Is Hawaii Expensive? 5 Reasons It Might Be Worth the Cost

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Written By Emma Parker

Hawaii is often considered one of the most expensive places to live in the United States. But is that true, and Is Hawaii Expensive? And if it is, what are the reasons for this? Hawaii is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world. Millions of people flock to the islands to enjoy the sun, sand, and surf every year.

But Hawaii is also one of the most expensive places to visit. There are several reasons why Hawaii is so pricey. First, airfare to the islands is often costly. And once you’re there, costs can add up quickly. Accommodations, meals, and activities can all be expensive in this big island.

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In this article, we will take a closer look at the cost of living in Hawaii and explore some of the reasons why it might be worth the expense.

Is Hawaii Expensive?

So, is Hawaii expensive? The short answer is yes. Living in Hawaii is about 30% higher than the national average, and housing costs are incredibly high. A one-bedroom apartment in Honolulu can easily cost an average price of $2000 or more per month! The average monthly rent somewhere comes between $2000-$3000.

But there are also some reasons why the high cost of living in Hawaii is worth it. Here are a few of them:

  • The weather is amazing. With an average temperature of about 75 degrees and plenty of sunshine year-round, it’s no wonder so many people want to live in Hawaii!
  • There is always something to do. There is never a dull moment in Hawaii, from hiking to surfing to exploring the many different beaches.
  • The food is incredible. From fresh seafood to delicious fruits and vegetables, the food in Hawaii is unlike anywhere else in the world.
  • The people are friendly and welcoming. One of the best things about living in Hawaii is the aloha spirit that is alive and well on all islands.
  • The scenery is breathtaking. From the lush rainforests to the stunning beaches, Hawaii has no shortage of beauty.

So, there you have it! While the cost of living in Hawaii is higher than average living wage, there are also many reasons why it is worth it.

How Much Does a Trip to Hawaii Cost on Average?

A trip to Hawaii can cost as little as $500 or as much as $5,000. The average cost of a trip to Hawaii is around $1,500. It includes airfare, hotel, food, and activities. However, the exact cost will depend on the specific location, time of year, and type of trip you take.

Beautiful Beach in Maui, Hawaii
Maui, Hawaii | Photo by Pascal Debrunner on Unsplash

For example, a trip to Maui will cost more than a trip to the Big Island. A trip during the summer will cost more than a trip during the winter. And a luxury trip will cost more than a budget trip. But no matter what kind of trip you take, Hawaii will be an unforgettable experience. So, start planning your trip today and enjoy all that the Hawaiian Islands offer.

Three days travel cost in Hawaii

The average cost of a 3-day trip to the big island is around $1,500. It includes airfare, hotel, food, and activities. However, the exact cost will depend on the specific location, time of year, and type of trip you take. You can take the help of this table to calculate further.

ExpensesEstimated Daily CostEstimated Total Cost

Remember, we have listed all the prices in USD. So, convert according to your country’s currency.

Cost of Flights to Hawaii

The cost of flights to Hawaii can vary greatly depending on the time of year and the Hawaiian airline you fly with. Generally speaking, the peak travel times to Hawaii are during the summer months (June-August) and over winter break (December-January). The cheapest times to fly and save bucks are typical during the shoulder seasons, like April-May and September-November.

Honolulu International Airport
Honolulu International Airport | Source: WikiMedia

It’s essential to be flexible with your travel dates and start searching for tickets well in advance. Keep an eye out for special sales and promotions, too – sometimes Hawaiian airlines will offer discounted fares for travel to Hawaii during off-peak times.

There are three international airports in Hawaii, as it is made up of three major big islands. The list is as follows:

  • Honolulu International Airport (HNL)
  • Kahului Airport (OGG)
  • Kona International Airport (KOA)

So are you ready to start planning your trip? You can use Skyscanner’s flight search tool to compare prices on flights to Hawaii from your home airport & to book international flight tickets.

Price of Accommodation in Hawaii

There is no doubt that Hawaii is one of the most popular tourist destinations globally. It is renowned for its stunning natural beauty, laid-back lifestyle, and unique culture. However, it is also one of the most expensive places to visit, with the Hawaii cost of accommodation being a significant factor.

Hotels in Hawaii

Hotels in Hawaii are some of the most expensive globally, with an average nightly rate of $300. Luxury resorts can cost upwards of $1,000 per night. Those on a budget may be able to find some cheaper options, but they will likely be limited in terms of quality and location.

Royal Hawaiian Hotel Seen from the Sea
Royal Hawaiian Hotel | Source: WikiMedia

Airbnb in Hawaii

Airbnb is a popular option for those looking for accommodation in Hawaii, with significantly lower rates than hotels. However, it can be challenging to find a good quality Airbnb rental, and there are often strict rules and regulations that need to be followed.

