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How much does it cost to go to Hawaii?
As a Hawaii Travel Agent, one of the most common questions that I get is about the cost to travel 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 to Hawaii has to offer. As you might imagine, that comes at a cost. 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 with $1500-$2000, and the answer is, probably not. Today I am going to be answering the question, “how much does it cost to go to Hawaii?” 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: flights, accommodations, rental cars, activities. Prices will vary based on time of the year, how early you book, and several other factors. Even with these variables, this should give you a good idea of the average cost of flights, accommodations, car expenses, and more.
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.
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 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.
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. Resorts 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, but I advise you to be very careful. I have a blog post about why Airbnb in Hawaii is a bad idea if you want to check it out. That said, there are plenty of places where you can book vacation rentals through verified sources. Expedia is one that I recommend.
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. 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.
As you can see, accommodations can vary widely, but you should expect to spend at least $200 per night for a basic room. If you want to check pricing for your dates, check out Funjet. The best part of this tool is that you can choose and book everything yourself, but you can contact me if you have any problems!
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. 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.
While we’re on the subject of rental cars, let’s talk about parking. Some resort fees include self-parking, and some do not. Make sure to check (or ask your Travel Agent) 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.
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. A luau is about $125 per person, and a half-day snorkeling tour will cost about the same. A surf lesson might range from $50-75, and a helicopter tour will cost about $300 per person.
I am not going to spend much time talking about food because it’s too much of a variable. I find that food in grocery stores costs about 10-20% more than the mainland, but restaurants seem to be priced comparably. Of course, resort restaurants are generally pricier than off-site restaurants.
You can stay somewhere 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.
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, but that 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. For a family of 4, I would plan to spend at least $7500.
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.
Book your Hawaii vacation with a Hawaii Travel Agent
I hope that this helps you understand how much it costs to go to Hawaii and why. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, why not let a Hawaii Destination Expert do the Hawaii vacation planning for you?
That’s where I come in. As a Hawaii Travel Agent, I can help you plan the ideal vacation just for you. I don’t do any cookie cutter packages; everything is fully customized just for you. Make sure to contact me or go ahead and fill out a custom travel request, and I’ll get back to you to start planning ASAP!
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