How Much Money Should You Budget for Your Hawaiian Vacation? (2007 estimate)

UPDATE:  This article was written in 2007.  See the 2008 update on Hawaii vacation budget.

Are you sitting down? OK, prepare yourself. Take deep breaths. Are you ready? The average family of four should budget $650 per day for food and lodging, according to the 2007 AAA survey. I think Robbie Dingeman at the Honolulu Advertiser aptly and succinctly responded to this report by saying, “Ouch!”

Either I’m the best bargain hunter of the world or the AAA family of four is staying in two separate hotel rooms and dining on lobster for breakfast lunch and dinner. I think the people conducting the AAA survey might need to start attending AA meetings. Personally, I don’t think we have come near that rate, except for one time when we splurged and stayed at the Mauna Lani on the Big Island.

I do admit, Hawaii is an expensive vacation destination, but its price tag is justified. I don’t know of anyone who has returned from a Hawaiian vacation who didn’t gush about how beautiful it was, how much they loved it, and how they couldn’t wait to go back. Obviously, I love Hawaii, but sometimes I’ve considered “cheating” on Hawaii and possibly going somewhere closer to me such as the Caribbean or off the coast of North Carolina or to Florida. Every time I start to look in the vacation costs of these other destinations, I realize that for about the same price I can go to Hawaii.

The Honolulu Advertiser spoke to the State tourism liaison Marsha Wienert who was not surprised by the survey results as the Hawaii “Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism has been reporting average visitor spending at about $175 a person.” For a family of four that would be $700 per day.

So, what do you think of the latest survey? Is $650/day for lodging and meals for a family of four what you might expect?

  1. Okay, so maybe this will sound biased because I already live in Hawaii and know the cheap places to stay and eat, but $650 per day sound really expensive to me!

    There is just so much information online now-a-days, that if you spent some time researching before flying over, you could save yourself a bundle!

  2. I booked a family of 5 from Los Angeles in August to Hawaii and each passenger pays 620.00 per person for the entire stay (hotel, air, rental car for 7 days) the hotel property they are starying includes free meals for the kids. There are deals out there. The best way to save is to plan your vacation with plenty of time, don’t wait until the last minute. I always advice my clients to plan in advance.

  3. Silvia – Wow that sounds like a great deal considering it includes the flights, rental car and all the kid’s meals. Thanks so much for your input!

  4. Another thing I have done when I went to San Francisco and they have it for Hawaii as well is getting the Go Card for all the attractions and great stuff to do. I plan on doing this when we go to Oahu. I have figured out the attractions we want to do, figured out how much it would be and it was more expensive then getting the go card, and we get more stuff with the card. It will save us a bundle!

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