A trip to Hawaii is a dream come true, but isn’t it incredibly expensive? Yes, a trip to Hawaii is not cheap, but if you plan ahead, it doesn’t cost as much as you would expect.
When you travel to Hawaii from Europe, plane tickets will cost you a lot of money. It takes about 24 to 30 hours to travel to Hawaii, and you have one or two stopovers (probably in Los Angeles or Seattle). When you fly to Hawaii from Amsterdam, it will probably cost you about €1000. But if you look carefully and check different dates, it might be cheaper (I saw ticket prices from €600).
Check Skyscanner to compare prices.
Would you like to visit multiple islands during your trip to Hawaii? Then you also have to book some domestic flights, since there are no ferries. Those flights will cost you around €70 one way, and luggage is not included.
I booked my flights with Hawaiian Airlines after checking with Skyscanner and this is a great company. Additional tip: subscribe as frequent flyer on their website Hawaiian Airlines, because as a member you get a discount on the baggage fee.
Transportation on the islands
On the islands, you, of course, want to travel around and explore, and that is not for free. There are buses you can take (on Oahu you can bus tickets for $5.50 a day), but they won’t go everywhere you want to go, and sometimes you have to wait an hour or longer for the next bus.
I would recommend renting a car, especially on the islands of Maui and Big Island. I usually rent my cars through Alamo, because they have really good service. You can also compare prices by using AutoEurope). Gas wasn’t as expensive as I expected, I paid around $3.85 per gallon. And in my experience, gas was more expensive in California at the same time.
Accommodation is something you can make as expensive as you want. If you’re traveling on a budget: go camping or stay at hostels. Both options are not very common on the islands, so make sure to book ahead. Camping costs about €20 per night and a bed in a dorm will cost between €35-€50 per night (yes, hostels in Hawaii can be expensive!). It’s easy to book a bed in a hostel via Booking.com.
You can also opt to book a room in a hotel (this is also very easy when you use
Booking.com) or an appartement through Airbnb (use this link to get a €25 discount when you book something through Airbnb for the first time). Hotels and apartments can be quite expensive and it really depends on the location of how much you have to pay. Prices for hotels in Waikiki usually start from €150 a night (and can be very expensive).
One of my favorite places to stay in Hawaii was the small house in the picture above this paragraph. This was an Airbnb in the town of Pahoa on Big Island. I only had to pay €65 per night (a basic place with 2 bedrooms, a large kitchen, and a living room).
Almost all the food in Hawaii has to be imported by airplane, so food is obviously expensive. I didn’t go out much for food (which I didn’t mind, because I was traveling solo), but cooked most of my own mails or got take out. Especially dishes that contain fish, are very good on Hawaii! There are also many food trucks and you can get decent mails at the supermarket (like sandwiches, salads, and sushi). There are plenty of great places for a picknick in Hawaii, so take out isn’t so bad! Because I mostly cooked my own meals and got take out, I didn’t spend too much money on food.
Excursions & activities
There are thousands of things to do in Hawaii and you can do almost everything by booking a tour. It’s very easy to book tours with Get Your Guide, but you can also check out the best options yourselves by asking around. I only did one tour: the movie tour at the Kualoa Ranch.
There are two National Parks in Hawaii (Haleakala on Maui and Volcanoes on Big Island) and the entrance fee to get into those parks is $25-$30 per vehicle. If you have an America the Beautiful Pass, you can visit them for free. There are also many State Parks and they are not expensive at all. Sometimes they’re free, and sometimes you have to pay something between $1 and $5.
Besides the obvious costs, there are also always some miscellaneous costs. For me, those were souvenirs, Laundry (about $4 for washing and drying), luggage transport and a locker for my bag in Pearl Harbor.
Total costs of my trip to Hawaii
I spent €2.689,03 in total for my 17-day trip to Hawaii. I visited three islands: Oahu, Maui, and Big Island. This is what I spent in each category:
Plane tickets: €328,69
A personal note
I didn’t spend much on plane tickets, because I was already traveling in Southwest USA, and was able to buy my flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu with frequent flyer miles. Between the islands, I had two flights (from Oahu to Maui, and from Maui to Big Island).
However, the cost of my accommodations is pretty high, because I started the trip with a very expensive apartment in Waikiki (€130 a night). This was a gift I gave to myself because I just hiked five weeks on the Pacific Crest Trail and it was my birthday. On the other islands, I went camping, stayed in a cheaper Airbnb, and in a hostel. On average, I spend €33 a night.
Looking for a cheaper vacation? Check out this post: Hawaii on a budget
I also already had an America the Beautiful Pass, so I could visit the National Parks for free. An America the Beautiful Pass costs $80 and is valid for a year.
These were my costs as a female solo traveler in Hawaii. What do you think?
Would you like to read more about Hawaii?
Get one of these amazing guidebooks to prepare for your trip:
Or read one of my other articles about Hawaii:
– Perfect itinerary for Hawaii: exploring Oahu, Maui & Big Island
– First time in Maui | 5 things to do
– Big Island Hawaii: 7 awesome things to do