Can you live cheaply in Hawaii?
Hawaii: That's what a vacation in paradise costs
Hawaii is one of the most expensive vacation destinations in the world. From a European perspective, the US state is almost at the other end of the world: a bit north of the equator in the middle of the Pacific - and as far away from the continents as there is hardly any other corner of the world. Most everyday items need to be imported. The US dollar has been consistently strong for quite some time. If you want to go to Hawaii, you should know that it can get expensive.
In this article, I clearly break down how expensive a Hawaii vacation really is. Here you will find numerous price examples for flights, food, hotels, surf lessons and souvenirs, experience and tips that can save you money on your trip.
Do you need help planning your vacation instead? Then this way: Individually to Hawaii. This is how vacation planning works.
Or go straight to the island guide: Island hopping Hawaii: Which island is the right one for you?
The Cost of the Hawaii Vacation: Table of Contents
The most important things in a nutshell: calculation, currencies and rates
First of all, a few important information that should help you to calculate the costs of your planned Hawaii trip: The prices mentioned in this article are based on the Experience of a three-week Hawaii trip for twoas a pair, but are considered a cost per person specified. Exception: The costs for our rental cars and accommodation (in a double room) are as total cost expelled.
If you plan to travel alone, you will also pay the latter alone, which makes it more expensive overall. Single rooms are rare and discounts for single occupancy are not always granted. At the same time, the price per person drops if, for example, you share a rental car with several people.
The prices in this article are with the exception of the airfare from Germany to Hawaii in U.S. dollar given because the dollar exchange rate has fluctuated strongly against the euro for years, but the dollar itself is stable and prices only fluctuate seasonally. So you always have the opportunity to expect the current course. You can find it here.
This article will be updated periodically to keep all prices and information current.
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That's what the flight to Hawaii costs
Separate Hawaii and Germany almost 12,000 kilometers as the crow flies. So it's no wonder that the flight isn't cheap. We paid for our tickets from Frankfurt to Honolulu and back per person 910 euros; We flew with Delta. We had stopovers on the outbound flight in Paris and Seattle and on the return flight in Salt Lake City and Atlanta. The length of stay was relatively short at all intermediate stops, so that not too much time was lost.
910 euros is a very good price, because flights to Hawaii are also available for far more than 1000 euros. For us, however, that was the magical limit. Every now and then there are even cheaper offers. I've seen flights to Hawaii for 600 euros.
Finding a really cheap flight is always a gamble. How you can help your luck on the jumps, I'll explain to you here: You are guaranteed to find the cheapest flight.
By the way: There are no direct flights from Germany to Honolulu due to the great distance. However, there is the option of flying from Frankfurt to Honolulu with just one stopover. That goes with, for example Condor and Alaskan Airlines via Seattle, with Lufthansa or Air Canada via Vancouver or with British Airways via London. In all of these cities you can make a stopover with an overnight stay relatively easily.
That's what Interisland flights cost in Hawaii
If you are in Hawaii from island to island want to travel, the plane is the fastest and most comfortable mode of transport. Ferries also run between some islands, but they take much longer and are not necessarily cheaper.
These airlines offer inter-island flights
Island Air flies between Oahu, Kauai, Maui and Lanai, Hawaiian serves all islands, mainland America, Australia and Oceania, and East Asia. Mokulele is a commuter airline and only flies to smaller airports on the islands. Interisland flights cost anywhere from $ 50 to $ 150, depending on when you book.
Danger: All Hawaii airlines charge an additional fee for checked baggage, which is payable at check-in. The fee is between $ 15 and $ 35, depending on the airline and baggage.
Our flights, prices per person:
- Honolulu, Oahu - Kahului, Maui: $ 68 flight plus $ 15 baggage fee, with Islandair.
- Kahului, Maui - Hilo, Big Island: $ 130 flight plus $ 25 baggage fee with Hawaiian Airlines.
- Kona, Big Island - Honolulu, Oahu: $ 95 flight plus $ 25 baggage fee with Hawaiian Airlines.
Total cost of flights per person: 910 euros plus 358 dollars for Interisland flights.
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That is what a rental car in Hawaii costs
You can theoretically get around without your own car. On Oahu, a bus runs around the island and there is also public transport and tour operators on Maui and the Big Island. However you are highly limitedif you don't have your own car and you miss a lot. The public transport infrastructure as a whole is, let's be honest, quite modest.
A rental car costs from $ 35 a day, there are discounts if you rent for a longer period.
