I recently came across the post ‘How to be frugal on Maui’ on a travel forum. I had to give it a read and a lot of the recommendations rang true. Now keep in mind, it’s not a vacation if you’re just worrying about money. A vacation is supposed to offer a break and be fun. Maui is expensive, so plan and save for YOUR idea of a vacation. And then relax and enjoy.
So, without further ado, here are my tips on how to be frugal on Maui.
- Pick which meals you want to eat out and enjoy the others at the condo or as a picnic at the beach park. Support local restaurants and please, tip well.
- Rent a condo with a functional kitchen. No, you don’t have to cook, but it gives you the option of not eating every meal out. As an aside, are there non-functional kitchens? Think through the bare minimums you’d need (number of dishes, which small appliances, spices, wrap, Ziploc baggies). Ask the owner what they supply and if need be pack a few things from home. Curious what Maui Oceanview Condos supply?
- Shop the sales. Sign up for the store discount card (Foodland Makai and Safeway cards – if you have/had a Safeway card back in the day on the mainland, that number should work) and see what’s on sale. Safeway’s app is great for shopping the sales (make sure you plug in the right store), and they still have $5 Fridays. And check out farmer’s markets for local produce and treats.
- Shop Costco – but be careful. It’s really easy to overbuy and then you have a bunch of food left over. As an aside, at the end of your trip if you have food, leave it in a paper bag in the fridge so the cleaners can just easily place it in their cooler – every cleaner I’ve ever met has a cooler in her car for condo grocery finds. Please don’t leave a bunch of opened packages, half full mayo/peanut butter jars… My general rule is, if someone could have touched the food, double dipped etc, just toss it.
- Pick your must-do activities and enjoy them!! Yes, there are those activity resellers, but you may be better off buying direct. Costco also carries some discounted activities. Definitely do your must-dos, you can save on things you deem less important.
- Check out free activities and events. For instance, the Shops at Wailea has an event calendar of free shows and activities, ranging from hula, concerts, lei-making to ukulele lessons.
- Ask your condo owner what beach gear they supply in the condo. We provide four beach chairs, two boogie boards, a cooler and towels at our condos.
- Do you have a National Park Pass? Bring it along and use it if you drive up Haleakala (saving the $30 park admission fee).
Shop around and keep looking for a better price. Last year I wrote a blog post on how to get the best rental car rate. These rules apply to travel on the mainland too.
Gas is expensive on Maui. Shop around for gas – Costco and Safeway just off Hana Hwy in Kahului are usually cheapest. At this time I don’t recommend renting an electric car as charging stations aren’t as easy to come by as you’d want them.
Save 10-15% by booking your condo direct vs on Airbnb or Vrbo. Here is a blog I wrote on how to book direct and save! Some people book their condos through Costco’s Travel site. Personally, I am picky and want to choose the exact condo I stay in, not just the ‘type’. On Maui condos vary wildly as they are individually owned and maintained. Pick a good one!
What do you think? What have I missed? I haven’t even touched on airline tickets. I’d love to hear your strategies to save while on vacation.