President Barack Obama arrives with first lady Michelle Obama, top, and daughters Malia, top left, and Sasha, bottom right, at Honolulu Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Honolulu, for the start of their holiday vacation, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012.
President Barack Obama arrives with first lady Michelle Obama, top, and daughters Malia, top left, and Sasha, bottom right, at Honolulu Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Honolulu, for the start of their holiday vacation, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012.

BY MALIA ZIMMERMAN – President Barack Obama’s decision to rejoin his family on their Hawaii vacation will cost taxpayers another $3.2 million for an already pricey holiday stay.

After arriving in Hawaii on December 22, Obama left First Lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Sasha and Malia on December 26 to return to Washington DC to continue negotiations with Congress to avoid a “fiscal cliff.”

After Congress reached an agreement this week, Obama opted to return to Hawaii, landing at Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu  just before 5 a.m. January 2.

The First Family’s Hawaii vacation, taken annually since Obama was elected to office 5 years ago, typically costs taxpayers more than $4 million.

The biggest expense is Obama’s round trip flight to Hawaii via Air Force One.

A Congressional Research Service report released in May 2012 said the plane typically used by the President, a Boeing 747, costs $179,750 per hour to operate. The U.S. Air Force has listed the cost of travel as high as $181,757 per flight hour.

Travel time for Air Force One direct from Washington D.C. to Hawaii is about 9 hours or as high as $1,635,813 each way for a total of $3,271,622 for the round trip to Hawaii and back.

The President will have made two round trips to Hawaii via Air Force One within a matter of days bringing the total for his air travel to more than $6.4 million, and the cost of the trip to more than $7.2 million.

After Sunset At Kailua Beach

Other expenses include the USAF C-17 cargo aircraft that transports the Presidential limos, helicopters and other support equipment to Hawaii; housing for U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Coast Guard and Navy Seals in beach front and canal front homes around where the President stays; and hotel accommodations at the Moana Surfrider in Waikiki for staff.

Oahu taxpayers pick up the tab for the Honolulu Police escorts, which usually totals around $250,000, and the city ambulance, which accompanies the President 24 hours a day through his entire visit, totaling about $10,000.

On Wednesday, U.S. Coast Guard patrol boats were back in the waterways surrounding the home where the President is staying. They also continue to guard other private homes in their Kailua neighborhood where the Obama’s friends are vacationing.

Since arriving in Hawaii, the President and First Lady attended just one public event – a memorial service for U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye. They have no other public appearances planned.

While no date has been announced for the First Family’s departure from the islands, the U.S. Coast Guard is enforcing a security zone around Kailua waterways until January 6.

Signs posted in Kailua on the street where the President is staying say there is “no parking” from December 21 to January 6 at 8 p.m.

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Malia Zimmerman is the editor and co-founder of Hawaii Reporter. She has worked as a consultant and contributor to several dozen media outlets including ABC 20/20, FOX News, MSNBC, the Wall Street Journal, UPI and the Washington Times. Malia has been listed as one of the nation’s top "Web Proficients, Virtuosi, and Masters" and "Hawaii's new media thought leader" by http://www.thewebstersdictionary.com Reach her at Malia@hawaiireporter.com

51 COMMENTS

  1. Whether or not you agree he should go to Hawaii or not, it is good to know how much it cost. That is thorough reporting. Malia just told the facts. I think it is Obama's 'home' (sort of) and so he deserves to go home and visit. Every time anyone mentions Hawaii, it is a free advertisement for our tourism. On the other hand, it a real "let them eat cake" type of attitude that is continually displayed by the first family, especially Mrs. O. She spends more than any first lady ever and spares no expense for the kid either. Her staff alone….seriously???? Good grief!

  2. I do believe that our President needs to take vacations and spend what I would imagine is much needed family time. I just don't understand why in this time of cut backs, tax increases, and massive national debt does he choose such a costly vacation? Shouldn't he be leading by example of rolling up our sleeves and making sacrifices? Then to add on the cost of flying back to D.C and return again to finish out the vacation…just think what else could be done with $3,271,622! I find this so disheartening! I wish ALL our leaders would be better stewards of our country’s money. I'm a single mom, a RN, and a hard working tax payer (who hasn't had the luxury of taking a trip in 11 years!). I'm sorry but I don't believe that was an expectable use of our money.

