Hawaii Trip Cost Breakdown: 3 Days Maui + 3 Days Kauai
For most of my adult life, I figured the chances of ever getting to visit Hawaii were slim to none. It was so far away, and in my mind, it was incredibly expensive to get there, therefore I was convinced there was no chance of even bothering. But after obsessively googling “how much does it cost to go to Hawaii” and talking to friends who had done a lot of Hawaii travel, I had decided that we too can make this happen if we really wanted to. Now we aren’t total budget travelers, but I do love to make sure we are getting the best deal we possibly can when we are traveling – so this was a top priority when looking at the average cost of trip to Hawaii. Our trip to Hawaii with kids was a big one, and I wanted to make sure that this was a trip that would go down in the books. My kids are still talking about all of the amazing experiences we had when we had the chance to visit Maui and Kauai. You can read our full trip itinerary here: One Week in Hawaii with Kids. But other than these details I know you really want to know the Hawaii trip cost breakdown, how much did our Hawaii vacation cost? So if you are wanting to plan a trip to Hawaii, or know someone else who has this dream, read on carefully to find out what our trip to Hawaii cost.
When is the Cheapest Time to go to Hawaii?
The first thing I did when I sat down to plan this trip is I looked up when is the cheapest time to go to Hawaii. My findings were a bit all over the place, but overall it seemed as if the cheapest time of year to go to Hawaii was anytime it wasn’t peak vacation season. Now, this sort of left it up in the air, but I did read generally January through March was typically a great time of year to visit. Crowds were lower and prices were typically on the more affordable side during these months, plus the weather was great. I narrowed it down to a 2-month range and then very carefully combed through flight options to find a week that was a good price and worked with our schedules. Initially we were attempting to visit the week after President’s Day since that week is a winter vacation in many parts of the country, however, prices were much higher for that specific week for obvious reasons. Ultimately we decided to visit in early March, which meant pulling the kids out of school for a week. Usually, we try to avoid this, but as I said above this was a trip of a lifetime for us – so we made an exception.
I also came across a lot of resources for Hawaii vacation deals, but I find these “deals” are often hard to work out because they often have so many restrictions on when you can go. So I chose to book the Hawaii vacation a la carte and booked the flight and hotel separately instead of a package deal (more on that later). I am sure you can find some cheap Hawaii vacation deals as a package, but I prefer to book separately as it allows some flexibility for us, especially because we tend to use a lot of travel rewards.
How much does it cost to fly to Hawaii?
When you are planning a trip to Hawaii on a budget, you will probably first notice that the cost of flights will make up a huge portion of the overall cost. The cost of how much is it to go to Hawaii can be dramatically decreased if you do a little planning in advance. I found that the cheapest way to travel to Hawaii was to take advantage of Alaska Air’s companion fare. If you are wanting to book a trip to Hawaii on a budget, this should be your main plan. But it will only help you if you plan in advance. The companion fare cuts down on the average cost of a trip to Hawaii by discounting the price of flights by 50%.
Before you even think about how to plan a trip to Hawaii, you will want to go apply for an Alaska Air credit card. In fact, when we planned this, my husband and I both applied for one so we could actually have not one, but two companion passes. This truly made the cost of our flights 50% less than they would have been full price. Before we even narrowed down a time of year we wanted to visit Hawaii, we got the cards and made sure to spend the minimum spend within the given time frame. We pay our credit cards off immediately, and for buying what we would have bought anyway we were now rewarded with two companion fares to be used within one year. We also were able to gather up a ton of Alaska Air miles, which we used on an additional trip to Palm Springs with kids.
After several days of watching prices, and figuring out which dates would work best for us, I eventually booked our flights. We flew direct from Seattle to Maui, and then from Kauai back to Seattle for $825 for 4 of us. Read more about this awesome way to book the cheapest way to get to Hawaii here. This is definitely in my top Hawaii travel tips!
