Hawaii Tourism Expected to Beat Pre-Pandemic Levels This Summer

by Maurie Backman | Published on July 16, 2021

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A person on a stand-up paddle board near a Hawaiian beach at sunset.

Image source: Getty Images

Travelers are flocking to Hawaii. Should you, too?

Many people spent the summer of 2020 cooped up at home. At the time, travel was less feasible due to pandemic-related restrictions and economic uncertainty. Also, a lot of people were scared to board a plane before being vaccinated against COVID-19.

But this summer, travel is booming. And that especially holds true in Hawaii. In fact, some islands are seeing more visitors now than they did in pre-pandemic times. And while that influx of tourists is expected to settle down in the fall when schools reopen, for now, the state is welcoming more visitors than it's used to.

Of course, Hawaii is a beautiful place to visit any time of the year. But if you're thinking of going there this summer, here are a few things you should know.

1. It may be more crowded than you'd like

Right now, a lot of resorts in Hawaii are overwhelmed with visitors and also understaffed, as the hotel industry on a whole is dealing with labor shortages. Not only are hotels booking up fast, but so are popular activities.

This means a couple of things. First, if you're the type who hates crowds, you may be in for an unpleasant experience if you travel to Hawaii this summer. It also means that if you're serious about seeing Hawaii in the near term, you'll need to be prepared to book your plans immediately, before things sell out.

2. It may be more expensive than you bargained for

It's difficult to nail down an estimate as to what a Hawaii vacation will cost this summer. The price you pay for your Hawaiian vacation will hinge largely on:

  • Where you're flying out from
  • The type of accommodations you're looking for
  • The activities you plan to do
  • The length of your trip

But one thing you can bet on is that it'll be expensive. Food alone is costly in Hawaii, and unless you're renting a private home with a kitchen, you might pay a small fortune for restaurant meals alone. Be sure to set up a detailed budget for your trip to Hawaii so you don't overspend and wind up deep in debt.

3. The right credit cards can make your trip more affordable

Booking your Hawaiian trip with the right credit cards could help you eke out some savings. First of all, if you have miles or hotel points to cash out, now may be a good time to do that, as you may be eligible for a free flight or lodging.

But even if you don't have points stashed away, the right travel rewards card might come with perks like free checked bags that make your trip less expensive. Similarly, if your credit card offers a generous amount of cash back, that could help offset the cost of your travels.

Hawaii is a fabulous place to visit, but if you're going to travel there this summer, be prepared. As with any place you travel to, make sure you are respectful of the local residents, especially since some parts of Hawaii are currently dealing with restrictions due to water shortages on top of the boom in visitors. You may also want to consider postponing your trip for a few months to give demand a chance to cool off. That way, you won't have to worry about being shut out of the places you want to visit and the things you're eager to do.

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