Food Expenses in Hawaii: Budgeting for Food on Your Vacation

Hawaiian visitors sometimes wonder how much money they should budget for their stay. Food expenses in Hawaii are one of larger costs you’ll encounter on the islands, aside from airfare and lodging. However, the delicious variety of choices and the year-round access to fresh fruit and vegetables make for an outstanding dining experience.

Keep in mind that there are no all-inclusive hotels on any of the Hawaiian Islands, so guests will need to pay for meals as they eat.

Food Expenses in Hawaii Vary by Meal

Food expenses in Hawaii can add up, but poke bowls are a traditional, nutritious option to budget for.
Food expenses in Hawaii can add up, but poke bowls are a traditional, nutritious option to budget for.

Visitors can expect to pay less for breakfast, a little more for lunch, and a larger amount for dinner. Of course, depending on your tastes, you can always find cheaper options, such as eating at the farmer’s market or finding an affordable food truck.

On average, guests dining out can expect to spend $15 for breakfast, $25 for lunch, and $45 for dinner. Of course, it is possible to bring these numbers down a bit by making food in your condo or shopping at a supermarket deli for a few meals. However, part of the fun of a visit to Hawaii is enjoying the local food choices, so it is also nice to visit restaurants as well.

Total Food Expenses in Hawaii

With these average prices, travelers can expect to spend $85 per day every day of their visit. For a seven-day vacation, you’ll be spending $595 for the trip per person. Budgeting ahead of time will help make the visit more pleasant, as you’ll know beforehand what to expect for restaurant costs.

That being said, everyone has their priorities set for a Hawaii vacation, and not all people want to dine out for every meal. If you’re feeling thrifty, there are ways to decrease your food expenses in Hawaii. After all, even residents of the islands find that food costs take up a larger share of their budget than on the mainland. Consider packing a picnic lunch for a day at the beach or visiting a roadside stand to stock up on mango and pineapple snacks.

How to Stay within Budget when Eating in Hawaii

Once you have decided how much you want to spend when you vacation on the islands, try to check restaurant menus online before you visit to determine if your choices fit within your price range. Visitors may also want to grab some snacks at a grocery store ahead of time to avoid getting overly hungry and making rash decisions about where to eat.

If you meet any locals, ask them where they prefer to eat. Sometimes Hawaii residents know the best hole-in-the-wall locations that can satisfy bellies and budgets alike.

When you come to Hawaii, expect that your plans may change a bit once you arrive. Enjoy the unique meals that you won’t expect to find in your hometown and be sure to note the restaurants you especially like so you can visit them on your next visit to Hawaii.

Loco moco is a Hawaiian breakfast item consisting of hamburger, brown gravy, and a fried egg over rice.
Loco moco is a Hawaiian breakfast item consisting of hamburger, brown gravy, and a fried egg over rice.

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