Should you visit Maui or Oahu?
Should I visit Maui or Oahu? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the data, which all comes from actual travelers.
Who hasn't spent at least one Monday morning fantasizing about holding a mai tai on a Hawaiian beach? A trip to Maui may be just what we all have in mind, but it's so much more than a drink on a sandy towel.
At over 700 square miles, the island of Maui is the second largest of the Hawaiian islands with a small population of just over 140,000 people. The island enjoys approximately two seasons a year with a mild climate just about everywhere. Rough living, right?
Voted "Best Island in the World" by many in the travel industry, Maui is the center for whale watching, relaxing on the beach, snorkeling, and the home of a large and lush rainforest. It's no surprise that so many visitors come here to experience the many thing to do on Maui.
Hawaii is the epitome of paradise, and at the heart of paradise is the island of O'ahu (or Oahu). While it's only the third largest of the Hawaiian islands, O'ahu, or "the gathering place," is the most populous in the state with approximately 976,000 people calling O'ahu home, many of which live in the capital city of Honolulu.
Which city is cheaper, Oahu or Maui?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Maui is $216, while the average daily cost in Oahu is $266. 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 Maui and Oahu in more detail.
If you're traveling alone, you may be able to find a budget hotel or hostel for around $109. But for two people in a standard two-person hotel room in Maui the cost is $218 on average.
The prices for places to stay in Oahu can vary by date, location, and type. Generally, the average cost for accommodation per person is $190, while a typical double-occupancy hotel room for two people will cost around $380.
Maui food costs typically run travelers around $75 per day. Eating every meal in a nicer restaurant will drive the cost up, and grabbing fast food or casual meals will help you save money.
The average traveler spends about $42 per day in Oahu for food, but obviously this is dependent on the type of restaurant and the amount of food ordered. To save money you can grab a lighter lunch or dinner, or you can try fast food or street food.
Meals for one day
Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Oahu
For Oahu, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:
Honolulu Food Tour: Eat Like a Local:
Honolulu Food Tour: Best of Chinatown:
The average price of local transportation around Maui is $50 per person, per day. As this average includes both taxis and public transport, keep in mind that the prices of private drivers and taxis are significantly more expensive than public transportation.
Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Oahu than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $17 on transportation in Oahu on average per day.
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Oahu
Also for Oahu, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Private Departure Transfer: Oahu Hotels or Honolulu Cruise Terminal to Honolulu International Airport:
Private Honolulu Transfer: Cruise Port to Airport or Hotel:
Is it cheaper to fly into Maui or Oahu?
Prices for flights to both Oahu and Maui change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.
Maui's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $30 per person, per day. This cost can vary widely by the type of activity, however, as this includes admission tickets, day tours, museums, and other things to do.
Sightseeing expenses in Oahu, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $22 per day, per person.
Tours and Activities in Oahu
For Oahu, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:
Kualoa Ranch - Taste of Kualoa Farm Trolley Tour:
Oahu Shore Excursion: Rainforest Hiking Adventure:
Half Day Oahu Combo Adventure: Bike, Sail and Snorkel:
Private Honolulu Historical Tour:
Magic Island Trikke Tour:
Intimate WWII: Honor our Heroes and Historic Honolulu Tour With Lunch:
The Big Pineapple Tour In Honolulu With An Interpreter:
LGBTQ Friendly Semi-Private Circle Island Adventure:
Family Majestic Private Circle Island Tour:
Best of Private Tour:
Oahu Private tour start from North Shore:
Spiritual Hawaiian Culture Tour from Honolulu:
While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Maui may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $33 per day on alcoholic beverages.
Typically, people visiting Oahu spend on average $5.18 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Maui and Oahu, we can see that Oahu is more expensive. And not only is Maui much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Maui would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Maui 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 Oahu would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Oahu than you might in Maui.
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