on a budget
Believe it or not, it is possible to vacation in Maui
on a budget. Let's face it, anyway you go it won't be
cheap but here are some tips to not bust your wallet.
Generally, you can get a cheaper rate on airfare by
using an airline which specializes in flights to the
Rent a condo
There are quite a few condos for those looking
for staying on Maui on a budget. The best area
I have found in Honokawai, just north of Lahaina.
We stayed at the Kaleialoha condos and it was
quite reasonable (in 2004 - $125 a night) compared
to the hotels just down the road at $350+ per
night. Also, having the kitchen area saves a lot
on eating. I also felt I didn't eat as much as
when we stayed at the hotels, which have way too
many all you can eat options! This was fourth
floor with a great view of the ocean and beach
access. It wasn't the Ritz, but we only were in
the room to eat and sleep. Another bonus was that
the condo was fully stocked with utensils, coolers,
menus of the closest places to eat and even 2
good sized boogie boards under the bed! See to
the right for the view from the balcony of the
condo we rented.
Bring your own snack and food items. Don't bring
fresh fruits or vegtables as they will likely
be confiscated (dried fruits are ok). Go to the
store and think of all the non-perishable things
you like to eat and stuff them in your suitcases.
This will save you money since everything is expensive
on Maui (most items must be imported) and it also
makes space for bringing things back. We packed
all the diapers we needed for a 7 day trip and
a lot of snacks and had room to bring back christmas
gifts for everyone in our famalies.
Where to shop
The cheapest places to buy items for yourself
or family members are ABC stores and Hilo Hattie.
Be cautious as some stores have very high prices
counting on impulse buying and being in the right
Where to eat
First I would say snack a lot and avoid getting overcharged
by not planning. We had one good outside meal a day
on most days, but found that relaxing by ourselves over
some Kung Pao chicken takeout and watching the sunset
on the balcony was great. There are your normal places
to eat on the island that you will recognize (Pizza
Hut, etc.). There are places that serve good food (not
fast food) that are not that expensive if you look for
them. There was a small take out deli in the strip mall
in Honokawai (across for the beach park) that was pretty
good and offered a wide variety of food. Also, in Lahaina
near the library was a small cafe that was not very
obvious from the road, but also quite good. You will
have to look around in your area when you arive to spot
these places, but be warned that the majority of these
family run or small establishments only take cash and
not checks (including travelers checks) or credit cards.
I guess there is just too much fraud.
Rent a car
You will have to have a way to get around while on
Maui as there are so many things to see on the island.
Also, the cost of a rental car is much less that the
cost of taking a family of four on a guided tour bus
up to Haleakala.
Free things to do
Obviously there is swimming,
surfing, and snorkeling.
Those are the three reasons I went and I spent 90% of
my time doing that. There are also a large number of
hiking areas on Maui with free access, particularly
at Iao Valley and on the
road to Hana. On the way
to Iao Valley area you can stop at the plantation and
tour some of the areas for free and also the cultural
exhibits in the park prior to entry into Iao Valley
are interesting offer a place to cool off from a hot
day and are a good place for a family picnic.
Cheap things to do
You have to pay an admission fee to get into Haleakala,
but it is certainly worth it. The drive is great if
the weather cooperates and can yield some amazing pictures.
There are also a number of hiking trails and two visitors
area (one at the entrance and one on the summit). Check
out the Haleakala page
on this site for more info. Also worth it is the Maui
If you want to splurge on one thing, then I would suggest
making it a good Luau, as this is a real experience
of food, dancing, and culture that is quite entertaining.