How much for a trip to Hawaii in 2021? (Budget calculator)

This page has been updated with the most recent data in May 2021.

You’ve seen ads for Hawaii featuring photos of beautiful beaches lined with 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? Good news, you’ve found the right place to help you estimate a Hawaii vacation budget!

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 start budgeting for a Hawaii vacation.

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 usually 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

Hawaii trip cost calculatorI 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.



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 for finding fare estimates using their “Flexible Date” tab. Another site to check for comparison is Airfare Watch Dog, which is our go-to site to alert us to fare sales. (See our strategies for getting the cheapest airfare to Hawaii to save money.) 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 (We’ve seen fares as low as $258 on a fare sale.)

To estimate your flight costs:

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



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 and up.) For April 2021, the statewide average Hawaii hotel rate was $300 per night per reports issued by the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

You can find hotels and condos that are fairly nice and clean for less than the average — especially if you are willing to book a room or condo without an ocean view. (See our article for advice on saving money on Hawaii accommodations.) 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 14.962%. So, to that $278 average hotel rate, add another $44.89 for taxes for a total of $344.89.

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

$344.89 (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 $344.89 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.

Prior to the 2021 rental car shortage, including taxes, you could have expected to use a rough number of $40 per day for an economy or mid-sized car. When the demand for rental cars bottomed out in 2020, rental car companies sold off much of their fleets. Then in 2021, when more people started traveling, rental cars became difficult to find and extremely expensive in Hawaii. If you’re lucky enough to secure a rental car booking at all, expect to pay anywhere from $100 and up per day.

To estimate your cost for renting a car, use this formula:

$100 per day   x  _______ number of days =  _______ estimated cost of rental car



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

Accommodations = $344.89 per night  x 7 nights = $2,414

Rental car = $100 per day x 8 days = $800 (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 $5,994.


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?

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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.!!

    1. Random. We live in Colorado and are planning our first trip to Hawaii in September of this year. I’d love to know who you worked with to get you those great prices!

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. Hello everyone, I NEED HELP!!!!
    My cousin has invited me to visit her in Honolulu. I always thought I would visit her in the fall so I would always check for airfare flying from san diego to honolulu in the fall, but it looks like i wont be able to visit her until March 2015…. I had not researched tickets during sprink break in Hawaii and have no idea what the average decent price to pay is. Right now im looking at Hawaiian airlines $634 per person this a good price to pay as they were as cheap as $350 during fall season just last year

  8. Sheila thank you for responding sooo quickly. I understand prices can go up or down, another family member went to honolulu from san diego for $900 last March and I really didnt believe it but then again he got his tickets 2 weeks before so I guess you never know right?

  9. Firstly…for first timers to Hawaii found this site superb. My better I/2 and I leave next week for 7 days on Oahu (Waikiki) followed by a week on Maui (Lahania). With business class flights there and back using airmiles ($7500 Cdn for $380 round trip). Hotel in Waikki with breakfast, $1248 taxes in, and Maui same price no breakfast. Airport transfers are the $23 (Oahu) bucks and 58 (Maui). Inter island flight 55 bucks. Plan travelling on bus tours/trolley bus etc…no plans to rent a car this time around. I have just retired at 52…and hope to get to know the islands well in the years ahead. Including via a cruise. Thanks again for putting the site together. It’s solidly bookmarked!

    1. Kev – thanks for the kind words and for sharing the costs for your upcoming trip to Oahu and Maui. Enjoy!

      1. Dear Shelia, I have a question. I need to find three airlines that match 3600 dollars, as there are 4 people in my family. Your post was very helpful, and so I thought maybe you were the person who could find hotels that match 3600 dollars. Can you please do this for me? Thanks, Lily.

  10. Just finished planning and budgeting our first trip to Hawaii. It’ll only be a few days, and I’m going to take the cheapest route possible, if only to serve as a reference point for our next trip.

    With the flight/ hotel package, we’re paying 600 a person, leaving from California. Including meals, that brings us to about 1650. ( I don’t plan on skimping the meal budget, there has to be a limit to my frugality) I may rent a scooter to sight see or necessary travel, but I’m really hoping to not drive around too much, thus negating the rental car cost. This keeps us under 2,000 dollars. I’m still going to budget for 3,000, as I don’t want this trip to sour in the interest of saving money.

