When you think of Maui or Hawaii, for that matter, you think of suns and…
Hey, frenns! One of the things I’ve always wanted to do is provide different travel guides and travel tips for you. Except in 2020…my usual busy travel schedule came to a screeching HALT. LOL, But now in 2021, travel is picking back up, and I am so excited to share with you all of the things I learned as I prepared for and enjoyed my trip to Maui. Consider this a practical guide for your travel to Maui.
I also included a Youtube video Vlog style that will serve as a great Maui travel guide for you.
In this guide, I’m going to be transparent but also realistic. Before I get into the actual trip to Maui, I will tell you a little about my travel style. I am a traveler who:
- Likes to enjoy top notch accommodations. I do not have to stay at the top of the line, but I need reasonable accommodations. I am not opposed to staying at hotels, but I do *not* stay at motels OR hostels. I will stay at an Air B-n-B or a vacation rental. I must stay in a safe and modern location.
- I am an adventurous but reasonable eater. I like to eat at local ‘special’ places but do not need to do this for every meal. I am not opposed to providing my own small meal or snacks, but I am not cooking the entire vacation. And I do like to enjoy a top Restaurant at least once.
- I like to be a tourist within reason. I wouldn’t say I want to spend the entire time at notable locations and museums. I do take the time to evaluate the *must* see/do places at my own pace. I am not a fan of curated tours.
Now that you know the type of traveler I am, my vacation in Maui and the way I vacationed in Maui will make a lot more sense. I’m the type of person who likes to spend a coin- but within reason.
Before we even got to Hawaii, I knew that I wanted to travel to Maui. I had already heard that Honolulu was MUCH more touristy (the Big Island), so when it came to crowds and specific locations, you may not enjoy them as much simply by virtue of the crowd sizes. Maui, I heard, was much more romantic and better suited for couples on a honeymoon, anniversary, or couple’s trip. Since it was our anniversary, I knew it would work. I would also include that Maui is also an excellent place for a girl’s trip. But a mature girl’s trip. To my knowledge, there isn’t much to do after hours, so if you’re a party person- Maui isn’t the place for you. I noticed that a LOT of people who live (and visit) Maui are retired. The pace of Maui is slow. I do not say this in a mean way, but I gathered very quickly that most of the people there are in no hurry to go anywhere, so if you are, you will adjust very quickly. Living in a city like Chicago, the pace is swift. Everywhere you go, most people are rushing along, getting from Point A to Point B in as little time as possible. Traffic moves very quickly, and people even speed on residential streets- that is not the case in Maui. First of all, the highway system isn’t as robust as a major city. It’s pretty much one way to get everywhere. You will figure out very quickly to plan accordingly for your travels because there are only so many ways to get there.
How to Get Around
Speaking of travel- we did rent a car. But actually, we rented a Turo. For those who are unfamiliar, Turo is like Air B n B for vehicles. It’s usually much cheaper than rental cars and can have a large variety. For reasons I’ll explain later, I specifically wanted a jeep. This was proving to be very expensive, even using Travelocity. So we went with Turo. For those wondering, yes, Uber is a possibility, but I knew we were doing too much driving to be restricted by the lack of a trusted vehicle. Trust me- you’ll want to have your own wheels to get around. Thankfully, parking is usually available (although it may be a bit of a walk to get to your destination). Having your car is pretty expected.
Where To Stay
This can be a kind of toss-up given your budget. After I booked our flights, the price of the hotel rooms was a huge turnoff. Like, the price per night was closer to what I had expected to pay OVERALL. I could not believe it. I am not sure if this was due to tourism at the time or if this was standard. Either way, I knew a hotel was not going to be the move for us. When I had traveled to Cartegena, I had an absolutely gorgeous vacation condo (1 bedroom, 2 bathrooms right on the beach), so I was hoping that Maui had similar options. Thankfully they did.
I will include my listing here. This one decision alone saved us SO much money. And the pictures were ACCURATE. I came to enjoy our little home away from home. One of the nights we did go to a luau at the Marriott (that was 5 minutes away), a few nosey look sees in the rooms let me know why those rooms were as much as they were, LOL. However, the basic rooms DID NOT all include a beach view, a pool view, a balcony, and a full kitchen (like my vacation condo). So again: you get what you pay for (within reason).
