It didn’t take long after we arrived on the island of Maui to see that prices there were not quite like they were back on the mainland. In order to have a bowl of cereal for breakfast we would pay around $5.00 for a gallon of milk and almost 7 bucks for a box of cereal. We soon starting finding ways to save money on groceries, eating out, every day expenses and things to do around the island.
Having lived on the island we know that Maui is a hugely desirable place for people to vacation. Many people save most of their lives in order to be able to take their dream trip to Maui because they know it’s not cheap. We think everyone needs to experience Hawaii at least once in their lifetime so here are some tips on how you can make your dream trip come true even if you’re on a budget.
Travel During the Off Seasons
Taking advantage of traveling during the off seasons will help you save a ton of money when booking things like your airfare and hotel or VRBO. The off seasons on Maui typically start around mid to the end of April through early June and again from September to mid December with the exception of Thanksgiving week. After having lived through many seasons on the island I have to say these are some of the best times of the year to vacation. Not only are the prices better but the island is much less busy then it is in the summer and winter months.
When searching for flights be sure to keep an eye out or sign up for email updates from Alaskan Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines and Virgin America. All three of these airlines will post deals for upcoming fall and spring travel, if you catch it at the right time you can occasionally catch round trip airfare as low as $350 from west coast airports.
Choose a VRBO or Air B&B
When searching online for a place to stay on Maui don’t skip out on your VRBO and Air B&B options. Yes there are some amazing resort options and if you’re looking to spend anywhere from $250-$450 a night then go for it. If you’re like me and you don’t have that kind of cash then head to the VRBO and Air B&B websites. Many people rent these out at amazing rates during the off season, some as low as a 2 bedroom for $150/night.
Another great reason to stay in a condo or Ohana is the access you have to a full kitchen. Food on the island is expensive especially if you’re traveling with a family. If you’re feeding a family of 4 you want to be sure to do it as cheap as possible. So rather then shelling out a wad of cash for a restaurant burger grill your own and save that money for a splurge meal later on in your trip.
As far as getting the best deal on your VRBO be sure that you are booking well in advanced. Just because it’s the off season doesn’t mean these places don’t book up fast. Another great way to save money when booking a VRBO or Air B&B is to be willing to stay within walking distance or driving distance to the beach rather then on the beach itself. There are many residents that rent out their ohanas or homes when they are away on vacation, while these are not the closest to the beach they are a great option for staying within your budget.
Rent a “Maui Cruiser”
When Gentry and I first arrived on the island we had no source of transportation so we had to rent a car. We soon discovered that renting a vehicle is expensive…yikes. We had decided that we would ship our car from the mainland and in the meantime in order to get to and from work we had to figure out some way to get around. That’s when we discovered Kihei Rent A Car. Kihei Rent A Car offers older more loved Maui cruisers for rent during your visit to the island. These vehicles come with their fair share of dings and damage, however, they are rented at a great rate, are kept clean and we’ve never had an issues with the cars we’ve rented from this company. Even now when go back to the island to visit we still choose to rent from Kihei Rent A Car. The customer service here is great, the price is awesome and the way I look at it it’s just a way to get to and from the beach, and the beach is really what matters.
Choose to Eat at Happy Hour
Boy do I love a good happy hour. One of the great things about being on vacation and living up the island lifestyle are the fancy umbrella drinks and happy hour. Unlike many places on the mainland that only offer happy hour for 1 to 2 hours many of the restaurants on Maui offer happy hour for 3 to 4 hours. Often times Gentry and I would bring a small simple lunch to the beach like cheese and crackers or a turkey sandwich and would head to happy hour for our dinner and afternoon/evening drinks. Since happy hour can sometime run as late as 6 o’clock head to the restaurant around five grab a drink and a few appetizers for dinner. Some of my absolute favorite happy hour destinations are: Gannons (check out my Maui Sunset Hot Spots for more info on Gannons here), Threes Bar and Grill, Five Palms and Monkey Pod. These are just a few of my favorites so be sure to share your favorite happy hour restaurants below in the comments section.
Hawaii is truly a spectacular place to visit, so no matter what your budget be sure it’s on your list for your next vacation destination!