Hawaii certainly gets a bad rap for being an expensive destination but this doesn’t need to be the case! There are lots of ways to save money on your trip, but first we’ll discuss what things typically cost in Hawaii.
It’s commonly thought that fuel surcharges and the high cost of shipping goods to the islands are what drives up the prices for the consumer. While it certainly doesn’t help, one of the biggest hidden costs passed on to buyers is the high price of real estate in Hawaii. Shopkeepers lease or rent the land necessary for the space to sell you the items you need, and this drives up prices. Yes, it’s all a part of the cost to live (and play!) in Paradise.
Although remote, Hawaii is still part of the U.S.A. so the currency used here is the US Dollar.
Keep in mind that hotel room rates vary widely by island (or even the area of the island) and by the time of year. Check out our page on When to Go to Hawaii for more information on the various seasons in Hawaii. According to the latest date, the average daily hotel room price in Hawaii (seasonally adjusted) is around $190.
Average price of hostel bed: $25 to $35
Average price of a budget hotel room: $140 or less
Average price of a mid-range hotel room: $140 to $300
Average price of a luxury hotel room: $300 and up
Gas prices in Hawaii is frequently some of the highest in the nation, especially on the outer islands or more remote areas like in Hana on Maui, where gas prices have topped $6/gallon! However, renting a car remains the most popular way to get around the islands and provides the most flexibility in your travels. If you are staying in a heavily touristed area like Waikiki you may be able to take advantage of sight seeing tours and public transportation more easily.
Tours and Activities
There is fierce competition for many of the common activities and tours available in the islands. Do your homework and comparison shop a bit rather than just taking the first tour you come across. You may also want to read online reviews before going with a specific company, and sign up for group buying sites a few months before your trip in order to get some advance deals, often at half price or less.
Average price of a surfing lesson: $60 to $100
Average price of a helicopter tour: $120 and up
Average price of a tandem skydive: $150
Average price for a catamaran sail: $30
Average price for a luau: $60 to 70+ per person
Average price for a whale watch cruise: $30 and up (sometimes with meal)
Drinking and Dining in Hawaii
Of course the prices in this section will depend largely on your taste and budget. If you’re looking to splurge, Hawaii’s numerous fine dining restaurants serve excellent examples of Pacific Regional Cuisine and the sky is really the limit as far as your budget goes. If you’d like to save money on dining, you may opt to eat more casually or to self-cater by getting accommodation with a kitchenette. Keep in mind that grocery prices in Hawaii will also give you sticker shock. It’s not uncommon for a gallon of milk to cost over $6.
Typical cost of a Mai Tai: $7 to $12
Typical cost of a draft beer at Happy Hour: $4
Typical price for a hotel breakfast buffet: $15 to $20
Typical cost for a plate lunch: $6 to $10
Typical price for a casual dinner: $10-20 per person
Typical price for a fine dining meal for two: $100+
Additional Tips for Saving Money
Check out these articles for additional information and tips:
- Saving Money with Group Buying Sites
- Free Things to Do in Hawaii
- If you’re visiting Oahu, you may want to look into the Entertainment Book or Go Oahu Card for additional savings
- Keep in mind that many of the most popular attractions in Hawaii – including beaches and hiking – are free!