Maui or Vegas, which vacation will give you more bang for your buck?

With Christmas now little more than a month away, you might be thinking of giving the gift of travel.

But where to? All things being relatively equal, which one is cheaper: a trip to a neighbor island or Las Vegas?

The answer could save you a nice little chunk of your money.

On one hand, you have picture-perfect Maui with Haleakala, and beautiful beaches and sunsets. It’s a tropical paradise only 94 miles away.

On the other hand, you have Las Vegas, with bright lights, casinos, and all that comes with it. That’s more than 2,700 miles from us.

They’re two great choices for sure, but when it comes down to dollars, which is cheaper?

To be as fair and even possible, we looked at relatively comparable hotels for dates during the first half of January, after the expensive holiday rush.

For Vegas, we went to Vacations Hawaii, and for Maui, Pleasant Holidays. Both are leaders in their respective fields.

Here’s how they stack up side by side:

The Vegas package gives you four or five nights, your choice, at either the California, Fremont or Main Street Station hotel and casinos. It also includes airfare, transfers, and three meals each day — full buffets that include everything from poke and spam to prime rib and crab legs.

Total cost: $699 per person.

The Maui package offers four nights at the oceanfront Royal Lahaina Resort, which is a bit pricier than Vegas. Airfare and transfers also included. With the exception of a welcome breakfast the first morning, you’re on your own for meals.

Total price: $835 per person.

Chele Yoshinaga of Vacations Hawaii says they’re able to offer such great deals for two reasons: demand and the fact they happened to be owned by large company that has another solid revenue stream.

“We are owned by Boyd Gaming, which is the casinos. So they own California, Fremont, Main Street, and we do also have The Orleans hotel,” Yoshinaga said.

Of course prices can vary slightly depending on time of season, and if Vegas isn’t your thing, there’s nothing wrong with staying home.

As the saying goes, Maui no ka oi!

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