Visiting Maui or any of the Hawaiian Islands can be expensive; however there are a number of ways to experience the island and still not “break the bank”, so to speak. Believe it or not, an unforgettable visit to Maui on a budget is absolutely possible!
1 – Look at different travel days and, if possible, travel during one of the few “off” seasons we have (the first two weeks of December are about the slowest of the year!).
Tuesdays and Sunday flights tend to cost a little less. Shop around and look at actual airlines, not simply web sites that do travel “bundles”. After various fees are applied, I have generally found that I spend less purchasing airline tickets directly from the airline web sites.
You may also check out travel agents. They do often have great prices as they have pre-purchased blocks of seats. While it’s not always the case, it does happen.
2 – Check out alternatives to hotels. While there are many uber-luxurious resorts with all the amenities one would expect, they do come with a price tag.
There are a number of alternatives, including “Condo-tels” with full apartments and even vacation cottages that may be a block or less from the beach and offer all the comforts of home, Bed & Breakfast type accommodations and even affordable houses to rent. You could easily spend a week in some of these for what it might cost for one night in a lavish resort.
On inter-island trips, I have often spent most of my time in a vacation rental and a night or two in a swanky resort.
3 – Rent a car! It doesn’t matter where you hail from, if you do not have a rented vehicle, you will find yourself stuck at your hotel, possibly having to eat out for all meals. Worse still, you could find yourself paying double (or more!) for a single cab fare that you would pay for an entire day or even two on a rental car.
We do have decent public transportation; however, if you need to be somewhere at a specific time, you really shouldn’t rely on “The Bus” unless for your return, when time is not a factor.
4 – Cook at “home” or ask a local resident for ideas for some ideas and check out some of the great “hole in the wall” spots or food trucks and experience a bit of other cultures for a small amount of cash. Our Maui farmer’s markets are exceptional and offer eats as well as locally made products for souvenirs. Most of us living here rely on these markets and hit them once a week or more.
There are a few pretty amazing places to dine, considered by most to be “Must Do” Maui (Mama’s Fish House is the hands down fave and brunch at the Four Seasons is spectacular!) so plan a couple of great meals out but not all of them. Remember, even fast food can add up quickly.
5 – If possible, you may wish to bring some things from home that you use on a regular basis. I read one couple’s review who thought ahead and brought enough diapers for their infant to last the entire trip! This gives you a surprising amount of room to pack keepsakes.
If you don’t have a Costco membership (sorry, no Sam’s Club on Maui yet), get one. There is a giant store just past the airport that has everything you could need to stock your kitchen, including local produce from all islands. This can save you a bundle!
This is also a great place to purchase souvenirs without racking up a huge bill.
The cost of living on Maui IS high, there’s just no way completely around it but you can make it easier with a small amount of effort. Come on out and see why we like to say “Maui No Ka Oi”!