  11. Thanks for this post! I think this is a really good starting point when planning for a Hawaii trip. These are pretty typical middle of the road budgets. My husband and I just got back from a trip this month and saved significantly by using points for flights, renting a well equipped guest house in Kona (Big Island) for $110 a night and cooking all but 3 of our dinners over 10 days (2 travel days). Our actual amount spent for the full 10 days (including travel days) was:
    Flights: $20
    House Rental 8 nights (with cleaning and taxes): $1150
    Rental Car: $241
    Other Travel (airport parking + rental car gas): $180
    Food: $463
    Activities and Shopping (fishing charter, manta ray snorkel, tour, spa, tips, gifts: $1153
    Grand Total: $3207

    We intentionally saved significantly by getting groceries (and gas) at Costco and cooking our own dinners primary as well as staying in a rental guest house instead of a resort so we could splurge more on activities. I like the idea of using the numbers above to plan as a baseline with the idea that you can save if you are intentionally thrifty in some areas. I agree $50-$70 per person per day is very typical if you plan to eat every meal out. We spent $60 one night that we want out for sushi (without drinks) and even the really casual places like Pizza Hut are more expensive there (around $35 for 2 people including sodas).

  12. My husband and I took our honeymoon in Hawaii about a year ago and ended up spending over 7100$ between everything for 8 days. Your calculator is a great tool for a base estimate with the exception of excursion costs. If you plan on doing any excursions/sightseeing/surf lessons/pearl harbor/luaus… those can add up as quickly as food, especially if you do any helicopter rides (which avg 60$ per 10min). We split our time in Honolulu exploring Ohau and in Maui and spent probably and avg of 275$ (between us) a day on excursions alone, although I would estimate that 150-200$ a day is a more normal estimate for a couple, or 75-100$ per day per person.

    1. Rebecca – yes, excursions do quickly add up! Thanks for adding your estimate for what you spent on tours. We do note in the article that tours are an extra expense to consider when budgeting a trip to Hawaii. However, many people don’t like going on guided tours, so including tour costs is not a Hawaii trip requirement/necessity. There are a ton of amazing things to see and do in Hawaii without ever going on paid tours. For example, seeing Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial is absolutely free, so there’s no need to pay a tour company to go to Pearl Harbor.

      Regarding luaus, it’s worth noting that a luau includes dinner, so in budgeting, either budget in a dinner or a luau, but not both.

  13. Sheila, I would like your input on a matter. I have never been to Hawaii, but have always longed to since a child. I would like to plan a trip there in the future, but I am not sure where to go. You see I am more interested in the more primitive parts of the land, as opposed to the more “touristy” part. I love the idea of the volcanos and wonderful hiking trails and being close to the naturalistic aspect of the country. But I still would like to be near some nice beaches. If you’ve seen enough of Hawaii maybe you can give me some input. Thanks!

    1. Jasmine – check out our article that’s designed to pick the perfect island(s) for your Hawaii vacation: You can download free guides and there are lots of resources. Almost every island suits your interests, but if you review the resources, it should help you hone in on the islands that seem to resonate with you the most. I will add that our favorite island for hiking is Kauai.

  14. Thanks for this information! We are travelling from New Zealand to Hawaii early 2016 and have absolutely no idea how much to expect to pay in terms of food, accommodation etc. Are all islands similar in price? We are looking at heading to Oahu and Big Island for 7 days each. I am amazed at how realistic traveling to Hawaii is for us – flights are only $1000NZD return(approx. $690USD) the biggest cost seems to be accommodation

    1. Leah – that’s an amazing deal on flights! It costs many folks on the US mainland more than that!

      The average accommodation price on Maui is higher than the other islands. Restaurant prices on Oahu seem to be a tad lower compared to the other islands. Also, you can usually get a better deal on a luau on Oahu.

  15. My boyfriend and I went to Kauai this last October for a week and are planning for another trip in a year or two. We saved significantly on flights by using frequent flyer points. Our costs were: flight: free (would be around $800-$900 per person from the mid-west), hotel: $800 (“garden” facing room and a discount after switching from another hotel), rental car: $250, food: (estimate) $100 per day, we did spend a significant amount at Walmart on things like snacks, cases of water, and beach towels (which were nowhere to be found in Kansas in October). We did a lot of free activities, but did pay $60 to Kayak Kauai for a really stellar kayak trip and bought a lot of souvenirs (tshirts, rum, coffee, etc). We spent somewhere around $2,000 for the week. We saved huge on flights and are pretty darn cheap in most other aspects. That being said, we had a great time and plan to again! You don’t have to spend a lot to really enjoy yourself 🙂

  16. Our daughter is serving as a camp counselor in Oahu North Shore this summer, so we (five of us) are planning to visit in late June for her birthday. Does anyone know the cost to visit the Big Island from Oahu? This might be my closest shot at seeing the Mauna Kea summit.

    1. Brett –

      You can find guided day tours to the Big Island from Oahu. They include everything like flights, ground transportation and guided tour.

      A cheaper method is to plan your own trip. Use the resources on this post to price out the cost of inter-island flights: You’d need a rental car as well. See our page on saving money on rental cars:

  17. This is very informative. We will be taking our first trip in May 2017 and this helped me a lot in knowing what to expect financially speaking.

    1. I am planning a trip to Hawaii around jan,Feb of 2018, approximately 8 people. I’m wondering how much it might cost to fly round trip?

