What Does it Cost to Take a Family to Maui?

What Does it Cost to Take a Family to Maui?

This trip was one of our bigger travel hacking wins of 2018. As such, we didn’t pay for much of it out of pocket. I have included our costs below, as well as what similar purchases would have cost without travel hacking. We stayed in Wailea on the west coast of Maui for one week during “high season” in March.

sunset behind pal trees and tiki torches

Before You Book Your Trip

There are a few things you should consider before you head off for a Pacific island adventure with your munchkins in tow:

-If you do not want to do a long-ish plane flight as a family, this may not be for you. If you live in the U.S. (anywhere other than one of the other Hawaiian islands) the best you can do is about 5.5 hours in-air from the west coast of the U.S. Flying from Chicago or Dallas is 8+ hours. New York is 10+ hours.

-If you are looking for a cheap beach vacation, this is probably not for you. It’s generally expensive to get here and expensive to stay here. If you are on a tight budget or just don’t want to deal with high prices, choose a different vaca spot. There are much less expensive beach vacations available in the world.

-If you are traveling as a family with small children to Hawaii, I highly recommend staying in places with laundry facilities, some semblance of a kitchen, and a decent patio, balcony or other outdoor space where you can relax. Not only does this save a ton of money and headaches in the meal prep and laundry departments, but allows you to put the kids down for bed when you feel like it and still enjoy coffee or drinks outside with your significant other while the gorgeous island evenings fade into night.

Ocean and island valley.
The West Maui Forest Reserve.

Cost Comparisons

Airport hotel at PHX (Phoenix Sky Harbor), plus up to 14 days’ parking: $25 (Marriott points)

Cost of a comparable airport hotel room at time of booking: $225

Cost of regular “economy” airport parking for 1 week: $63

Airfare on Hawaiian Air PHX-HNL-OGG: $0 (Capitol One Spark points)

Cost of that flight at time of booking (3 seats, 1 lap baby): $2,384

Baggage fees: $0 (all carry-ons excepting J’s stroller and carseat, which we checked for free)

Cost of usual baggage fees: $25 per checked bag per flight

Airport food: $58

Lodging: $0

Cost of comparable lodging at time of booking: 240k Marriott points or about $2,160

Rental car: $0 (Chase UR points)

Cost of comparable rental car at time of booking: $700

Volcanic mountains/craters and clouds.
Haleakalā National Park.

Food/drink/groceries in Hawaii (including baby formula and some diapers): $529

A note about food: We often do a lot of our own meal prep on vacations because we like it and it helps us eat healthfully (and on this particular trip we had an unobstructed ocean view from our patio so there was really nowhere better to enjoy dinner as a family). However, we made no effort to curtail food spending on this trip. The total above includes tons of delicious locally-sourced food and drink, mostly purchased walking distance from our place at a gourmet market, as well as several meals out. You could easily spend less (or much more) depending on the dining experience you want in Hawaii. 

Gas: $30

Whale-watching tour (which I highly recommend) with Pacific Whale Foundation (2 adults; one free kid allowed per adult – includes an additional trip if you don’t see whales on your first one): $80

Touristy swag: $20

Boogie boards (we bought 2, because buying them was cheaper than renting): $26

Wetsuit rentals for one week (for snorkeling): $47

Entrance fee for Haleakalā National Park: included in the $80 annual parks pass that we buy every year (reservations required if you want to be there for sunrise).

Cost Totals

Total we spent: $815

Total cost of a comparable trip (assuming $50 worth of checked baggage and a $25 national park entrance fee): $6,402

Sunset with ocean and palm trees.
Sunset over Lanai.

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