How much for a trip to Hawaii? (Budget calculator)

Hawaii trip cost calculator You’ve seen ads for Hawaii featuring photos of beautiful white sand beaches, palm trees and the bluest of blue water. Now you want to go, but you have no idea how much a trip to Hawaii costs. Where do you start?

In this article, I’m providing you with the easy-to-use estimates to calculate your personal Hawaii trip budget. It can’t be exact, but it will give you a rough idea of how much to budget.

Before we jump to the calculator, it’s worthwhile to discuss why there’s not an easy answer when it comes to determining a Hawaii vacation budget. The challenges are that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer since multiple factors influence the budget.

Let’s look at some of the main factors that influence a Hawaii vacation budget:

  • When you go to Hawaii. Some dates/times are cheaper than others. When demand is down, so are the price of flights and hotels. See my post on the best time to go to Hawaii for tips.
  • How far you’re flying. For example, West Coast flights are generally cheaper than Mid-west or East Coast flights because there is less distance, i.e. less fuel and cost.
  • Whether you typically prefer budget, mid-range or luxury hotels.
  • The length of your stay.
  • Whether you prefer fine dining or eating on the cheap.
  • Whether you want to go on guided tours or you’re willing to create your own tours.

I could go on with more examples, but these factors are the biggies. Hopefully, you can see that there’s no easy answer when someone asks me how much money do they need to go to Hawaii.

Though we can’t wave a magic want to determine your perfect budget for a Hawaii trip, you can review the following numbers to generate your budget to Hawaii. Just remember, these are rough numbers that can vary from city to city, island to island, etc.

I recommend that you print out this page to follow along for estimating your cost to visit Hawaii. At the bottom of this post, you will see an icon to generate a printer-friendly version of this page.

 

Flights

As I mentioned, fares vary but they are mostly dependent upon how far you’re flying and when you’re flying. You can always use a fare finder to determine a more exact estimate from your home airport. I really like the simplicity of  CheapAir.com for finding fare estimates.  For rough numbers, estimate the cost of flights (including taxes and fees)  as follows:

  • East Coast to Hawaii – $900 per person (Note: we fly from the East Coast to Hawaii. Over our many trips to Hawaii, we’ve spent as little as $575 and as much as $1250 per person.)
  • Mid-West – $750 per person
  • West- Coast – $475 per person

To estimate your flight costs:

______ cost per person   x  ______ number of travelers   = ______ estimated cost of flights

 

Accommodations

The cost of accommodations mostly vary based on the type of property – budget to luxury. (In our many trips to Hawaii, we’ve paid as little as $150 per night to as much as $525 or more.) Through the first six months of 2012, the statewide average hotel rate was $201 per night. You can find hotels that are fairly nice and clean for less than the average. You can also spend quite a bit more if you’re aiming for a luxury Hawaii vacation.

In addition to the hotel rate, don’t forget to add taxes, which might surprise you at a rate of 13.416%. So, to that $201 average hotel rate add another $26.97 for taxes for a total of $227.97.

To estimate your cost for lodging using the statewide average follow this formula:

$227.97 (avg cost/night)   x  ______ number of nights   x ______number of rooms you need = _______ estimated cost of accommodations

(Of course you can spend more or less than $227.97 per night, but that gives you a starting point to estimate the cost to stay in Hawaii.)

 

Rental Car

You will most likely want a rental car for Hawaii sightseeing adventures. If you are staying on Lanai or in Waikiki, you might not need a rental car, but for all other Hawaii destinations, I highly recommend getting a rental car. (See more about where we advise renting a car in Hawaii.)

Depending on what you rent and which method of booking, rental car rates will vary. See our tips for saving money on rental cars in Hawaii.

