Vancouver To Hawaii | How To Get The Best Deal On Flights
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The Ydeals Noise-Free Guide To Getting The Best Deal On Flights From Vancouver (YVR) to Hawaii
|There are thousands of travel sites out there, all wanting you to believe they have unique or special prices on airfares to Hawaii. Guess what? They don't. |
They simply use marketing noise to hide the fact that there is really only one source of unique prices on BC flights to Hawaii.
This guide will remove the noise and show you what that source is, so you can stop wasting so much time when searching for the best deal.
What are the unique sources of prices on flights from Vancouver (YVR) to Hawaii ?
Unique Source #1 - The Major Airlines
What are typically the cheapest cities in Hawaii to fly in and out of?
From Vancouver, there are 4 airports that people commonly fly in and out of when traveling to Hawaii.
- Honolulu (HNL) (almost always the cheapest)
- Maui / Kahului (OGG) (usually not a whole lot more)
- Kona / Kailua (KOA)
- Kauai (LIH)
Where should I look to get the best deal on flights to Hawaii?
All you need to do is search all the major airlines, preferably at once. My current favorite way to do this would be using Google Flights Explorer because you can just enter 'Hawaii' into the 'To' box, and see current airfares from all the major airlines, to all airports in Hawaii, at one time. Not to mention how easy it is to browse through different date combinations.
Even if you're planning to go for a longer date range than this tool supports (currently up to 2 weeks), it will give you an excellent idea of what the typical bottom price is right now to each airport in Hawaii, and which airline(s) it can be found on. Use it as a starting point, and then use a tool with more precise search options, such as...
My second favorite way would be to search using Kayak. It has all the sort and filter options I need, and searches all major airlines. Click on 'Make my dates flexible' and set it to '+/- 3 days'. You may be surprised how often being a little flexible with your dates can result in a better price.
With Kayak, you'll need to search the 4 major airports in Hawaii individually. As I mentioned above, Honolulu (HNL) is typically the cheapest from Vancouver.
What about the thousands of other travel websites that promote airfares to Hawaii?
This is the noise. There is no shortage of travel sites or brands trying to convince you that they have the cheapest flights from Vancouver to Hawaii. The truth is though, there's only one unique source of passenger prices that they're gathering their info from, and that's the ticket prices from the major airlines themselves. Travel aggregators really can't offer a lower price than the airline itself, as there's already virtually no markup.
There are few reasons why I think travelers waste an enormous amount of time checking multiple websites, hoping for a better deal over the one they already found (studies show it to be an average of 22 different sites over 10 periods of research!). The first reason is just human nature. We all want to compare prices for a holiday and make sure we're getting the best travel deal for our dollar.
But I think the biggest reason is simply the noise of travel marketing. With so many travel sites and brands offering holidays competing for your attention, all hoping you'll book through them, combined with the fact that not one of them will *ever* admit to you that their source of ticket prices is the same as everyone else, it's little wonder BC travelers waste so much time searching.
What about searching the airline's website directly?
There's nothing wrong with doing that. It's usually just a lot easier to search all of the airlines heading to Hawaii at once, with a better interface using a good travel search tool. It's amazing how poor many of the airline's search interfaces are. The fares for airplane seats found on any half-decent search engine will be the same as those found on the airline's own website.
One thing vacationers heading to Hawaii can do is just use a search tool to search all the airlines at once, and then go to the airline's own site to book it once you've figured out exactly which flight you want, and what the price is.
What about my local travel agency or independent travel agent in BC?
They're seeing the same prices you are. Depending on the agency or agent, they may or may not charge you a 'booking fee' on top of the airfare price, for their time. As there's virtually no markup on the cost of flights, they can't offer you a price that's any cheaper than from the airline, or from a search tool that properly searches the latest airfares.
When should I book a trip to Hawaii to get the lowest ticket price?
This is never an easy question to answer, as airfares are not 100% predictable. Airlines start off by setting their price at a level they think will fill the maximum number of seats, based on the demand they expect to see. If they experience less demand than expected, they may decide to lower fare prices. If they experience more demand than they expected, they may raise the cost of tickets. Unfortunately, a lot of factors that influence demand can be unpredictable.
How long a person heading to Hawaii can wait it out in hopes of a better price is a personal decision. Personally though, I am usually not afraid to watch prices on the major airlines up to about 8 weeks before departure in the hopes of a better price without fear of the price rising. But everyone has a different tolerance for risk and scheduling issues.
What about last minute Hawaii flight deals?
Last minute airfare deals to Hawaii on the major airlines don't really exist. Typical of most airfares on the major airlines, as you get fairly close to the departure date, if the airline has done their job correctly, and filled most of the seats on the plane, they feel the last remaining seats become more valuable, and often decide to raise the price.
What's a decent price to fly to Hawaii?
From Vancouver, flights to Honolulu (HNL) tend to bottom out in the low to mid $500s (roundtrip after taxes). Maui / Kahului (OGG) is usually $40-$50 more (roundtrip). Kona / Kailua (KOA) and Kauai (LIH) are usually about $100 more (roundtrip). This is just a general guideline though, based on average demand periods of the year.
