Happy New Year! A New Year means new laws, and yes, Hawaii price increases. So let’s go over a couple that’ll affect visitors the most.
Price increases suck, but they’re a fact of life. Especially when government regulations are involved. And for Hawaii, there are two increases you’ll want to know about if you plan on visiting the islands.
Transient Accommodations Tax Increase
The price increase that’ll affect nearly everyone visiting Hawaii is the Transient Accommodations Tax increase. I discussed this a while back, but I’ll review it again because it’s been a while.
State-wide, the Transient Accommodations Tax increased by 1.00% on January 1, 2018. So instead of 9.25%, the new tax is 10.25%. Of course, to get your total room tax amount, you’ll need to add the General Excise Tax too. For Oahu, this taxi is 4.712%, while the rest of the state’s GET is 4.16%. This gives you an effective tax rate of 14.962% on Oahu and 14.41% on all other islands.
What this means in practice is that a room rate of $250 will result in a room tax of $37.70 on Oahu, while the tax on other islands will be $36.03. At 2017’s tax rates, the room tax would have been $34.91 and $33.79, respectively.
TheBus Fare Increase
If you’re visiting Oahu and planning on using public transit, Oahu’s bus system, TheBus has increased its fares and changed its fare structure. Effective January 1, 2018, TheBus adult fares went up $0.25 from $2.50 to $2.75. One-day passes have also increased from $5.00 to $5.50. And, if you didn’t already know, transfer passes were discontinued back on October 1, 2017.
Bonus: Seattle Soft Drink Surcharge
So, this isn’t Hawaii, but if you’re traveling to the Emerald City and want a (soft) drink, you’ll need to shell out an additional $0.0175 per fluid ounce. So for an average bottle of soda, you’ll see an effective price increase of about $0.17. This surcharge applies to sodas, energy drinks, sports drinks, fruit drinks, sweetened teas, and ready-to-drink coffee drinks. Excluded beverages include 100% fruit juices, infant formula, medicine, and milk-based products.
Hawaii Price Increases, Final Thoughts
In the grand scheme of things, the above price increases really aren’t that bad. The most significant one, the Transient Accommodations Tax will raise your nightly expense by about $2 to $3. But, I know an increase is an increase and either way it isn’t fun to have to pay, however, it could be worse.
One thing I didn’t mention, though, is there is another increase that could indirectly affect your Hawaii vacation. The State of Hawaii did raise its vehicle registration fees by $0.01 per pound. This means that the Toyota Camry you rented will cost the rental agency an extra $33 to register this year. Not a whole lot of difference, but still an amount that’ll likely get passed on to customers.