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?