How much does a trip to Hawaii cost? This is one of the questions I get asked the most often. While for many people, Hawaii is the ultimate vacation destination, a lot of people don’t even have a vague idea how much a Hawaiian vacation costs. Most conversations go something like this: “I know airfare is really expensive because it’s so far away. And all of those fancy beach resorts can’t be cheap right? And I’ve heard the food is really high. Tell me, how much does it cost anyways?”
Well that’s a loaded question. There are so many factors that can determine the price of a trip to Hawaii least of which would be: what time of year are you going? Where are you flying from? What kind of place do you want to stay at? And are you willing to do less touristy things to save money?
As you can imagine, there’s a pretty large spectrum of what a trip to Hawaii can cost, but here are some general guidelines of what you can expect plus what to budget when you’re planning your trip.
Airfare: This is the big one. No matter how you break it down, just getting to Hawaii is usually the most expensive part. As a general ballpark figure, I always assume that a plane ticket to Hawaii will cost me around $1000. That’s flying from the middle of the country (airfare from major Californian cities is often MUCH cheaper). Of course, if you’re flexible with your travel dates and willing to stalk some of the sites that track promotions and deals then you may be able to get that down to $800-$900. And of course your route also determines the price. Flying through Honolulu (even if you’re not staying on Oahu) will often get you a better deal than flying direct from the mainland to Maui, Kauai, or the Big Island. Also, routes that connect through LAX (as opposed to flying direct from Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, or another Californian city like San Diego or San Francisco) are also often a lot cheaper. This is because you’ll have to jump through a lot more hoops if flying through LAX (changing terminals, rechecking bags, etc.).
Rental Car: Rental car pricing in Hawaii can seem insane when you’re first pricing it out but generally it’s anywhere from $40-$80 a day depending on the type of car and how far out you book. Prices during the holiday season can skyrocket but if you’re willing to dig around and use Priceline as well as discounts like AAA, AARP, and Costco, I’ve heard of people getting them for as cheap as $10-$20/day. This of course depends on the time of year and type of car. And don’t wait too long to book or during high season you may find yourself with low to no availability.