If you want to go to Hawaii, you should visit different islands rather than just one. Unfortunately, island-hopping in Hawaii isn’t free, so you probably want to know how much it would cost and what your cheapest options are.
Island-hopping in Hawaii can be cheap or expensive. It can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars if you island-hop via a cruise or boat. However, if you island-hop by plane, it can cost as little as $50 or even cheaper (per flight per person) if you travel during the off-peak season.
If you’re on a budget but want to island-hop in Hawaii, keep reading this article because I will discuss how much it costs in greater detail. I will also discuss how much a ferry costs, the cheapest island to visit, the most affordable airline, and how much a Hawaiian cruise costs.
Is Island-Hopping in Hawaii Cheap?
Island-hopping in Hawaii is generally cheap because all islands are close together. You rarely need to pay over $100 for a one-way flight, so you don’t have to worry about spending thousands of dollars to island-hop around Hawaii.
Let’s look at some factors that determine how cheap (or expensive) island-hopping in Hawaii is.
The Mode of Transport
The mode of transport you choose is one of the most significant determining factors of how cheap it will be to island-hop in Hawaii. For most people, island-hopping by plane is the best option because it’s quick, easy, and affordable (most of the time). Island-hopping via a cruise ship can be more expensive.
The Time of Year
The time of year is another critical thing to consider when planning an island-hopping trip around Hawaii. For example, island-hopping around February or March would likely be cheaper than doing so at the end of December because December is typically the busiest period for travelers.
I’ve written a separate article about the best times to visit Hawaii, where I tell you all about the things you can expect in every season in Hawaii.
When You Book the Tickets
If you book your plane tickets at the last minute, you’ll likely have to pay a higher price than if you were to pay months in advance. If most seats are sold out right before the flight, you should expect to pay a high price, so try to plan your island-hopping trip well in advance to avoid extortionate plane tickets.
The Cheapest Way to Island-Hop in Hawaii
The cheapest way to island-hop in Hawaii is to travel by plane. Not only is it the most affordable way, but also the easiest and most convenient way. There aren’t many ferries between the islands, and the cruises that sail around can be costly. For that reason, air travel is your best bet.
All islands are easily accessible by air because they all have airports. You can get to every island in Hawaii by plane, so you won’t have to miss out on any of them during your travels.
The most popular airline in Hawaii is Hawaiian Airlines, the state’s biggest and longest-running airline. Not only does Hawaiian Airlines fly between islands, but it also flies to the mainland US.
The prices of Hawaiian Airlines flights around the islands can vary greatly. Still, as of 2022, you can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $90 in most cases.
To get an idea of prices for flights during the time you want to travel, you can go to the Hawaiian Airlines website and search.
Some Other Airlines That Fly Between Hawaiian Islands
Another airline that flies between islands in Hawaii is Mokulele Airlines. The planes are generally smaller, and the flights are less frequent than Hawaiian Airlines flights. You can book flights directly on their website.
Southwest Airlines also flies between the islands in Hawaii and operates in the mainland US. Flights with Southwest can be similar in price to Hawaiian Airlines flights, but it all depends on the time of year and when you book the tickets.
You can check the prices by going to the website and inputting your flight date. You’ll also need to input the origin and destination.
How Much Does It Cost To Get a Ferry Around Hawaii?
As of 2022, it generally costs around $30 each way (per person) to get a ferry around Hawaii. However, the ferry doesn’t go all around the islands. It only goes between Maui and Lanai, so you won’t be able to get a ferry to visit other islands in Hawaii.
If you’re interested in visiting Maui and Lanai, the ferry is a good choice because it’s affordable. To book a trip on the ferry, all you need to do is go to the Expeditions website and make a reservation. If you plan to island-hop with kids, their tickets for the ferry will be cheaper.
What Is the Cheapest Hawaiian Island To Visit?
The cheapest Hawaiian island to visit is Oahu, and it’s also the most popular destination for tourists. The other islands are less visited, so they don’t have as many amenities as Oahu. Since there are so many choices in Oahu, prices are competitive, and it’s easier to find good deals in restaurants and hotels.
For example, if you look for hotels in Molokai, you will only find a few options. Although there are many expensive hotels in Oahu, there are also cheaper options. Plus, there are many more things to do in Oahu, so it’s the best island to visit if you’re on a budget and looking for plenty of activities.
Regarding flight prices, there’s not much difference between the islands; all inter-island flights will be similarly priced during the same time. However, some airlines might be more expensive than others, so it’s good to compare the prices of different airlines before booking anything.
Maui Is the Most Expensive Island To Visit
Maui is expensive due to the high cost of hotels and other things like electricity and gas. Although it’s possible to find affordable flights to Maui from other Hawaiian islands, you can expect to spend quite a bit once you get there. It’s also one of the most popular destinations (behind Oahu), so there is a lot of demand for things like hotel rooms.
What Is the Cheapest Time of Year To Visit Hawaii?
Fall is the cheapest time to visit Hawaii, but spring can also be affordable. Few people have vacation time during these periods, so the islands will be less packed. This means you’re likely to find better deals while enjoying the nice weather (because the hot weather lasts all year in Hawaii).
