Tips to Finding the Lowest Airfare to the Islands
Finding the lowest airfare to Hawaii is a process. Hawaii’s amazing beaches, lush tropical rainforests, and crystal blue waters make it the epitome of paradise; and let’s face it- travelling to paradise isn’t cheap. In fact, your airfare may very well be one of the more costly expenses you’ll incur. And while snagging a great deal may require some homework and a dash of finger crossing, there are some things you can do to ease the strain on your budget. So let’s take a look at our guide to Finding the Lowest Airfare to Hawaii.
Know the Best Time to Buy
Each year number-crunching travel gurus figure out when fares are the lowest, but this is certainly NOT an exact science. Depending where you look, the ideal advance-purchase date for domestic flights is 54-57 days. These dates are located within what is known as the “prime booking window”- generally thought to be 29 to 104 days from your travel date. But keep in mind that prices can fluctuate dramatically during that window. Also, remember that if day 54 falls during a major holiday, you’ll likely pay a lot more. That’s why we encourage you to follow our next suggestion.
Fly When Demand is Lower
One often hears the terms "high season" and "low season" when referring to travel to Hawaii. These terms can be helpful, but are certainly not always applicable. For example, summer is generally referred to as the "low season"; however, July sees more visitors than any other time of the year. So here are some guidelines:
- Avoid holidays if possible, especially Christmas through New Year.
- In general, more people flock to the islands in winter looking for a cold weather respite, so higher crowds mean higher prices.
- Mid-April through the beginning of June (before kids in the U.S. are out of school) often see airlines lowering their prices.
- September and October also tend towards lower crowds and airfares, with one exception- the Ironman Triathlon is usually held in October on the Kona side of the Big Island, so if your plans take you there, you may need to make some adjustments.
- Avoid weekend travel, as demand is higher. Generally, Tuesdays and Wednesdays see fares drop a bit.
- Always check an event calendar for the island you’ll be visiting- there may be a large gathering planned that will draw large crowds and cause price jumps.
Is it absolutely imperative that you arrive on the 15th and leave the 24th? You may find that tweaking one or both of your dates gets you a better fare, so take advantage of that.
In addition, be open to flying from alternate airports if you can get a better price. For example, if you usually fly from Newark you may find that you can get a better fare flying out of LaGuardia.
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Set Travel Alerts
There are loads of airfare websites that will give you the best prices they can find on your chosen route. Rather than scanning these sights all day, sign up for their alerts so you’ll be notified when the price of your route changes. Take advantage of websites, apps, and social media to keep abreast of the best bargains. And when you see a great price, don’t let it get away- it may not last very long. Also, make sure to…
Read the Fine Print
You find an absolutely unbelievable deal and heed our advice to snatch it up while you can… except there’s a catch. What you thought was a one-time-only bargain is actually for a one way flight- oops. Oh, and now that you’ve doubled that price make sure to add on all the taxes and fees, too. The devil’s always in the details.
Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute
Many people mistakenly think that waiting until the last minute will land them a better deal. While this may have worked in years past, holding out for a bargain fare is no longer recommended. Many flights will be full and this will only up the price as departure time nears. Plus, do you really want to plan your dream vacation’s flight willy-nilly?
Use Your Frequent Flyer Miles
This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to overlook. You accumulate miles while making necessary trips for business meetings and Aunt Jane’s wedding; so why not put them to good use for a trip you’d absolutely love to take!
Take Advantage of Pricing Glitches
OK, we’ll admit this is a long shot, but it’s too good to omit. Occasionally (read: every once in a blue moon), an airline will make a mistake and price one of its fares amazingly low. This glitch usually won’t last long (maybe 1-3 hours), but many airlines will honor the fares booked during the mix-up. Monitor your price alerts closely and join forums and social media sites dedicated to finding these pricing flubs. You just might get lucky!
As you can see, finding the lowest airfare to Hawaii takes a bit of planning, but as you lounge on that beach or climb that mountain, you’ll know it was worth it.