How to Travel Maui on a Budget

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First things first, Hawaii ain’t cheap. It’s a very popular destination for the older folks which makes it not as suitable for the younger crowd to travel around on a tighter budget. I wanted to lay out the costs and how to go for as cheap as possible, because it truly is one of the most beautiful places on this planet. So if I can convince you to visit Maui and have you save a couple dollars here and there, then my job is complete!   

Here’s what I’ll go over (specific to Maui):

  • Travel/Flights
  • When to go
  • Accommodations
  • Food & Beverage
  • Transportation
  • Activities/Sighting-seeing

 

When to go

I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but it’s always going to be cheaper to visit a tropical destination during it’s low season. Now don’t misinterpret this, it doesn’t mean Maui is any less beautiful during low season, it just means this is a less frequent time for Americans from the Mainland to run to the islands to escape their boring 9-5 lives (no hate). According to Trip Advisor, Maui’s low seasons are mid-April and than early September through Thanksgiving. Condo’s can be 20% cheaper and flights can be dramatically 50% cheaper, so that should be an obvi time to visit, right?

Travel/Flights

As far as tickets to Maui goes, it’ll really decipher depending on where you’re flying out of (obviously). I see flights from the West Coast, such as LAX, SFO & PDX as little as $270 roundtrip. Now, the East Coast can be a bit more pricer with tickets ranging from $500-1,200. My recommendations for ya’ll East Coasters would be to check flights to LAX or SFO separately which could result in a couple hundred dollars saved.

Here’s three ways to save money on flights:

  1. Fly during low season and be flexible on dates
  2. Set alerts on Google Flights & Skyscanner for when prices drop
  3. Set up a credit card that will give you miles (on average 30k miles after spending $1,000) which is about one free flight to Maui

Accommodations

Paia, North Shore

Aloha Surf Hostel is located in the small surfer town on the North Shore of Maui. It’s home to some of the biggest waves on the island and has a laid-back vibe which inevitably attracts the younger crowd. This hostel is $48 a night for a bunk and $150 for a private room that sleeps 2 (much much cheaper than any hotel found on the Island. They also offer free tours, pool table, hot-tub and Wifi!

Wailuku, North Shore

The North Shore Hostel Maui is only $43 a night for a bunk and is located in Wailuku which is centrally located amidst the two conjoined Islands. This hostel is unfortunately not walking distance to the beach but does offer free shuttles to the airport, beach and Iao Valley and is the cheapest option on Maui.

Lahaina, West Side

Tiki Beach Hostel is located on the West Side of Maui, and is $65 a night (which is a good deal being in the heart of Lahaina). It’s close to amazing beaches, bars, and restaurants and also provides free snorkels, boogie boards and has Air Conditioning.

My recommendation would be to stay at all three Hostels so you can get a feel of the Island and experience more than one thing. If you were to stay at each hostel for two nights, it’d only be $312, which is cheaper than one night at a hotel like the Andaz or Grand Wailea.

Food & Beverage

Unfortunately, I won’t praise over the food on Maui. Nothing is THAT special, other than the fresh caught Poke. Here’s a list of my favorite places to wine and dine on the Island.

  1. Tin Roof: $8 Hawaiian Bowls
  2. Toby’s: Poke
  3. Paia Bowl: Acai Bowl
  4. Hornito’s Food Truck: Two Chile Verde Tacos for $5
  5. Paia Fish Market Happy Hour: $6 for a fish taco and a beer
  6. Cafe Des Amis: $5 Lilikoi Margaritas on Happy Hour
  7. Da Fish Truck: Bomb fish sandwiches in Hana
  8. Kaua Store: $8 Plate lunch
  9. Life’s a Beach: $5 lunch specials & cheap drinks
  10. Mana Foods: Deli & Hot Bar

Transportation

There’s a local bus found around the Island, but I strongly would suggest renting a vehicle because of how spread out everything is and how luxurious it is to be able to hop in the car and go explore where ever your heart desires. Especially if you’re doing the Road to Hana, you’ll need a car to get around. I found an amazing deal on used Maui Cruisers which was super affordable and reliant (except for one time when we broke down on the side of the road).

I recommend Kahalui Rental Car and tell Yaro I sent you!

Per day: $25

Per Week $150

Per Month: $400

I spent almost six months exploring this Island daily. Everything from the rolling hills of Kaupo, the raging waterfalls on The Road to Hana or the sprawling white sandy beaches of Kanapali, Maui truly is a gem. For a full adventure-seeking Guide, check out my 5 Day Maui Itinerary, but for now lets talk about what brings 2.7 tourists to Maui every year.

I’ve gone ahead and categorized each of my favorite places on Maui by areas on the Island.

Kihei

  1. Big Beach
  2. Four Seasons Infinity Pool (easy to sneak in)
  3. Lava Rocks 
  4. Sunset at Little Beach
  5. A night out at The Triangle

Paia

  1. Visiting the Sea Turtles at Tavares
  2. Snorkeling at Mamas Fish House
  3. Swimming at sunrise at Baby Beach
  4. Watching the sunset at Ho’okipa
  5. Tan nude at Paia Bay

Road to Hana

  1. Hiking the Bamboo Forest 6.5-mile marker
  2. Cliff jumping at Waikomoi 10-mile marker of the Hana Highway
  3. Fresh Water Caves and Black Sand Beach at Wainanapana State Park 32- mile marker
  4. Hamoa Beach
  5. Driving through Kaupo

Lahaina

  1. Cliff Jumping at Cliff House
  2. Paddle Boarding at Olowalu
  3. Sunset at Kahekili Beach Park
  4. Whale Watching
  5. Driving West Maui Mountain

Upcountry

  1. Kula’s Farmers Market
  2. Lavender Fields & Wine Tasting
  3. Makawoa Forest Reserve
  4. Haiku Mill
  5. Sunset at Haleakala

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