10 top tips for visiting Hawaii on a budget


There’s a saying in Hawaii: there’s a cost to paradise. Among the US states, Hawaii had the highest cost of living in 2019, according to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center.

The median price of a single-family home on Oahu is more than $1 million. And gas costs nearly $5 a gallon. But there are still plenty of low-cost ways to enjoy the best of the islands — pristine beaches, local flavors, stunning natural beauty — without sacrificing your experience. Here’s how.

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1. Plan a fall or spring vacation

Hawaii is a year-round destination, and that’s good news for budget travelers. You can find deals on airfare and accommodations during the slower shoulder months — September and October, January and February, April and May — avoiding peak travel times like summer, winter and spring break.

2. Be smart about island-hopping…

Why fly all the way to Hawaii and stay on one island? If you’re set on seeing more than one island on your vacation, you should take advantage of cheaper options on interisland airfares.

Southwest Airlines, which entered the interisland market in April 2019, offers Wanna Get Away rates— sometimes as low as $39 one way — with no-frills service and no assigned seating. Mokulele Airlines operates Cessna 208EX Grand Caravans that seat up to nine passengers and flies into smaller airports, offering round-trip fares for less than $200 per person.

Planning tip: If you’re on Maui and want to visit Lanaʻi, you can book a ride on the Expeditions Maui-Lanaʻi Passenger Ferry. Tickets start at $30 one way and take about an hour. Bonus: if you’re traveling…

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