COVID has left people dreaming and planning vacations for summer 2021. With Hawaii effectively shut down to tourists (you don’t want to mess with that 14-day quarantine, trust me), you might be wondering what a trip to these gorgeous islands will cost you in 2021. In 2019, on our personal finance website, we estimated that a comparable mid-range trip to Hawaii would cost $10,100 for a family of four. How does that measure up now?

If you book right now, a 10-day trip to Hawaii in June 2021 for a family of four will cost $8,914. That’s a lot, yes, but that’s significantly less than the last time we estimated. 

The breakdown for expenses is:

AirfareHotelRental CarFoodActivitiesTotal
$1,508$3,596$510$2,100$1,200$8,914

how much family of 4 to hawaii 2021

 

Planning Ahead: Will a Trip to Hawaii Be Cheaper in 2021?

Hawaii has been closed to tourism now for most of 2020. And it looks like it will continue this way for quite some time, with the most recent announcement that the 14-day quarantine requirements have been extended. 

But that doesn’t stop people from planning a trip in 2021 and hoping that next year, it will be safe to travel here. Are you going to get a cheaper deal once Hawaii opens up? It looks like planning a trip now for 2021 can save you a significant amount of money.

A 10-night trip to Oahu in June 2021 currently costs $8,914 for a family of four. When we priced out the trip in 2019, the cost for a 10-night trip was around $10,100 (staying on Oahu only). While certainly Hawaii still isn’t a cheap vacation, using these two trip estimates, prices for the overall vacation have dropped 12% in 2021 as compared to 2019. 

 

How Much Does a Trip to Hawaii Cost For a Family of Four in 2021?

As of writing this, Hawaii has been off-limits to visitors for five months. That’s five months of no tourism revenue for a state that’s main revenue comes from tourism. Because of that, you might think that you can snag a trip to Hawaii in 2021 for next to nothing.

That doesn’t seem to be the case. Yes, booking a trip to Hawaii right now for 2021 is cheaper than it was to book a trip in 2019 but there are no bargain-basement deals to be had so far. A trip to Hawaii will still be expensive next year, just slightly less so. But, as always, it will still be worth it. 

To get to our estimate of $8,914, we used the following assumptions:

  • A 10-night trip to Oahu
  • Flights leaving from San Francisco
  • A family of four, including two adults and two children
  • Trip booking for June 2021
  • Staying in a hotel

As stated above, the average trip cost that we came up with is $8,914. That’s $2,229 per person. 

Of course, there are ways to do this cheaper (think: glamping) and there are ways to make this trip much more expensive. But this is a pretty reasonable estimate for a mid-priced vacation that you’ll love.

Here’s how costs break down:

 

Airfare to Hawaii

Right now, airfare is a steal. A roundtrip flight on United Airlines from San Francisco to Oahu in June 2021 is $377. Because travel is so uncertain (even in 2021), you’ll want to be sure that whatever flights you do book come with a flexible cancellation policy. At $377 per person, you still get that flexible policy on United. 

Total cost of airfare: $1,508 for four people

 

Hotel on Oahu

The biggest chunk of your budget is going to be spent on your lodging. The majority of people who come to Hawaii stay in a hotel over a vacation rental. In December 2019, data from the Hawaii Tourism Authority showed that 59% of Hawaii visitors stayed in a hotel. So for this, we used estimates for staying in a hotel.

Just like with most places, hotel prices can range. You have budget accommodations and luxe resorts. For the estimate, we pulled prices from some of the most popular family-friendly resorts on the island. 

Related read: The 7 Best Family-Friendly Hotels on Oahu

We priced out a 10-night stay at these hotels in June 2021:

  • Hilton Hawaiian Village $3,596
  • Royal Hawaiian Hotel: $4,928
  • Turtle Bay: $4,665
  • Sheraton Princess Kaiulani: $2,794
  • Queen Kapiolani Hotel: $2,862
  • Disney Aulani: $7,346

These prices include taxes and a resort fee. Because there is such a wide range of prices, we stuck with a middle estimate and went with the Hilton Hawaiian Village. 

Total hotel costs for four people: $3,596

hawaii Oahu hotel cost family of four

 

Rental Car

You can technically skip the car rental and save on this cost, but there is so much to do and see on Oahu, we recommend sticking with it. Yes, it can be frustrating to pay for a rental and parking charges, but if you plan to see a lot and drive to different spots on the island, a rental car is well worth it. 

