What Hawaii hotel data tells us about most and least expensive times for a vacation

Which island is the least expensive for a Hawaii vaction? When is the least expensive time of year to visit Hawaii? Let’s take a look at what the data shows us.

You could say I’m a bit nerdy when it comes to tracking Hawaii data. It’s a “hazard” of having an engineering degree. Other than being interested in the data, there’s information to glean that will help you save money on a Hawaii vacation.

If a picture can say a thousand words, a chart can, too. So I’ve charted 2023 Hawaii hotel data to show the following information:

  • Average hotel rate (in US dollars) by month
  • The average hotel rate for the entire year ($378)

Let’s dive into this chart to look at what this data tells us.

When are the least expensive months to visit Hawaii?

The cheapest months to visit Hawaii are May, September, October and November. Hotel rates for each of those months are noticeably under the yearly average.

As a side note, let’s talk about the wonderful month of May. If we could only choose one month out of the year to visit Hawaii, it would be in the month of May. Not only is it a relatively inexpensive month to visit Hawaii, the weather tends to be quite nice as it’s past the rainy season and not too hot. Occupancy tends to be below average in May as well, so you have less trouble getting reservations for restaurants and attractions. May is definitely the sweet spot for visiting Hawaii.

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When are the most expensive months to visit Hawaii?

As a whole, December is the most expensive month for a Hawaii vacation. What’s interesting about December data that’s not shown in the chart is that for the first two to three weeks in December, hotel rates trend towards the yearly average. What drives the rates so far above normal are the Christmas and New Year holidays. Hotel rates for those holidays skyrocket to the most expensive rates of the year. If you are looking to save money, Christmas and New Year’s are not the time to visit. That being said, Christmas, in particular, is a special time to visit Hawaii. New Year’s is quite nice too, with several towns and hotels hosting fireworks shows.

Hotel rates in the months of June and July are also above average. These months are popular for summer vacations for families.

Which of the Hawaiian Islands are the most expensive for a hotel stay?

With the tragic wildfires in Maui in August of 2023, the annual data can be a bit skewed. We felt that looking at a single month would show a more accurate depiction rather than looking at the entire year. So, let’s look at July 2023 for a snapshot. For July the statewide average daily hotel rate was $409. Here are the average daily hotel rates by island.

  • Oahu – $306
  • Maui – $656
  • Kauai – $459
  • Hawaii (Big) Island – $442

As you can see, Maui’s hotel rates are significantly above average at $656. The luxury hotels in Wailea are a big driver for Maui’s high rate. The average daily rate for a hotel in Wailea is not for the “faint-of-wallet” at a whopping  $1,022 in July.

On the flip side, Oahu’s average hotel rate was below average at $306. The more budget-friendly hotels of Waikiki help bring Oahu’s average rate below the statewide figure. The average daily rate of a Waikiki hotel was $291 in July.

More interesting Hawaii tourism numbers

In 2023, 9,644,519 people visited the Aloha State. This number is down slightly (7.1%) in comparison to 2019 with a record number of 10,386,678 visitors.

Here’s the breakdown of which islands these 9,644,519 tourists visited. (Note that some visitors traveled to more than one island.):

  • Oahu – 5,614,956
  • Maui – 2,476,751
  • Kauai – 1,416,856
  • Hawaii (Big) Island – 1,766,697

The Hawaii Tourism Authority estimates that these visitors spent $20.78 billion in 2023. Even though there were more visitors in 2019 compared to 2023, overall visitor spending was higher in 2023 by 17.3%. That means that a Hawaii vacation is much more expensive than it was pre-2020.

If you need help determining how much a vacation will cost, see our article that helps you plan your Hawaii vacation budget.

Did any of this data surprise you?

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