US President Barack Obama’s annual vacation in Hawaii in 2011 is likely to be his most expensive ever – or rather the taxpayer’s most expensive.
President Barack Obama and his family travelled separately this time because he wanted resolve the payroll tax cut issue before leaving Washington. First Lady Michelle Obama didn’t not want to hang around waiting.
His round trip flight to Hawaii via Air Force One is estimated to be the largest expense of the holiday trip.
The Hawaii Reporter estimates that the cost of Barack Obama’s travel in total is $3,629,622.
The U.S. Air Force calculates it costs $181,757 per flight hour to operate Air Force One.
Travel time direct from Washington, DC to Hawaii is about nine hours, for a total of $3,271,611 there and back.
Additionally, the cost for a USAF C-17 cargo aircraft is required to carry Presidential limos, helicopters and other equipment.
According to a GAO report, flight time between Andrews Air Force Base and Hawaii is approximately 21.5 hours roundtrip, with estimated operating cost of $12,000 per hour.
A four-to-six member Marine Corps unit travels on a separate flight for additional support and security, at an estimated cost of $258,000 for the group’s per diem and hotel.
According to the White House Dossier, Michelle Obama’s early trip to Hawaii cost about $100,000 including travel, security and personnel.
It is thought the accommodation runs to $151,200.
The president’s family covers the cost of a private beach front residence in Kailua, Oahu, for the vacation – that costs up to $3,500 a day, or $75,000 a month.
But taxpayers take care of housing costs for U.S. Secret Service, Coast Guard and Navy Seals who guard the rentals, and arrive one day ahead of Barack Obama.
That is about $21,600 per home for approximately seven houses rented for 18 days.
There is also a hotel bill for $72,216. Barack Obama’s staff and White House Press Corps are staying at the Moana Surfrider, where rates range between $177 and $450 depending on the time of the year.
Excluding tax, meals and other charges at the more conservative rate, the amounts reach more than $72,216 for approximately 24 members of staff.
Then there’s the local taxpayer costs of $260,000.
The overtime for local police in Oahu is expected to cost taxpayers $250,000.
A city spokesman said an ambulance that travels with the president at all hours will cost an additional $10,000.
Several costs are unknown and will not be released by the White House, citing security reasons. Some include security upgrades, additional phone lines, the installation of bullet proof glass, car rentals, fuel, travel costs for the Secret Service and staff travelling ahead of POTUS.
The total cost (based on what is known) for a 17-day round trip vacation to Hawaii for Barack Obama and his family and staff and security is an estimated $4,113,038.
The Hawaii Reporter annually has requested details on the cost of the President’s trip, but the White House will not release any figures, citing security concerns. A spokesperson has maintained the costs are “in line” with other presidential vacations.