May 28, 2024

Travel In Bali

Travel & Tour Tips

Where’s Hawaii on “Most Expensive Family Vacations” List?

Where’s Hawaii on “Most Expensive Family Vacations” List?
Where’s Hawaii on “Most Expensive Family Vacations” List?

When we first saw this list appear in the news, we believed that Hawaii would, without a doubt, be at or near the very top of most expensive family vacations. But wait, it wasn’t. The reason why surprised us, and may you. Then some interesting comments from readers surfaced earlier today, which address costs well.

The survey company, Compare the Market, used TripAdvisor to put together family-friendly hotels and activities for each destination. Their price estimates are based on a family of four with two adults and two children.

Allan, a prior Hawaii resident, commented, “Disneyland and Hawaii have a lot in common. They both used to be reasonable for a family, and the magic was a given. Trips to both now need to be in the 10-year budget negotiations. The spirit of Aloha remains, but it’s not what it used to be, and I understand why.” (Beat of Hawaii: We think 10-year budget planning for Hawaii may be a stretch which we’ll address below).

Linda added, ‘Our family used to be regular visitors- the perfect family vacation, well within our means if we were careful. No longer the case… The “shine” is no longer there, and we will adjust our expectations and find other great places to visit… Like the kids say, reality sucks!

Troy said, “I will go back to Hawaii this year, but Maui is off the list due to cost, and unfortunately, Big Isle is following just behind. Waikiki is still affordable, and I’ll probably drop in for a quick getaway for a few nights. My days of spending 8+ nights and zooming all over an island may be over.”

Jack pointed out something we’ve seen as well. “Hawaii isn’t much more expensive than anywhere else. Except you can’t drive to Hawaii, and since flying, most people stay 7-10 days. Fly from Illinois etc., get a rental car, and stay on the Oregon coast for a week. Won’t save much money, and while beautiful, it’s cold except in the summer, and then the water still is 55 degrees. Also, people, prices go up over time and can’t be the same as 1970 when you were making $5@ hr.”

We are in no way comparing Disney and Hawaii other than the costs.

In earlier comment squabbles between residents and visitors, others had compared Disney and Hawaii, which is not where we are headed. Instead, the high costs of both of these vacations brought this together.

No one expects a major family vacation to come cheap.

But we took notice when it comes to Hawaii being cheaper than a mainland alternative. This study examined various expenses, including accommodations, food, and activities. The company that prepared the study specializes in travel insurance, so this isn’t entirely outside their wheelhouse.

The #1 most expensive family vacation destination is Orlando.

They said, “The ‘Most Magical Place on Earth’ is also the most expensive for family holidays.”

In Orlando, your family vacation may include fewer travel costs but more accommodation, activity, and attraction costs than in Hawaii. The Australian company estimated a week at Orlando will cost $7,350 and features the highest “other costs,” like those theme parks.

Compare the Market estimates that the home of family-friendly activities and iconic theme parks will cost, on average, $7,350.

The data leaves out the cost of airfare and ground travel:

For Orlando, they estimate $4,138 in lodging, $3,148 in activity costs, and around $64 per day in other things, including lower-cost meals.

No other location in the US even made the top rankings for family vacation costs. Orlando was, instead, followed by Rovaniemi, Finland, and then Gold Coast, Australia.

Where does Hawaii stand in costs?

Accommodations in Hawaii are undoubtedly the most significant expense, and, in that regard, here’s what you can expect based on the state’s latest report compiled from January 2023 data.

The study included more than 85% of all properties with 20+ rooms. There were 154 different properties representing nearly 50,000 rooms. Vacation rental and timeshare properties were not included.

In January, the average daily Hawaii hotel rate was $391.

Non-luxury-rated accommodations averaged $276 nightly, while luxury rooms averaged $872. Higher yet, at $1,017, was the luxury category in Maui’s Wailea community. In comparison, the West Maui areas from Lahaina, and Kaanapali, up to Kapalua, had an average daily rate of about half of Wailea, at $553. On the Big Island, room rates came in at $427, while hotels on Kauai showed an average rate of $420. Lastly, hotels in Honolulu had an average daily rate of $280 per night.

Average room rates at Orlando came to $591 per night, while Hawaii faired far better. Average Orlando accommodation rates were 51% higher than Hawaii.

A primary difference in Hawaii is the cost of activities.

Sure, you can choose to enjoy Hawaii activities costing $300 or more, including helicopters and a wide variety of other tours. But, on the other hand, they aren’t intrinsic to the Hawaii experience in the same way they are in Orlando.

How do you compare the costs of a family vacation to this?

While costs are increasing, unlike a theme park, you have control over the price of food, accommodations, and activities that include many free things like enjoying the beach and can adjust your budget accordingly.


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