Tips and Tricks for the Traveler

Endless stretch of white sand beaches, festive and colorful luaus, and sporting activities that make your vacation more exciting--all these and more are waiting for you at Maui. Whether you have been to Maui countless times or you’re still planning your very first vacation on this beautiful Hawaiian Island, knowing a few tips and tricks will make your stay more worthwhile. With these helpful suggestions, getting around Maui will definitely be a breeze.

Choosing the ideal location for your Maui vacation

With the vast array of resorts, hotels, and entertainment sites on Maui, any first-time traveler could be at a loss as to which town to settle in during the entire vacation, or which accommodations to opt for. Maui is nicknamed the "Magic Isle," and rightfully so. A total of 81 beaches can be found all over Maui, where luxury resorts, rental cottages, hotels, and condominiums are strategically located.

If you are someone who’s raring for action and adventure while on a relaxing vacation, you can head to the west of Maui where a wide selection of water sports and outdoor activities await you. Those who want to indulge in a shopping spree can head to Lahaina, where shops and stores are conveniently located along with posh restaurants and bars.

Off to a honeymoon with your spouse, or planning a romantic getaway with your significant other? Your ideal choice will be the South part of Maui, where you can find an endless stretch of immaculate white sand beaches and spectacular coastlines. If you want to witness the magnificent Maui sunrise while lounging on a hammock, the towns of Kihei and Wailea on the south of Maui will not disappoint your idealistic tastes. Here you will also find top-class golfing ranges, shopping centers, and luxury hotels.

The historian or the erudite traveler will surely enjoy visiting central Maui, which is home to the working communities all over the island. Wailuku, which is replete with history and culture, is also located here. The most visited sites in this area are the Iao Valley, Hana in Kahului, and the Bailey House Museum.

Maui is also a place of mystery and peace, so if you want an authentic Hawaiian vacation but none of the hustle and bustle of the more populous towns, you can always choose to stay in east Maui, where everything is more subdued and laid-back. Here you can visit rare black sand beaches, lush waterfalls, mountain vistas, and secluded underground pools.

Where to stay?

All over Maui, you will be able to find many luxury hotels and beach resorts, which can be priced expensively. Thus, it will be helpful if you know how much you can spend for accommodations early on, especially if you are traveling on a limited budget. You can get yourself a map of the entire island and familiarize yourself first on the places of interest you plan on visiting. Each part of Maui has something unique to offer, so make sure you plan your trip ahead, before choosing your accommodations.

Those who are traveling on a considerable budget will have a wealth of options, including world-class hotels, beachfront villas, and popular honeymoon resorts. If you’re looking to save on your accommodations expenses, however, there are rental condo units available, complete with kitchens and fully furnished bedrooms. If you’re traveling with a large group or with your family, you might want to take a look into these rental units.

Since you are allowed to cook in these rental condos, you will be able to generate savings from your food budget. Many people who have been to Maui will tell you how everything is expensive on the island. Going on a trip to the supermarket so you can cook your own meals or prepare snacks for outings will surely translate to huge savings. Bed and breakfasts are also budget-friendly alternatives to expensive hotels and beach resorts. You can find a good-priced bed and breakfast at Lahaina, where comfortable rooms and bath are offered at great deals.

Making the right bookings

If possible, you should make the necessary bookings way ahead of time, before making the actual trip to Maui. While accommodations are numerous on the island, there are some hotels and beach resorts, which require bookings to be made at least two weeks earlier than the date of arrival. Once you have already made the needed bookings, you can start creating your planned travel itinerary and consult your chosen hotel for any available tour packages and location transfers.

If you’re worried that you won’t be able to cancel once you have already booked, most of these hotels and resorts actually accommodate cancellation, as long as they are notified 48 hours in advance. Some hotels charge cancellation fees, but they are often just nominal amounts.

Since Maui is famous for its luaus, you might also want to check which hotels host the best luaus on the island. If you want to get a good seat and witness this feast up front, you will have to make early reservations as well.

Getting around the island

There are several ways to get around the island, but your choice ultimately depends on whether you know how to get around Maui on your own or not. If it’s your first time to explore Maui, you might want to get on a guided tour, which will take your to all places of interest within the Magic Isle. However, if you have been to Maui several times and you have already familiarized yourself with its roads and highways, you can always rent a car and explore the rest of the island freely. There are motorcycle and All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) rentals available. Public transportation is highly affordable, but make sure you can deal with the inconveniences involved, such as dealing with other commuters and travelers.

What to bring?

If you want to pack light during your travels, vacationing in Maui will be ideal. With the warm climate on the island, you don’t have to carry heavy sweaters and pants with you. If you are planning to do a lot of sightseeing trips, you should bring with you some comfortable clothing, such as shorts and light cotton shirts. A hat and a pair of sun glasses can protect your face from the heat of the noon-day sun during your excursions. Of course, bringing along a few changes of swimsuits is important, since there are many beaches and waterfalls to be explored in Maui.

It will still be a good idea, nonetheless, to bring along with you a long-sleeved shirt and some hiking boots if you are planning to visit the Haleakala National Park or participate in any hiking activity. The temperature can easily drop in the said location during early mornings and late afternoons. During the day time, however, Haleakala becomes warmer, so wearing loose and light clothing is still suggested.

Furthermore, if you intend to visit the Maui up country, where ranches are located and horseback riding activities are common, you may be required to wear closed shoes and long pants. Cycling or biking tours can require specific types of clothing, too, so make sure you make the right preparations for any activity you intend to pursue on the island.

Some posh restaurants and bars in Maui could impose certain dress codes, so it will be best if you bring along a casual-formal outfit with you, just in case. In most of the restaurants, however, everyone can come in casual outfits, whether in shirts and shorts or wearing fancier Aloha polo shirts and dresses.

Essential tips for beach lovers and water sports enthusiasts

Water sports are huge in Maui, and any visitor can engage in water activities such as jet skiing, kayaking, and parasailing. However, powerful offshore winds and tempest currents are also prevalent on the island, so it is best to heed weather precautions at all times. If weather conditions are not favorable, you should avoid open-sea sporting activities such as kayaking and windsurfing.

With more than 320 sunshine-y days in Maui, accompanied only by brief periods of scattered rain showers, the weather can easily get hot and humid. If you must spend several hours on the beach, make sure to bring with you some refreshments and to keep yourself sufficiently hydrated. If getting a tan is a must, this is no reason for you to bake to a crisp under the harsh Maui sun. Be sure to slather on enough sunscreen on your face, chest, back of your neck, and shoulders. If you are out on a tropical island, sunscreen with an SPF of 30 and above is highly recommended.

Traveling to Maui can be an ultimate dream for many. If you are clueless as to what to expect, however, you may not be able to fully enjoy the best of what the island has in store for travelers. A good map and a pocket dictionary of common Hawaiian terms can come in handy anytime. Careful planning will go a long way, and with an island as beautiful as Maui, it’s always fun from beginning to end.