While it’s true that the unexpected moments of a trip to Maui are often the most meaningful, it’s still helpful to plan ahead to make your experience nothing short of magical. Bookmark this guide, share it with friends, and let us take the stress out of vacation planning. Many flights to Maui arrive and depart on early or late schedules. Discover these travel tips to help make your arrival and departure day efficient and as stress-free as possible!
First up, these tips explore everything you need to know before you arrive when you land, and while you’re here.
Before You Arrive
- Be smart about booking. If possible, book your trip several months in advance. Plan to come during the off-season, and avoid peak travel times like the holidays and summer. You’ll not only find better prices but also deal with significantly fewer crowds. Bonus tip: If you have the time, give yourself an extra day or two post-vacation to relax. The best trips to Maui are often filled with hiking, swimming, snorkeling, and lots of time in the sun. You’ll appreciate a little downtime to reflect on your trip when you return home. Booking through Ali’i Resorts will give you a good headstart.
- Pack the right clothing. No matter what time of year you visit, expect at least some rain. You may want to bring a light rain jacket and slip-resistant shoes for hiking. Another common mistake? Bringing too many pairs of jeans or jackets. One of each will suffice unless you’re spending a significant amount of time in the cooler temps Upcountry or Haleakala. For more packing tips, read our packing list here: 9 Essentials to Pack for a Hassle-Free Maui Vacation
- Rent a car. One of the biggest mistakes people make when visiting Maui is thinking that a rental car is unnecessary. Renting a car gives you endless freedom. Many attractions, areas, and events on the island are spread out, and a rental car allows you to experience them all. Make it easy on yourself by renting a car from Ali’i Resorts. We’ll even bring it to you!
Maui Arrival Day Tips
- Your first day on Maui plan on stocking up on food and supplies as you leave the airport. Depending on where you’re staying, costs will be much higher, and some items won’t be available at all outside of “town” (aka, Kahului). Costco is conveniently located right next to the airport and is actually a great place to not only buy affordable items but also mingle with the locals. Kahului is also the only place on Maui to find stores like Walmart, Target, and Whole Foods.
- Eat in town. If you aren’t staying in Kahului or on the North Shore, you’ll want to grab a bite to eat before your drive to Kihei, Lahaina, or even Upcountry. Jump straight into local cuisine with a loco moco at Da Kitchen or Poi By The Pound or a poke bowl at Tin Roof.
- Buy your souvenirs early. The last thing you want to do at the end of your trip is to spend time frantically trying to find gifts. If you see something you like, buy it. The island is bigger than you think, and driving to the other side for a souvenir is an errand best avoided.
While You Are Here
- Plan on being flexible. You might plan on experiencing The Road to Hana on a particular day and then have to go a day earlier or a day later, due to weather. You also might plan on eating dinner at 6 pm, only to find that your reservation has been pushed back. Embrace the unexpected. This is island life.
- Be mindful of local culture. Drive slower than you think. Don’t litter. Be extra respectful if you end up visiting a “secret spot” or “locals only” hideaway. We’re all guests here, and we want to preserve the raw beauty of the Valley Isle for generations to come.
- Don’t trust the weather forecast. Most locals know the forecast is often wrong. A general rule of thumb is to leave your lodging daily with clothing to meet any conditions. Expect anything from unpredicted rain to howling wind to extreme heat and humidity.
- Take more pictures. There’s no such thing as taking too many pictures. After a week in Maui, that third rainbow of the day might not seem as special, but we guarantee it will be when you get back home.
Sadly, the vacation will have to come to an end at some point. Maybe it’s a matter of days, or maybe you’re one of the lucky few who has come to stay for weeks or even months. Whatever your timeline, follow these post-trip tips for a hassle-free and fun departure.
Maui Departure Day Tips
- Your last day on Maui plan your departure. Remember that island time is a real thing. Give yourself extra time to do everything. This includes getting to the airport, returning the car, and checking in for your flight.
- Plan one last activity that is near the airport. The thing about Maui is that there are not so many roads to get from point A to point B. Oftentimes, that number is one, and unexpected road closures can cut off access from many parts of the island into town. Play it safe, and make your last activity something close to the airport. Ideas for last-day adventures include booking a whale watching or sunset tour at Ma’alaea Harbor, a 40-minute tour of Maui’s famous fruits and plants at the Maui Tropical Plantation, taking a short hike in ‘Iao Valley State Park, or watching the windsurfers at Ho’okipa Beach.
After You’re Back Home
- Journal the highlights of your trip. It’s always helpful to share our favorite experiences with friends and family who might be planning a visit or to remind ourselves of how to get to favorite spots for next time. Write them down while they’re fresh in your memory.
- Bring the spirit of Aloha home with you. Island life doesn’t have to end when you leave the island. Smile at a stranger, brake for a pedestrian, turn your phone on silent, and stop to watch the sunset.
- Plan your next trip to Maui. There’s probably at least one thing you didn’t have a chance to do that you can tackle on your second trip to the island. There’s always more to discover!