      1. Look at the Flights section of the above article. It has all the resources for you to estimate your own costs.

  18. My husband and I are planning our honeymoon to Maui in the first week of December. We would love to stay at a nice resort like the Sheraton/ Westin/ grand wailea and I’ve found good deals for this time of year but I’ve read that these get really crowded. Being that it’s an off season time do you think the beach and pools will be more quiet?

  19. We are planning our first trip to Hawaii in Jun of 2018. The wife and I turn 50, it’s our 20th Anniversary, and it’s our son’s HS graduation. It’s our “Once in a Lifetime” trip! I’ve been saving for about 3 years and we’ve saved about $10K for our family of four. Our dates are just now opening up to book for June of ’18 and it’s been a bit of a shock! Looks like I’m gonna need to save at least another $3-4K before next year. The one option we may decide to use is AirBNB rather than staying in hotel/restorts. I hate the idea of my kids having to sleep on a sleeper sofa when they can sleep in an actual bed. I also hate the idea of all those resort fees and parking fees. Anyways, thanks for some great articles and tips. As much as I hate “procrastinating”, we might need to wait a little bit to see if the airfares drop more since the sweet spot recommendation for lower prices is about 5-6 months out.

  20. Yay! I am so glad I found this article because when it comes to planning for a trip… my mind is all over the place! This made it so simpler! Like really easy and small and really the only thing I’ll have to figure costs for is the places I want to check out which should be easy to book online. Hawaii will be my second oversees trip and it is going to be with significant other and it will be our first trip so I wanted it to be fun and he wants to go too. Thank you for this article because it made it so more easier for me!

  21. sheila your calculator is very helpful you do a great job
    my wife &i are planing a trip to celebrate our 54th wed aniv. oct 2018 i belive most estim. are spot on but do not forget travel insur. unless you are a big gambler
    many thanks for all you do

  22. Great article! I’m planning a 10 day trip to Oahu and Big Island in May 2018. From my research and bookings this seems like pretty good estimates except for the rental car estimates. I think this was posted a few years ago. I’m finding the lowest prices on rental cars run about 75.00 per day for economy and then up into the 80.00’s for midsize and full size.

  23. The two of us just did 8 nights (4 in Kauai, 4 in Maui) for $3002 (or $1501 each) for just the flights, lodging and rental car. However, if we had just stayed in Maui, rather than flying to Kauai too, it would have only been $2502… but I was dead set on hopping over to Kauai, and it was more than worth it!.
    After including all other expenses like food, parking, gas, and activities (sunset catamaran, doors-off helicopter, a luau, and snorkeling), it came to $4432, or $2216 each.
    It helped that our flights to Maui from Austin were only $247 round trip since we purchased during the Southwest deal. Our round trip inter-island flights from Maui to Kauai actually cost more than getting to Hawaii in the first place!
    We also used Hotwire to get our lodging at the last minute (2 days before for each location), so we were able to get condos that are normally $300/nt for less than $150/nt. For the rental cars we used Discount Hawaii Car Rental to book them and kept checking prices up until the date of the trip to rebook if prices declined (which they did more than once, including just 2 days beforehand, so keep checking!). We booked a jeep for both locations so we could have the top down and have 4 wheel drive, but if you rent a smaller car, your rental car would be half what ours was (ours was about $475 total, both islands).
    Our food total was less than $200 for the entire trip, but two of our activities also provided food (dinner catamaran and luau). We only ate at sit down restaurants twice, and most of our meals (including the very best ones!) were from small markets and food trucks. The best poke we had was from Ishihara market and cost only $5 bucks for a container plus a side of rice!
    Our activities total was $1257. We got a military discount on many of the activities so if you are military/veteran always ask if they have one! We splurged for a private doors-off helicopter (which i absolutely recommend over doors-on, its totally worth it!) @ $310 each. $112 each for the Old Lahaina Luau, and $148 each for sunset Na Pali catamaran w/surf & turf dinner and open bar included. For snorkeling, we just rented snorkeling gear in each location and went at our leisure to various spots on the islands. We did some free activities which were just as exciting and memorable, if not more than, some of the expensive ones. These included hiking the Awa’awapuhi, Pihea & Alakai swamp trails, seeing Waimea canyon, and driving the Road to Hana (and all the fun stops along the way of course). The views on the Kauai trails and swimming in the waterfalls/beaches along the Road to Hana were unforgettable and absolute highlights of our trip, so it’s definitely possible to spend $0 on activities in Hawaii and not regret it.

    Hope this info helps. We loved it so much there, we are already tentatively planning our next trip!

  24. Been to Hawaii 5 times, recent as August this year. Probably not any more.
    The Australian dollar is crap, the hotel prices, drinks and costs are going through the roof.
    Shame as we love it.

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