Christmas carols celebrate the idea of “home for the holidays” but there have always been a few who opt for out-of-town travel and a perennially popular destination is Hawaii. Here are some of my predictions for airfare pricing and advice on keeping flights to Hawaii as low as possible.
Remember, “cheap” is a relative term; what’s cheap for the holidays may not seem cheap for off-season flights but as I always say, sometimes you must be content with the “best of the not-so-good deals”.
Airfare to Hawaii: What You Will Pay
Flights during holiday periods to the islands will generally run 25% to 80% higher than during off-peak periods, so depending on when you buy your tickets and where you’ll depart from, you can expect to pay from $730 to more than $1,000 round-trip.
During off-peak periods, prices to Hawaii from the West Coast have been averaging $560 round-trip; that makes the holiday airfares sound quite expensive, but there’s still quite a spread and $730 is a lot easier to swallow than over $1,000. There are two rules to keep in mind to help you get the cheaper airfare.
Cheap Flights to Hawaii: Two Most Important Rules
If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii for the holidays of 2011, the two most important rules to follow are:
1.) Do not procrastinate over airfare purchases.
The sooner you buy, the better. You’ll have the first shot at getting the less expensive fares. It is doubtful that procrastinators will be rewarded this year, since travel trends have shown that people are willing to fly.
2.) Be as flexible as possible on travel dates.
Even during holiday periods, weekdays can still be cheaper days to fly, just as Fridays and Sundays are traditionally more expensive. If you can be really flexible, consider flying on the holiday itself; Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Days are the airfare bargain dates for most U.S. destinations, and can mean substantial savings.
Where You Fly from Matters
The cheapest airfares to Hawaii are generally available for departures from West Coast cities including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle and sometimes Portland, Oregon and others. Keep your eye out for the airfare sales that may include at least one of your holiday travel dates, and note that Alaska Airlines has been concentrating on flights to Hawaii from northern West Coast cities.
If you don’t live in this part of the country, start shopping now for the best deals possible from discount carriers to your Hawaiian gateway. Give yourself plenty of time to make a connecting flight from the West Coast, particularly if you’ll be flying in from a snow-belt city.
Offset Airfare to Hawaii with Hotel Bargains
As one recent news report put it, Hawaii is “still reeling from the drop in Japanese tourism this past year” and there are many hotel bargains available, some in the midst of the holidays; take advantage of any of these deals you find. Another way to save on your trip overall is to avoid paying bag fees by using a carryon bags instead of checked-baggage. You can always ship your holiday gifts ahead of time.
Question for our readers: Would you like to go to Hawaii for the holidays?