If going to Hawaii is on your bucket list, you might be wondering what the least expensive Hawaiian island to visit is. The answer: Oahu.
If only trips to paradise were free, right? Everyone knows traveling to Hawaii is not cheap. But that doesn’t deter people from visiting. In fact, travelers save up for months with the goal of visiting one or more of the islands.
Which Hawaiian Island is the Cheapest to Visit
Due to the abundance of hotels, activities, tours, and attractions, Oahu is the cheapest Hawaiian island to visit. Between the competitive prices and myriad of things to do, those looking for a budget vacation to Hawaii will find that Oahu is exactly what they’ve been searching for.
Related Post: How to Plan a Budget Hawaii Vacation
Even though Oahu is considered the cheapest island in Hawaii to visit, you still need to do your research. Price shopping for hotels, activities, and transportation ensures you find the lowest prices available.
When scouring the Internet for affordable travel rates, keep these tips in mind:
Skip the Rental Car
If you were debating renting a car while visiting Oahu, think again. Oahu’s public transportation is easy to use and inexpensive.
Every time I visit Oahu I use a combination of public transportation, ride-sharing services, and Turo for days when I want to go to the North Shore.
Related Post: Getting Around Oahu When You Don’t Know What You’re Doing
Be Selective of Hotel Location
While the hotels on Waikiki Beach are gorgeous and full of amenities, so are the hotels a few blocks away. Try to find a hotel that isn’t directly on Waikiki Beach for lower nightly rates.
These hotels are also within walking distance of the beach and other Waikiki area attractions. Why pay more for beachfront access when these convenient hotels cost far less?
Related Post: Stay on the Shores of Famous Waikiki Beach
Visit in the Off-Season
For even cheaper rates on hotels, flights, and activities, visit Oahu in the off-season. Typically, the spring and fall seasons boast smaller crowds and better prices.
Be sure to double-check the calendar and make sure you’re not booking a trip during a school break either!
Inexpensive Things to Do on Oahu
Since Oahu is considered the cheapest Hawaiian island to visit, you’re probably wondering what there is to do on the island. Oahu is bursting with exciting (and cheap) activities to do, including:
- Snorkeling ($)
- Botanical Gardens ($)
- Hiking Trails - Diamond Head (Free)
- Ziplining ($)
- Pearl Harbor (Free/$)
- Bishop Museum ($)
- Going to the Beach (Free)
- Food Trucks ($)
- Surfing (Free/$)
- Touring the Dole Plantation ($)
- Waikiki Aquarium ($)
To make sure you stay within budget, have an itinerary planned out for each day. That way you’ll know exactly how much you’re spending on food, transportation, and fun!
Tripster also has the best rates on fun watersports excursions like parasailing and sailing around the Pacific shore on your own Personal Yamaha Watercraft.
What's more, Oahu has some of the best whale-watching adventures for you to see the majestic humpbacks in all their glory. We have great deals with guaranteed whale sightings or your money back!
Related Post: Oahu North Shore Attractions You Can't Miss
photo credit: Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii via Facebook
Cheapest Hawaii Island to Visit on a Budget?
While the cheapest island to visit in Hawaii is Oahu, that doesn’t mean you can’t explore the other islands for less!
Planning a Hawaii vacation on a budget is easy, so long as you do your research and follow our advice. We have "10 Absolutely Free Things to Do in Poipu, Kauai," and other handy information right at your fingertips.
Take Advantage of Free Activities
Which Hawaiian Island is cheapest to visit for free activities?
When you visit any of the Hawaiian islands, you’re instantly immersed in a lush tropical paradise full of adventure.
Each island offers an extraordinary amount of free things to do including lounging on pristine beaches, exhilarating hikes, snorkeling, nature walks, sample the best coffee at Kona Hawaii and so much more. Do your research and stretch your budget by taking advantage of these free activities.
We have extensive guides on nature trails through state parks, the best places to swim and museums to browse, across all the islands. Check out "8 Fun and Free Things to Do on Big Island."
And, while not all activities are free, many are affordable. Renting a mask, snorkel, and fins cost me a whopping $12 for the day on the North Shore of Oahu. That’s it!
Hawaii Cheapest Island to Fly To
Arguably the most expensive part of a Hawaiian vacation is the flights. Depending on where you are coming from in the world, flights can annihilate a travel budget.
With this in mind, if you want it is imperative you book your flights strategically. In addition to being on the lookout for airline sales and other travel promotions, use these tips to find a cheap flight:
Which is the Cheapest Hawaiian Island to Fly To?
