Is Hawaii Expensive? – The Cost Budget of Visiting this Island

Is Hawaii Expensive

Hawaii is a destination of various dreams for relaxing beach vacations. In this blog post, you will discover whether it is Financially Good to Move to Hawaii, the Estimated Hawaii Trip Cost, and the expense of Living in Hawaii. 

You will get the answers from here, to why it is so expensive to live in Hawaii, whether the high cost of living there is worth it, and why Hawaii is so expensive. Some local perspectives will also be added to this article. 

Is Hawaii Expensive

Hawaii is a relaxing destination with sunshine, endless coastlines, and constant good weather. The tropical paradise is searched in the Pacific Ocean’s warm waters. However, it is a place that is expensive and has quite a reputation to take a visit or vacation. You will design your vacation, and the cost of a trip is entirely up to you.

To save your money, follow the instructions.

  • Select a camp, share an Airbnb or typical villa with friends, or stay in a hostel.
  • Share the price of a rental car with your buddies or travel by bus.
  • Instead of going out to eat, buy groceries.
  • Don’t drink too much.
  • Spend your time by taking advantage of Hawaii’s hiking trails or free public beaches.

Follow these steps if you desire a cheap trip to Hawaii. If you are careful enough, you can spend roughly $415 weekly on the islands. Depending on your flights, a visit to this destination could be expensive. You will surely save your precious money if you follow these suggestions carefully. 

Is It Financially Good to Move to Hawaii?

Hawaii can be a rewarding place, but moving there can be expensive. Follow the guidelines if you’d like to make it financially successful. If you’re going to navigate life’s greatest changes, like moving anywhere that fits your budget, in this case, a financial advisor can assist you.

Locating a good advisor is not difficult. SmartAsset’s free tool connects you with three advisors in your region. You can conduct free informational interviews with your guide and decide which one meets your needs. Start working immediately if you’re prepared to hire an advisor who can assist you in reaching your financial objectives.

If you move to a new area, it’s a good idea to understand how the change impacts your budget. SmartAsset’s Hawaii paycheck calculator can assist you in determining how living in the Aloha State will affect your net income.

Estimated Hawaii Trip Cost

If you are looking for a 10-night trip for 4 family members, including 2 kids and two adults, during the greatest summer travel period and a seven-night journey for the same family in the off-peak season.

  1. On the island of Oahu, travel to Honolulu, the most popular island for visitors. 
  2. Four tickets for a return trip from Los Angeles. 
  3. The departure date for a peak-season trip is June 25, 2024; the departure date for a shoulder-season trip is May 8, 2024.
  4. The 10-night trip includes visiting Pearl Harbor, surfing instruction, snorkeling, and a day at a water park.
  5. Snorkeling, a trip to Pearl Harbor, and a day at a water park (without surfing instruction) are included in the seven-night package.
  6. A cheap rental car is booked via Turo or
  7. For housekeepers, $ 5 a day.

To assess price estimates, three property types are:

  • Hilton Hawaiian Village is a beachfront four-star resort.
  • Holiday Inn Express Waikiki is a three-star hotel.
  • Various Waikiki units are on; it is a condo.

Total hotel fees: 

  • At the three-star hotel, $29.49 per night.
  • At the four-star resort, $50 per night.
  • All the cleaning and management fees are for the condo units.

Total Parking fees:

  • At the three-star resort, $45 each day. 
  • At the four-star hotel, it is $68.06 each day.
  • In condo totals, parking is not included.

Meals of about $225 include nightly dinners, drinks, tips, and taxes.

  • At a four-star hotel, meal estimates include lunches and breakfasts totaling $100 daily. 
  • The three-star resort costs include free breakfast and pay only for lunch, $50 daily.
  • Meals with a strict budget involve reducing food expenses by 60%, either cooking or eating at cheap restaurants.

10-night Estimated Budget for peak season trip

  • Three-star resort with a five-day rental car and a 10-minute walk to the beach for $15,090.
  • Four-star beachfront hotel, utilizing a ten-day rental car for $10,447.
  • Within walking distance to the beach, a low-cost condo with a five-day rental car and tightly budgeted meals for $7,781.

7-night Estimated budget for shoulder season trip

  • A 3-star resort, with a rental car for 2 days and a ten-minute walk to the beach for $6,488.
  • 4-star beachfront hotel, with a 7-day rental car for $9,574.
  • Within walking distance to the beach low-cost condo, with a 2-day rental car and tightly budgeted meals for $4,936.

Cost of Living in Hawaii

According to, living in Hawaii and Honolulu costs 88% more than the national average, with the average housing price 202% higher. Due to the high expense of living in Hawaii, one must earn at least $200,000 to live comfortably. According to the U.S. Census, in 2019, Honolulu’s median household income was about $80,000.

According to the conclusion of 2020, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development states that an individual living in Oahu costs about $93,000. It is amazing to discover that the national average full-time salaried worker earns almost twice as much, or $48,672. 

How Much is State Income Tax for Hawaii?

Hawaii’s top income tax rate of 11% is high compared to the national average. However, the lowest property tax rate in the state is just 27% annually. There is no formal state sales tax; companies must pay a 4% general excise tax on all of their business activities; in addition, for Honolulu city, 0.5% override tax.