  3. Why doesn't the president and his family stay at Kaneohe Marine Corps Base? – he goes there to use the gym anyway. There is a beautiful VIP accommodation there and built in security. Cheaper for the tax payer, more secure, a boost to our servicemen and less inconvenience for Kailua residents.

    • Jan – Rachel – Suzi, brings insights to bear in mind of parallel realities to the bottleneck of global issues. Civilization has arrived at the tipping point where mass marginized poor suffer-are deprived off neccessities needed to lead a quality life and downright survival due to high costs-unemployment-ravaging of the environment -over expended resources – unstable climate changes – terrorists' activities ~ all made aware through the rapid communication means and Internet linkage, airing resentment – challenging the haves', making outdated protocols and policies to personal security a real issue for everyone, due to radical viewpoints to resolve the imbalance-injustice. As the population is challenged in these conditions, governments are making provisions to contain, to provide security means for us, depriving many personal liberties and choices … limiting personal freedoms-choices Presidents'-dignataries have to relinquish in their positions. We are forced to provide secure amenities since the 60' Kennedy's assassinations, for the sake of maintaining governmental equalibrium.

      • Suzi, what Williams is trying to say is to confuse you of B.O.'s selfish desire to stay OUT of KMCB at taxpaers expense.
        Yet here's an excerpt from Edward Jones Market Update: At the Edge of the Cliff
        Prepare for higher taxes. Almost everyone thinks taxes will rise, so prepare to pay more in taxes. That may mean you need to invest more and spend less, too."

      • No Cholan ~ Suzi has valid-lucid argument. Its a simple need for more privacy-more freedom that must prompt the private property stay – I merely offer thoughts of outdated protocols that have been brought to our current realities …. "In the post-9/11 world, Congress decided that former chief executives may still be vulnerable and need protection. The bill was introduced in the House of Representatives in November 2012 by South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy, and passed by voice vote in early December, according to BuzzFeed. Co-sponsors included Republican Lamar Smith, and Democrats John Conyers and Bobby Scott. The Senate passed the bill by unanimous consent on Dec. 28, and sent over to the White House on New Year's Day. The Secret Service started protecting presidents in 1901 after the assassination of William McKinley, according to Yahoo News. In 1965, Congress passed a law authorizing the agency, which is now a part of the Department of Homeland Security, to protect former presidents for life".

        Read Latest Breaking News from Newsmax.com http://www.newsmax.com/TheWire/obama-bush-secret-

      • Cholan: Tax Relief and what it means for the economy and how it met President Obama's key economic priorities.

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  4. […] The Hawaiian Reporter noted that while the President and family are in town his caravan of at least 22 vehicles including an ambulance can easily overwhelm the community that typically has single lane streets.  Since it is the holiday season, many families are on vacation and want to use their boats or surf and paddle in ocean fronting the Kailua homes where he stays, but residents living along the ocean and canal that surrounds the multi-million dollar homes at Kailuan Place where the President and First Family and their friends have stayed every year since 2008, had restrictions for 20 days beginning December 17 and running through January 6.  Street barricades fronted by U.S. Secret Service agents and Navy Seals and the U.S. Coast Guard were stationed in canal and ocean waters. […]

  5. […] The Hawaiian Reporter noted that while the President and family are in town his caravan of at least 22 vehicles including an ambulance can easily overwhelm the community that typically has single lane streets.  Since it is the holiday season, many families are on vacation and want to use their boats or surf and paddle in ocean fronting the Kailua homes where he stays, but residents living along the ocean and canal that surrounds the multi-million dollar homes at Kailuan Place where the President and First Family and their friends have stayed every year since 2008, had restrictions for 20 days beginning December 17 and running through January 6.  Street barricades fronted by U.S. Secret Service agents and Navy Seals and the U.S. Coast Guard were stationed in canal and ocean waters. […]

  6. Were he and his family to go to Hawaii, and stay, it might be worth the $3+ million to be rid of him.

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