Part of the fun and challenge of a vacation to Hawaii is planning your trip, and for many, the hardest and scariest part of all is figuring out how to book the cheapest airfare without sacrificing convenient flight times, better accommodations, or preferred travel dates.
If done carefully, booking your own airfare and hotel or resort reservations can ultimately save you money while accommodating your schedule and vacation plans. Knowing a few simple tips and tricks of the trade can go a long way in cutting costs and relieving the stress of planning your Hawaiian vacation.
However, it's important to keep in mind that this island state is one of the country's most popular tourist destinations, so you'll want to keep your eyes on specials, discounts, and last-minute rates to get the best deals. It also helps to be flexible with your travel dates as some deals only apply to off-season airfare or mid-week flights (when most people are working).
Also, remember to book your inter-island airfare if you are planning to visit more than one island. Depending on the carrier on which you have your miles, you may also use frequent flier miles for inter-island airfare as well on Hawaiian Airlines.
Vacation Packages and Flexible Dates
There are many ways to cut costs and avoid extra fees for busy flight times when booking your airfare to Hawaii. Additionally, you should coordinate the availability of your lodging with the best airfare deals you can find in order to save on the overall cost of your trip.
The best way to book the best deal is to be as flexible as possible when it comes to the dates for your trip. Often by flying midweek (Monday to Thursday) rather than on the weekend, you can find cheaper flights; however, these midweek tickets aren't often part of airline specials or vacation package deals. You should also avoid holidays like Christmas, Fourth of July, and Thanksgiving as these peak travel dates will incur higher costs.
You shouldn't reject the idea of using a travel agent. In many cases, these professionals can find and book airfare and hotels that you don't typically have access to, saving you considerable amounts of money on your overall trip cost. These vacation packages are often coordinated by special travel groups or agencies, so the only place to get them is through their service providers.
Booking Through Airline Websites
You can often use websites like TripAdvisor, Priceline, or Expedia to find vacation package deals including airfare, but you're better off booking far in advance directly through the airlines' websites to get the best deals.
You should avoid booking your flights by phone with the airline as this service often incurs higher fees and prices. You can check the websites of major airlines and play around with their quick fare finders to try different dates and times. Unless you are set on flying with one carrier because you're a member of their frequent flier program, you should try to be flexible with your carrier as well.
If you are a member of a frequent flier program and have a sufficient number of miles accumulated on your account, you might consider using them for your trip. A travel agent cannot book your trip using frequent flier miles, so you'll be on your own if you decide to use them for your flights to Hawaii this year.
In any case, the earlier you book ahead, the better chance you will find a lower price for the dates you wish to travel, but you should check the airfare for at least a week or two before booking to compare price changes. Also be sure to pick your seat using the available seating charts as early as possible as many airlines charge a fee for window and aisle seats near the front of the plane.