Related read: The Best 5 Day Oahu Itinerary

To help save money, we book our rental cars through Discount Hawaii Car Rental. We always get the best prices and you book with the major car rental companies. There’s also no need to pre-pay your reservation. On an average trip, we usually save $60-$75 per week booking with Discount Hawaii Car Rental. But on a trip to the big island over New Years, we saved over $300!

For this estimate, we used Discount Hawaii Car Rental and received a price for a 10-day rental in a standard size car. 

Total rental car costs: $510

family of 4 trip to hawaii cost rental car

 

Food

Just when you think that you’ve paid for all of the expensive things on your trip, think again. Eating out in Hawaii is expensive. Even hitting the food trucks can add up to a considerable about (though they’re delicious and worth it). 

But because we’re estimating the total cost of a 10-day trip, we have to include food in there. The average dinner can run $50 – $100 per person, depending on the type of restaurant and the number of beverages ordered. 

At Duke’s in Waikiki, for example, a fish entree is $20 – $31. Add in a drink, tax, and tip, and you’ve spent $50 without trying. Add on an appetizer or dessert and the bill climbs. 

Across the street at The Street Food Hall by Michael Mina (highly recommend!) you can get a less expensive meal, but an entree will still cost $15 – $20. 

All that to say that we estimate an adult will spend $75 per day on food and a child eating off the kid’s menu will spend $30 per day. Costs are obviously less if you’re staying at a vacation rental and not eating out. But for the resort cost, we think it’s safe to say you’ll spend around $210 per day on food for four people, with a comfortable budget. 

Total food costs: $2,100

food cost for trip to hawaii family of 4

 

Activities

The last, and possibly most exciting money that you’ll spend on the entire trip will be for your activities. There are plenty of free and cheap things to do in Hawaii, so this category is a little challenging to estimate. Hiking is free, snorkeling is inexpensive, and even visiting the Pearl Harbor memorial is free. So you can either go all out and spend a ton on activities, spend next to nothing, or somewhere in between. 

If this is your first trip to Hawaii, you may want to do a few special things like a boat snorkeling trip, a surf lesson or stand up paddleboarding (SUP) lesson, and a luau. A good estimate of the costs for these three activities is $1,200.

Related article: A Local’s 10 Free Things to Do on North Shore Oahu

If you know that you want to do even more activities, we have a recommendation to help you save down below. 

Total activities cost: $1,200

 

How to Cut Costs on Your Trip to Hawaii Without Sacrificing Fun

Now that you have the total cost estimate, are there ways that you can save?

Stay in a Vacation Rental

I love a good resort experience and most visitors stay in a resort when they come to Hawaii. But if a family really wants to save money, a vacation rental can offer significant savings. 

For a reference point, a nice one-bedroom vacation rental in Waikiki is $2,147 for the same time period. So staying in a vacation rental will save you nearly $1,500. That also doesn’t include any food savings, which can be significant. It would be a safe estimate to say that staying in a vacation rental during this trip can easily save you $1,500 – $2,000. 

There are pros and cons to staying in a vacation rental and we’ve laid them all out in this video Where to Stay in Hawaii: Hotels vs Vacation Rentals

 

Consider the Go Oahu Card

This is a divisive suggestion. Some people hate the Go Oahu Card and think it delivers no real value. We did a full analysis and figured out that in specific situations, the Go Oahu Card can save you real money. It comes down to how many activities you want to do and whether the activities are covered by the card. 

If you are eager to explore all Oahu has to offer and you know that you’ll be doing a lot of activities, the card might help you save a decent amount of money. 

If that sounds like you, we have a full review of the card and itineraries to use with the card to ensure that you’re getting your money out of it: Is the Go Oahu Card Worth It? Our Review and Itineraries. 

Related article: Costco Hawaii Vacation Review: 9 Things to Know Before You Buy

 

Travel During Shoulder Seasons

The majority of visitors to Hawaii come either in the summer or the winter. It makes sense: if you have kids in school your options to travel are limited. But those are also the most expensive time to travel to Hawaii. 

Costs dip considerably if you visit in September and October or April and May. Not only that, but the weather is generally better during these months and you’ll escape the most crowded months. If you can, planning a trip to Hawaii during the shoulder months could save you a lot of money. 

If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii for the first time, you’ll definitely want to use our FREE first time to Hawaii itinerary to help guide you. It’s a 10-day itinerary to give you the perfect introduction to Hawaii. 

Erica Gellerman

Erica Gellerman

Author

I'm the co-founder, with my husband Jordan, of The Hawaii Vacation Guide. We live on Maui with our toddler Henry and our sweet but quirky dog Hattie. You will most likely find me on the water on a SUP or swimming in the waves.

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