We also had to book one inter-island flight in order to get from Maui to Kauai. In the spirit of making this an affordable vacation to Hawaii, we decided to also make sure we could book this quick flight with points. The more we could pay for with travel rewards and keep our cost of trip to Hawaii down, the more we could spend on fun things to do on the islands! Flights between the islands are short and therefore really cheap. The flights from Maui to Kauai would have been around $124 a person for us, but we chose to use about 28,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to pay for these 4 flights instead. Now we could put that cash saved towards something else when we were in Maui and Kauai. We have a few different Chase cards, but the Chase Ultimate Reserve card gives us the most benefits. We love to stockpile our Ultimate Reward points for big trips like this one, and it helped us book a trip to Hawaii realistically! We also love using our Chase Freedom Unlimited to rack up the UR points as well – sign up for one here – it has a $0 annual fee!
How much did we spend on Hotels in Hawaii?
As I mentioned above, we really love to stockpile our travel reward points and use them for a splurge trip. And over the course of a year, we had saved a good amount of Chase Ultimate Reward points and World of Hyatt points. It is also important to note that Chase Ultimate Reward points that you earn by spending on Chase credit cards can be transferred to numerous travel partners. However, we mostly transfer to a few favorites, one being World of Hyatt. We love staying in Hyatt hotels and find they are always family-friendly, and the value of using points to pay for nights at Hyatts are totally worth it! It worked out really well that in Maui and Kauai there were really awesome Hyatt properties.
In Maui, we chose to stay at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa. This hotel was located in an excellent location in Kaanapali, Maui directly on the beach. One night at the Hyatt Regency in Maui will typically cost over $350 a night, and many times can reach as high as $800 a night for a standard room. This hotel is currently considered a category 6 hotel, which means it costs 25,000 points a night. We, however, went right before this hotel was bumped up to a category 6 hotel and it was only a category 5 hotel which ran us 20,000 a night. When we stayed at this hotel, we upgraded our room to a Club Access room. By spending an additional 7,000 points per night we were able to get an upgraded room (partial ocean view) and we also had access to the Hyatt Regency Club. This part was the selling point for us because this is how we saved some serious money on food! More on that soon…
We were beyond excited to get to spend 3 nights at the Grand Hyatt in Kauai. This is also a category 6 hotel, and we paid 25,000 points per night to stay here. This hotel is typically much more expensive than the Hyatt Regency in Maui and was totally worth the splurge of 75,000 World of Hyatt points. The Club Access upgrade was not available for the nights we were in Kauai but we still asked for a room upgrade and got a room overlooking the pool that also allowed us to walk right out our door to get to the pool! We have learned it is always worth it to ask for any available upgrades – worse they can say is no 🙂 Another perk of the Grand Hyatt in Kauai is that self-parking is free – which always makes us smile!
Using Chase Ultimate Rewards + Hyatt Points for a Free Week in Hawaii
My husband and I had saved Chase UR points for a while and were able to transfer just enough into World of Hyatt to allow us this splurge! The Hyatt Regency was 20,000 a night x 4 = 80,000, and we added 3 days of Club Access for 7,000 x 3 = 21,000, so a total of 101,000 points at the Hyatt Regency in Maui. Plus 75,000 for the 3 nights at the Grand Hyatt in Kauai. Our grand total for hotels in Hawaii was 176,000 World of Hyatt Points, which I would estimate saved us well over $3000 in hotel costs.
How much did we spend on food in Hawaii?
Hyatt Regency Club Access
I mentioned above that we spent 7,000 points a day for 3 days of Club Access in Maui at the Hyatt Regency. The Club Access was totally worth it and allowed us to eat a ton of meals at the hotel included in that cost. The Hyatt Regency Club offers an extensive breakfast, including tons of fresh fruit, and you can even grab the stuff to take to go. At lunchtime, there are some snacks available, including yummy cookies and many drinks options!! And at dinner time you can also get dinner in the Hyatt Regency Club, with a dessert following later in the evening. Alcoholic beverages were an additional charge and weren’t really worth it in our opinions, so we got our Mai Tais elsewhere when out for meals! Honestly, you could eat every meal at the Hyatt Regency Club, and while we chose not to eat all of them there, we totally took advantage as much as we could. For a family of 4, and kids that eat a ton and are often picky, this upgrade to Club Access was 100% worth it for our family. Check out this post for more details on the Club Access in Maui – it was this post that convinced me to do it!
