Maui On a Budget? Yes, It Can Be Done

Written By Jeff Hindenach
Last updated October 7, 2019

Note: We receive a commission for purchases made through the links on this site. Our sponsors, however, do not influence our editorial content in any way.

Money Saving Tips
October 25, 2018

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

There is no place like Hawaii, it boasts the perfect weather year round, it accommodates families beautifully, and you don’t need a passport to escape the brutal winter cold… The only downside? It’s EXPENSIVE, especially the island of Maui. So how does a family swing the cost of a Maui trip while still enjoying the perks of vacation (hello poolside drinks). Below are a few tips to cutting corners without skimping on experience.

If you’re traveling as a family, flights can add up quickly. The biggest way to save on flights is to sign up for a travel credit card, often times these cards come with sign-up bonuses which can mean a free RT flight. Additionally there are cards that come with companion passes each year, this means a free or very cheap flight each year. Pro tip-Have your spouse and yourself open the same travel credit card, you’ll end up getting double the miles and/or the companion passes.

Up for a little island hopping? Consider flying into another island then taking a commuter flight to Maui. Often times fares into Honolulu run much cheaper.

Accommodations on the island of Maui can be VERY expensive. Of course renting a condo is usually your best bet, but what if you want the resort style perks without the hotel cost?

Resort Style

Many resorts offer timeshares rentals in one week increments, these rentals are housed in large resorts such as the Westin or Honua Kai. They are run by an outside company and tend to be significantly cheaper than booking directly through the hotel. All of these units come with a kitchen, living area, and outdoor space. You can choose from a studio to a 3 bedroom.

So what’s the catch? Most timeshare rentals do not come with daily housekeeping, some offer one housekeeping service mid week. You also must checkin on Friday/Saturday then checkout exactly one week later. The upside? You can still enjoy all the other amenities the resort has to offer without breaking the bank.

Vacation Rentals

If you don’t fancy hotel style amenities, consider choosing a vacation rental in some of the cheaper areas of the island such as Kihei, Kahana, or Napili. Airbnb and VRBO allows you to book directly from the owner, which also cuts the cost down.

Of course, timing plays a huge role as well, don’t except to go the week of Christmas and get a deal.

Food is Pricey

Regardless if you’re eating out or grocery shopping you’ll notice everyday items are more expensive. Give your budget some wiggle room when it comes to food. Hawaii in general has some of the best seafood, so don’t be afraid to hit a fish market and grill it up at your condo or hotel. All resorts and condos tend to have outdoor community grills, plus it’s a great way to meet fellow travelers.

Eating In

Breakfast is an easy place to save, ALWAYS eat in. Breakfast buffets are a sure fire way to break the bank. Dinners can add up FAST, plan on hitting the pricer restaurants for lunch or happy hour. Most have substantial discounts for happy hour and lunch menus. Plus, let’s face it no one wants to eat dinner at 8pm after spending all day in the sun. If part of your reason for visiting Maui is to search for the perfect Mai Tai, then happy hours are a must.

When it comes to excursions in Maui, more expensive isn’t always better. There is a lot of competition on the island and pricing does reflect that. If there is a specific company you want to go with, book ahead, some have discounts for booking well in advance. Traveling with a large group? Always inquire about group discounts. TripAdvisor is a great resource for travelers reviews.

There are a number of ways to make Maui affordable and still feel like you’re on vacation.

About the Author

Jeff Hindenach

Jeff Hindenach is the co-founder of Simple. Thrifty. Living. He graduated from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism. He has a long history of financial journalism, with a background writing for newspapers such as the San Jose Mercury News and San Francisco Examiner, as well as writing on personal finance for The Huffington Post, New York Times, Business Insider, CNBC, Newsday and The Street. He believes in giving readers the tools they need to get out of debt.

  • No comments yet. Be the first to get the conversation started. Here's some food for thought:

    Do you have any thoughts?

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *