While the spirit of Aloha, the beaches, and the plumeria-perfumed air are free, accommodation and restaurants on Maui can be very expensive.
Despite this, there are certain conveniences that a budget conscious and yet discerning traveler to any locale will not want to do without.They are– a firm bed in a quiet location, a decent Mai Tai at the end of the day, or at lunch for that matter, good food that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, and maybe the occasional outing to beak up the book reading and wave bobbing.
Finding Maui Accommodation
Online condo searching can be frustrating, and after awhile all condos begin to look the same. Take the advice of friends and family who have actually stayed somewhere they would recommend. Check for deals. Recently, a Wailea hotel, which can cost anywhere from $300-$1000.00 a night, encouraged St. Patrick Day revelers to stay for only $118 a night.
If you can, travel in low season, which is usually from the end of April to the beginning of December. Look for owner managed property, check the Maui News, and your local paper for owners of property who live on the mainland but visit often to make sure the property is kept in good repair.
Ask if beach chairs, umbrellas, and a cooler are provided. Ask what kind of bed they have, and how old a pull-out is. While visiting, take the opportunity to check out future rentals. One very good owner-managed site in Wailea is Sunnysouthmaui.com
Reasonably Priced Maui Eats
Travelers to Maui, especially those staying for an extended period or traveling with large families, will benefit from having a Safeway or a Costco card. Foodland grocer in Kihie also offers a discount card on request, but the prices are comparable at the Maui Times Supermarket.
Try Fred’s on taco Tuesdays to save money and enjoy a sunset dinner, and Eskimo Candy for fish and chips to take away and eat at the beach. When arriving, pick up the free magazines at the airport to check for two for one specials. Plan to eat out at lunch time to save money, as similar menus at dinner time can cost twice as much.
Maui could be considered a food destination. Whether visitors have breakfast at Charley’s in Pa’ia, or dinner at the Five Palms in Wailea, with Maui’s abundance of fish, local beef and pork, and fresh fruit there is always something ono (delicious) to eat.
Longs Drugs as well as the supermarkets carry inexpensive rums and local beers as well as up country wines. Buy pineapple and juices to blend fruity cocktails–splurging on one or two resort happy hours to enjoy the island’s unique pupus (appetizers).
South Maui Beaches
While some of the finest hotels front the beaches on Maui, and you have to be staying at one of them to use the chairs for free, all of the beaches are public.
The surf at Kama’ole beaches and Wailea are better suited for children, but Big Beach in Makena is a great place to watch the boogie board spinners and for those who like a less crowded beach.
Other Maui Tips
Use the local Kihei or Maui Car Rental companies, take flower pictures at The Maui Plantation, go canoeing with the Kihei club, visit the Maui Friends of the Library book store, check out the swap meet on Saturdays in Kahului, and if you want to go snorkeling at Molokini, try Seafire Tours.
The walk and site seeing along Wailea’s water front hotels is a good morning workout. Free entertainment can be had at the shops at Wailea on Wednesdays nights, and the torch lighting at Black Rock in Ka’anapali will only cost the price of parking.
Saving money on a Maui vacation is challenging. Just make sure that the budget leaves room for several shave ice and an evening at Mulligans on the Blue or anywhere that Willie K is playing.