Save money on your next flight

Skyscanner is the world’s leading flight search engine, helping you find the cheapest flights to destinations all over the world.

Aloha! If you’re looking to visit Hawaii on a budget, you’ve come to the right place. With its tropical beaches, stunning scenery, and aloha spirit, Hawaii is an incredible destination. However, a trip to Hawaii can also get pricey. Lodging, food, and activities on some of the most popular islands like Maui and Oahu will empty your wallet fast. But don’t despair – you can still experience island life in Hawaii without breaking the bank. Keep reading to find out which Hawaiian island is the most budget-friendly option for your next vacation.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: The Big Island of Hawaii is generally the cheapest Hawaiian island to visit due to its affordable accommodations, free volcanic attractions, and lower overall costs.

An Overview of Hawaii’s Islands

Hawaii is a tropical paradise made up of six major inhabited islands: Hawaiʻi (The Big Island), Maui, Oʻahu, Kauaʻi, Molokaʻi, and Lanaʻi. Additionally, there are numerous smaller islets and atolls that dot the archipelago. Each island boasts its own unique charm and attractions, making it a perfect destination for travelers seeking diverse experiences.

There are six major inhabited islands that make up the Hawaiian archipelago: Hawaiʻi (The Big Island), Maui, Oʻahu, Kauaʻi, Molokaʻi and Lanaʻi. In addition, there are numerous smaller islets and atolls.

The Hawaiian archipelago is home to six major inhabited islands, each offering its own distinct character and allure. From the largest island, Hawaiʻi (often referred to as The Big Island), with its active volcanoes and rugged landscapes, to Maui with its beautiful beaches and world-class resorts, and Oʻahu, where the bustling city of Honolulu and iconic Waikiki Beach are located – there is something for everyone in Hawaii.

Other islands like Kauaʻi with its lush rainforests and dramatic cliffs, Molokaʻi with its untouched natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, and Lanaʻi with its serenity and luxury resorts, all contribute to the overall allure of the Hawaiian archipelago.

The islands offer stunning beaches, dramatic cliffs, lush rainforests, and of course, that famous Hawaiian culture and hospitality. But they vary greatly in terms of population, development, tourism, and cost.

Hawaii is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty, from its pristine beaches and turquoise waters to its majestic cliffs and lush rainforests. The islands are a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a wide range of activities such as snorkeling, hiking, surfing, and even whale watching.

However, it is important to note that each island has its own distinct characteristics and level of development. For example, Oʻahu is the most populated and developed island, offering a vibrant nightlife and a wide array of shopping and dining options. On the other hand, the Big Island is known for its raw, untouched landscapes and unique geological features.

In terms of tourism and cost, the islands vary as well. Some islands, such as Oʻahu, attract a large number of tourists, resulting in higher prices for accommodations, food, and activities. Others, like Molokaʻi and Lanaʻi, offer a more secluded and intimate experience, with lower costs and fewer crowds.

To find the cheapest island, we’ll take a close look at prices for accommodations, food, transportation, and activities on the most visited islands.

When it comes to finding the cheapest island to visit in Hawaii, it’s important to consider various factors such as accommodation prices, food costs, transportation expenses, and activity fees. By comparing these factors across the most visited islands, we can identify the island that offers the best value for budget-conscious travelers.

It’s worth noting that prices can vary significantly depending on the time of year and availability, so it’s always a good idea to do thorough research and book in advance to secure the best deals. Additionally, taking advantage of local food trucks and markets, as well as exploring free or low-cost activities such as hiking or visiting public beaches, can help stretch your budget even further.

By taking a closer look at the prices and offerings on each island, we can help you make an informed decision on which Hawaiian island will provide you with an affordable and memorable vacation experience.

Accommodation Costs by Island

Accommodations take up a significant chunk of any travel budget. On most Hawaiian islands, hotels and resorts right along the beach can run $300+ per night. But if you’re looking for a more affordable option, there is one island that stands out.

Here’s a breakdown of average hotel costs on the main islands:

  • Oahu: $260/night
  • Maui: $390/night
  • Kauai: $320/night
  • Big Island: $200/night

As you can see, the Big Island has the most affordable rates for hotels, vacation rentals, hostels, and other lodging options. With an average cost of $200 per night, it’s a great choice for budget-conscious travelers.

But don’t let the lower prices fool you. The Big Island still offers all the beauty and adventure that Hawaii is known for. From stunning beaches to breathtaking volcanic landscapes, there’s no shortage of things to see and do.

And if you’re worried about the quality of accommodations on the Big Island, don’t be. There are plenty of highly-rated hotels and vacation rentals that offer comfortable and convenient stays. You can find options that fit your budget without sacrificing on comfort or amenities.

So if you’re planning a trip to Hawaii in 2023 and want to save some money on accommodations, consider making the Big Island your destination. With its affordable rates and incredible natural beauty, it’s a win-win situation for any traveler.

Food Costs

Dining out in Hawaii can also be very expensive, with some fancy resort restaurants charging $50 or more per entrée. However, the cost of food can vary depending on which island you visit. In general, here are the average costs for food on the different Hawaiian islands:

Oahu: $30-50 per person per day

On Oahu, you can expect to spend around $30-50 per person per day on food. This includes meals at local restaurants, food trucks, and even some mid-range dining options. While there are still some higher-end establishments that can be pricey, there are also plenty of affordable options to choose from. You can enjoy a delicious plate of local Hawaiian cuisine without breaking the bank.