What to Pack
I’ll admit this is an entirely girly thing to talk about, but these are things I legitimately wondered. While I’m on vacation, I like to dress cute and sexy. It’s just a thing for me. But there are some practical things you should know about Maui, especially when it comes to packing. Here’s a shortlist:
- A jacket/sweatshirt: believe it or not, it does get cool at night and sometimes early mornings. You will not need a heavy coat, but a sweatshirt (with a hood) or a light jacket is perfect for the coolness of the mornings.
- Walking Shoes: You will do a lot of walking (especially if you do the Road to Hana), and you want to make sure you have good walking shoes. WALKING COMFORTABLE shoes. DO NOT bring your favorite shoes. I have some luxury casual shoes and a few pairs of Jordans. This is NOT the trip for that. The joke will be on you when you have sand and mud all over your favorite kicks. As I stated above, bring your favorite walking shoes but not your FLYEST kicks.
- Sandals: I know I said bring comfortable shoes, but you will want to get your cute sandals on the off chance you do want to dress up probably for a luau or nice dinner. Not the sandals with a heel! Wedges at best- but flats preferred.
- Beach Shoes: The land underneath the ocean can be REALLY rocky and sharp. You do not want to get in the water with your bare feet. You should have some type of protective covering for your feet.
- Bathing Suit and a Cover-Up: The dress code in Maui is very lax, but you cannot just walk around (in public places) in a bathing suit- you CAN walk around in a bathing suit cover (apparently that one thin piece of fabric makes all the difference) to dine in or visit places. For example, people like to get a bite to eat in the middle of their lounging on the beach, and you will have to have clothes on top of your bathing suits.
- Sunglasses/Hat: The weather is sunny. Pretty much all day. You’ll need to protect your eyes from the sun. I wore sunglasses almost none stop. I wore a hat, but I found it could be a little tricky in the event of it getting windy.
- Casual clothes/”Smart” casual: If you go to a luau, they ask you to dress smart casual. I was legit like, “what the heck is that?!” But some nice shorts for the men or a nice sundress for the ladies cover the dress code. There was one person there in a ball gown (I thought that was a bit much), and I saw another with jeans on (I thought that was not enough)- but who am I? lol
- Makeup: If you bring makeup, bring MINIMAL makeup. I did bring makeup, but it was more for sunscreen than full coverage. I had blush, some bronzer, and a few lippies….and my lashes (lol, but I only wore them twice). As much as I love to dress head to TOE, I felt almost foolish dressing up as much as I usually do just to go outside and lay on the beach. Maui is NOT Miami. If you have been to Miami, you know what I mean. Trust me- it matters for the photos for the ‘gram but not so much like practically in Maui.
- Light clothes: Bring all of your shorts and light-colored clothes and light garments. Sundresses and t-shirts. You have NO need for heavy jogging suits or jogging pants (unless you’re going on a hike in the early AM). Athleisure is definitely appropriate so long as it’s breathable.
Overall, I would absolutely recommend a vacation or trip to Maui. It’s a beautiful place with so much t do and see.
Post-Covid Travel: Traveling in light of COVID can be tedious but not difficult. Go here for up-to-date regulations. When we traveled you have to either upload your vaccination card or negative COVID test (72hours at an approved vendor) to the site, then you also add your flight information and the address where you are staying. From there you get a QR code- save it. Since we had a connecting flight, we got “Pre-Clear” at the last leg of our flights. A few folks asked about the 72-hour window- they just want to make sure you got it done. 72 hours BEFORE the last leg of your flight. So we flew from Chicago to San Jose then to Maui. We got pre-clear at San Jose. In San Jose we got checked. The cool thing is most airlines are prepared so they have a table almost right at the gate. And if you have to reupload something or fix something they’ll tell you. And usually, you can fix it right there. They will check to see if you did the above and will use the QR code to check you in; from there you get a wrist- band. Once you arrive in Hawaii, they check if you have done the Pre-Clear steps and you’re in. I highly suggest getting this done in advance. You go right through the line when you have done it all correctly.
Now that I have gotten through the practical, check out my post about things to do in Maui and my thoughts about the Road to Hana.