We think that Maui is one of the best islands in Hawaii. It has incredible beaches, amazing hikes, world class cuisine and bustling nightlife. If you’re not careful, a vacation to Maui can cost you a fortune, but it’s completely possible to visit Maui on a budget!
Here’s our top tips on visiting Maui without breaking the bank.
Travel in the off season
Traveling in the off-season is always a good idea, but it’s a major money saver for Hawaii! The off-seasons for Maui are April-May and September-November. You don’t need to be worried about the weather being bad during the off season. Hawaii has nice weather year round and while it may rain more during the months of September-November, the rain is sporadic and quick, so it rarely interferes with travel plans.
Save on Flights
Our flights to Hawaii only cost us a little over $200. We utilized the Hawaiian Airlines rewards program and only paid the credit card membership fee of and the tax for each ticket. I’ve written a detailed blog post about this travel hack and you can find it here!
If you decide against opening up the credit card and book regular flights, it’s best to search using Skyscanner and book your flights on a Tuesday about three months before your vacation. Polls have shown that is when flights tend to be the cheapest.
Save on a Rental Car
You don’t want to visit Maui without a car. Trust me. There’s too much to explore! We used our Chase Sapphire credit card rewards points and got our car rental for free, so if you have reward points, this is a great way to use them!
If you don’t use reward points and will pay for a car, get an economy car instead of a 4×4 or SUV, unless of course you need the space. Gas is expensive in Maui and you’ll spend a lot more money on the car itself as well as the gas to fill it up.
There’s a few other ways you can avoid the extra costs of renting a car in Maui. Select a primary driver and skip the “extra driver” charge. It can be as much as $20 per day! Also, read your car insurance policy, as you may be covered for rental car services already.
**Note! If you plan to drive the Road to Hana, check with your rental car company to be sure that they allow it. Some of them don’t because of the rugged terrain.
Save on Acommodation: AirBnB, Hostels or Couch Surf
The best places to stay in Maui are in Lahaina, Kihei and Wailea.
We always recommend looking on AirBnB for accommodation instead of staying in hotels. For a great price, you’ll usually find an entire home that you can rent out, which gives you more space and access to a kitchen. This way, you can cook some of your meals at home and save a ton of money. If you’re new to AirBnB, use this link to get $40 OFF YOUR FIRST RESERVATION!
Another option is to search on Hostelworld for the cheapest accommodation. We stayed at Banana Bungalow in Wailuku, which was really close to the airport. The beds were comfortable, they had a great common area and provided free daily tours/activities. It’s one of the cheapest options on the island at $49.50 per person for a dorm style room.
Last but not least, our favorite: Couchsurfing. First of all, it’s completely free! But even more than that, you stay with locals and leave with lasting friendships. We stayed with an awesome couple named Annette and Steven and we got to know all about them over an awesome ahi tuna dinner and a morning on the beach. What’s the catch you may ask? Nothing but sharing life stories and making connections with great people.
Get your lunch at Safeway
Dining out in Maui can be very expensive. Almost all of the grocery stores in Maui have fresh poke in their seafood sections and have poke bowl specials you can buy. At Safeway, you can choose 2/3 lb of fish and they will put it on top of white or brown rice for you for only $6.99. Take it to the beach and you have yourself a perfectly cheap afternoon!
Eat at Food Trucks
If you’re out driving around the island, instead of stopping at a restaurant for an expensive lunch, pull off at a food truck instead. You’ll find anything from gyros to poke and Thai to Mexican for a great price. We’d recommend sharing and trying out several different ones! You simply shouldn’t have to choose between fish tacos and poke nachos!
Take Advantage of Happy Hour
If you decide to go out for dinner and drinks, definitely start with happy hour. Specials can be found all over Maui, but I’ve included 4 of the happiest happy hours on the island.
Milagros Food Company
Has the largest tequila selection in Maui and is popular with the locals
Address: 3 Baldwin Ave, Paia, Hawaii
Happy Hour: Daily 1-5 PM
Has unique craft cocktails and a wide beer/wine selection as well as an eclectic and impressive food menu
Address: 10 Wailea Gateway Place, Kihei, Hawaii
Happy Hour: Daily 3-5:30 PM & 9 – 11 PM
Hyatt Regency Resort and Spa
Has unbeatable ocean and sunset views and poolside service
Address: 200 Nohea Kai Dr, Lahaina, Hawaii
Happy Hour: Daily 11-noon & 5-6 PM at ‘Ulamu Poolside Restaurant and 5-6 PM at Japengo Restaurant
(They will provide complimentary validated parking)
Has a charming open air concept and a “local feel”
Address: 5900 Lower Honoapiilani Rd, Lahaina, Hawaii
Happy Hour: Daily 2-4:30 PM
Attend Friday Town Parties
Every Friday of the month, a different downtown area of Maui has a “street party” where you can find food stands, art, music and more. The events are free to attend and you’re guaranteed a good time!
1st Friday – Wailuku
2nd Friday- Lahaina
3rd Friday- Makawao
4th Friday- Kihei
Explore the Outdoors
Getting outside is a great way to spend a vacation because it’s fun, usually free and it’s good for your health! Maui has some fantastic hiking trails. We did the Waihee Ridge Trail which was tough and had great views at the top. Start at 7 am and bring lots of water!
Other popular trails in Maui are the Iao Valley, Pipiwai Trail and Kings Highway.
Also be sure to check out Haleakalā National Park! Watch an unforgettable sunrise and then hike through the awe-inspiring crater. You could hike anywhere from an hour to a full day. The entrance to the park is $25 per vehicle, so it’s not free, but it is a must if you’re in Maui!
Here is a breakdown of our budget for one week in Maui:
Accommodation: $312 (3 nights at Banana Bungalow + 3 nights Couchsurfing)
Rental Car: $0
You may want to take full advantage of your Maui vacation and go to a luau or splurge on a helicopter ride, and that’s perfectly okay! Use our tips to help save where you can so that you can spend money on all of the amazing activities Maui has to offer. Aloha!