Finding the Lowest Airfare to Hawaii

Tips to Finding the Lowest Airfare to the Islands

Finding the lowest airfare to Hawaii is a process.  Hawaii’s amazing beaches, lush tropical rainforests, and crystal blue waters make it the epitome of paradise; and let’s face it- travelling to paradise isn’t cheap. In fact, your airfare may very well be one of the more costly expenses you’ll incur. And while snagging a great deal may require some homework and a dash of finger crossing, there are some things you can do to ease the strain on your budget. So let’s take a look at our guide to Finding the Lowest Airfare to Hawaii

Know the Best Time to Buy

Each year number-crunching travel gurus figure out when fares are the lowest, but this is certainly NOT an exact science. Depending where you look, the ideal advance-purchase date for domestic flights is 54-57 days. These dates are located within what is known as the “prime booking window”- generally thought to be 29 to 104 days from your travel date. But keep in mind that prices can fluctuate dramatically during that window. Also, remember that if day 54 falls during a major holiday, you’ll likely pay a lot more. That’s why we encourage you to follow our next suggestion.

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Fly When Demand is Lower

One often hears the terms "high season" and "low season" when referring to travel to Hawaii. These terms can be helpful, but are certainly not always applicable. For example, summer is generally referred to as the "low season"; however, July sees more visitors than any other time of the year. So here are some guidelines:

  • Avoid holidays if possible, especially Christmas through New Year.
  • In general, more people flock to the islands in winter looking for a cold weather respite, so higher crowds mean higher prices.
  • Mid-April through the beginning of June (before kids in the U.S. are out of school) often see airlines lowering their prices.
  • September and October also tend towards lower crowds and airfares, with one exception- the Ironman Triathlon is usually held in October on the Kona side of the Big Island, so if your plans take you there, you may need to make some adjustments.
  • Avoid weekend travel, as demand is higher. Generally, Tuesdays and Wednesdays see fares drop a bit.
  • Always check an event calendar for the island you’ll be visiting- there may be a large gathering planned that will draw large crowds and cause price jumps. 

Be Flexible

Is it absolutely imperative that you arrive on the 15th and leave the 24th? You may find that tweaking one or both of your dates gets you a better fare, so take advantage of that.

In addition, be open to flying from alternate airports if you can get a better price. For example, if you usually fly from Newark you may find that you can get a better fare flying out of LaGuardia.

Set Travel Alerts

There are loads of airfare websites that will give you the best prices they can find on your chosen route. Rather than scanning these sights all day, sign up for their alerts so you’ll be notified when the price of your route changes. Take advantage of websites, apps, and social media to keep abreast of the best bargains. And when you see a great price, don’t let it get away- it may not last very long. Also, make sure to…

Read the Fine Print

You find an absolutely unbelievable deal and heed our advice to snatch it up while you can… except there’s a catch. What you thought was a one-time-only bargain is actually for a one way flight- oops. Oh, and now that you’ve doubled that price make sure to add on all the taxes and fees, too. The devil’s always in the details.

Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute

Many people mistakenly think that waiting until the last minute will land them a better deal. While this may have worked in years past, holding out for a bargain fare is no longer recommended. Many flights will be full and this will only up the price as departure time nears. Plus, do you really want to plan your dream vacation’s flight willy-nilly? 

Use Your Frequent Flyer Miles

This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to overlook. You accumulate miles while making necessary trips for business meetings and Aunt Jane’s wedding; so why not put them to good use for a trip you’d absolutely love to take!

Take Advantage of Pricing Glitches

OK, we’ll admit this is a long shot, but it’s too good to omit. Occasionally (read: every once in a blue moon), an airline will make a mistake and price one of its fares amazingly low. This glitch usually won’t last long (maybe 1-3 hours), but many airlines will honor the fares booked during the mix-up. Monitor your price alerts closely and join forums and social media sites dedicated to finding these pricing flubs. You just might get lucky!

As you can see, finding the lowest airfare to Hawaii takes a bit of planning, but as you lounge on that beach or climb that mountain, you’ll know it was worth it.

2023 Hawaii Budget Calculator

Estimate the Cost of your Hawaii Vacation

Aloha, guest readers can calculate five (5) trip cost estimates for Hawaii each day. Rates included within this calculator are based on projected Spring/Summer 2023 rates aggregated from current OTA pricing. Rates will be updated regularly.

HawaiiGuide Premium members can submit unlimited trip estimates each day.

Aloha, as a HawaiiGuide Premium member you can calculate unlimited Hawaii trip cost estimates each day. Mahalo for being a HawaiiGuide Premium member!

Calculator Overview

This calculator is designed to provide both a comprehensive and regularly updated budget estimate for planning a trip to Hawaii. Currently, rates are applicable for 2023. Generally, these rates should provide a good estimate for any time period between 2023-2024.

This budget tool considers all of the following:
  • Hawaii Flight Costs including airfare from various destinations, baggage fees, etc.
  • Hawaii Accommodation Costs including different lodging types, Hawaii's now roughly 18% accommodation tax, parking fees (if applicable), which island you're staying on, etc.
  • Hawaii Vehicle Rental Costs including various types of vehicles, fuel costs, and number of miles driven daily.
  • Additional Costs including dining + gratuity, visitor fees to parks, etc., and Hawaii Tours and Activity costs.

Hawaii Flight Costs

First, consider your flight costs to Hawaii. Select your departure location, update the number of travelers (if applicable), and check whether you expect to pay baggage fees, below.

Hawaii Accommodation Costs

Next, let us know which island you'll be visiting (select the primary island if you're visiting more than one), select a lodging type/classification, update the number of nights (default is set to a week), update the number or rooms (if applicable), and check whether you expect to pay parking fees (common in more densely populated areas on Oahu and/or Maui).

Hawaii Car Rental Costs

Now, let's consider your vehicle rental costs (if applicable). If you're not renting a car, select 'No Car,' but for most visitors, we highly recommend a rental. Update the number of days (which will default to +1 day more than you selected in accommodation nights) and choose an estimate for your mileage each day. If you're not sure, we recommend you leave the default option selected.

If you select 'No Car' this will be zeroed out by default!

Other Hawaii Costs

Finally, consider a few last potential costs and fees for your trip. There's dining (we've included gratuity in the estimates), and we've selected all three meal options by default. Then, there are potential fees for parks and other attractions, which are a relatively new factor to now consider when estimating a Hawaii budget; select the applicable options below. Finally, select the amount, if any, you expect to spend on Hawaii Tours and/or commercial Activities. Be sure to update the number of people dining and people the fees/tours apply to if applicable; these numbers will default to the same number of people you selected previously for this trip estimate.

Email + Expected Travel Dates

We'll email you a copy of your results to this email address for your records.

You may not have exact dates yet, but provide a rough guess or estimate below. This will help us refine the calculator and provide more accurate data throughout the year. Mahalo!

Final Question

If you're visiting another island, please let us know below. This will not affect the estimate or rate you're provided. This is for research and calculator improvement purposes only. Mahalo!

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