A Travel Price Comparison for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons Kauai vs. Big Island of Hawaii

Should you visit Kauai or Big Island of Hawaii?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the prices of travel for Kauai and Big Island of Hawaii. We’ll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget. So, let's dig into it.


Hawaii is certainly a bucket list destination, but what if you want to do it without being surrounded by tourists? You want the adventure of the land of volcanoes and less of the kids in water wings. Then Kaua'i is the island for you.

Kaua'i, or the "garden island," is full of tropical forests, little villages and even more laid back lifestyle if you can imagine. It's a smaller island at 560 square miles with a population of only 68,000.

With more coastline miles than any other island, Kaua'i is the result of massive erosion forming awe-inspiring sights like the Waimea Canyon and Na Pali Coast. The island experiences more rainfall every year keeping it lush and green all year.

You'll feel like you've walked into another world in Kaua'i. Because of height restrictions, this island's buildings are no taller than the coconut trees. So if you're looking for an escape from civilization, you'll want to head straight for Kaua'i.

Big Island of Hawaii

What comes to mind when someone says, "Hawaii"? Probably sandy beaches, coconut drinks and lazy days of tanning. It's a dream destination for those who want to get away, but the island of Hawai'i, or the Big Island as it's most commonly called, has so much more to offer than a place to catch up on your latest novel.

At 93 miles across, and a population of 185 thousand, the Big Island was once a large exporter of sugarcane. After its final plantation closed in 1996, tourism became the backbone of Hawai'i Island's economy. More recently, the Big Island has become the focus for sustainable tourism visiting a place as a tourist and trying to make only a positive impact on your destination.

Which city is cheaper, Big Island of Hawaii or Kauai?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Kauai is $152, while the average daily cost in Big Island of Hawaii is $206. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each city. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Kauai and Big Island of Hawaii in more detail.


For a normal double-occupancy room in Kauai, $182 is the average cost for a hotel room. Also in Kauai, the typical price for a place to stay for one person is $91, such as in a hostel.

The prices for places to stay in Big Island of Hawaii can vary by date, location, and type. Generally, the average cost for accommodation per person is $90, while a typical double-occupancy hotel room for two people will cost around $180.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Kauai $91
    Big Island of Hawaii $90
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Kauai $182
    Big Island of Hawaii $180


Food in Kauai costs travelers about $45 per day on average. Restaurants can vary significantly in price, so choose wisely if you're trying to save money. Fast food and street stalls are typically your cheapest options, which sit down restaurants can be significantly more expensive.

The price of a meal in Big Island of Hawaii can vary widely. However, the average price for food per day is $85 per person, and a typical meal will cost around $34 based on the spending of previous visitors. Less expensive dining options can be found by eating street food or at fast food restaurants.

  • Food Meals for one day
    Kauai $45
    Big Island of Hawaii $85

Local Transportation

Kauai's transportation costs can vary by the type of transport chosen by visitors. Naturally, taxis and private drivers cost much more than public transportation options. On average, visitors spend $27 per person, per day on transportation in Kauai.

To get around in Big Island of Hawaii, the average visitor spends $30 per day, per person. This includes the costs of taxi rides and private drivers as well as public transportation, which tends to be much more affordable.

  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Kauai $27
    Big Island of Hawaii $30

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Kauai

Also for Kauai, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Private Round-Trip Transfer: Kauai International Airport to Kauai Hotels: $320


Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Kauai can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $14 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.

In Big Island of Hawaii, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $28 per person, per day.

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Kauai $14
    Big Island of Hawaii $28

Tours and Activities in Kauai

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Kauai.

  • Acua Park Adventure Package: $87
  • Family Portraits, Senior or Couples Portraits, Wedding Photography, Photo Tours: $532
  • Poipu 8 line Zipline Adventure: $147
  • Private Kauai North Shore Tour: $232


Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Kauai, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $12.

Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Big Island of Hawaii, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $26.

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Kauai $12
    Big Island of Hawaii $26

When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Kauai and Big Island of Hawaii, we can see that Big Island of Hawaii is more expensive. And not only is Kauai much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Kauai would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Kauai and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Big Island of Hawaii would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Big Island of Hawaii than you might in Kauai.

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Kauai vs. Big Island of Hawaii Travel Comparison

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