Cheapest Hawaiian Island: Discover Paradise on a Budget!

Aloha, fellow budget adventurers!

As someone who’s been juggling work, life, and everything in between, I know how important it is to find the ultimate vacation spot that won’t break the bank. That’s where Hawaii comes into play – a dream destination with sandy beaches and swaying palm trees. But can we really experience all its magic without spending a fortune? Absolutely!

You see, my boyfriend and I have mastered the art of Hawaiian getaways on a shoestring budget. From island hopping adventures to cozy dinners by the ocean – we’ve cracked the code on experiencing paradise without maxing out our credit cards. The secret lies in knowing which island offers the most bang for your buck: say hello to the cheapest Hawaiian Island.

Having personally tested out various spots and travel hacks over numerous vacations, I’m thrilled to share my top findings with you! In this article, we’ll dive into wallet-friendly hotels, resorts, airfares, car rentals – you name it! The best part? I’ve made sure these gems don’t skimp on quality or charm.

Warning: You might just find yourself becoming an expert bargain hunter like me after reading this guide! So buckle up as we embark on this journey together towards discovering Hawaii’s hidden treasures served at unbeatable prices. Get ready to dip your toes into paradise while keeping those dollars intact!

Hotels and resorts in Hawaii

Hawaii offers many different accommodations for tourists, ranging from hotels, resorts, timeshares, and rentals. Many can be expensive, and lucrative and there are many all-inclusive packages. Still, for those looking for a good deal, there are options. It also pays to be patient, check, and re-check rates for the accommodations you want – and you can find the best price.

Due to inflation and drastic growth in prices, in the last year, the prices of resort stays have gone significantly up. Still, there are midscale and economic hotel stays that are still reasonable. For example, this year the average daily rate in the mid-level hotel range is about $210 per night, statewide (while luxury resorts average a daily rate of $887). Most of this price growth can be attributed to the post-covid-19 economy. 

The average daily traits for hotel rooms in the past year have been in Oahu. Followed by the Big Islan, Kauai, and the most expensive in Maui. 

Airfare to Hawaii

As far as the airfare is concerned, the prices between the island do not vary significantly. Still, Oahu and the Big Island have the cheapest flights, but the significance in your budget is under $50 round trip. So in most cases, choices on your stay should not be based on airfare.

The average roundtrip flight cost to the Big Island from LAX was $405, while to Oahu it was $428. Maui was still the most expensive at $459. Still, take these prices with a reserve, since they are known to fluctuate greatly. Depending on the season, flight carrier, and promotions with charter flights, planning could help you save a lot. Make sure to check airline prices often, and for dates well ahead of time. This will help you find the best deal. 

Rental Car in Hawaii

It’s relatively easy to pick up your booked car rental at any Hawaiian airport. But for the best deal, we always use a car comparison site like We like to compare prices and classes of cars. And our choice usually depends on the activities we have planned. Other sites include Orbitz, Kayak, and Hipmunk. All these sites work with major rental car dealers and have many pickup spots. 

Based on my experience and research, the cheapest rental and largest offer of economic class cars are in Oahu, at about $50 per day. Kauai and Maui come in after that with the best prices, while the Big Island comes in as the most expensive. Regardless, keep in mind that prices fluctuate during the year, seasons, and events 

The Cheapest Hawaiian Island to Visit

When taking into consideration airfare, hotel, and car rental, Oahu is the cheapest Hawaiian island to visit. In second place is the Big Island, and the most expensive is Maui. 

Based on the last available data, a trip to Oahu for two, out of LAX for seven days and six nights costs an average of about $2,700. A similar package in Maui is about $1,000 more for the same accommodations. 

Other factors will play into your price, including the month you go (spring and fall are generally the off-season, and cheaper). The cheapest month to visit Hawaii is March, October, and February. Months, when there are no school vacations, are a good start to look for (because families have less chance to travel) and the demand goes down. 

It also depends on the place you choose to make your hub for the trip. With a good rental car, and patience a much better deal can be found in less touristy areas of Oahu. For example, Kailua, situated on Oahu’s windward coast, and, Waianae is among the two most affordable cities on Oahu. 

The Second Cheapest Island to Visit

As a second choice for a limited budget picks the Big Island. When compared to the other islands the prices for hotels, airfare, and car rentals are a close second to Oahu. In fact, for the same accommodations, the Big Island is more expensive by about $250 to $300. 

The cheapest city to stay in on the Big Island would be Hilo, home to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Other cheap options include Pahoa, located on the eastern side of the Big Island, and Kailua Kona, located on the western side. 

Another option ( and perhaps my favorite) is Kapaa located on the eastern side of Kauai near beautiful beaches, hiking trails, and waterfalls. Staying in these locations will not only ensure lower prices but much less crowded vacations and more local, authentic vacations. 

The Most Expensive Island to Visit

To no surprise, Maui is the most expensive island to visit in Hawaii once you take into consideration hotel prices, airfare, and car rental. One of the reasons is that this is a popular honeymoon and wedding destination, which in part drives up the demand (and prices.) Compared to Oahu or the Big Island, the same vacation will cost you about $1,000 more in Maui. Others services are also more expensive in Maui including some of the tours and restaurants. 