Unless you plan to use airline miles or points to book your flight, it is in your best interest to be flexible with your travel plans.
Everything from the airline you book with to the time of day you fly has an effect on which is the cheapest Hawaiian island to fly to.
Being flexible with these factors can help you secure the least expensive flight to your island of choice.
Related Post: Where to Stay in Hawaii on a Budget: A First Time Visitor’s Guide
For instance, I found it was far more affordable to book a ticket to LAX on one airline and the next flight to Honolulu on another.
You may find that flights later in the day offer cheaper rates. Be flexible and shop around!
Don’t Book Too Soon or Too Late
A study showed that booking a flight anywhere from 3.5 months to 3 weeks in advance is the “sweet spot” for prices. Booking too early or too late can lead to a surge in fares.
When searching for flights, be sure to use a site with a pricing indicator that suggests the best time to buy.
photo credit: Victoria Johnson via Facebook
Book a Condo or Suite
At first glance, this bit of advice may seem counterintuitive. Don’t condos and suites cost more than a typical hotel room? While, yes, they are more expensive, you save more in another area of your trip to Hawaii: food.
Condos and suites often have a kitchen or a kitchenette, which allows you to cook your own food. While I highly encourage you to sample Hawaii’s heavenly cuisine, you can save money by cooking breakfast and lunch for yourself.
Cheapest Places to Visit in Hawaii with Hawaii Vacation Packages
For even more budget friendly savings, look for opportunities to combine your hotel and activities into a vacation package. Package options from Tripster are the perfect way to save!
Build your own vacation package with your choice of hotel, luau, and activities, and watch the savings roll in. You can also save a bundle when you combine lodging with activities like luau concerts and spectacular area helicopter rides.
Cheapest Island in Hawaii to Visit: Planning and Research
With a bit of planning and research, you can travel to Hawaii without spending far too much. Those looking for the least expensive Hawaiian island to visit should book a trip to Oahu.
However, it’s also possible to travel to Maui, the Big Island, and Kauai without draining your travel budget.
Ready to Plan A Trip to the Most Affordable Hawaiian Island?
Oahu is the least expensive island in Hawaii but with Tripster's discount tickets and Hawaii vacation packages you can save some serious cash for your wallet. What other money saving tips do you have for visiting Hawaii?
Written By Anne
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Which island of Hawaii is the cheapest to visit? ›
Oahu is the cheapest Hawaiian island to visit, with a total cost of $2,625. A Ko Olina Resort lagoon on Oahu. Maui is the most expensive island to visit, coming in nearly $1,000 more expensive, with a total cost of $3,600. The Grand Wailea in Maui, a luxury resort.Which island is cheaper Honolulu or Maui? ›
We did a full cost analysis using data from the Hawaii Tourism Authority and found that Oahu is the cheapest island to visit and Maui is the most expensive. In fact, for a one-week vacation, Oahu comes in 28% cheaper than Maui. Of course, you can find cheap places to stay on Maui and expensive places to stay on Oahu.What is the Hawaiian island no one can visit? ›
Niihau, about 18 miles northwest of Kauai, is the "Forbidden Island." It has been privately owned by the same family since 1864, when Elizabeth Sinclair purchased it from King Kamehameha V for $10,000.Is Maui or Big Island cheaper? ›
The Big Island is the third most visited in Hawaii and offers accommodation for all budgets. It tends to be cheaper than Maui and it has two very different sides: Kona (west side) and Hilo (east side). In Kona there are many resorts and hotels with prices usually a bit higher than in Hilo.Is it cheaper to fly to Oahu or Maui? ›
So it's generally best not to book your flight to Hawaii only based on which island that you can find the cheapest flight for. In general, Oahu is the cheapest Hawaiian island to go to for vacation when considering all costs, not just the flight.What is the most affordable month to go to Hawaii? ›
The cheapest time to fly to Hawaii is during February and March. The most expensive month to fly is December when the holiday period falls, with January being very expensive as well. The peak travel months of June and July are surprisingly not the most expensive months for flights, with middle figure prices.Which Hawaiian island has the most to offer? ›
- Oahu has the most tourist activities, perfect for group tours and checking things off the bucket list.
- Big Island for water activities and volcanoes.
- Kauai for hikes, waterfalls, and all the outdoor activities you can ever dream of.
If it's your first trip to Hawaii
Chances are, the Big Island of Hawaii has everything you're looking for. But depending on what you want to do, one of the other islands accessible from the mainland — Maui, Oahu or Kauai — could be a better fit.
