Hawaii is an endless array of natural wonders, sophisticated nightlife, vibrant culture, international dining and all those beautiful beaches. Add the warmth of a tropical sun and you really do have something close to paradise.
The Aloha State can also be on the expensive side but not out of reach. This Hawaii guide will help you find the cheapest tickets.
- More tips in Best Time to Visit Hawaii – When to Fly and Buy
The Islands of Hawaii
The 50th U.S. state is located in the central Pacific Ocean. Hawaii has eight main islands (and see more on each island’s tourist attractions at the end). Also listed are the most popular airports; most have rental cars, taxis, Uber, Lyft and shuttle bus service.
- Oahu: Home to Honolulu, the state capital and most popular destination with a wide array of tourist attractions. Fly into Honolulu International Airport (HNL).
- Maui: Great beaches make this another very popular destination. Fly into Kahului Airport (OGG).
- Hawaii: Often referred to as the Big Island. Fly into Kona International Airport (KOA).
- Kauai: Nicknamed the Garden Island for its lush rain forest. Fly into Lihue Airport (LIH).
- Lanai: The Pineapple Island; former home to vast plantations. Fly into Lanai Airport (LNY).
- Molokai: Called the Friendly Island.
- Niihau: Little if any tourism.
- Kahoolawe: An unpopulated island, also little if any tourism.
Flight Times to Hawaii
Sample flight times for non-stop routes to Hawaii:
- From San Francisco: 5 hours
- From Tokyo: 8 hours
- From Sydney: 10+ hours
When to Visit
Many locals claim Hawaii’s best weather is in April, May, September and October but many visitors say there is no bad time to visit.
- Dry season (less rain): April through October
- Rainy season (more rain): November through March
Airlines to Hawaii
- U.S. airlines: Alaska, Allegiant, American, Delta, Hawaiian and United all offer flights to Hawaii. We often see especially good prices on Alaska and Hawaiian (check the Deals Blog) but deals are usually matched by competing airlines.
- International airlines: So many airlines fly to Hawaii that it’s easier to list countries and continents of origin. Find flights to Hawaii from Canada, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Europe.
- Find airline deals: Always compare airfares.
5 Ways to Find Cheap Flights to Hawaii
1. Know where to fly to
Generally these are the three cheapest gateway cities to Hawaii (click the name to find the best deal).
2. Know where to fly from
Best deals are usually from West Coast cities like San Francisco, Oakland, San Diego, San Jose, Los Angeles Portland, OR, Seattle and Bellingham, WA. Occasional deals are seen out of Las Vegas and Phoenix as well.
Tip: Fly a discount carrier to a West Coast city, then take another flight to Hawaii (but be sure to leave plenty of time between flights).
3. Know when to fly
- Travel in off-peak seasons: Hawaii is warm and beautiful year-round but try to avoid the peak holiday seasons to avoid crowds and save money; peak seasons include the U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving in late November, and Christmas and New Year’s from late December into early January. Another busy and expensive period are the U.S. summer months from mid-June to late-August.
- When to find the best deals: Prices drop dramatically in the last week of August. You can also find better deals in off-peak periods including March and April as well as September, October and November. Again, always compare fares and dates to be certain you’re flying during the cheapest time period.
- Fly on weekdays: Even if you can’t fly during an off-peak period, you can often save something by flying midweek because it’s generally cheaper than weekends.
4. When to buy Hawaii tickets
Knowing when to shop is key to getting a good deal.
- How early to shop: From 4 months to 21 days before departure.
- Best day to shop: Tuesday afternoon is a great time to begin since many airlines launch fares sales that day; by 3 p.m. eastern, competitors have matched prices.
Tip: Sign up for airfare alerts – Hawaii deals will come to you in real-time.
5. Always compare fares
Always compare airfares: No single airline always has the best deal; if you don’t compare, you could pay too much.
Best Attractions in Hawaii
See the links to tourist information at the end.
- Diamond Head: Early British sailors mistook sparkling stones in this edifice for diamonds, but it’s actually the remains of an old volcanic eruption; hike along the crater’s rim and have a camera ready because the views are spectacular.
- USS Arizona Memorial: Pearl Harbor is the resting place of more than a thousand sailors who were killed when the battleship Arizona was attacked by the Japanese on Dec. 7, 1941. The sunken ship is now a National Monument viewed by more than a million visitors a year.
- ‘Iolani Palace: Now a National Historic Landmark, the one-time home of Queen Liliʻuokalani is the only royal residence used by a reigning monarch in the U.S. Now a museum, its downtown location makes for easy access.
- Waikiki Beach: A beautiful stretch of white sand and warm, clear water revered by sunbathers and surfers alike. Purists may dismiss glitzy Waikiki with all those high-rise hotels as being a bit too touristy but that doesn’t stop millions of visitors from calling it paradise. Bring your sunscreen.
- Opaekaa Falls: Take in this breathtaking natural wonder from the roadside, visit a taro farm in Hanalei or art galleries in Hanapepe.
- Hana Drive: Follow the looping 52-mile drive to Hana for some of the prettiest views on the planet including rainforests, waterfalls and brilliant seascapes.
- Hulopoe Bay: A beautiful beach, and when you’re done basking in the sun, visit the dramatic rock formations at Keahiakawelo, and check out the luxury resorts.
Big Island of Hawaii
- Volcanoes: Visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and yes, you may even see some flowing lava from Kīlauea.
More Information on Hawaii
There are many sources of excellent information on Hawaii out there; a few suggestions: