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.

With its world-famous beaches, breathtaking landscapes, and vibrant culture, Hawaii remains one of the most popular tropical destinations for travelers around the globe. However, the high demand for Hawaii vacations means that costs can quickly add up, leaving your wallet empty before you’ve even stepped foot on the islands.

If you’re looking for a quick answer, late April through early June tends to offer the best combination of warm weather, lower airfare and hotel rates, smaller crowds, and plenty of deals and packages to take advantage of.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know about planning a budget-friendly trip to Hawaii, including a month-by-month analysis of the average temperature, precipitation, hotel rates, flight costs, crowds, and events.

Hawaii’s High and Low Seasons

High season (December – March)

The peak tourist season in Hawaii runs from mid-December through March. This is when the islands experience warm, mostly dry weather and crystal clear waters ideal for snorkeling and swimming. Airlines and hotels charge premium rates due to high demand.

Everything from hotel rooms to rental cars sell out far in advance. Major attractions and beaches teem with large crowds. While the atmosphere is lively, visitors may encounter long lines and traffic congestion around popular destinations like Waikiki, Maui’s Kaanapali area, and Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island.

Low season (April – June)

Springtime after Easter through early summer is considered Hawaii’s low or value season with cheaper airfares and hotel rates. However, the weather can be hit or miss – some years bring intermittent rain and choppy ocean conditions while other years boast sunny skies.

Families take advantage of discounted hotel packages and healthier reefs for snorkeling adventures during this quieter period. Visitors willing to chance iffy weather patterns can score significant savings of 40-60% on lodging and enjoy less crowded beaches.

Shoulder seasons (September – November; July – August)

The periods right before and after peak season are considered the shoulder or fringe seasons. From late summer through November, temperatures moderate while rainfall decreases after August. The ocean calms as the trade winds return, creating ideal conditions for surfing and sailing.

Costs dip 30-50% for air and hotel rates during shoulder season. While Waikiki and other resort areas see consistent crowds year-round, popular off the beaten path adventures have fewer tourists. The only exception is July and August when families flock to Hawaii thanks to school summer breaks – so make sure to avoid those specific months.

Average Temperatures in Hawaii by Month

Winter months (December – February)

The winter months in Hawaii see pleasant average temperatures between 70-80°F. December brings cooler breezes with average highs of 79°F and evening lows around 66°F. January is the coolest month of the year in Hawaii with average high temps of 78°F and lows dipping to 65°F.

February begins to warm up again reaching daily highs around 80°F. The cooler winter months offer a more comfortable climate for active sightseeing around the islands.

Spring months (March – May)

As spring arrives, temperatures in Hawaii quickly climb reaching a perfect balance. March sees daily high temperatures around 82°F while April and May average 84°F for daytime highs. Overnight lows hover in the upper 60s, allowing for comfortable sleeping conditions.

The pleasant spring weather draws many travelers before the summer crowds arrive. With less humidity and chances of rain, spring is ideal for whale watching, snorkeling, and exploring Hawaii’s lush green landscapes.

Summer months (June – August)

The summer months are Hawaii’s warmest and most popular for travelers. June through August bring hot, sunny days with average high temperatures ranging from 86°F to 88°F on most islands. Humidity rises as well during the summer months.

While temperatures may reach into the low 90s at lower elevations during summer, Hawaii’s coastal locations stay fresher with cooling trade winds. Summer evenings cool off to the low 70s after sunset. Travelers should utilize summer mornings and late afternoons for sightseeing to avoid intense mid-day sun.

Summer brings slightly higher chances of rain but usually brief afternoon showers that keep the landscape vibrant and green.

Fall months (September – November)

Pleasant temperatures continue into Hawaii’s fall season with average daily highs in the mid 80s during September before slowly decreasing. October sees temperatures dip back to average highs of 83°F while November averages 81°F.

Overnight lows range from around 70°F to the upper 60s, allowing for comfortable sleeping. With drier conditions and fewer crowds than summertime, Hawaii’s fall months offer ideal weather for outdoor activities like golfing, horseback riding, or enjoying fresh seasonal produce at farmers markets.

November’s average ocean temperatures around 77°F also make snorkeling and swimming refreshing.

Month Average High Temp (°F) Average Low Temp (°F)
January 78 65
February 80 66
March 82 67

No matter when you choose to visit Hawaii, travelers can expect mostly sunny days with fairly consistent year-round temperatures varying by just 4-6 degrees from the hottest to coldest months (Current Results). Check monthly averages for the specific island you plan to visit.

Those hoping to save money on airfare and hotels should target late spring and fall, balancing comfortable weather with fewer crowds.

Precipitation Levels and Rainy Days

The wettest months

The winter months from October through March are typically the wettest in Hawaii. This is when the islands experience occasional heavy rainfalls and thunderstorms fueled by winds coming from the south.

The month with the highest average precipitation is January, receiving about 5 inches across the islands. However, rainfall can vary greatly depending on elevation and location. The windward mountain slopes tend to get far more rain than the drier leeward sides.

For example, Mount Waialeale on Kauai is one of the rainiest spots on Earth, with an astonishing average yearly rainfall over 450 inches! Meanwhile, Hawaii’s leeward coastal areas and inland valleys see less than 20 inches annually.

So even during Hawaii’s wet season, rain tends to come in intense but brief showers rather than steady all-day downpours.

The driest months

The summer is typically the driest season in the Hawaiian Islands, with very little rainfall from April through September. During this period, the weather is dominated by gentle northeasterly trade winds that keep storms at bay.

The driest month is June, when locations like Honolulu and Kahului average only around half an inch of rain.

So while an occasional brief shower is possible, most days during the summer have plenty of sunshine. Even Hawaii’s wettest spots see a significant drop in rainfall. For example, rainfall at Mount Waialeale averages about 8 inches in June compared to over 40 inches in January on average.

So while the mountains remain lush year-round, the summer is a great time to visit if you want the best odds of dry weather during your Hawaii vacation.

Flight Prices and Airfare Deals

Searching for deals

Scoring a discounted flight to Hawaii can involve some strategic searching. Airlines and online travel websites frequently offer promotions and sales that can drastically drop base fares, allowing you to visit Hawaii without breaking the piggy bank.

Various tips for finding budget-friendly flights include:

  • Be flexible with your travel dates if possible. Flying on less popular days of the week (like Tuesdays and Wednesdays) is typically cheaper.
  • Book at least a few months in advance for the lowest fares. Last-minute trips to Hawaii usually come with a hefty price tag.
  • Check both the airline websites and third-party sites like Expedia and Kayak when searching for deals. Compare options across platforms.
  • Consider flying into secondary airports instead of just Honolulu. Flights to airports on neighbor islands can offer big savings.
  • Sign up for fare alerts and newsletters from your preferred airlines and travel sites. Sales and promotions can sometimes only last 24-48 hours.

Being vigilant in your search for flight discounts is key. Deals pop up all year, but it does require dedicating time to continuously monitor fares.

Best times for cheaper flights

While Hawaii flight deals can happen during any month, airfare is generally cheapest during the spring and fall shoulder seasons.

Time of Year Average Price Range* Notes
January – March $400 – $700 roundtrip Decent prices after New Year’s. Weather is lovely.
April – May $350 – $600 roundtrip One of the best times for flight deals before summer.
June – August $550 – $900+ roundtrip Peak summer demand pushes prices up.
September – October $400 – $650 roundtrip Another prime window for scoring deals.
November – December $450 – $750+ roundtrip Holiday travel boosts demand and rates.

* Estimate based on average fares from west coast airports

As shown above, spring and fall offer a nice happy medium between low rates and ideal weather. Competition among airlines also ramps up during these shoulder periods, prompting numerous tempting fare sales.

No matter when you decide to visit Hawaii, flexibility and continuously checking flight prices across various sites give you the best shot at finding awesome airfare steals. Sites like Scott’s Cheap Flights can notify you when mega flight deals to Hawaii pop up as well.

Hotel Rates and Accommodation Costs

High season rates

Hawaii’s high season for tourism runs from mid-December through March and June through August. During these peak travel times, hotel rates and accommodation costs are at their highest due to increased demand.

According to, average daily hotel room rates in Hawaii can range from $200 to $400 per night during high season. Luxury resorts and hotels in popular areas like Waikiki Beach can charge over $500 or even $1,000 per night.

Some examples of high season hotel rates in Hawaii:

  • Standard room at Courtyard Marriott Waikiki Beach – $289/night
  • Ocean view room at Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort – $399/night
  • Premium room at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai – $995/night

In addition to basic room rates being higher, many hotels also charge resort fees, parking fees, and other surcharges that can add $20 to $50 per day to the total cost. It’s important to factor these in when budgeting.

Low season sales

The low season for tourism in Hawaii runs from early April through mid-June and September through mid-December. During these slower periods, hotels and resorts offer substantial discounts and deals to attract more guests.

According to data from TravelAwaits, average hotel rates in Hawaii drop by 20% to 50% during low season compared to peak times. For example, a room that costs $300/night during high season might only be $150 to $240 in the low season.

Hotel High Season Rate Low Season Rate
Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel $289/night $195/night
The Ritz-Carlton Residences Waikiki Beach $695/night $425/night

Many hotels offer additional low season promotions like:

  • Stay 4 nights, get the 5th free
  • 30% off rooms and free breakfast
  • Waived resort fees
  • $100 resort credit with minimum night stay

So visiting Hawaii during the low tourism seasons can lead to big savings on accommodations and deals that enhance the overall trip value.

Crowd Levels and Peak Times

Crowd calendars

When planning a trip to Hawaii, examining crowd calendars can provide helpful insights into the busiest and least busy times to visit. According to data aggregated on, a website managed by the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, the peak season for tourism runs from mid-December through mid-April.

During this period, hotel rates and airfares are typically at their highest. The summer months of June through August also tend to draw more families traveling with children who are out of school. However, savvy travelers can still find deals even during busier periods with some strategic planning.

In contrast, September through early December is generally considered the slower “off-peak” season in Hawaii. Hotel rates can be 20-50% cheaper compared to the winter and summer peaks. Airfares may also see significant drops during the fall.

The tradeoff is there is a slightly higher chance of rain during Hawaii’s wet season. But the lush, tropical foliage also comes alive more during this period. For the best combination of pleasant weather, lower prices and smaller crowds aim to visit in April/May or October/November if possible.

Avoiding the crowds

Regardless of when you visit Hawaii, it’s possible to avoid at least some of the larger crowds if you plan carefully.

  • Base yourself outside of Waikiki/Honolulu on Oahu, Kaanapali on Maui or Kailua-Kona on the Big Island to be away from the main tourist centers.
  • Get an early start to popular attractions like Diamond Head, Volcanoes National Park or Waimea Canyon to beat both the heat and the crowds.
  • Seek out lesser-known hikes, beaches and sights instead of just the main attractions listed in guidebooks.
  • Attend luaus and other activities during weekdays instead of weekends whenever possible.
  • Use apps like GoHawaii to monitor wait times and crowd levels at top sites.

The stunning natural beauty and welcoming spirit of aloha can be found across the Hawaiian islands year-round. Avoiding the peak visitor seasons and most crowded locations allows you to better immerse yourself in the richness of Hawaiian culture at a more relaxed pace.

Key Events and Festivals to Plan Around

Hawaii is home to a variety of exciting cultural events and festivals throughout the year that travelers may want to consider when planning their vacation. Here are some of the top annual events that showcase Hawaii’s vibrant music, art, and heritage:

Aloha Festivals

Taking place each September, the Aloha Festivals ( celebrate Hawaiian culture and customs through various events across the islands. For over 70 years, this statewide festival has hosted parades, concerts, food festivals, and more.

It’s a fantastic opportunity to experience authentic Hawaiian hospitality.

Hawaii Food & Wine Festival

In October, the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival ( takes advantage of the islands’ diverse natural bounty along with the creative talents of celebrity chefs. Enjoy cooking demos, wine tastings, and gourmet meals made with fresh local ingredients.

Honolulu Festival

This popular 3-day event in March celebrates Asian and Pacific Rim culture through dance, music, art exhibitions, and a vibrant parade ( With performers from over 20 different ethnic groups, it’s an immersive way to experience Hawaii’s multicultural heritage.

Prince Kuhio Day Celebrations

On March 26, Hawaiians pay tribute to the birth of Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole, a beloved Hawaiian leader in the early 20th century. Festivities are especially prominent on Kauai and often include parades, hula dancing, feasts, and floral offerings at his statue in Lihue.

Merrie Monarch Festival

Taking place around Easter every year, the renowned Merrie Monarch Festival ( in Hilo celebrates the art of hula dancing with a prestigious competition and non-stop entertainment. It’s an incredible display of Hawaiian culture and arts that typically sells out fast.

Independence Day (July 4th)

While Hawaii has the lowest summer hotel rates in July, keep in mind that the islands host major Fourth of July celebrations and fireworks displays that draw big crowds. Flights and hotels fill up fast, so book early if you want to join in on the holiday festivities Hawaiian-style.

By being aware of Hawaii’s biggest annual events, travelers can make plans to attend some truly memorable festivals and celebrations. Experiencing these cultural events allows visitors to gain a deeper appreciation of Hawaii’s history, food, music, and traditions.


By carefully timing your Hawaii vacation to avoid the crowds and take advantage of lower costs, you can soak up all the islands have to offer without breaking the bank. Use this guide to pick the optimal time to go based on weather, pricing, and your personal trip priorities.

For the best combination of warm weather, smaller crowds, lower prices, and plenty of deals, aim to visit Hawaii in late April through early June. But no matter when you choose to explore Hawaii’s incredible scenery and culture, you’re bound to have an unforgettable tropical escape.

Sharing is caring!

Similar Posts