The short answer: Go to Maui if you want to be pampered at a resort with all the amenities. Book Oahu if you want to see Pearl Harbor and famous Waikiki Beach. Visit Big Island if you want to hike Volcanos National Park (and maybe see flowing lava). Head to Kauai if you want to experience wild, untamed Hawaii.What is the prettiest Hawaiian island to visit? ›
In our opinion, Kauai takes the throne as the prettiest Hawaiian island. It has a variety of views and terrain to see. Rocky coastlines, beautiful beaches, lush jungles, and mountains and valleys. There is so much to see and do.
What is the safest Hawaiian island to visit? ›
Kauai is the safest island in Hawaii, with the lowest violent and property crime rate compared to other islands.What is the biggest problem in Hawaii? ›
HOMELESSNESS – A MAJOR SOCIAL PROBLEM IN HAWAII
In 2023, there were an estimated 10% of the state's population living below poverty level. With regards to the number of people living on the street, according to the AARP there are an estimated 3,932 homeless adults on O'ahu as of November 2022.
Hawaii is a stunning location with plenty of fun things to do, no matter which island you visit. If you're in the market for a beachy, relaxing vacation, you may want to head to Maui. Otherwise, consider Honolulu for its abundance of hotels, things to do and plentiful flight connections to other U.S. cities.Why is Maui so popular? ›
Maui, known also as “The Valley Isle,” is the second largest Hawaiian island. The island beloved for its world-famous beaches, the sacred ʻĪao Valley, views of migrating humpback whales (during winter months), farm-to-table cuisine and the magnificent sunrise and sunset from Haleakalā.What is the cheapest month to go to Maui? ›
Visiting Maui in October, November, or December
Prices are lower than peak periods, demand is down, and the weather is often cooperative until mid-November when it can begin to get wetter again.
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.What days are cheapest to fly to Hawaii? ›
- The Cheapest Day to Buy a Flight to Hawaii is on a Wednesday. ...
- The Cheapest Day to Fly to Hawaii is on a Tuesday or a Wednesday. ...
- The Cheapest Day to Return from Hawaii is on a Tuesday or Wednesday. ...
- The Cheapest Time to Book a Flight from Hawaii is at Least 25 Days in Advance.
- Fly from Salt Lake City to Lihue from $407.
- Fly from San Francisco to Honolulu from $419.
- Fly from Sacramento to Maui from $422.
- Fly from Reno to Lihue from $426.
- Fly from San Diego to Kona from $438.
- Fly from Portland to Honolulu from $449.
- Fly from Seattle to Lihue from $501.
If you wish to discover the island as a whole, we recommend that you stay at least 5 days so that you have time to enjoy its various attractions and go on a few hikes. If you prefer to make only a quick stop to get an idea of life in Honolulu and do only the essentials, 3 days may be enough.How much money should I take to Hawaii for 2 weeks? ›
How much should I budget for a trip to Hawaii? A reasonable budget for two for a week in Hawaii is around $3,273. The above cost is based on staying in good, mid-range accommodation and having a few meals out per week, while preparing some yourself.
Where should I stay in Hawaii for the first time? ›
Where should I go in Hawaii for the first time? Usually, I recommend that first timers start off with a trip to Oahu. It's the most popular Hawaiian island, as well as the cheapest. Plus there are tons of attractions, activities, great food, and shopping.What is the best non touristy island in Hawaii? ›
Molokai. The most local of the main Hawaiian Islands, Molokai also receives far fewer visitors than the other islands and will have the least touristy feel.Is Maui or Kauai better? ›
If you're ready to trade the hustle and bustle for variety and adventure in your life, Maui probably sounds like the perfect escape. If you're looking for something quieter and family-friendly, with plenty of outdoor activities and natural beauty, Kauai is the ideal island paradise.What month is best to go to Hawaii? ›
While Hawaii is a great destination year-round, the best opportunity for good weather exists during April, May, September, and October. As the tradewinds pick up over the winter months, so do the showers, and surf swells, particularly on the north/northeast (windward) shores of each island.Which Hawaiian island has the best beaches? ›
With 227 miles of shoreline, Oahu is the best Hawaiian Island for beaches. Oahu has the best beaches in Hawaii due to Oahu's many protected bays, reefs surrounding the island, gold-sand beaches, and calm waters year-round.What is Kauai best known for? ›
Perhaps more than any of the other islands, Kauai is known for its natural beauty and its dramatic, beautiful sites. These include Waimea Canyon, the Coconut Coast and much more. You'll find gorgeous mountains and waterfalls, white sand beaches, sugarcane fields, and beachside cliffs such as those on the Na Pali coast.Is Oahu or Big Island better? ›
WINNER: If you're after traditional paradise beaches with golden sand and calm bays then Oahu is the one for you. But if you're less into sunbathing and more into unique ocean views then try The Big Island for something different.Which Hawaiian island is best without a car? ›
Generally speaking, the best Hawaiian island to visit without a car is Oahu. This is because the bus system goes throughout much of the island and it's convenient enough to take the Oahu bus to different places, and there's also a bus from the Honolulu airport.What should you not wear in Hawaii? ›
- White tennis shoes. Nothing says haole (“foreigner”) faster than chunky white sneakers. ...
