The Final Hawaii Budget | 7 Nights and 5 people for $356.71

Last week I wrote a couple of posts about our time in Hawaii:

Of course, when you travel there are more expenses than just airfare.  So today I’ll share the final cost.


When you book flights with award miles you are required to pay the taxes and fees.  However, since both flights were tied into international flights, there was literally no extra cost for airline taxes and fees.

Flights between the mainland and HNL don’t provide free meals, but we just took snacks in a flexible cooler.

We did, however, pay $25 to check a bag going from DEN – HNL.

Total = $25.00


We stayed at the Hilton Waikiki for seven nights.  When we checked out I heard the magical words.  ”Thanks for your stay with us.  There is no charge on your account.”

Total = $0.

Car Rental:

1 Week Rental for a full-size = $114.57

Parking at the hotel was $27 per night so we parked across the street and paid $72 for parking for the week.

Gas for the week = $41.18

Total = $227.75


As I mentioned in the Hilton Gold post, we had breakfast and light dinners provided.

We had lunch in the Dallas airport = $14.69.  Our airport meals would have been more if we didn’t have access to the airport lounges with the American Express Platinum.  We had a breakfast in Denver on the way out and a light dinner (soup and rolls) in Honolulu on the way back.

We did go to McDonald’s a couple of times for chicken nuggets and ice cream, but we participated in the Twitter Sync and got $5 back when we spent $5 or more at McDonald’s.  We had snacks at Sam’s Club a couple days (Icees and hot dogs). I think our dining out total came to $11.50.

For lunches, we bought food at grocery stores.  We bought $59.77 worth of groceries and snacks at the stores.  We really enjoyed having picnics at some of the nice parks on the Oahu island.

Total meals: $85.96


We took a tour of Pearl Harbor and paid the $7.50 to pre-book our tickets.  We didn’t want to drive down there and wait a long time with our young kids.  As it turned out, we didn’t need to pre-book, but if I had to do it again, I would.

Otherwise, we just spent a lot of time on the beach and at parks, so we didn’t do many expensive activities.  We did have someone give us a bodyboard, so that was fun.

Total = $7.50

GRAND TOTAL = $356.71

Those are our full expenses for five tickets from Dallas to Honolulu roundtrip (using points), 7 nights at the Hilton Waikiki (using points), car rental, meals, and all activities.  

In my opinion, I’ve stayed true to the title of this blog – Help Me Travel Cheap.


  1. says

    Hi Craig, those are impressive numbers! Its amazing what you can do with rewards points and airline miles. It amazes me at how many people don’t know these types of ‘tricks’. I bet most people wouldn’t believe you if you said you stayed in Hawaii for 7 days for just over $300.

    Anyways, hoping to glean some knowledge from you!


  2. Rhonda A. says

    How blessed you and your family are! You must be thanking God everyday for the ability to succeed at this. You are living my dream! Right now I’m fixated on just trying to inspire my husband to travel the east coast of the states with our two young daughters. I’ve only flown 4 times in my life, and my husband has never been on a plane! Anyway, congratulations to you! Your story is inspiring and awesome! That being said, do you have any tips for a family of four wanting to travel the coast by land for next to nothing, (though nothing would be better) , like most people we took a severe blow with the collapse of the economy, our travel budget is about $1600.00 per year! It’s terrible! I feel a longing in my soul to be “out there “! I’d. give anything to be able to travel with my family like you do. Absolutely amazing! God bless!

    • says

      It’s been amazing to be able to travel as much as we have this year. It is indeed a blessing.
      I don’t know many ways to maximize your points for road trips. I guess the one idea would be to focus on hotel cards that would give you the hotels for free along the way. The other thing you could do (not the best value) would be collect and convert Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards points into gas gift cards. Again, not the best ‘value’ for your points, but a way to do a road trip without much cash.

  3. says

    Its such as you read my thoughts! You appear to grasp so much
    approximately this, such as you wrote the e-book
    in it or something. I think that you can do with a few p.
    c. to pressure the message house a little bit, however instead of that, that
    is great blog. A great read. I’ll definitely be back.

  4. Jen says

    How did you get such a cheap car rental? We are going to HI in March and the cheapest I have found is $215 for 8 days.

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