A little tip for choosing a rental car: On Hawai’i Island, also known colloquially as the Big Island, a four-wheel drive car is worthwhile, and a convertible is worthwhile on Maui. The Road to Hana is even more beautiful without a car roof!
The Big Island has many steep, dirt roads to secluded bays or up to Mauna Kea. Most landlords officially do not allow driving on the unpaved roads, but so what.
In the first two days in Honolulu we didn't rent a car because we only wanted to go from the hotel to the beach to cure our jetlag there.
The drive from Honolulu Airport to Waikiki Beach costs 16 dollars each way per person with the airport shuttle.
Our rental cars at a glance
- Maui: Ford Mustang Convertible, 6 days: 430 USD
- Big Island: Jeep Wrangler, 7 days: 370 USD
- Oahu: Ford Focus, 4 days: 170 USD
Although fuel is about 30 cents more expensive per gallon than on the US mainland, it costs around 4 dollars (As of November 2014). But you don't need much either. Apart from the routes on the Big Island, all routes are very short and we have around $ 100 for refueling issued.
Fuel price update April 2017: Fuel prices in the US fell sharply last year - both on the mainland and in Hawaii - and are currently stable. The gallon is currently available for around $ 2.50 to $ 2.80 (source).
Our total cost for rental cars, fuel, and transfers: $ 1,134.
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This is how much a hotel room in Hawaii costs
Overnight stays in Hawaii are significantly cheaper in the off-season than high season when you pay up to $ 250 a night for a shabby little room at the three-star Waikiki Beach hotel. Unfortunately, AirBnb is not particularly cheap either, mainly because many providers are very professional and do not offer their private rooms, but their Bed & Breakfast guest rooms.
There are a few hostels and one motel. Overall, large, expensive holiday hotels and resorts dominate.
iCost-conscious travelers also have the option of camping. Wild camping is not allowed in Hawaii. However, there are a number of Tents and pitches for campervans. A campsite costs at a simple campsite from about $ 15 a night, Pitches are a little more expensive. Some places rent bungalows, starting at around $ 80. A list of the places, including prices and reservation options, can be found here.
Our accommodations and the total prices
- 2 nights Waikiki Beach, Aston Waikiki Beach, Double Room with Queen Size Bed: 235 dollars.
- 6 nights Kihei, Maui, Days Inn Maui Oceanfront, Double Room with Queen Size Bed: $ 560.
- 3 nights Hilo, Big Island, AirBnb private apartment with balcony, small kitchen and living room: 235 dollars. If you prefer to book a hotel here, the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel is an alternative. The double room is available there from around, depending on the season 150 dollars per night.
- 4 nights Kailua-Kona, Big Island, Sheraton Kona Resort, Double Room with King Size Bed: $ 590, plus $ 100 resort fee (including parking, mandatory).
- 3 nights Waialua, Oahu, AirBnB private room with queen-size bed, shared kitchen and bathroom: $ 280. There are no hotels in Waialua and Haleiwa on the north coast. The closest hotel is the Turtle Bay Resort. The double room costs there around $ 300 - but per night.
Our total overnight cost: $ 2,000
Hawaii is expensive - and that although we were there in the off-season and benefited from slightly lower overnight prices. Much greater than the savings potential in Hawaii is definitely the upside potential. You can also easily spend three times as much on overnight stays, and that's far from the top.
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That costs food in Hawaii
eating is in the USA generally a bit more expensive than in Europe - If the dollar rate is good, we hardly notice it. It is even a little more expensive in Hawaii than on the mainland, because the majority of all food is not produced locally, but imported from the mainland.
Even food that is produced on the islands is usually expensive because little of it is sold regionally. Most of the pineapples produced in Hawaii, for example, are exported and the pineapples you buy in the supermarket don't come from the field next door, but from Southeast Asia.
We have booked all of our accommodations without breakfast and instead shopped for breakfast in the supermarket or in bakeries and often also for the lunch picnic in order to save costs.
Sandwiches, salads and wraps are also available in ABC stores, the Hawaiian mini supermarkets that can be found on every corner in more touristy areas. Really good organic salads to put together yourself in the environmentally friendly waste paper tray are available at Wholefoods (there are two branches on Oahu and one on Maui).
You can find warm, comparatively inexpensive food to take away in supermarkets, on food trucks and in fast food shops. From Burger King to Wendy's, all the well-known American fast food chains are represented in Hawaii.
Eating out in the restaurant is expensive mainly because of the obligatory prices on the menu Tip comes. 15 to 20 percent are expected. With the tip you pay a fixed part of the wages for waiters, cooks and co.
You can get food in a restaurant from around 15 dollars, plus taxes and tips, but everything is open to the top. It is cheaper on the snack trolley or in a snack bar.
A little hint: If you would like to eat in a restaurant, I recommend lunch. At lunchtime, food costs only half in many restaurants.
A few price examples for food in Hawaii:
- Fresh burger with fresh fries in the restaurant: 18 dollars
- Thai curry with chicken or tofu, rice and drink on the snack cart: 10 dollars
- Half a lobster on the snack cart: 20 dollars
Lobster in the restaurant: 50 dollars
- Wrap with lettuce, chicken, avocado and tomatoes, on the snack trolley: 7 dollars
- ABC Store Sandwich: $ 7
- Fresh passion fruit smoothie on the Road to Hana: 7 dollars
- Fresh coconut from the roadside: $ 6
- Ready-made salad from the supermarket: 8 dollars
- Pack of toast: 4 dollars
- Fruit yogurt: 3 dollars (yes, such a small 150 gram yogurt)
- Small beer: From around 3 dollars on the snack trolley, round 7 dollars in the bar or in the restaurant. Six-pack in the supermarket: From $ 8.
- 1.5 liter bottle of water: from 1 dollar. In Hawaii, tap water is also drinkable, but some are chlorinated. Is not for everyone. On the other hand, filters help that are used, for example, in this super practical drinking bottle.
Tip: Some supermarket chains offer discounts if you get a loyalty card. At Foodland you can also get them as a tourist. To do this, you have to enter your mobile phone number once and you can get huge discounts from now on. For example 3 yogurts for 3 dollars. There are many 3 for 2, 2 for 1 and similar offers in the supermarkets, but also simple discounts that are worthwhile.
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This is how much you pay for a surf course in Hawaii
For one two hour surf course in the small group we have at Maui Surf Clinics in Lahaina per person 80 dollars paid. The two hours are completely sufficient for the beginning, because after that you are ready to go. Two days later we went out on the water again with a teacher, after which we dared to go into the waves alone.
Rental fee varies depending on the surfboard. Malibu board off $ 18 for 2 hours.
Cost for four two-hour surfing sessions including two two-hour lessons: $ 196 per person.
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That’s the cost of shopping in Hawaii
I know a few people who love to fly to the US for shopping. Just like the US mainland, there is Hawaii too a handful of outlet malls. Unlike there, however, they are not particularly spectacular.
Most of the shops can be found along the streets and in the malls of Waikiki Beach.
Also great for shopping are Lahaina (Maui) and Haleiwa (Oahu). There are quite a few there small, individual surf shops instead of large, well-designed chain stores (which also exist), with lovingly furnished shops and products by small designers.
Long sleeved lycra shirt: 34 dollars
Board shorts: 28 dollars, both from Roxy.
Longboard from Arbor: $ 120
Adidas sneakers in the outlet: 20 dollars
Local designer t-shirt, hand printed: 20 dollars
Souvenirs cost that
The Hula doll is one of the most popular souvenirs. This is a wobbly figure for the dashboard of your car. Dressed in a raffia skirt, the figure swings her hips in hula style with every curve. Bring paradise home. It costs in Hawaii between $ 15 and $ 20.
In case it takes a little longer before your trip to Hawaii: You can also order the Hula Doll from Germany as a foretaste - here. If that's not perfect!
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More costs to come in Hawaii
Esta application to enter the USA: 14 dollarsto apply on the official website of the Department of Homeland Security.
National park admissions: The Hawaii TriPark Pass costs 30 dollars and worth it if you want to visit both national parks (Haleakala National Park Maui, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Big Island) and at least one National Historical Park.
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Now, should these prices keep you from going to Hawaii?
No, definitely not! If you want to know why the trip is absolutely worth it, read on here: Hawaii: Islands that leave you speechless.
And if you want to start planning your vacation right away, read on here: Individually to Hawaii. This is how vacation planning works.
You can find more information and travel reports about Hawaii here:
The best surf spots for beginners on Oahu, Maui and the Big Island
Waikiki Beach. Where surfing was invented
Road to Hana: A road trip in Hawaiian
5 favorite places on the Road to Hana
By the way: There is beer in Hawaii (... and it doesn't even taste that bad.)
about the author
Anna | Anemina Travels
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