Including taxes, you can use a rough number of $40 per day for an economy or mid-sized car. To estimate your cost for renting a car, use this formula:

$40 per day   x  _______ number of days =  _______ estimated cost of rental car

 

Dining

Estimating the cost to dine in Hawaii is yet another one of those factors that can range from a little to a lot.  As a rough round number, I think estimating $70 per person per day is doable without skimping too much or overdoing it. (See our tips for saving money on dining and meals in Hawaii.) That would be $15 for breakfast, $15 for lunch, and $40 for dinner. (By the way, it’s not unheard of to drop $25 or more for breakfast or lunch at high-end Hawaii resorts.)

To estimate your budget for meals, use this formula:

$70 per person per day x _______ number of people x _______ number of nights =   ________ estimated cost for meals

 

Total Budget for Your Hawaii Vacation

Now, add up each of the four estimates to get your budget.

Estimated cost of flights _______

+

Estimated cost of accommodations _______

+

Estimated cost of rental car _______

+

Estimated cost for meals ________

==================================

______________ = Your rough budget to vacation in Hawaii

 

Example Budget for a Couple Traveling to Hawaii from the East Coast for a Week

Now, using the numbers above, I calculated the following for a 7-night Hawaii vacation for two people flying from the East Coast.

Flights = $900 per person x 2 people = $1,800.00

Accommodations = $227.97 per night  x 7 nights = $1,596

Rental car = $40 per day x 8 days = $320 (I use eight days instead of seven since most times, the return hour is later than pick up.)

Dining = $70 per person per day x 2 people x 7 days = $980

The grand total for this example is $4,696.

 

Other Expenses to Consider

These estimates do not include:

 

Final Thoughts

I want to reiterate that your exact costs depend on your preferences and a bit of luck. You might catch an airfare sale and save $100 to $300 per person. You might find a hotel deal that includes breakfast.  I could go on and on.

You can definitely spend less in each of the main categories. On the flip side, you can certainly spend more – a lot more. It’s all up to you. I just wanted to provide rough numbers that are, in my opinion, realistic, middle of the road costs.

How much money do you budget when you go to Hawaii? What is your length of stay with that budget?


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About Sheila Beal

Sheila Beal is the founder and editor of Go Visit Hawaii. You can connect with Sheila Beal on Twitter, Go Visit Hawaii on Facebook, or Sheila Beal on Google+.

14 comments

  1. Thanks! This was helpful!!

  2. Informative post, Sheila! I would also add gratuity to the list of expenses. That can add up depending on how generous you want to be for housekeeping and the wait staff when dining out.

    For my upcoming Hawaii trip, I actually factored in my award miles that I’ve accrued over the last couple years. Luckily, I was able to use my miles to book my roundtrip airfare…saving up to $650 if I had paid for it.

  3. Very helpful, thanks for this. I think people underestimate how much things will cost and it’s important to sit down and go through a detailed list – including the little things you mention that they might not originally think of like souvenirs, tours, etc.

  4. its really helpful. Will let my friends know about it.

    thank you.

  5. Hey for the airfare cost the estimated flying cost you came up with is that for a round trip? or only to Hawii? I would love to know a how much I need for in a couple years Im planning to flyout there with my boyfriend!

  6. Very useful post, thanks!

  7. I just booked a trip to Kauai, HI for April, 2013 for 8 nights and 9 days. Roundtrip airfair, hotel and rental car, i even included resort fees, rental car taxes, and parking at the airport in my home state (Colorado). There are two of us going and NOT including meals,gas for rental car and souviners. Total was $3415.00. That is only $1707.74 a person. SO you can do alot cheaper if you look. My advice is find a reputable travel agent. They know of discounts that we cant find.. Have fun.!!

  8. Hi thank you for the great information. Will you happen to know if Nov is a good time to go to Hawaii? I know flights look like they go for cheaper, but I have no idea on the weather. Most likely to visit Maui. Thank you

  9. Chatch Fed and Almby

    Just starting our “three 50 year old gals” trip to Hawaii planning. Need all the advice we can get! this site is helpful for sure. Thanks so much.

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