Is it Expensive To Go to Hawaii: The Truth About the Cost of Paradise

Is it Expensive To Go to Hawaii

Aloha! Are Hawaii’s beautiful coastlines, and sandy beaches with lush green mountain tops, calling out to you? Planning a trip to your dream destination but confused about whether is it expensive to go to Hawaii? We’re here to help you out of your dilemma!

In this article, you will find out what to expect on your trip to Hawaii and how to budget your trip effectively. We will also explore possible ways to get the best value for money regarding travel, accommodation, and meals. 

Is Everything Expensive in Hawaii?

Not talking about the elephant in the room, doesn’t make it disappear! Honestly, everything in Hawaii IS expensive. Not only is it one of the most expensive places to visit in the world, but it is also the MOST expensive state in the US. 

That being said, it depends on the kind of experience that you are looking for. A luxury-seeking couple on a honeymoon will be spending drastically more than a backpacker ready to live in the van. There’s no limit to how expensive you want your trip to be. However, with the right planning, you can cut down on the costs incurred.

How Much Should I Budget for a Trip to Hawaii?

Undoubtedly, you are excited about your dream vacation but it certainly won’t be fun if you run out of bucks as soon as you reach there. A good idea is to break down your expenses and while you’re doing so, look for pocket-friendly alternatives.

The following activities will cost you the most, with the accommodation being the most expensive and transport the least:

  • Accommodation
  • Travel
  • Tours and activities
  • Meals
  • Transportation

Additionally, there are some other variables to consider like the duration of stay, the size of your group, the time of the year, and if you’re opting for a packaged trip or a self-guided one.

On average, the cost breakdown of your major expenses will look something like this:

  • Accommodation: $45-$200 per night
  • Airfare for a round trip: $500- $950 per person (within the US)
  • Meals: $70-$80 per day
  • Tours and activities: $30-$50 per day
  • Transport: $50 per day

How Much Does a Trip to Hawaii Cost All Inclusive?

A seven-day, all-inclusive trip to Hawaii will cost an average of $4000. The above-mentioned expenses can vary based on the variables mentioned. Let’s look at each category in detail so that you’re fully prepared for what’s coming your way. 


Accommodation in Hawaii can be one of the biggest expenses of your trip. If you’re looking for a luxurious resort experience, be prepared to pay top dollar. However, there are plenty of more affordable options available as well.

A 4-star resort with a beach view will cost you $380-$450 per night, whereas a 3-star hotel will charge you around $280-$350 per night. 

One popular choice is to stay in a vacation rental, such as an Airbnb ($45-$90 per night) or VRBO. Entire guesthouses are also available for rent costing anywhere between $80-$170 per night. 

These options often provide more space and amenities than a hotel room and can be more affordable if you’re traveling with a group. However, some islands do not rent out guest rooms and hotels for periods of less than thirty days. Therefore, it is important to research the specific location and host to enjoy a comfortable stay. 

The cheapest available option for accommodation is hostels and camping sites. If you’re traveling in a small group, you can obtain a camping permit and camp out in one of the parks. These permits cost around $10 per night. 


The first expense you’ll encounter when planning a trip to Hawaii is airfare. This can vary greatly depending on where you’re coming from and when you plan to visit.

When traveling from within the US, flights from the west coast cost lesser ($500 on average), as compared to flights from the east coast ($920 on average). It’s also worth checking out budget airlines like Southwest and JetBlue, which now offer flights to Hawaii from various cities on the mainland.

Another way to save money on airfare is to be flexible with your travel dates. If you’re able to travel mid-week instead of on the weekends, you may be able to find better deals.

Is Hawaii Expensive to Eat Out?

Food and drink costs in Hawaii can vary greatly depending on where and what you choose to eat. If you stick to high-end restaurants, expect to pay a premium. Expect your dining costs to be around $70 per single person per day. Eating out is especially expensive on Maui island.

However, there are plenty of affordable options available as well. One great way to save money on food is to take advantage of the many food trucks and local markets around Hawaii. You will find lip-smacking food, that gives a real feel of the place as well. Try a $15 meal out at a local market, and we bet you won’t regret it. 

If you’re staying at Airbnb or a vacation rental, you can cook for yourself too. Get all the stuff you need from a farmer’s market at a fraction of what it will cost from a supermarket. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that alcohol can be expensive in Hawaii due to taxes and import fees. So, keep your alcohol purchase in check, if you want the trip to stay economical. 

Tours and Activities

Hawaii doesn’t fail to impress when you take a look at all that it has to offer. The place is brimming with attractions and leisure activities, which is precisely why controlling your expenses is so difficult. 

The Kauai Helicopter Flight over the Na Pali Coast is one of Hawaii’s most high-end activities and will cost you around $400 per person. This is followed by the Maui road to Hana tour which costs $200. 