Maui: $40-60 per person per day

Maui tends to be slightly more expensive when it comes to food costs. You can expect to spend around $40-60 per person per day on meals. This is partly due to the popularity of the island as a tourist destination, which can drive up prices. However, there are still plenty of affordable dining options available, especially if you venture outside of the main tourist areas.

Kauai: $40-60 per person per day

Similar to Maui, Kauai also has an average food cost range of $40-60 per person per day. The island’s remote location and smaller size can contribute to slightly higher prices. However, don’t let that discourage you from exploring the local food scene. Kauai offers a variety of dining options, from casual eateries to upscale restaurants, where you can enjoy delicious meals.

Big Island: $20-40 per person per day

Thanks to its agriculture and more budget-friendly towns, the Big Island offers the cheapest dining options. On the Big Island, you can expect to spend around $20-40 per person per day on food. This island is known for its farm-to-table cuisine, with an abundance of fresh produce and locally sourced ingredients. Whether you’re dining at a local food truck or a cozy cafe, you can enjoy flavorful meals without breaking the bank.

So, if you’re looking for the cheapest Hawaiian island to visit in 2023 in terms of food costs, the Big Island is your best bet. With its affordable dining options and delicious local cuisine, you can enjoy a satisfying culinary experience without emptying your wallet.

Transportation Expenses

When planning a trip to the Hawaiian Islands, it’s important to consider the cost of transportation. Getting around the islands can significantly impact your budget, especially if you’re looking for the cheapest options. Let’s take a closer look at the average car rental prices on each island:

Oahu: $50/day

Maui: $75/day

Kauai: $70/day

Big Island: $55/day

As you can see, Oahu has the most affordable car rental prices, making it a great option for budget-conscious travelers. However, if you’re willing to spend a little more, Maui and Kauai offer stunning landscapes and attractions that are well worth the extra cost.

Gas prices can also impact your transportation expenses. Fortunately, the Big Island generally has cheaper gas prices compared to the other islands. So if you’re planning on doing a lot of driving, you might want to consider visiting the Big Island to save on fuel costs.

Within the towns and cities on the Hawaiian Islands, there are also alternative modes of transportation that can help you save money. Walking, biking, or taking public transportation are all viable options for getting around and exploring the local areas. Plus, it’s a great way to soak in the beautiful scenery and immerse yourself in the local culture.

For more information on car rentals and transportation options in Hawaii, you can visit They provide helpful tips and resources to help you find the best deals and make the most of your Hawaiian adventure.

Activity Costs

When planning a trip to Hawaii, it’s important to factor in the cost of activities and attractions. While the beauty of the islands is undeniable, some popular tours and experiences can come with a hefty price tag. Here are a few examples:

Luau shows: $100+ per person

Attending a traditional luau show is a must-do for many visitors to Hawaii. These vibrant cultural performances often include a delicious feast, live music, and traditional hula dancing. However, be prepared to spend around $100 or more per person for this memorable experience.

Snorkel cruises: $150+ per person

Exploring the underwater world of Hawaii is an incredible experience, and snorkel cruises offer the perfect opportunity to do so. These guided tours typically provide all the necessary equipment and take you to the best snorkeling spots. However, they can cost around $150 or more per person.

Helicopter tours: $300+ per person

Seeing Hawaii from above is a breathtaking experience, and helicopter tours allow you to do just that. Soaring over lush valleys, dramatic coastlines, and active volcanoes is an adventure you won’t soon forget. However, be prepared to spend around $300 or more per person for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Hiking tour guides: $150+ per person

Exploring Hawaii’s stunning natural landscapes on a guided hiking tour can be an enriching experience. Knowledgeable guides can take you to hidden gems and share fascinating insights about the flora, fauna, and history of the islands. However, these guided tours can cost around $150 or more per person.

While these activities can be worth the investment, they may not be feasible for travelers on a tight budget. Fortunately, there is a more affordable option for those looking to experience Hawaii’s natural beauty without breaking the bank.

The Big Island, also known as Hawaii Island, offers the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, where you can explore the fascinating volcanic landscapes and hike through lush rainforests for free. Additionally, the island’s vast size provides ample opportunities to discover free beaches and natural areas on your own. So, if you’re looking to save money on activities during your Hawaiian vacation, the Big Island may be the perfect choice for you.

For more information about the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and other free activities on the Big Island, you can visit


While all the Hawaiian islands offer breathtaking scenery and that laidback tropical vibe, costs can add up quickly, especially on the most touristy islands like Maui. For the cheapest island experience, the Big Island of Hawaii is tough to beat. With affordable lodging, cheaper restaurants, lower transportation costs, and plenty of free volcanic sights, you can enjoy Hawaiian culture and natural wonders on a budget. Just be sure to get out and explore this diverse island, from its volcanic peaks to its black sand beaches. There are endless adventures waiting for you on Hawaii’s largest island, all at a price that won’t break the bank.

Sharing is caring!

Similar Posts