Camping in Hawaii

Camping is another option for accommodation in Hawaii, but it is essential to research the best areas to camp beforehand, as some spots can be very crowded and dangerous.

Camping in Muai
Camping in Muai | Source: WikiMedia

Overall, the cost of accommodation in Hawaii is relatively high, but there are some ways to save bucks if you are willing to do some research and be flexible with your options, you can spend money on the right camping places.

Cost of Transport in Hawaii

The cost of transport in Hawaii is relatively high. The state is made up of a series of islands, which means that there are limited options for travel between them. The most popular form of transport is by plane, but this can be expensive, particularly if you are traveling during peak times.

It depends on the location from where you are travelling. For example, the international flights from San Diego, San Francisco, and other cheap cities will cost less as compared to the other countries.

Several ferry services operate between the islands, but these can also be expensive and may not always be reliable. If you plan to travel around the West Coast Hawaii, it is essential to factor in the transport cost when budgeting for your trip.

Cost of bus travel in Hawaii

The cost of bus travel in Hawaii can vary depending on the company you use and the route you take. However, it is generally cheaper than traveling by plane or ferry. If you plan to travel around the islands, using the bus network is a great way to save bucks on the high cost transports.

Buses in Hawaii
Source: WikiMedia

The cost of bus tickets in Hawaii ranges from 2$ to 10$. It depends upon the destination you are going.

Cost of car rental in Hawaii

The cost of car rental in Hawaii is relatively high, especially if you plan to rent a vehicle for a long time. However, it is still cheaper than using other forms of transport, such as planes or ferries. If you are only planning to use a car for a short period, it is worth considering renting a car instead of using other forms of transport. (It must be high cost, though if you are not having whopping salary.)

The basic rental fee for a car in Hawaii is 50$. However, some car rental companies can charge you extra on your renting hours. It depends on the car rentals service and the rental car service providers in Hawaiian Islands.

Island Hopping in Hawaii

There’s no better way to see Hawaii (one of the major islands) than by island hopping! You can get a taste of all the different cultures and landscapes that make up this beautiful state by visiting each of its unique islands. And with so many incredible islands to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect one for your next vacation.

The cost varies depending on which islands you visit and how long you stay. However, the average resident can expect to spend around $100 per day. It includes the cost of transportation, food, and accommodation.

So what are you waiting for? Start planning your island-hopping adventure today! Here are a few of our favorite islands to get you started:


Oahu is the most famous island in Hawaii, and it’s easy to see why. From world-famous beaches like Waikiki to the vibrant city life of Honolulu, there’s something for everyone on Oahu. And don’t forget to check out the North Shore, where you can find some of the best surfing in the world! Furthermore, we have added a list of best things to do in Waikiki, Honolulu.


Maui is a favorite destination for couples and families alike. Maui offers something for everyone with its stunning beaches, lush rainforests, and active volcanoes. And don’t forget to check out the Road to Hana, where you can experience some of the most beautiful scenery in Hawaii.

Hawaii Island

Hawaii Island, also known as the Big Island, is the largest island in Hawaii. And there’s no shortage of things to do here! From exploring its lava-covered landscapes to hiking through its lush rainforests, there’s something for everyone on Hawaii Island.


Kauai is often referred to as the “Garden Isle” because of its lush, tropical landscape. And with its dramatic cliffs, pristine beaches, and picturesque waterfalls, it’s easy to see why. Kauai is the perfect place to relax and unwind, and it’s also an excellent place for adventure seekers. The Hawaii Residents know more about this place.


Lanai is a small, secluded island perfect for those looking to get away from it all. Lanai is ideal for relaxing and recharging with its unspoiled beaches and tranquil atmosphere.

Cost of food in Hawaii

One of the things that people often think about when considering a move to Hawaii is the cost of food. After all, Hawaii is known for its high prices. But what many people don’t realize is that the cost of food in Hawaii is quite reasonable – especially when compared to other parts of the United States.

Pizza with Pineapple
Source: WikiMedia

For example, a recent study found that the cost of food in Hawaii is about 10% lower than the national average. That means that you can expect to spend less on groceries each month if you live in Hawaii than if you lived in most other parts of the country.

Of course, there are always going to be exceptions to this rule. If you’re buying imported goods or specialty items, you can expect to pay a bit more. But for the most part, the cost of food in Hawaii is quite reasonable – especially when you consider how fresher and healthier the food is here.

So if you’re considering a move to Hawaii, don’t let the cost of food be a deterrent. You can expect to find plenty of affordable options – you may need to do a bit of exploring to find them on this expensive island.