Other interesting activities are the Oahu Jurassic Park tour, Hawaii Sunset Sail, Hawaii Luau, and the Big Island Snorkel with Manta Rays. These activities will fall anywhere between $50-$150. 

Is Everything More Expensive in Hawaii?

Every island tells a different price tale. Oahu is the most popular tourist spot out of all the islands, hence the most expensive too. You will find numerous white beaches here, plenty of parks, and three main national parks. 

The beaches and most of the parks have free entry. National parks charge an entry fee per vehicle with the Pu’uhonua o Honaunau Historical Park being the most expensive- charging 120 dollars per vehicle.

The cost of activities and attractions in Hawaii can add up quickly. From snorkeling to ziplining to attending a luau, there are plenty of ways to experience Hawaii’s unique culture. The best way of getting a taste of it all is by booking a tour for yourself. 

Most tours start from 100-150 dollars per person. To save money on activities, look for free or low-cost options. Don’t forget that the beaches are free, so don’t let an empty pocket come in the way of you and the sun!


Getting around in Hawaii can also be a significant expense. This reality strikes you hard, especially if you intend to visit multiple islands. 

Within islands, rental cars are the most popular mode of transportation but they can be expensive and require additional fees for parking and gas. A rental company generally charges you $50-$75 per day. 

Another aspect that you generally tend to overlook is the additional parking fee that you will be paying wherever you have to go. When you add it up, it can be quite a sizeable amount and throw your budget off balance. 

A cheaper alternative is to use public transport such as buses or shuttles. While this can be more time-consuming than driving, it is more affordable and allows you to sit back and enjoy the scenic views. 

The Big Island and Oahu have the best bus networks. A bus ticket on the Big Island will cost you anywhere between $2 and $10, depending on where you are headed.

Island Hopping in Hawaii

Every island is unique and has its own set of attractions. Therefore, island hopping is common among tourists. Since there is no land connection, the only route to take is by air. 

There are six airports distributed among the major islands of Hawaii. Inter-island airfare ranges between $50 and $70 for a round trip. 

If you are traveling between Maui and Lanai islands, you can also opt for ferry transport. A ferry ticket is relatively cheaper than flying by air and will cost you $30. 

Cost Considerations

There are several variables that can alter the amount of money you end up spending at your trip. They are as follows:

Duration of Stay

How much does it cost to go to Hawaii for 3 days vs How much does it cost to go to Hawaii for 5 days?

It shouldn’t come as a surprise when you end up spending more money with every passing day. Your airfare cost is the only one that will remain stationary in this case, whereas all the rest will increase. 

Generally, you should plan a seven-day trip to enjoy one island completely.

Group Size

How much is a trip to Hawaii for 1 vs How much does a trip to Hawaii cost for 2?

The larger the group size, the lesser will be the per-person amount you will be paying. This rule particularly holds well if you are staying at a vacation rental. A $400 rental apartment will cost you $400 when you are traveling alone and half the price when you are with a partner!

Similarly, the cost of meals will also come down if you are buying your ingredients and preparing home-cooked meals. 

If you have a large group, you can also bargain for better deals when booking tours and activities. It is a win-win situation in every case!

Time of Visit

Is it expensive to go to Hawaii in December?

Generally speaking, the most expensive times to travel to Hawaii are during peak season (December through March) and summer months (June through August). 

Not only is airfare sky-high but the accommodation there is too. When comparing rates in peak vs off-peak season, you can actually save up to $1000!


How much does it cost to go to Hawaii for 7 days?

If you are traveling alone, the average cost for a 7-day trip to Hawaii will be $2023. When you are traveling as a couple, it is $2986. The average cost for a family of four people will be roughly $4371.

How much does the average trip to Hawaii cost?

Tourists generally plan a seven-day trip to Hawaii. On average, the cost per person is $4000. This estimate includes $1000 for airfare, $2000 for accommodation, $550 for meals, $250 for transportation, and $300 for miscellaneous activities. 

Is Hawaii really expensive to visit?

Hawaii is the most expensive state in the US and one of the most expensive places in the world to visit. Accommodation, transport, accommodation, and the cost of meals are all above the national average in Hawaii. 

What is the cheapest time of year to visit Hawaii?

The cheapest time of the year to plan a visit to Hawaii is in February and March. If you are traveling on a budget, it is best to avoid the holiday period, which falls in December and January, as traveling in these months tends to cost you the most. 

Final Verdict

A trip to Hawaii can be heavy on the pocket. However, with the right kind of planning, you can end up saving big bucks. You can start by planning your trip on the off-season days and fly out on a weekday.

If you are traveling with a group, you can stay in a rental guestroom or camp out in a park. Additionally, you can cut out on the cost of your meals by cooking yourself or heading out to a local market. 

Replace high-costing activities with lesser-priced ones, and when you are on the move, choose to travel via bus whenever the facility is available

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