Maui’s Wailea-Makena area is well known for its high prices, luxury, and a spot for the rich and famous. The second would be Lahaina Town with its famous luxury resorts and privacy. 

Of course, you can find good and cheap deals in Maui at certain times of the year, but you really need to be patient to find a great deal. When paying the higher price in Maui you are generally getting more spacious resorts and its famous beaches (best in Hawaii). 

If you are looking to stay in Maui on a budget, consider staying in one of the cheaper cities like Kula and Hana. In fact, Hana is one of the cheapest places in Maui, yet offers a lot of content with just a short drive. 

Save money on your trip to Hawaii

There are many ways to save on your trip to Hawaii. But the most significant savings will be achieved with diligent planning ahead of time. A Hawaiian vacation should be usually booked 3 to 6 months ahead of time. This includes transportation, stay, and any special restaurant reservations (some restaurants are booked months ahead of time), tours, and guided activities. Significant savings can also be made an equipment rental (like snorkeling, surfing, and kayaking) so do your research. 

Choose the right time

The peak (and most popular) season in Hawaii is Winter – especially from Thanksgiving to after New Year. This is also the most expensive time of the year to book hotels and air flights. The second most expensive season is during the summer. This is a very popular vacation time for families, who take the opportunity during summer and spring vacation. 

Spring (from April to June) and Fall (end of September to November) are considered the cheapest times to visit Hawaii. For the best deals make sure to look for times when there are no holidays (or spring break), for additional great deals. 

From my personal experience, the golden times to travel to Hawaii are April and October. This is also a great time as far as the weather is concerned. The temperatures are in the high 70-degree range and low 80-degree range. It is not the rainy season, and generally, there is little wind. So unless you are going specifically to surf, the conditions are great for bigger watersports and swimming and snorkeling. 

As a general rule, make sure to check and re-check (often!) offers with several different travel agencies that have special promotions in the off-season. Make sure to search for hotel and flight deals online – and compare. You can even find some deals at adults-only resorts, hotels, and pools during off-season times (parts of spring and fall). Because families usually travel when the kids are out of school. 

Book your activities ahead of time

To get the best deals, and make sure to have a spot on your favorite tour, you need to book well ahead. The most popular activities are likely to sell out even in the off-season. Use several booking sites to find the farm tours, biking, hiking, and boat adventures that pique your interest (and budget). There are even some self-guided options. 

Two of the trusted sights to browse and book your activities are and Asides from customer reviews, these sites post duration, pick-up points, and detailed activities of each tour. 

They even include what equipment, snacks, and water are included. It’s a good place to check out the refund and return policies on each tour as well. Some tours are dependent on weather and can be rescheduled or refunded. Some tours, like whale watching, will even give you a second tour if you don’t see any whales the first time. 

Conclusion on the Cheapest Hawaiian Island to Visit

Visiting Hawaii is on my bucket list of almost everyone. It’s a tropical paradise with rainforests, waterfalls, white beaches, and stunning sunsets. Yet financing such a trip can be tricky.

That’s why I felt the responsibility to write this article and show how a great, high-quality Hawaiian vacation can be affordable for everyone. All you need is diligent planning, picking the right island, and the right time to visit.

Oahu is the cheapest island to visit based on average airfare, hotels, and car rentals. But if you take the time to follow my advice you will find incredible ways to save way beyond what you planned. 

So read carefully, share with your friends and have a great trip!


Which Hawaiian island is most affordable?

The most affordable island in Hawaii is Oahu. One of the reasons for this is the abundant offer of hotels, flights, and tourist attractions. The island is especially affordable during the off-season which is generally considered spring and fall. For additional savings, Oahu offers several less touristy towns for your stay that are among the most affordable in Hawaii. So check out, Kailua, situated on Oahu’s windward coast, and, Waianae. Also check and re-check deals in April and October, because these months are generally the cheapest during the year. The average seven-day offer for two on Oahu is about $1,000 cheaper than in Maui. 

What is the cheapest month to go to Hawaii?

The peak season in Hawaii is winter and summer. This is in part due to all the holidays and school vacations when people are free to travel. In contrast, the off-season is considered spring and fall (excluding spring break). 

In general, the cheapest months to visit Hawaii are April and October. The second choice would be February and March. The good news is, that all these options fall at a time when the weather is generally warm and comfortable. The temperatures in these months are generally in the 70 and 80-degree range, and relatively dry since February is the end side of the rainy season. 

In contrast, January tends to be the most expensive month to visit Hawaii due to the high prices of flights and hotels. 

Is Hawaii a cheap vacation?

A trip to Hawaii can be both cheap and very expensive. In general, it depends on your expectations and budget. Still, it is the most affordable exotic destination for Americans, especially those living on the west coast. 

Plain tickets from L.A. can be as little as $400, going up to $1,200 or more. In the same way, a good or Airbnb accommodations can be found for $150. Hotels (economic class) can be found from $400 to $600 per night for two people.

Last Updated on May 1, 2023 by Brigitte