How Expensive is a Hawaiian Vacation?

Forecasters have revealed that the winter of 2018-2019should be warmer than usual thanks to the presence of El Nino. Above averagetemperatures are likely from December through February in the northern andwestern parts of the United States. That sounds reassuring in theory, but thereality on the ground can be a different matter. If your feet are cold and yourteeth are chattering, thinking, “it could be worse!” may not help much. Whatcan help is a vacation to the tropics of Hawaii. The temperatures are expectedto be above average in The Aloha State, which means already-nice conditionsshould be close to perfect. A trip to Hawaii doesn’t mean you have to spend allyour savings either. Here’s what to know about the cost of a vacation inHawaii.

Off-season is cheaper

There are vacationers who jetset to Hawaii all year-round, but certain times of year are busier than others. If you go in June, July, or August, you can expect to pay more than if you travel there in January. Whatever you do, don’t travel during Christmas. All flights are more expensive from about mid-December to Jan. 1, and that includes flights departing the mainland toward Hawaii. USA Today found that last Christmas, a non-stop economy flight from New York City cost about $1,600. If you waited a month and traveled in late January, you could’ve gotten away with paying a little over $650 for the same trip. That’s a near $1,000 difference just for not traveling during the holidays.

The math also holds up for flights in late 2018 and early 2019. A round-trip flight from JFK to Honolulu International Airport costs $1,150 if you want to leave on Christmas Eve and return Dec. 28. That’s a lot of money for a long flight and a short trip. The numbers are a little better if you’re flying from the West Coast. In that case, you could expect to pay at least $607 for a round-trip flight that departs from LAX on Christmas Eve.

When we bump our departure date to Jan. 24, 2019, we get $377 flights from LAX. If you don’t mind layovers, you can get a flight for less than $600 from NYC-area airports. Unless you have family members in Hawaii that you absolutely must see around Christmas, wait a month or two and save your cash for other vacation expenses.

Finding entertainment options

You may have heard that almost everything is moreexpensive in Hawaii. Unfortunately, that’s also true of hotel rooms. In early2018, Hawaii had the highest average daily room rate in the entire country. Asof March 2018, that average daily rate stood at around $289, an increase of several percentagepoints since 2017.

That’s not to say you should count on paying almost $300a night because there will be some available deals for those who look hardenough. But the high hotel prices makes it even more important to figure out anentertainment budget long before you step off the plane and onto the whitesands of Waikiki. Prioritize one or two items for your group. If you and yourpartner are on a romantic getaway, attending an authentic Maui luau might be at the top of your list. Ifyou’re going with the family, you may prefer to visit Pearl Harbor so the kidscan get an idea of just how historically significant Dec. 7, 1941 really was.

Once you’ve booked your tickets for entertainment, see if you can set aside alittle money each day for spontaneous extras. Maybe you’ll want to sample adifferent type of Hawaiian poke every day. Maybe you want to bring homedelightfully cheesy Hawaiian shirts for all your siblings. Having some “playmoney” will let you maintain flexibility while you’re on the islands.

Image Credits: Hawaiian Vacation from Maridav/Shutterstock

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