Planning a trip to Maui Hawaii? Our travel guide has everything you need for your Maui vacation. From the best time of year to go to renting a car, and where to stay on the island. We cover all the travel planning from start to finish so you can get there and start enjoying your holiday!
Maui Travel Inspiration
- 10 Best Beaches in Maui to See on Your First Visit
- 10 Road to Hana Tips to Know Before Taking Maui’s Most Famous Drive
- Local Maui Food & Drinks: Huli Huli Chicken to Pineapple Wine
- Kapalua Coastal Trail: A Beautiful Beach Walk That’s Fun For All Ages
- Hoapili Trail Guide: How to Hike Maui’s Lava Field With Funny Wild Goats
The Ultimate Travel Guide to Maui
1. How Long is Your Trip to Maui Hawaii?
Before you can start planning a trip to Maui you need to figure out how many days you have. Is this just a quick weekend vacation or do you have a week or more?! Ultimately, the duration of your trip to Maui will decide how much you can see and do on the island.
Maui Travel Guide Tip: Once you know the number of days try to be flexible until you book a flight. We’ll talk more about this part of planning a trip to Maui Hawaii soon!
2. Type of Maui Vacation
Are you in the mood to relax at a five-star resort? If so, there is nothing wrong with that… And Maui is the perfect place to do it! However, if you’re someone who likes adventure then you’re in for a treat. There is everything from hiking to surfing and more on this tropical Hawaiian island.
You also can get the best of both worlds with a relaxing and exciting trip to Maui Hawaii. Whatever type of traveler you are, you may want to decide beforehand. Figuring what type of vacation you’re looking for will help you pick what part of the island to stay on, your accommodation type, and activities to plan for.
3. Time of Year
What time of year are you planning a trip to Maui? The good thing about Hawaii is that you can really go at any time. The temperatures stay pretty consistent year-round so you’re mostly taking into consideration prices and tourists.
Most people travel to Maui during winter in the U.S. which runs from December to March. It’s also an amazing spring destination in the months following winter, especially for retirees. Check out this article for more great spring vacations in USA for seniors!
Keep in mind hotels will be more expensive during the peak season. It rarely rains in Maui, and even when it does a beautiful rainbow often follows.
4. Trip to Maui Hawaii Budget
Unfortunately, if you were looking for a budget vacation this isn’t it. The island is known for its luxury resorts and fine dining so you’ll likely be saving up for your trip to Maui Hawaii. Still, one thing we’ve learned is there are always ways to cut costs anywhere you travel.
If You’re Splurging Consider:
- Staying at one of the five-star resorts on the island. Many go for over $1,000 a night.
- Dine at amazing Michelin Star restaurants.
- Book a private snorkeling tour or get PADI certified to scuba dive.
If You’re Budgeting Consider:
- Camping at the national parks or renting a self-contained van.
- Eating at food trucks and buying from local farmers markets and fruit stands.
- Hit the trails as all the best hiking and outdoor activities in Maui are free.
5. Trip to Maui Island Itinerary
Like we mentioned earlier, Maui is the perfect island for both relaxing and outdoor adventures. Determining your route will depend on what type of vacation you want. Yet, as long as you’re willing to drive the whole island will be at your fingertips.
Don’t worry! We have some great specific hotel recommendations later for you in our travel guide to Maui. Just know it’s easy to both pick a central location and drive, or stay in multiple different parts of the island on one trip. You can even hit the famous Road to Hana and stay overnight right in Hana Town!
5 Day Adventurous Maui Itinerary
- Day One: Arrive on the island and check into your hotel! Spend the day relaxing at the beach and grabbing dinner.
- Day Two: Wake up early and get ready to explore Maui’s most scenic road! Check out our full day guide on the Road to Hana for what not to miss!
- Day Three: Head to Lahaina for some snorkeling, art galleries, amazing food, and more beautiful beaches.
- Day Four: Take a drive up to Haleakalā National Park! You can book sunrise tickets in advance or head there later to hike the Sliding Sands trail.
- Day Five: Final day in paradise! Stroll the relaxing Wailea Beach Luxury Hotel Walk, or for something more challenging take on the top hiking trails on Maui.
Maui Travel Guide Tip: Make sure to account for the day of your trip to Maui as well as your departure date into your plans.
6. Booking Your Flights
Depending on where you’re traveling from your flight will be one of the biggest expenses of your trip to Maui Hawaii. Fortunately, if you live on the West Coast of the U.S. it won’t be so expensive! We were surprised that flights to Maui from California were under $100 this past year.
If you’re not on the west coast you may be looking at a hefty price tag to get to the Hawaiian islands. Yet, one thing that helps is if you can be flexible with your dates!
Most popular travel sites like Skyscanner will actually show you a calendar highlighting the cheapest days to fly and let you set price alerts. However, if possible we highly recommend booking directly with Hawaiian Airlines! We got an amazing deal on direct flights from California and were even able to change them without a fee when our plans changed!
