March 16, 2009

Travel to Hawaii less expensive this year

Airfare to Hawaii and hotel rates on the island have plunged this year amid the U.S. economic downturn, travel industry analysts say.

State figures show Hawaii had a 12.4 percent decline in visitors, or 72,255 fewer guests, in January compared with the same time last year, CNN reported Monday.

Some of the decline might be because tourists figure travel to the tropical paradise might be too expensive.

One traveler, Karl Stetson of Seattle, said his family figured they would have to skip their annual trip to Hawaii this year to save money. However, he said he found plane tickets for less than $450 per person, $150 less than last year's fare, and he booked rooms at Hanalei Colony Resort in Kauai for 25 percent off and got a free night's stay.

We might have done something on the mainland, something more low-key, but the fact that it was inexpensive was a big factor for us to go again, said Stetson, who is taking his wife and two young boys to the islands in May. says airfare to Hawaii from cities in the continental United States has dropped more than 30 percent in some markets. The newspaper said travel giant Pleasant Holidays is offering vacation packages that include flight and three nights hotel stay in Oahu starting at $299.

You won't see prices to Hawaii like this again in your lifetime, FareCompare Chief Executive Officer Rick Seaney said. It might be worth it to take that once-in-a-lifetime trip.