy groceries.
How much does it cost to go to Hawaii during the holidays?
If you plan to travel to Hawaii during the holidays, be prepared to spend quite a bit more. Traveling during the holidays (particularly Christmas) can cost up to twice as much more than any other time.
If your only option is holiday travel, my recommendation is booking as far in advance as possible.
How much does it cost to go to Hawaii?
So, how much does it cost to go to Hawaii? Well, it’s going to vary based on your preferences. I always tell my clients to plan on about $5000 for one week for two people.
Yes, it can be done for less, and it’s often more. However, I believe that $5000 is a good starting point and about average.
If you want upscale accommodations, you’re likely looking at about $10,000 for two people for the same amount of time.
Again, these are averages, so don’t get mad at me and tell me that it can be cheaper or more expensive. I already know! As a Travel Agent who specializes in Hawaii Travel, these are simply the average prices that I see.
The cost of a Hawaii vacation
I hope that this post answered your questions about how much it costs going to Hawaii.
If you’re looking for some tips on how to plan a Hawaii vacation, I have plenty of those:
- 10 things to know before going to Hawaii
- 100 things to do in Hawaii
- Is Hawaii safe?
- 5 must-have travel items for Hawaii
- 20 things you should never do in Hawaii
Although I am a Hawaii Travel Agent, I am only taking on a few clients for 2021. You can contact me if you’d like more information. I would recommend starting with my Hawaii travel guide if you plan to DIY your vacation!
The best way to get Hawaii travel tips and the most current travel information is to sign up for my email list. I send out one weekly email with the latest news, travel deals, and more. Sign up below.
If you love these posts and want to support my blog but aren’t prepared to travel yet, you can buy me a coffee to show your support. I ❤️ coffee!