How to vacation for less on Maui 11

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Many people dream of a Maui vacation. They envision luaus on the beach, ukulele lessons under palm trees, and mai tais at sunset. The price tag on that dream getaway can quickly get out of hand – but there are ways to vacation for less on Maui. You can easily spend $7000 for a one week Maui holiday including airfare, but we have a few tips on how to substantially lower that number.

travel for less on maui


Next to flights, accommodations are your biggest expense. You can lower that cost considerably by using a site like AirBnB or VRBO – and the longer you stay, the more you’ll save. Keep in mind that properties on or close to the beach are usually more expensive; consider staying Upcountry in Makawao or Kula, instead – you’re only about a 30 minute drive from the beach and you get the beautiful views of the island.


With a little more research you can eliminate your accommodations cost completely by house sitting. Some house sits do come with responsibilities such as caring for animals, so keep that in mind. Check sites such as Trusted Housesitters or Mind My House for opportunities.


Many people think that you have to pay big bucks to get a good meal when traveling, but we know from experience that this isn’t the case. Maui has plenty of dining options that won’t leave you with an empty wallet.

If you’re staying in accommodations with a kitchen, you’re laughing. The cost of raw ingredients may be higher here than on the mainland, but cooking for yourself is nowhere near as expensive as heading to a restaurant for every meal.

You can purchase your ingredients from the grocery store, directly from farmers at the many farmers markets, or lower your expenses even more by picking your own vegetables at a u-pick farm.

travel for less on maui

If you’re driving the road to Hana, stop at the numerous fruit stands and fill your belly with delicious fresh fruit while supporting locals.

travel for less on maui

Need a break from cooking? Maui has plenty of food trucks, mostly parked around Lahaina and Kihei. There are some in a lot across from Costco in Kahului and a few on the road to Hana as well.

travel for less on maui

You can also find them at Maui’s Friday night town parties during the summer. The party rotates from town to town every Friday, giving you a chance to discover a different area, though most of the food trucks are the same at each location.

travel for less on maui


Some of the best entertainment on Maui is free. If you enjoy the beach, there are plenty of beaches all around the island to keep you busy swimming, snorkeling or sunbathing. Some of our favourites are Makena and Paia beaches. Kapalua beach is popular with snorkelers, too, as you’re almost guaranteed to see green sea turtles.

travel for less on maui

Hiking is also very popular on Maui and trails are abundant, but heed flash flood warnings or you may be in for more than dramatic scenery.

Taking in a luau can also be a lot of fun and you’ll learn about Hawaiian history. The most popular luau on Maui is the Old Lahaina Luau next to the Aloha Mixed Plate restaurant. If it’s luau food you’re craving, they share their imu-cooked kalua pork with the AMP.

The Feast at Lele is also popular. If you want to take in a luau but don’t have the scratch to spend, head over to Betty’s Beach Cafe for happy hour, situated at 505 Front Street, grab a seat at the front and you can watch the luau next door at Feast at Lele, while sipping cheap drinks.


If your mind is set on a Hawaiian vacation, following these few tips are a great start to an affordable get away. Do you have any other money saving tips to add to this list?


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About Nat and Tim Harris

Together for close to a quarter of a century, A Cook Not Mad‘s Tim and Nat have indulged their passion for life and experience to the fullest, but they feel most alive when traveling, cooking and eating. An award winning chef, Tim has dedicated his life and career to cooking and the pursuit of honest food. As a professional photographer, Nat records their adventures with incredible pictures of everyday life and the extraordinary. They believe that everyone should get to know a culture by learning about the foods they eat and living like locals as much as they can.

11 thoughts on “How to vacation for less on Maui

  • Kay Dougherty

    I’ve been to a couple of the Hawaiian islands but not Maui and want to go there. I do remember being shocked at the price of things in grocery stores in Hawaii. I am thinking of trying for a home exchange so I could have a kitchen and more money to spend. Now I just have to find someone in Maui who wants to come to Marco Island, Florida!

  • Carol Colborn

    We were just in Maui two weeks ago! I agree with all your suggestions. We were fortunate that our airfare was cheap enough for end September and that our time-share membership had units in Maui. We had a kitchen but we decided to spare me from cooking and found cooked meals or deli and wine from Foodland or Times Supermarket and left-overs from over-ordered lunches good enough for fine dining at our balcony overlooking the ocean and the Lanai island. Simple breakfasts were also great at the balcony. So our food bill was pretty low except for a luau, Mama’s Fish House, and Kimo’s by the Beach. Most of meals we had when we dined out were at simple restaurants that offered local cuisine. And we were content with a lot of road trips with our rented car. The only activity we spent for was the Atlantis submrine ride (I cannot scuba dive!).

  • Betsy Wuebker | PassingThru

    These are all great tips, particularly the eat like a local advice. You’re in Hawaii! So don’t try and replicate what you do on the mainland! House sits in Maui are grabbed up quickly, so you need to be vigilant. Craigslist is a good resource for vacation rentals throughout Hawaii, too. Our first visit to Maui was a special week-long rate at the Westin Ka’anapali. I think it ran us around $700. In exchange for that, we promised to sit through a timeshare presentation, which we did and miraculously emerged without buying anything. (This hasn’t always happened to us in the past!)

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