Where to eat cheaply in Hawaii?

There are many great places to eat cheaply in Hawaii. Some of the best spots include:

The Plate Lunch Wagon

This food truck is parked in Waikiki and is known for its delicious and affordable plate lunches. The Plate Lunch Wagon offers a variety of different lunch options, all under $10.

Poke Stop

Poke Stop is a great place to get your Hawaiian fix. This restaurant offers affordable poke bowls, all under $10.

L&L Hawaiian Barbecue

L&L Hawaiian Barbecue is a great place to get your Hawaiian fix. This restaurant offers affordable poke bowls, all under $10.

Rainbow Drive-In

Rainbow Drive-In is a local favorite for its plate lunches and burgers. This restaurant is affordable, with most meals costing less than $10.

Ono Hawaiian Foods

Ono Hawaiian Foods is a great place to get your Hawaiian fix. It is one of the fantastic restaurants in Hawaii that offers cheap foods.

These are just a few great places where you can get a delicious and affordable meal in Hawaii main islands. So make sure to check them out the next time you’re looking for a cheap eats & best deals in the islands.

Price of Alcohol in Hawaii

The price of Alcohol in Hawaii can vary depending on the type of Alcohol and the place of purchase. Hawaii imposes higher state taxes on Alcohol. For example, a bottle of vodka may cost $30 at a grocery store but $50 at a bar. The following is a list of average prices for common types of Alcohol in Hawaii:

  • Vodka: $30-$50
  • Rum: $25-$40
  • Tequila: $35-$45
  • Whiskey: $40-$60
  • Beer: $5-$10 per can/bottle
  • Wine: $20-$30 per bottle

Cost of Attractions in Hawaii

When planning a trip to Hawaii, many people budget for the cost of their accommodations, food, and transportation. However, another essential factor to consider is the cost of attractions. While some attractions are free, others can be pretty expensive.

Here is a list of some famous attractions in Hawaii and their approximate costs:

  • Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve: $7.50 per adult
  • Pearl Harbor: $37 for a ticket that includes access to the USS Arizona Memorial, the Battleship Missouri Memorial, and the Pacific Aviation Museum
  • Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park: $5 per adult
  • Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: $25 per vehicle or $12 per person if entering by foot, bike, or motorcycle
  • Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park: $5 per adult

As you can see, the cost of attractions in Hawaii can vary greatly. Be sure to research the attractions you are interested in ahead of time to budget accordingly.

You may also like to read:

Some Final Tips for Saving Money in Hawaii

Visit the farmer’s markets

Hawaii has some of the freshest fruits and vegetables you’ll ever taste. The best way to enjoy them is by visiting one of the many farmer’s markets located on each island. You will be able to find affordable produce, but you’ll also get to meet the farmers who grew it.

Take advantage of free activities

There are plenty of free or low-cost activities to enjoy in Hawaii. From hiking to swimming, there’s something for everyone. Check out our list of the best free things to do in Hawaii.

Eat like a local

One of the best ways to save money while traveling is to eat as the locals do. Hawaii is home to some of the best seafood globally, so take advantage of it! You’ll find that meals are much cheaper when you stick to local dishes. Also, do not forget to say “Thank You” or “Mahalo” to show your gratitude.

Avoid tourist traps

It’s easy to fall into the trap of spending too much money on souvenirs and activities geared toward tourists. To avoid this, do some research ahead of time and plan your trip accordingly.

Don’t forget about coupons

You can often find coupons for activities and restaurants in Hawaii. Be sure to take advantage of them!

By following these tips, you’ll be sure to save a lot of money on your next trip to Hawaii. With a bit of planning, you can enjoy all that the islands offer without breaking the bank.

So, Is Hawaii’s Cost Expensive to travel to or live in?

Hawaii is often thought of as an expensive place to travel or live, but it doesn’t have to be. There are ways to save money on accommodation, food, and activities. Here are a few tips:

  1. To save on accommodation, consider staying in a hostel or Airbnb instead of a hotel. The single family home costs less as compared to the double room in the hotels.
  2. To save on food, cook your meals or eat at local markets instead of restaurants. Even buy groceries from the departmental store.
  3. To save on activities, take advantage of free things to do like hiking, swimming, and exploring the beach.

With a little bit of planning, you can enjoy all that Hawaii offers without breaking the bank. So, Is Hawaii expensive to travel to or live in? It doesn’t have to be!

The Bottom Line

Hawaii is expensive, but there are ways to save money. If you plan and are willing to do some research, you can find ways to enjoy all that Hawaii has to offer without spending too much money. So, is Hawaii expensive? It doesn’t have to be! With a little bit of planning, you can find ways to save money and still have a great time.

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