When you think about going on a Hawaiian vacation, one of your first thoughts is probably that you are going to have to start saving up for it. It’s true that not long ago, in fact as recently as seven years ago or less, going to Hawaii was pretty expensive. It’s a fact which has daunted many a would-be tropical traveler for years, but is a Hawaiian vacation really as expensive as common wisdom would dictate?

Well, the answer is, it depends. If you are unfamiliar with the state, have children and/or an inflexible schedule, and don’t make a lot of money, a visit to Hawaii may need to become a part of a ten year savings plan. However, if you are flexible and of middle income, there are a lot of ways you can make your Hawaiian vacation a lot less expensive than you might expect. Here’s a look at some of the things to consider as you plan.


Your biggest expense when going to Hawaii should be the travel. Plane tickets are exorbitant to say the least, and you really don’t get much bang for your buck either. You’re subject to layovers, and you may have to adjust your ideal travel scenario to the airline’s schedule and seating plan.

However, if you don’t need to book a specific time to leave on your vacation, you can get air travel for a tenth or less of normal Hawaiian airfare. Companies don’t like flying planes which have empty seats. They will generally have seat sales trying to fill these seats up as the departure date gets closer. The Internet makes it possible for anyone to take advantage of these great deals.


Hawaii is composed of eight main islands, although only three are really on the radar of the average tourist – Oahu, Maui and Hawaii (often referred to as the “Big Island”, so as not to confuse it with the state).  Of these three, the two most popular by far are Maui and Oahu. Oahu is the nerve center of the state and includes its most populous city, Honolulu. There are more people living in Honolulu than on the entire Big Island of Hawaii, despite that island being roughly three times the size of all of Oahu!

The population and popularity of Oahu for business types and Maui for college types means you can expect to pay steep prices for everything on these islands. A trip to Hawaii’s Big Island is much more reasonable, and there’s a lot more breathing room too. Of course, some might point out that Hawaii’s Big Island is the location of two active volcanoes and the center of some of the worst earthquakes and tsunamis in the history of the island chain, suggesting that that is why not as many people visit it.


Hotel prices give potential tourists nightmares. Even with an all-inclusive trip, these costs can really add up.

Good thing we live in an age of real estate entrepreneurs. Plenty of mainlanders want to retire to Hawaii.  And they have bought up condos with that goal in mind. To pay off the mortgage, they rent out their real estate to visitors while they’re off island. Paying for a week in a condo is often ¾ or less of the price of staying in a hotel!

These are a few of the different ways you can save money when you are thinking about traveling to Hawaii. With a little bit of foresight and some flexibility, you can cut the costs of a tropical vacation in half!