Taxable income for Single FilersRateTaxable income for Married Couples EquallyRate

Additional Costs of Travel in Hawaii

All the costs you will require to take into consideration when traveling in Hawaii. On the above budget, visiting Hawaii is possible. When traveling, setting aside some extra money is always a good habit. To stay on the safe end set aside, about 10% of the total cost of your trip is a reasonable amount. This can be helpful if you spend too much money on gifts or decide to add an activity to your Hawaii plan.

Everyday Expenses

A low-income earner of $93,000 can calculate their net earnings by using the above schedule, utilizing the Hawaii income tax rate of 8.25% per the chart and the federal tax rate of 22%. After taxes, the person’s net income exceeds $64,635 per year, leaving $5,386 monthly for housing and other expenses. Let’s examine some typical daily costs and how each person budgets for them. 

Hawaii Apartments Expenses

Hawaii apartments’ rent prices are the highest in the country, but it depends on which island or side you use. This is due to the business district and most of Honolulu’s jobs. According to data analyzed from HiCentral MLS in 2023, the average rent for apartments or single-family homes in Honolulu is described in the following table.

Three bedrooms$3,550
Two bedrooms$2,642

Average Home Price in Hawaii

Hawaii’s island has its own median prices and unique real estate market. In March 2023, the average sale price for a home increased by 2% to $970,000, and the price of a condo increased by 6% to $585,000.

In March 2023, condo sales went down by 34%, and home prices in Hawaii dropped by 37%. On the home market, the number of days has increased to 51 by 264%, and for condos, the number of days has risen to 36 by 157%. 

Hawaii Electricity

In Hawaii, the average cost of electricity runs about $50 per month, which is higher than in the country. According to the U.S. Energy Administration, Hawaii has the highest electrical costs in the country, with an average monthly bill of $342.

How Much is Gas in Hawaii?

In Hawaii, the gas costs depend largely on the island you reside in. In 2023, the gas prices in Hawaii extended to around $5.30 per gallon. The current average cost of gas in Honolulu, Hawaii, is about $4.90 per gallon. A week  and month ago $4.97/gallon was the average price of gas in Hawaii. A year ago the general gas rate was about $5 per gallon.  

Groceries in Hawaii

Hawaii has a greater selection of groceries than any other place in the world. This place offers a wide variety of foods, making sense given its location midway between the United States and Asia, as well as tropical fruits native to the location. Groceries are also costly because of the high shipping expenses. 

According to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center’s report, Hawaii’s grocery store rankings were 164.6 compared to the country index of 100. 

The California came in second closest at 119.3. frequently, tourists exclaim when they learn that milk prices in Hawaii may reach $8.99. If you live here, getting a Costco membership is essential to reduce costs by making larger purchases, aiming for $4.79 on average. 

Why is Food So Expensive in Hawaii?

The cost of food in Hawaii is very high, mainly because the archipelago is positioned right in the center of the Pacific, and most of the food must be eaten by boat or plane. Depending on the quality of the service, you will have to add between 15% and 20% tips. 

The average cost of a hotel meal with service is $50, but the cost of food might range from $50 to three times as much, depending on the establishment. 

But thankfully, there are several trucks and small snacks where you can eat for less, on average $15 to $20 a dish + drink that is served on the cardboard trays most of the time. Ice cream lovers, for Shave Ice, counts on average $5 to 8, the Hawaiian-flavored crushed ice that is unavoidable. 

Why is Hawaii So Expensive

Living in Hawaii is very expensive, and there are several primary reasons, some of which are described below.

High Taxes

The budget of Hawaii state per capita is the third highest in the country at $12,896. The state’s general excise tax is the most heavy-lifting in the nation when considered a sales tax. In terms of the country’s healthcare costs, $222 million is also added annually, and several other expenses make this island expensive. 

The Jones Act shipping costs

Merchandise shipping from the West Coast to Hawaii can sometimes cost up to 300%. The 1920 Act of Section 27 of the Merchant Marine, known as the Jones Act, requires goods to be transported between the US. Even among Jones Act carriers, this lowers competition and raises capital costs. Eliminating the U.S.-build requirement would save the state $531.7 million yearly and add 3,860 jobs.

Is the High Cost of Living in Hawaii Worth It?

Yes, the high cost of living in Hawaii is worth it. Hawaii is regularly ranked as the happiest place, the state with the highest wellness, and one of the healthiest places in the nation, despite the hidden costs and high general cost of living. 

The majority of the beaches are public, and some are national or state parks. You can enjoy several outdoor activities at little or no cost, on this island. Every island has an array of walking trails, with easy and challenging paths.

The Local Perspective | How to Make It

The visitors say that in Hawaii, you require a lot of planning to maintain a comfortable lifestyle. You must make attention-driven decisions about every dollar you spend. 

Every financial move you make, and every job request to determine whether you can live comfortably in this place. While living in Hawaii, working with two income earners toward a common goal can “level up” your financial condition.


Many factors affect the cost of living in the expensive Hawaii state. However, in this post, only two reasons are explained in the above discussion, including the Jones Act and high taxes. 

This post discusses several points that are enough to convince you to visit Hawaii’s island. The food available in this place is very expensive because the supply of eating materials is done by air or boat, which includes several extra expenses and taxes. If you want to visit this gorgeous place, this post provides a trip budget to arrange your visit easily.

Thomas Varner
My name is Thomas Varner. I love to collect expensive and unique things and I really like to tell you about this.

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