Buying Snacks and Water at Local Grocery Stores
When our family is traveling, we very rarely eat breakfast out. So in order to fuel up in the morning, we stocked up on some good breakfast foods that worked for on the go. Our first morning we hit up a grocery store for snacks and fruit, and also were sure to grab bottled water too. This saves us a ton of money and since we don’t really want to eat breakfast out anyway it also saves us time in the end! I would estimate we spent about $50 on snacks and drinks at a grocery store that lasted a week.
I will start by saying we are total foodies and love to try new restaurants when we are traveling. We went into the trip knowing that the cost of food in Hawaii was known to be on the higher side. We did take a few actions to cut down on the food prices in Hawaii, but we still ate out without much holdback. So in no particular order, these are the meals and what they cost on our week-long trip to Hawaii.
- Ululani’s Shave Ice (dessert): $21
- Leilani’s on the Beach (meal): $129
- Merriman’s Maui (drinks and apps): $151
- Gelato at the hotel (dessert): $19
- Mama’s Fish House (meal): $306
- Ka Haku Smoke Shack – Road to Hana (meal): $40
- Stops for Snacks on the Road to Hana: $30
- Keokis Paradise Kauai (meal): $151
- Aloha Roastery (coffee and snack): $16
- Da Crack Kauai (meal): $39
- The Beach House (meal): $156
- Nom Kauai (meal): $88
How much did we spend on activities in Hawaii?
I will start by reminding you that this was a MAJOR trip for our family, so we did splurge on some activities that we typically wouldn’t. Also as a travel blogger, I was able to get some discounts on some of the prices you see below which was incredibly generous of these companies. I also did some research on which activities my family would enjoy the most, and which would give us a great Hawaiian experience. There are countless activities to enjoy in Maui and Kauai, and many are less expensive (or free) and some MUCH more expensive. For example, we chose to skip the helicopter tours because they were simply too expensive for our family. Also, there are some that younger children can not do because of age restrictions.
- Garden of Eden: $36
- Cap’t Andy’s Napali Coast Boat Tour: $580
- Four Winds II Snorkel Tour: $320
- Smith’s Luau: $245
- Shaka Guide App: $10
In addition to the above activities we paid for, we also enjoyed a ton of other activities at no cost at all. For example, the Road to Hana, other than the cost of the Garden of Eden, the rental car, gas, and the cost of the app that guided us, it was free! We stopped and hiked and visited the beach, and got out and simply took in some awesome views all for $0. You can read more on that experience here: The Road to Hana with Kids. Also in both Maui and Kauai every beach we visited cost us nothing. I am fairly certain we could have spent the entire trip hanging on the beach they were that amazing. When we visited Kauai, we spent a good portion of a day exploring Waimea State Park, which was totally free. Read more on that here: 3 Days in Kauai with Kids. If you are hoping to snorkel, this can also be done cheaper by renting gear and snorkeling at the beach. I know there are many places in Hawaii that will rent you snorkeling gear which would save a lot of money on your Hawaiian vacation cost.
Car Rental Cost
- 3 Days in Kauai (Thrifty) $174
- 4 Days in Maui (Sixt) $222
- Gas: $100 ish
Anytime a Sixt car rental company is available I jump all over it because they typically offer some awesome rates for nicer cars. Also for at least the past year of trips I have found the best rental car rates by using Autoslash – they will give you all your options which is helpful to compare and then you can book through whichever company you choose. Another money-saving tip is to bring your own car seat to install in the car. Not sure which to choose – check out this post: Best Lightweight Car Seats for Travel. We personally love the MiFold, and Cosco Scenera.
Hawaii Trip Cost Breakdown Totals
- Cost of Flights to and from Hawaii: $825
- Groceries: $50
- Restaurants: $1116
- Activities: $1191
- Rental Car + Gas: $496
- Cost of inter-island flight: 28,000 UR points
- Hotels: 176k World of Hyatt Points
Total Cost: $3678
Interested in booking this trip? Click here to contact 115travel to make it happen!!