If you are wondering what the best month to visit is, you should consider October or September due to the nice weather and low-season prices. This period is also an excellent time to island-hop around Hawaii because of the low prices.
What Is the Most Expensive Time of Year To Visit Hawaii?
The most expensive time of year to visit Hawaii is during the holiday period (December). Many people like to get away for Christmas and the New Year, and Hawaii is a popular destination. If you’re looking for a cheap time of year to island hop around Hawaii, it’s best to avoid December.
Although flights between islands may still be cheap around this time, other things, like accommodation, will be more expensive due to the high demand.
Spending hundreds of dollars per night on a hotel room during December in Hawaii is common, particularly near the end of December. You can do a Google search to look for hotels during December, and you’ll get an idea of how expensive they can be!
July Is Another Busy Month in Hawaii
Although December is generally the most expensive month to visit Hawaii, July is another month where prices tend to spike (particularly during the 4th July period). During early July, flights can be more expensive, and you can expect to pay more for hotel rooms (a few hundred dollars per night).
So, July is another month that might not be the best for island-hopping due to the larger crowds and higher prices.
The Cheapest Airline in Hawaii for Inter-Island Travel
The cheapest airline in Hawaii for inter-island travel tends to be Southwest Airlines or Hawaiian Airlines. You can find cheap flights with most airlines, so shopping around is essential to find the best deal.
It’s rare to spend over $100 on an inter-island flight, but if you need to check in bags, you should consider those costs.
When booking flights with any airline in Hawaii, checked baggage isn’t included in the base price. So if you find a cheap deal, remember to check how much they charge for suitcases in the hold.
How Much Does a Hawaiian Cruise Cost?
Many cruises go to and around Hawaii, so the price depends on the following:
- Cruise Company
- Type of cruise
- Time of year
Some cruises start from places like Los Angeles, while others only sail around the Hawaiian islands. For example, you could consider the Norwegian Cruise Line Pride of America ship if you want to hop around the islands while enjoying the luxury of being on a cruise ship.
This cruise ship departs from Honolulu and returns to Honolulu at the end of the excursion. It travels to many of the islands during the trip. Prices vary, but the average traveler in 2022 could expect to spend $2000 for seven nights during October (the off-peak season).
As you can tell from the steep price, a cruise is certainly not a good option if you want to island-hop as cheaply as possible. In that case, as I’ve already mentioned, it’s best to travel by plane.
Island hopping is only one of the items you need to account for when calculating your expenses. That’s why I created a comprehensive guide on how much money you need to bring with you for a trip to Hawaii.
Is Island-Hopping in Hawaii Worth the Money?
Island hopping in Hawaii is worth the money if you are interested in seeing different places and don’t mind moving around every day or every few days. But island-hopping may not be worth the money if you’re looking for a chilled and relaxing vacation.
It also might not be worth it if you travel during a busy period, like December or July. You’ll likely spend more on air travel and hotels, so you won’t get as much value for your money.
When planning a trip to Hawaii, be sure to go at a cheaper time to save money while going between islands.
You Don’t Have To Visit Every Island
Although every island in Hawaii is unique, you don’t have to visit every one of them. Of course, you should if you have the money and want to. But if you’re on a tight budget, you can hop to your choice of islands instead.
That way, you can see different islands without breaking the bank.
Below is a list of the six main islands and a little information about them:
- Maui. Maui is an excellent destination for beautiful beaches, snorkeling, and adventure. Popular among couples, Maui is the perfect place to explore and relax by the sea. However, it can be expensive, so it might not fit into your itinerary.
- Oahu. Oahu is a popular island to visit and a must-see for most travelers who come to Hawaii. Due to the vast array of activities and amenities, Oahu is perfect for anyone (including families). You can find good deals on hotels during off-peak periods.
- Hawaii Island. This is the largest island, known as Hawaii’s big island. There are volcanoes on this big island that you can visit. It’s a more affordable place to visit, so you may consider hopping to this one if you can.
- Molokai. Molokai is the least visited and has few hotel options, so finding a good deal is more challenging. It’s best to visit this island for educational purposes or if you plan on volunteering somewhere. You can find affordable flights here from other islands.
- Kauai. There are plenty of mountains and beaches here, and you can find cheap flights if you visit during the off-peak season.
- Lanai. Lanai is tiny, so it’s not difficult to travel around the island in a short period. You could get a cheap ferry to Lanai from Maui and spend a day there at very affordable rates.
Hawaii is a beautiful place to visit. Luckily, it isn’t costly to island-hop if you plan your trip in advance and go during an off-peak period.
The cheapest and most convenient way to island-hop in Hawaii is by plane. Common airlines that operate on the islands include Southwest Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines.
- Hawaii Guide: VISITING HAWAII IN DECEMBER
- Hawaiian Airlines: About Us
- Hawaiian Airlines: Homepage
- Mokulele Airlines: Homepage
- Southwest: Homepage
- Expeditions: Homepage
- Hawaii Guide: SELECTING THE BEST HAWAIIAN ISLAND
- Booking.com: Molokai
- Hawaii Guide: VISITING HAWAII IN JULY
- Hawaii Cruises: Login
- Forbes: Hawaii: 5 Things to Know Before Visiting Molokai