Airfare prices are highly affected by demand. So anytime you can think of a reason that there might be higher demand than usual for travel to Hawaii (such as dates when many people in British Columbia have holidays) you can expect prices to react accordingly.
As for the Christmas holiday travel period (anything between Dec 21 and Jan 5), that's a whole other level of demand, which means prices are never anything but very expensive relative to the rest of the year. As a very general rule of thumb, I find you can usually take a decent price to Hawaii from an average demand period and multiply it by 1.5 to get your typical Christmas getaway price.
What about one way flights to Hawaii?
You should be able to get to any of the major airports in Hawaii for about 50-60% of the cost of a roundtrip flight. Use the same search techniques as for round-trip flights, and just change the search option in your favorite search tool to 'one-way'.
What about non-stop (direct) flights to Hawaii?
From Vancouver, there are non-stop (direct) flights to Honolulu (HNL) on Air Canada, Westjet, and Delta.
To Maui (OGG), and Kona / Kailua (KOA), there are non-stop (direct) flights on Air Canada and Westjet.
To Kauai (LIH), only Westjet flys non-stop (direct).
What about a multi-city flight? Such as into one Hawaiian airport and out of another?
Searching for multi-city flights in travel is still a bit of a pain. Even Google Explorer currently can't handle it, as there's too many possible combinations. I'm sure eventually someone (likely Google) will put enough processing power behind it and create something useful for searching multi-city fares.
So for now, you're stuck with searching one departure date at a time when it comes to multi-city fares and experimenting with different destination combinations. Most of the decent travel sites will offer a multi-city option (it should be right next to 'one-way' and 'round-trip').
Kayak would be my preferred option here. Just click on the 'multi-city' option and in the first box, enter in Vancouver to Honolulu (HNL), or whatever airport you want to fly into, and then in the second box, enter Maui (OGG) to Vancouver, or whatever island airport you want to fly out of.
You never really know what you're going to get with a multi-city fare. From Vancouver to Hawaii, it can often be around the same price as a typical roundtrip fare to the same destinations (or an average of the two). Sometimes it can be slightly more. In rare cases it can even be cheaper. Of course, you're still left with figuring out the cost of getting between the two airports.
What about cheap flights to Hawaii from U.S. airports close to Vancouver?
From Bellingham (BLI)
If you've ever read my guide about flying out of U.S. Airports, you may know that I feel it could be worth the drive, when you see an airfare from Bellingham to Hawaii that's at least $200 less per person than from Vancouver.
This can happen, typically on either Alaska Airlines or Allegiant Air. If you search the YVR Deals blog posts for 'Hawaii', you'll see that I've posted deals from Bellingham as cheap as $199 roundtrip after taxes in the past.
Allegiant Air flys to Honolulu (HNL) and Maui (OGG). To search their fares, you'll need to go to www.allegiantair.com directly - since they don't like to include their airfare database in the major search engines.
Alaska Airlines flys to all 4 major Hawaiian airports. To search their fares, I'd recommend using the search techniques mentioned under 'Unique Source #1 - The Major Airlines' near the top of this guide, and just use Bellingham (BLI) as your departure airport.
From Seattle (SEA)
If you've ever read my guide about flying out of U.S. Airports, you may know that I feel it would only be worth the drive to Seattle when you see an airfare to Hawaii that's at least $350 less per person than from Vancouver.
Considering that the bottom price from Vancouver is typically around $500-$550, that would mean a good fare from Seattle would have to be below $150 to $200, roundtrip after taxes, to be worth the drive. And I have yet to ever see a fare from Seattle that cheap!
If you do want to check prices from Seattle though, I'd recommend using the search techniques mentioned under 'Unique Source #1 - The Major Airlines' near the top of this guide, and just use Seattle (SEA) as your departure airport.
I think I've found a great deal on a Vancouver flight to Hawaii!
Excellent! Please share it with your fellow travel lovers who use the Vancouver airport, they will appreciate it! You can post it in the YVR Deals Facebook group (click 'Join Group', at the top-right, when you arrive), where thousands of people from Vancouver are crowd-sourcing the best deals, and sharing great travel advice.
Why should I trust this Hawaiian deal guide for Vancouver flights?
|The info in this guide is based on my observations of the travel industry over the years, including all the thousands of websites out there, and where all the different players get their prices from and how they interact with each other. |
The goal is to remove the noise of travel marketing, so people can stop wasting so much valuable time searching the same prices over and over.
But, as social proof of it's accuracy, feel free to join the YVR Deals Facebook Group (click 'Join Group', at the top-right, when you arrive) and publicly disagree with any of it, or make a comment below. Critiques are always welcome!
I think I have some info that could help improve the Vancouver to Hawaii trip guide!
Great! Please post your info in the Vancouver Facebook group above, or contact me directly. Suggestions for improvement are always appreciated. Let me know if you see something that seems inaccurate or outdated.
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