7. Renting a Car in Maui
Ready for some serious fun and adventure? Then you’re going to want to rent a car in Maui! We recommend doing a quick search with Discover Cars to find the best deal. Search Kahului Airport (OGG) which is where you will land when you arrive in Maui! Also, make sure to book in advance, especially during peak season.
Rental cars in Maui are expensive and can even sell out in the busy months. Maui is not an enormous island, but the different beach towns and things to do are all spread out.
If you’re planning on doing different activities and truly discovering the island you should rent a car for your entire trip to Maui. However, maybe you just want to relax at your hotel and do some specific day trips.
In this case, it’d be better to just rent a car for the day when you need it. Many of the hotels work directly with the rental car companies and deliver them right to you.
Maui Travel Guide Tip: There is a bus system on Maui. You can also rent self-contained vans, camping equipment, and motorbikes to see the island in a unique way.
8. Accommodations on Your Trip to Maui
There is a range of accommodations to choose from when planning a trip to Maui Hawaii! As we mentioned already, it is a fairly expensive island to visit. Still, there are still plenty of different hotels for every budget.
Where you stay depends on what type of vacation you personally want to have. Also, take into consideration location, price, and comfort. We stayed between Kihei and Wailea and loved the area! Our second pick for where to stay would be Lahaina.
Below we have recommendations for different styles of highly-rated accommodations to give you an idea of your options. For a complete look at the island check out Where to Stay in Maui: 4 Top Areas With Hotel Picks
Ultra Luxury – Four Seasons Resort Maui – Wailea – Known as one of the most elite hotels on Maui, the Four Seasons has three swimming pools, 5-star service, and is just steps from the beach.
Fun Vacation – Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort – Wailea – This modern, upscale hotel is packed with swimming pools and ocean views.
Bed & Breakfast –Maui What a Wonderful World Bed & Breakfast – Wailea – Get all the local charm you can handle at this unique bed and breakfast. Awesome location that will provide a homey welcome to the island.
Aparthotel – Napili Sunset Beach Front Resort – Lahaina – Great for travelers looking to have a little more space and a kitchen.
Hostel Life – Hakuna Matata Maui Hostel – Lahaina – Walking distance to the town center, this hostel is set in a beautiful garden. Hakuna Matata also offers free bikes and is close to the beach.
Remote Resort – Hana Maui Resort A Destination by Hyatt – Hana – Located in the far remote part of the island along the road to Hana. Amazing resort by Hyatt offering seclusion and luxury.
For more places to stay in Maui you can explore the latest prices here!
9. Pre-Plan Your Activities
By now you know that Maui is one of the most popular travel destinations in all the United States! For this reason, you may want to book all your Maui activities beforehand to ensure you don’t miss out.
If you’re spur of the moment travelers like us this may be difficult! Nevertheless, it’s way better than missing out on a beautiful island like Maui.
When it comes to activities you don’t need to book like hiking, you still should plan ahead. With the most popular climbs like the Waihee Ridge Trail and Pipiwai Bamboo Forest Trail you need to get there first thing in the morning.
This can save you the headache of parking and makes the hikes more enjoyable. Here are some more awesome activities to consider when you’re planning a trip to Maui Hawaii!
- Jump on a Sunset Sailboat from Lahaina
- Take a Scenic Helicopter Flight of Maui and Molokai
- Hit the water with a daytime Snorkel Trip
- Explore the Road to Hana with a Full Day Guided Tour
Maui Travel Guide Tip: Making your restaurant reservations in advance can be just as important as activities! Some spots such as Mama’s Fish House get booked out months ahead of time.
10. Pack Your Bags and Go!
You made it! You’ve successfully planned your trip to Maui and are on your way to paradise. The only thing left to do is pack your bags, and get ready for the vacation of a lifetime. It’s time to do some quick checks before walking out the door.
4 Things to Pack For A Trip to Maui
- We used our snorkels daily! For the cost of renting them all the time, buy snorkels instead before your trip and bring your own.
- Don’t just pack flip-flops. Have hiking shoes and a small collapsible backpack that folds up super compact if you plan to hit the trails.
- Check out our Amazon packing lists!
- The sun is POWERFUL so make sure to pack sunblock, hats, and even an SPF rash guard if you plan to surf or boogie board.
Quick Check Before you Leave Your House
- Confirm your baggage allowance and buy extra before getting to the airport.
- Download your airline app and check-in for your flight
- Send yourself all your travel documents and confirmations in one email for quick access.
- If you don’t have a rental car arrange for an airport transfer or set up a taxi or shuttle.
We have been to other islands in Hawaii and they are all special in their own way. Yet, it’s hard to beat the truly magical hikes and beaches of Maui. Enjoy!
Have any questions about planning a trip to Maui Hawaii? How about some tips we didn’t mention in our travel guide to Maui that you think are important? Let us know in the comments below!
Brigitte & Jake
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Hawaii Travel Planning
Rental Car: Hands down the best way to explore Maui Hawaii is with a rental car! We used Discover Cars to explore the island. Just make sure to book in advance because there are limited cars on the island in the high season!
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad (if you’re traveling to Hawaii from outside the USA) without protection. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.