Aloha! Hawaii is always an ideal vacation location, evidenced by the 1.7 million people visiting each year. So whether it’s summer, spring, winter or fall where you are, it’s always a great time to go to the islands.
The weather is perfect, the scenery is top-notch, the people are friendly, and the islands offer non-stop activities for vacationers. There’s only one question to ask: Can you afford a trip to Hawaii?
How Much is a Trip to Hawaii for a Family of Four?
Our cost estimate of $8,969 for the average Hawaii trip is based on the following assumptions:
- You’re flying from Los Angeles, California, to Oahu, Honolulu
- You are a family of four
- You’re checking into a hotel
- It’s a 7-day Hawaiian vacation
- You will get a rental car
- You’ll book at least two excursions
These assumptions may not fit your exact situation, but they’ll give you a good budget basis for your trip. There are so many things to do in Hawaii that you don’t want to go without a clear budget.
Breakdown of a Trip to Hawaii for a Family of Four
Here is a breakdown of the $8,969 estimated costs to visit Hawaii for seven days:
- Flight: $2,349
- Hotel: $1,652
- Car rental: $968
- Food: $2,100
- Activities: $1,900
If you don’t have this much money earmarked for your Hawaii travels, don’t fret. We’ll explore ways to reduce expenses to fit your budget.
The islands you visit, the time of year you go to Hawaii, and your activities all affect overall costs.
Flight to Hawaii
Unless you live in Hawaii, you’ll have to take a flight to get there. If you’re planning a summer vacation, you’ll want to book as early as possible since airfare goes up for the summer months.
To arrive at the $2,349 ticket price, we checked a flight search engine for the cheapest airline. Although it’s best to check the airline websites directly, several search engines are worth checking.
Some of these include:
- Google Flights
We recommend starting this process weeks or months before you plan to travel to Hawaii. According to Travel and Leisure, the best time to buy your airline ticket to Hawaii is 64 days in advance.
For our search, the best flight we found was $588 roundtrip per person (for a total of $2,349 for four people) on American Airlines.
How to Save Money on Your Flight to Hawaii
Believe it or not, it’s entirely possible to fly to Hawaii for all but free. (You still have to pay $5.60 for taxes per one-way ticket.) How is this possible? Take advantage of airline miles or credit card points to book your tickets.
Contrary to what you may think, you do not have to spend thousands of dollars on your credit card to earn enough points for free flights to Hawaii.
How Much Does a Hotel in Hawaii Cost
Again, unless you have folks waiting to house you for your vacation in Hawaii, you’ll have to pay for lodging. We checked the lowest prices at several popular Hawaii hotels, and our estimate is $1,652 for seven days.
Here are some factors we took into consideration when pricing a hotel:
- At least 4-star reviews on TripAdvisor
- Free WiFi
- Pool and restaurant
The best hotel deal that meets these criteria is $236/night at the Queen Kapiolani Hotel.
Other alternative hotels and pricing include:
- Hotel LaCroix Waikiki $2,149
- Ala Moana hotel $1,843
- Ohana Waikiki $1,813
Note that hotel prices fluctuate depending on how full they are, the size of the room you choose, and other perks, but this number will help you know what to budget. Oahu, especially Waikiki Beach, is one of the least expensive areas to stay in Hawaii.
Of course, there are many luxury resorts in Hawaii. If that’s your priority, you’ll need to adjust your budget accordingly. However, it is possible to stay at a beachfront resort and stick to your budget for your Hawaii vacation with some research.
How to Save Money on Your Hotel in Hawaii
It may surprise you, but did you know you can also book your beach hotel accommodations and pay absolutely nothing? That’s nothing, as in not even taxes or resort fees.
Once again, credit card points allow you to book your entire stay, and although some hotels in Hawaii charge a resort fee, others, such as the Hyatt Regency and the Hilton Hawaiian Village, do not. If you learn how to use travel points to your advantage to book free hotel stays, you can cut lodging expenses out of your vacation budget.
You can even plan island-hop with free flights and hotels so you can visit more than one Hawaiian island!
Renting a Car in Hawaii
Renting a car can be expensive, but it’s worth the cost if you can afford it. With a rental car, you’ll be able to get around the entire island to sightsee and explore.
You’ll also be able to come and go wherever you want, without depending on public transportation schedules or waiting for a taxi. After all, setting a laid-back plan all your own is part of the allure of visiting Hawaii.
You will likely spend between $80 and $120 a day for a 7-day mid-range vehicle rental. At the time of writing, the lowest price was $84 per day or $588 weekly on Hotwire. You can also use other car rental search platforms like Discount Hawaii Car Rental, Turo, or Kayak.
In addition to rental car fees, you also have to consider parking and gas. Most hotels charge for parking. Expect to spend up to $40 per day for hotel parking ($280/week). If you plan to explore the island daily, expect to spend around $100 weekly on gas.
When you factor in parking and gas, it brings the total cost of renting a car up to $968 for a one-week vacation in Hawaii.
Budgeting for Food and Drinks in Hawaii
If you’re adventurous and plan to try as many Hawaiian dishes as possible, plan your budget accordingly. Food on the island is expensive, and planning ahead will help avoid impulse buying. You can also get cheap food at some grocery stores and food trucks, so if you want to cut down on how much you’ll spend on food, research before your trip to find budget-friendly eateries.
We used a family-friendly restaurant to base our prices to determine the total for food and drinks. Sweet E’s Cafe in Honolulu is a popular place for families. They serve breakfast, brunch, and dinner. Using their prices as a guideline, we’ve estimated a daily spend of $70 per adult and $35 for kids eating off a kids’ menu.
That brings the total to approximately $2,100 for food for four people for seven days in Oahu. You can find ways to be more cost-efficient with food if you know that it will be a significant part of your budget. It’s all about planning accordingly and then enjoying yourselves.
Fun Activities and Excursions in Hawaii
Although the world-class white sand beaches are the main reason most people want to visit Hawaii, there’s much more to do on your vacation there. Some of these activities are free, and others are inexpensive; pick and choose what activities you do based on your budget.
A trip to Hawaii is incomplete without partaking in notable activities there, such as snorkeling, hiking, whale-watching, waterfall chasing, swimming with turtles, sunset sailing, and finding the perfect Hawaiian luau for your family.
There is more to do in Hawaii than you will have time for in your short, seven-day stay, so pack your bags and get ready for some fun!
A family-friendly luau, like the Ka Moana Luau at Sea Life Park, is the perfect example of an excursion you may want to book. You’ll need to budget $149 per adult or $596 for four people (children get discounts on their tickets).
Another excursion is the popular Jurassic Park Tour at Kualoa Ranch. Expect to spend $139.95 per adult for this two-hour adventure. That’s a total of $559.80 for a family of four. Based on these estimates, you can expect to spend at least $1,155 on two tours.
This estimate doesn’t include additional activities. Your overall cost will depend on what activities you book. If you plan to book multiple excursions on your seven-day Hawaiian vacation, a budget of $1,900-$3,500 or more is not unreasonable for a family of four.
How to Save Money on Excursions in Hawaii
Vacationers wanting to experience multiple tours and activities should consider purchasing the Go Pass to book their excursions. For instance, the Oahu Go Pass costs about the same as a ticket to most premier luaus. It includes many popular activities at no additional cost, including the Ka Moana Luau.
Taking advantage of deals like the Go Pass can significantly cut expenses while offering plenty of activities to fill your daily itinerary.
Some popular Hawaiian excursions (both free and paid) include:
- Snorkel with turtles
- Tour the USS Arizona Memorial
- Visit the Polynesian Cultural Center
- See the sunset from Haleakala National Park
- Learn to surf at the famous Waikiki Beach
- Hike Diamond Head on the island of Oahu
- Drive the Road to Hana
- Enjoy the nightlife at your oceanfront resort
- Take a helicopter ride over a rainforest
Planning helps reduce the cost of a trip to Hawaii. Consider alternatives such as using credit card points to pay for your flights and hotel stays. Use Go City Pass for your excursions. With some planning, you can cut the cost of a trip to Hawaii by half.
Whether you visit Maui, the Big Island of Hawaii, Oahu, or Kauai, there’s so much to see and do on your Hawaii vacation. No matter your budget, you’ll find the Aloha spirit and plenty of unique adventures waiting for you there.
This post originally appeared on Savoteur.