- Socks with sandals. You're better than that. ...
- Loud Hawaiian shirts. ...
- Matching aloha shirts. ...
- Speedos. ...
- Shirts that say, “Hawaii.” It's like wearing an “I Heart NY” shirt in New York city. ...
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - New data shows that more Native Hawaiians are leaving the Aloha State due to the high cost of living. The median price for a single-family home tops $1 million in Honolulu. Hawaii residents also spend more than 40% of their income on rent — that's more than any other state.
Which Hawaiian island has the most homeless? ›
Oahu has the highest overall number of homeless adults, with 3,932, followed by Hawaii County (536), Maui (463) and Kauai (463). Oahu also has the greatest per capita homeless population, with 49 homeless individuals per 10,000 residents.Is it possible to visit Hawaii on a budget? ›
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.What Hawaiian island is best for first time visitors? ›
- Resort areas can feel like one big, manicured golf course.
- Activities are fewer and farther between.
- Beach resorts can be pricey, especially in Wailea.
Usually, I recommend that first timers start off with a trip to Oahu. It's the most popular Hawaiian island, as well as the cheapest. Plus there are tons of attractions, activities, great food, and shopping. That's why I think it's the best island to visit in Hawaii for the first time.How much should I budget for a trip to Hawaii? ›
What is the average cost for a trip to Hawaii? The average per-person cost for a Hawaii vacation is about $4000 for a one-week trip. This includes $1000 for flights, $2000 for accommodation, $550 for meals, $250 for a rental car, and $300 for tours and activities.How much spending money will I need for 7 days in Hawaii? ›
Budget to spend around $725 for two for a week in Hawaii. This assumes you're cooking some of the time and drinking some alcohol. If you enjoy eating out, you can expect to pay around $84 for a nice dinner for two, including an alcoholic drink.How do I choose an island to visit in Hawaii? ›
The short answer: Go to Maui if you want to be pampered at a resort with all the amenities. Book Oahu if you want to see Pearl Harbor and famous Waikiki Beach. Visit Big Island if you want to hike Volcanos National Park (and maybe see flowing lava). Head to Kauai if you want to experience wild, untamed Hawaii.What is the most tourist friendly island in Hawaii? ›
Oahu is the most visited of all the Hawaiian islands, at nearly 4.7 million visitors annually. Oahu is primarily defined by the state capital of Honolulu, as well as Pearl Harbor and the famous beach known as Waikiki. These areas attract tourists by the thousands daily.How many days is enough for a Hawaii trip? ›
While many vacations are five to seven days long, we recommend staying for at least 10 days to enjoy your Hawaiian vacation. The time change is difficult to adjust to at first and takes about 3 days to get fully acclimated. So, allowing a couple days to get over the jet lag is important.How many days would you need in Hawaii? ›
How many days are enough in Hawaii? While you might never want to leave Hawaii, usually people plan to stay 7-10 days during their vacation to Hawaii. That gives enough time to get over jet lag, participate in a few scheduled activities, explore the Hawaiian island a bit, and have time to relax and unwind.
How much does a 1 week trip to Hawaii cost? ›
The average price of a 7-day trip to Hawaii is $2,023 for a solo traveler, $2,986 for a couple, and $4,371 for a family of 4. Hawaii hotels range from $96 to $433 per night with an average of $177, while most vacation rentals will cost $270 to $810 per night for the entire home.Is it worth island hopping in Hawaii? ›
Island hopping in Hawaii is absolutely worth it. The islands are all incredibly different and it's easy to get from island to island. But it's important to know that island hopping can be time-consuming so you want to make sure your trip is long enough for these extra travel days.What is not allowed to bring to Hawaii? ›
RESTRICTED OR PROHIBITED ITEMS:
Pineapple and bromeliad plants and fruits. Passion fruit plants and seeds. Cruciferous root vegetables (radish, turnip, daikon, horseradish, rutabaga)