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The Hawaiian Islands are the epitome of tropical paradise with breathtaking beaches, lush rainforests, and a vibrant island culture. Who doesn’t dream of taking a Hawaiian vacation? But how much will it cost?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: prepare to budget at least $100 to $200 per day for spending money in Hawaii.

In this article, we’ll provide a detailed breakdown of costs for food, transportation, activities, and other expenses in Hawaii to help you plan your perfect Hawaiian getaway without blowing your budget.

Average Cost Breakdown for a Trip to Hawaii

Airfare and Accommodations

The average cost of airfare to Hawaii ranges from $400-$800 roundtrip from the U.S. mainland, depending on the time of year and destination island. Flights are generally cheapest September through early December.

Hotel accommodations average $150-$300 per night, with luxury resorts topping $1,000 or more per night. For those on a budget, hostels and vacation rentals offer lower cost lodging options on most islands.


The average food cost per person per day in Hawaii is around $70. Dining out at restaurants tends to be quite expensive, with meals costing $15-$30 on average. Popular budget-friendly options include plate lunch joints, food trucks, farmers markets and grocery stores for ingredients to DIY meals.


Many visitors choose to rent a car in Hawaii with average rates from $30-$75 per day. Those looking to save money can make use of the public bus system on Oahu and Maui or walk and bike on smaller islands.

While traffic is relatively minimal compared to large cities, driving long distances across islands can still take time so flight options between islands average $70-$100 one-way.

Activities and Entertainment

The majority of premier attractions and beaches in Hawaii are free access for the public such as Diamond Head, Waikiki Beach and the Road to Hana. However, popular paid activities average:

Luau $80-$150 per person
Snorkel/Scuba tours $75-$200 per person
Helicopter tours $150-$500 per person
Whale watching $40-$120 per person

Those wanting to enjoy Hawaii’s beautiful landscapes on a budget have an abundance of scenic hiking trails to choose from across all the islands, most of which have free entry.

Saving Money in Hawaii

A trip to Hawaii can be expensive, but there are ways to cut costs without sacrificing experiences. Use these savvy tips to save money in the Aloha State.

Look for Travel Deals

Search sites like Expedia, Travelocity and Priceline for package deals that bundle airfare, hotel and even some activities. Airlines frequently offer sales, especially for flights booked months in advance. Sign up for email alerts so you’ll be notified of the deals.

Stay Outside Main Tourist Areas

Lodging and dining will likely cost less if you avoid the most popular areas like Waikiki on Oahu. Neighboring islands tend to have lower prices too. Consider staying at a vacation rental property which can work out cheaper than a hotel with additional benefits like a kitchen.

Go During Off-Peak Seasons

Peak travel seasons when prices spike are summer and holidays. Visiting between September-December yields warmer weather with smaller crowds. You’ll find lower hotel rates, airfares, and car rentals. One study showed average hotel savings of 26% for visiting Hawaii in October vs August.

Check for Free Activities

Not everything in Hawaii has to break the bank. Many top attractions like beaches, botanical gardens and hiking trails are free. Skip expensive luaus and enjoy free Hawaiian music and hula shows at malls. Rent snorkel gear instead of booking a snorkel cruise.

And catch free volcano lava glows at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Use Public Transportation

Transportation Option Average Cost
Rental car $50-$80 per day
Uber/Lyft $2.50 per mile
Public bus $2.75 per ride

For getting around efficiently on a budget, utilize public transportation. The bus system is reliable and affordable whether island-hopping or staying local. Though renting a car provides more flexibility, the extra costs add up quick.

Sample Hawaii Trip Budgets

$100 per Day Budget

Traveling to Hawaii on a budget of $100 a day takes careful planning, but is certainly achievable if you’re willing to make some sacrifices. Here are some tips for stretching your dollars on the islands:

  • Book discounted lodging outside main tourist zones or consider hostels, which offer beds from around $30-40 per night.
  • Sign up for travel alerts on sites like Hawaiian Airlines to snag cheap flights when deals emerge.
  • Prepare your own meals – Hawaiian grocery stores sell affordable local staples like fresh fish, tropical fruit and poke bowls.
  • Rent a car and stay in one spot to avoid pricey inter-island flights. Compact cars rent for around $30 a day.
  • Prioritize free activities like snorkeling at Hanauma Bay, swimming at Waikiki Beach, and watching sunsets at Sandy Beach on Oahu.

With strategic spending, enjoying Hawaiian adventures like snorkeling with green sea turtles or hiking to towering waterfalls is possible on $100 a day. You’ll just need to cut back on luxe resorts and fancy dinners out.

$150 per Day Moderate Budget

With a moderate $150 per day Hawaii budget, travelers can enhance their experience with a few more comforts and conveniences while still being cost-conscious. Some ideas include:

  • Book a standard hotel room with central location. Mid-range hotels near main attractions average $130-180 per night.
  • Have a nice meal out or signature cocktails 1-2 times over the course of your stay.
  • Do 1-2 paid activities like a snorkel cruise, luau show, or helicopter tour over volcanoes.
  • Consider a short inter-island hopper flight. Some deals under $100 can get you between islands.
  • Rent an SUV to access more secluded beaches and hiking trails.

At this daily budget, visitors can soak up Hawaii’s culture and natural beauty while enjoying cleaner hotels, tasty restaurants and popular sightseeing excursions. It just requires keeping an eye on extra expenses that add up like souvenirs or spa treatments.

$200+ per Day Splurge Budget

Travelers who want to indulge in a luxurious Hawaiian vacation with full amenities, activities and first-class service should budget over $200 per day. Some aspects of a premium Hawaii trip might include:

Lodging Beachfront resorts and bungalows ($400+ night)
Food Upscale dining at top-rated restaurants ($60-$100 per entrée)
Getting Around Hire a private car or take taxis instead of driving yourself
Activities Guided private tours, surf lessons, spa treatments ($100-$500 each)

According to a 2022 survey by Tripadvisor, 38% of travelers plan to have a blowout, bucket-list Hawaii vacation in 2023. For those seeking to really indulge, spending upwards of $200 a day makes relaxing beach massages, sunset catamaran rides and multi-course tasting menus easily achievable.


Hawaii is a popular yet expensive destination, but with careful budget planning based on your personal travel style, you can experience its stunning beaches and vibrant culture without overspending. Determine whether you seek budget, moderate or luxury experiences and plan to allocate the necessary spending money for your Hawaiian getaway.

Have we piqued your interest for that long-awaited trip to paradise? Start saving up now so you’ll be ready to answer the call of those Hawaiian island breezes. Aloha!

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