How to Save on Flights To Kauai, Hawaii

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Aloha, savvy travelers! Are you planning a trip to the enchanting island of Kauai but concerned about the high cost of airfare? Known as the “Garden Isle,” Kauai is a paradise of emerald valleys, sharp mountain spires, and tropical rainforests.

Fortunately, getting there doesn’t have to drain your wallet. I’m sharing my best ways on How to Save on Flights to Kauai, Hawaii so you can enjoy your tropical vacation for less!

in the air flying over hawaii in southwest plane

When it comes to traveling, there are so many ways you can save on your vacation.

For starters, beginning to save early for a big trip to Hawaii is a great place to start because Hawaii overall is expensive and things can add up fast.

But what if this is a last-minute trip? What if you just decided you wanted to use your tax return to take a family vacation and you just don’t have that kind of time?

Well, luckily, I spent countless hours deep diving and doing research on the best ways to save and today, we are specifically going to talk about air fare.

I was able to fly my entire family to Hawaii for less than $3,200 round trip which I think is pretty fantastic considering how much flights can be (especially when we decided to go close to our travel date).

kauai, hawaii airport

Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Flying

If you have young kids like I do, there are a few things you’ll want to ask yourself before booking a flight and that in return, will help you narrow down which air line to fly and thus help you seek out those deals. These qustions are:

Do I want a layover? Lay over flights typically offer lower rates. However, it also means that is extends travel time. If you want to get to your destination (in this case, Hawaii) faster, then say no to layovers.

Do I care to have assigned seating? I’ll be honest, for me, it wasn’t a huge deal because I knew that I’d get seats next to my kids so I didn’t want to pay more for an airline that allows assigned seating. If you do care, just know, you’ll typically spend more for that feature.

Will you be checking bags? If you are going to Hawaii for a week or so, it’s likely that you’ll be traveling with enough you’ll need to check bags. What about taking empty suitcases to bring back souvenirs? When I was looking into flights, I was shocked at how much airlines charged for checked bags. Some go by weight, others by bag but that $60-$75 fee can add up quickly especially for multiple travelers.

little girl on flight to hawaii

My Scenario As An Example

When I traveled to Hawaii with my family in April 2023, I knew that I wanted to be able to check our luggage for free and I knew that we wanted to get to Hawaii as quickly as possible. Truthfully, what kid wants to be stuck on an airplane longer than needed?

That meant, I didn’t want a layover. Assigned seating wasn’t a huge priority to me (I’ll explain more below) and saving the most money on flights was my priority (so we had more spending money for Hawaii).

With that being said, I ended up going with Southwest Airlines for our fights for a few reasons:

  • They offered the lowest rates
  • They offer free checked bags (up to 2 per person)
  • They offered early bird check-in which meant my family and I could board the plane earlier ensuring we got seats next to each other.
  • I could cancel and rebook the flights if prices dropped (and they did).

Now keep in mind, that flight prices also depend on where you are flying out from. For us, we were flying from SLC to Lihue, Hawaii (airport in Kauai) and even to this day, Southwest offers the cheapest and shortest flight options (even when you factor in all the other fees).

I just ran a scenario for flights on the same exact dates for April 22, 2024 – April 29, 2024 and the price is $3,453 or $690.60 per person.

My flight is also refundable (in case I need to cancel) and I get early check-in and free checked bags.

screenshot of airline prices to kauai, hawaii

In comparison, on other airlines, my cheapest option for a shorter flight is $3,093.05 but it is non-refundable, and each checked bag is $60. If each person in my family took 2 checked bags (which we did) that is an extra $600 in fees! And if anything happens and we can’t go, we lose that money.

Southwest Airlines was just cheaper, offered more ammenities for free and in the event we needed to, gave us peace of mind of being able to cancel and receive a refund.

How I Ended Up Rebooking Our Flights for Cheaper

According to the Southwest Airlines website, if you book using the “Anytime” or “Business Select” pricing, you can cancel your flight for a full refund up to a certain point of your booking.

So, I ended up booking using the “Anytime” and kept an eye on our flights for those dates. Sure enough, the flight prices dropped closer to our travel date so I canceled our old flights, was fully refunded and then rebooked the new flights. I ended up saving a few hundred dollars by doing this!

Plus, I still got the early bird check-in and that was a game changer because we were boarded in the “A” group allowing us to be among the first to pick our seats.

What to Do if Southwest Isn’t Your Choice

I’ll be honest, I am terrified of flying and we had a great experience with Southwest but if you are not a fan of Southwest or perhaps it isn’t your cheapest option, there are still ways you can save on flights to Hawaii…

hawaiian flower

How to Save on Flights To Kauai, Hawaii

No matter which airline you choose to fly to Kauai, Hawaii, there are a few ways you can help ensure you are getting the best flight deals.

Timing is Key: For the best fares, book your flights 2-3 months in advance. Avoid peak travel times like holidays and summer vacations when prices are at their highest.

Flexible Travel Dates: Be flexible with your travel dates. Mid-week flights (Tuesday to Thursday) are typically cheaper. Avoid weekends and start or end your trip on a weekday to cut costs.

Use Fare Comparison Websites: Websites and apps that compare flight prices can be your best friend in finding the best deals. They allow you to see fares from various airlines and booking platforms at a glance. Platforms such as Expedia, Costco Travel, etc.

Consider Flying into Honolulu First: Sometimes, it’s cheaper to fly into Honolulu (Oahu) and then catch a local inter-island flight to Lihue Airport (Kauai). Check this option as it can sometimes offer significant savings. Sure, it’s twice the amount of flights but it may be worth it for the savings.

aloha sign at hawaii airport

Sign Up for Fare Alerts: Many airlines and travel websites offer fare alert services. Sign up to receive notifications for price drops to Kauai.

Leverage Airline Rewards: If you have airline miles or credit card points, consider using them for your flight. This can greatly reduce your travel expenses. I will say, I have the American Express Platinum card and used it to book our flights. It gave us 5x points which I then used to get Free Gift Cards to help pay for our hotel. If you sign-up using my referral link you’ll get 80,000 points after spending $8,000 which can easily be done for a Hawaiian vacation. You will also get a $200 flight credit for things like Wi-Fi, food and drinks charges while you’re in the air.

Check for Package Deals: Look out for package deals that include flights, hotels, and car rentals. Bundling these can sometimes be more economical than booking separately.

Travel During Shoulder Seasons: Kauai is less crowded and flights are often cheaper during the spring (April to June) and fall (September to November).

Avoid Extra Fees: Be mindful of extra costs for baggage, seat selection, and in-flight meals. Opt for airlines that offer the best value, considering these additional fees.

Follow Airlines on Social Media: Airlines occasionally announce special promotions and discounts on their social media channels, which can include discounted flights to Hawaii.

With these tips, your dream trip to Kauai doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag. An affordable flight means more budget to enjoy the stunning beaches, hiking trails, and the serene beauty of Kauai. Safe travels, and enjoy the breathtaking wonders of Kauai!

P.S. if you have any questions after reading this, please feel free to comment below or email me!

2 Comments

  1. Hello, I am also looking at flying Southwest from SLC to LIH. I’m looking at $4,400 for 4 people right now. When I looked last year, it was closer to $2,000 for the same timeframe. How close to your trip did prices drop? I am just over 60 days out right now. Thanks for your input

    1. Hi Jennifer, I actually checked weekly and I also signed up for their emails. I was notified of any sales and then I’d go check. I was pretty obsessive about checking weekly. I want to say, it was 2 weeks out from my trip that I landed the best deal. I just made sure I kept booking the “anytime” rate so I could cancel and rebook as prices dropped.

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